I watched the Netflix Amanda Knox documentary twice yesterday. On my second viewing I frequently stopped the streaming in order to take notes. When this story was unfolding I was like everyone else. I watched the news about it and that was it. I only knew what came out on the nightly news. So I was looking forward to getting the whole story. Well you don't get the whole, complete story. The documentary raises many questions about Knox. It bothered me so much that here I am spending time writing about it. My initial take away is that all three main characters lied. Police pressure forced them to lie or induced them to lie but all three lied bigtime. And the police lied and just tried too hard instead of just following the evidence.
If you are not at all familiar with this incident then I'll briefly sketch it out for you. Amanda Knox was a 20 year old American exchange student from Seattle at the time. She's in a small town in Italy rooming in a house with another exchange student, Meredith Kercher, who is from England. There are also some Italian female students in this house but exactly where they are living in the house is not clear. My impression is that perhaps the Italians are living down stairs while Amanda and Meredith have the upstairs and there are separate entrances for the upstairs and for the downstairs. I lived in an apartment in Ypsilanti, Michigan for 13 years. There were 8 apartments in this house and we each had our own locked door. There was an unlocked front entrance and an unlocked second floor back entrance. The largest apartment down stairs had as many as three people and the apartment on the third floor usually had two people. All the other apartments only had one person. So that was how I was imagining this living situation in this house in this small Italian town. The Italian women occupied a down stairs apartment with its own separate locked entrance while Amanda and Meredith occupied the upstairs apartment with their own separate locked entrance. The view in the film showed that these two entrances were each outside entrances with even separate driveways made possible by the sloping terrain. The third main character is Amanda's Italian boyfriend of five days prior to the murder of Meredith. So Amanda spends the night with her new boyfriend, comes back home but the roommate's bedroom door is locked and there's no answer. Amanda becomes concerned, goes back and gets her boyfriend and he eventually calls the police. The third minor character is Rudy Guede who is convicted of the murder.
The first thing new that I learned from the film is that Meredith's mother is a woman of color who apparently married a very white Englishman because Meredith herself is way more white than brown. Her hair is straight and she could easily pass as Italian herself. The documentary allows some people to tell their story. Amanda gets a lot of time. Her boyfriend gets some time. The Italian prosecutor gets some time and an English journalist gets some time. By the way, Amanda is uncompensated so my guess is she's eager to get her version and perspective of this story out there. Maybe she figures what does she have to lose now. She says people have made up their minds one way or the other about this incident and there is no in between. Well she's wrong there because I was completely unbiased until I watched this documentary and now I have more questions than answers.
So Amanda's story is that she comes back home in the morning after spending the night with her boyfriend to find her outside door open. Now that right there would alarm me. I did have a burglary in my apartment the first year I lived there. Turns out the guy who was allowed to stay in the apartment across the hall slipped my lock and robbed me of some change for the laundromat that I kept in a dresser drawer, an acoustic guitar and a jacket. As soon as I walked in I saw my clothes all strewn about with dresser draws open etc. It was evident that I had been burglarized. So I walked around as it was just a two room apartment, a main room and a kitchen. The bed folded down out of the wall and the bathroom was across the hall under the stairs leading up to the attic apartment. So I investigated a little and then called the police. It turns out that you need a deadbolt lock. I had the kind of lock that allowed you to just close the door behind you. Someone could push something from the outside and make the latch go back into the door and then just gain entry. I called the landlord and the maintenance man came by right away and installed a deadbolt lock. I mentioned to the lady across the hall that I believe the guy she let stay in her apartment ripped me off. Her response was "maybe he needed it more than you". When I rented a different apartment in that same house after I got back from the Navy the landlord said Janice had died from an overdose while she was on a trip in the Virgin Islands. So in hindsight the guy who robbed me might have been her dealer. That same first year the guy upstairs said Janice got hepatitis and advised me to go to the health center if I had any contact with her. I was not at risk. So from my own experience I can possibly see her going inside even though her outside door is wide open. She says nothing was messed up any more than normal. She just goes into her room, gets undressed and then goes into the bathroom. She brushes her teeth, takes a shower and while she's blow drying her hair she notices that someone had pooped in the toilet but they didn't flush it. That alarmed her. She also initially notices some drops of blood in the bathroom sink and then later notices a bigger print of blood on the shower mat but just dismisses the blood and figures 'ok, someone cut themselves'. But after noticing Meredith's bedroom door locked she really becomes concerned. She goes back to her boyfriend's house and they come back to her apartment. She wants the boyfriend to kick in Meredith's bedroom door. He makes two unsuccessful attempts. So he decides to call the police.
The police kick everyone out of the house while they investigate. The police say Meredith has had her throat cut and is dead. That's how Amanda finds out that her roommate is dead. She's outside with her boyfriend and they are kissing and comforting one another. Amanda makes no comments about how well she and Meredith got along. She says they had been roommates for a few weeks. I lived in the dorm for four years of college and I was never fast friends with any of my roommates either.
So the police start their investigation in earnest and here's where it gets very sticky. We now get the story from the Italian investigator. He says a big chunk of cement was thrown through Meredith's bedroom window. At least that's what it looked like in the film. He didn't see any reason for that. The fact that Amanda didn't discover any broken window leads me to believe it must have been Meredith's window. The investigator says there is no evidence that anyone tried to climb the wall outside that window to enter through that bedroom window. The investigator says that the broken bedroom window was just staged to just make it look like a break in. I agree with that because why scale a wall? If you are going to break in then just come in from ground level right through the front door. Also Meredith's body was covered with a blanket. He says a male perpetrator would not cover a female body that he had just murdered and raped. That is something a female murderer would do. Well I have no opinion about that. The investigator says there were signs that Meredith had been held down and perhaps tortured. There were three kicks to her chin. I think he's stretching a bit with that theory. Perhaps a lone individual struggled with her and threatened her with a knife with the intention of just raping her and not killing her. We had a serial rapist reported in my college newspaper. His MO was to grab a women from behind and threaten her with a knife. He bound her with tape and then raped her. He came prepared carrying a gym bag with everything he needed. So he was able to convince each woman to cooperate enough to get her bound by obviously telling her to cooperate and she wouldn't be killed. He had gotten away with this several times which is why it was being reported as a warning in the school newspaper. So I think Meredith struggled and he just decided to kill her. The investigator just says there were signs of sexual interference with male DNA inside. Sounds like rape to me probably after she was dead. My theory is he finishes, tosses a blanket over her and feels safe enough to go ahead and clean up a little in the bathroom and even take a poop before leaving. In hindsight does Amanda know this guy and put him up to it? Does she just want to watch him do it for fun? The police identify Rudy quickly via DNA. They track down a friend of his and listen in on a skype call. He's already fled to another country. On the skype call he says he met Meredith the previous evening and went over there the next day. Neither one of them had a condom so they didn't do anything. He says while he was in the bathroom (presumably to poop) someone must've come in because he hears Meredith scream and gets off the pot quickly enough to see a guy leaving through the front door but can't see his face because it was too dark. He must've been there a long time because he arrived in the DAY and now it's dark? He says it wasn't Amanda. She wasn't there. Did he suspect the police might be listening in and make up that story for their benefit?
The very next day after the murder they bring Amanda back into the house. They've got all the kitchen knives laid out on the counter and ask Amanda if she can identify which kitchen knife might be missing. She became hysterical "hitting the palms of her hands on her ears" per the investigator. In her narrative Amanda confirms that she just totally lost it at that point. That is pretty crazy behavior. But if you witnessed the murder and heard the screams just the day before then yes you might be so traumatized by it all to just go crazy this way. Yes you naturally would be terrified no matter what just thinking that it could've been you that got murdered and raped instead of your roommate but would you act out like that? NO! That is very suspicious behavior. But it is certainly NOT proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Maybe it's evidence of some kind of drug use other than marijuana. In Amanda's version she was at her boyfriend's house. She got a text from her boss that she didn't have to come to the bar to work that night. She said her studies involved "zero work" so she might as well get a job. The new black bar owner, Patrick Lumumba, hired her because he thought a pretty girl would bring in more customers. Amanda says in America she was just average but in Italy she was considered to be a very attractive blond American. She said she liked the attention. She had black hair in the documentary and in all original trial footage. She said they watched a movie and ended up eventually "making love and passing out". PASSING OUT? Sounds like they were into drugs maybe more than just marijuana.
So now the police are very suspicious. They tap both Amanda's and her boyfriend's phones. The third day after the murder they call the boyfriend to the police station and AMANDA COMES TOO. Why did she do that? She's out in the hall doing cart wheels and stretching while he's getting questioned. So the police start getting rough with the boyfriend and HE CHANGES HIS STORY. He says he lied per Amanda's request. He says he was home all night but Amanda wasn't with him until 1:00 AM. So now the investigator wants to prove that Amanda left the boyfriend's house and did not return until 1:00AM. Apparently the boyfriend lied about his lie because the investigator must have some proof (cell phone tracking?) that Amanda was there at the time she got her text message from her boss that she didn't have to come into work. She replied in Italian something along the lines of thanks and I'll see you later. The police are trying to say she's planning to meet up with her boss later to do the dirty deed.
So Amanda gets questioned in a rough manner and per her description in the documentary "what pops into my mind is her open front door, Patrick (her boss) in his brown leather jacket and Meredith screaming". Per Amanda the police are convincing her that the murder traumatized her so much that she must have lost her memory of the incident. Just can't help but wonder how can Meredith's screaming pop into your mind if you never heard the screams? So she thinks she is remembering that Patrick (her boss) killed Meredith. So she's accusing him. She can't get her story straight. She's letting the police lead her. The investigator thinks she's just trying to pass blame off on anybody. Again, what kind of drugs was she using? We never hear about that in the documentary. Is she delusional? Did she at a minimum witness the murder? The investigator was shocked at her testimony because this at least made her an accomplice to murder. So Amanda, her boyfriend and her boss are all three arrested. Three weeks later the boss is released because he has an alibi. He didn't do it.
While Amanda is in prison they tell her she is HIV positive. She's keeping a diary and logs in all 7 men she's ever had sex with trying to figure out who gave her HIV. Turns out the police were just trying to mess with her. Her prison diary gets leaked to the press. The police are now really trying to pin it on her. HERE COMES THE BIG POLICE LIE/ERROR. They find a knife at the boyfriend's house and say this is the murder weapon. In the documentary the investigator admits that the murder weapon has never been found and that he's done things he's had to confess (he's Catholic). They claim Amanda's DNA as well as Meredith's DNA are on this knife. 46 days after the murder they find Meredith's broken bra clasp under a small rug. The boyfriend's DNA is on the clasp along with two other unidentified men's DNA. All this DNA evidence is eventually refuted by independent Italian DNA experts as a consequence of sloppy investigation and cross contamination. None of Amanda's DNA was ever found in Meredith's bedroom even though they lived together for several weeks. They must've stayed out of each other's bedroom and only met in the common areas such as the kitchen and bathroom.
They arrest Rudy Guede. Amanda says she's seen him around playing basketball in the neighborhood but doesn't know him other than that. Rudy's DNA is found in Meredith's bedroom in several places. The investigator says his presence in the house is undisputed. The documentary did not confirm if it was his DNA inside Meredith. Inquiring minds want to know. My guess is YES. That blows his skype story that they didn't do anything because neither one had a condom. Rudy has always maintained his innocence. So what exactly is the DNA evidence? Is there male DNA inside Meredith? If so is that even conclusive? She might've been fooling around too. Meredith's friends say she was not a loose woman. Rudy's lawyer opts for a separate fast-track trial because he doesn't want his client being blamed for the whole thing, which is exactly what eventually ends up happening in the end. SO NOW RUDY CHANGES HIS STORY from his Skype version of events. Rudy now has zero credibility in my book. He has clearly made a deal with the prosecutor for a reduced sentence if he testifies against Amanda. He does eventually get his sentence reduced from 30 years to 16 years. So he testifies against Amanda at his trial. All we get in the documentary is Rudy saying he saw her leaving the house. What was his full testimony. Based on his skype call the implication is that it was Amanda who rushed in and slit Meredith's throat while Rudy is in the bathroom on the pooper. At trial the investigator says there was a "crescendo of attacks" meaning multiple stab wounds in addition to the slit throat. Doesn't multiple stab wounds indicate anger? That's what I've gleamed from watching many police films on Netflix. Was Amanda ever angry with her roommate?
Two years after the murder Knox and her boyfriend get their trial. Footage shows a big scabby sore on Amanda's upper lip. Either she has herpes or has gotten into a jailhouse brawl. Looks like herpes. The verdict is guilty. Knox gets 26 years and her boyfriend gets 25 years. All of Italy is pleased with the verdict. The investigator/prosecutor gets hailed as a hero. He says complete strangers are coming up to shake his hand.
The boyfriend spends six months in solitary. In his interview he says he still has feelings for Amanda but she has no more feelings for him at this time. He never explains his lie about her leaving and not coming back until 1:00 AM. Or maybe that's not the lie. The lie is she spent the whole night with him and never left. We're left to conclude that yes she left and didn't come back until 1:00 AM. He lets his testimony stand for the documentary. He doesn't refute it. He certainly could've said the police pressured him so much that he lied. That's why Amanda said she lied about her boss. So where did Amanda go? What did she do? Why are Meredith's screams ever in her head to 'remember'. If Knox was trying to improve her image with this documentary then she didn't do it for me. I was a blank slate. I only know that she got convicted and exonerated per news reports. I did not dig deep into the internet about this story. But this documentary has raised questions in my mind about her.
Three years after the murder their appeals trial begins. The Italian DNA experts say the Meredith DNA on the knife is inconclusive. Four years after the murder they get exonerated and Amanda comes home to Seattle.
Six years after the murder an Italian court throws out the acquittal and the pair are found guilty again. The guilty verdict focuses on circumstantial evidence including Knox's behavior and relationships. It's appealed to the Italian Supreme Court. Eight years after the murder the Italian Supreme Court rules not guilty. In September 2015 the Supreme Court releases it's reasoning for the exoneration. The court blames stunning flaws in the investigation and the media attention for creating a frantic search for guilty parties. The justices find a complete lack of biological traces connecting Knox or her boyfriend to the crime.
When Knox heard the Italian Supreme Court ruling of exoneration we see her on the phone from her home in Seattle with her boyfriend (presumably in Italy) saying "much love and we'll talk soon". So they were in the same boat and she was happy with the verdict for both of them. I don't think she has any feelings for him. He didn't stick with his story that she was with him all night. Why? Because it just wasn't the truth. As I said. This documentary raises questions about her. Her boyfriend of 5 days really got dragged through an ordeal. He still has feelings for her per his documentary testimony. She was the first or perhaps second woman he'd ever been with. She is attractive. The end of the documentary just flashes some statement about what everyone is doing now. There was no indication that Amanda and her Italian boyfriend are back together. The boyfriend should just move on and count his blessings.