One of the most eviscerating experiences anyone could have is the loss of a child. Some might suggest that eviscerating isn’t quite the word, but then those people have never lost a child. Therefore their protests are irrelevant. For clarification evisceration is the forcible removal of ones insides. If your child had been murdered, what other word could be more contextually apt? It’s difficult to imagine something worse than having your child murdered; difficult, but not impossible.
Watching the alleged murderer be convicted and sentenced might alleviate some of that pain. Watching the one convicted of the murder walk free and beyond your reach must be an incomprehensible feeling. Yet that is exactly what the United States did to a family in Italy a few weeks ago.
If you didn’t quite get the references, this is about the Amanda Knox case. Statistically citizens in the United States are widely divided on the subject of her guilt/innocence.
The facts of the initial case were so condemning she was found guilty and had served four years of a 26-year sentence before her eventual release.
A large part of the country thinks her case was overturned because of possible mishandled DNA, not because she is innocent. And therein, as they say, lies the rub.
The Italian jurors overwhelmingly felt Knox was guilty, thus her conviction. Political pressure, however, convinced them to reopen the case. The prosecution thought their evidence was solid; I couldn’t imagine they believed losing was a possibility.
After some research, I found this case has a lot in common with the O.J. Simpson case, while there were some stunning irregularities as well. For example, O.J.’s jury was specifically comprised of those who wouldn’t be sympathetic to his plight as another African American male being accused of murder (i.e. no African Americans were selected to the jury). On the other hand, Amanda Knox’s jury was comprised of two judges and five females. Not quite the definition of an impartial jury.
Here are a few facts from both O.J. and Amanda’s case. Both suspects DNA was found at the murder scene. Both suspects DNA was also found in a place they frequented fairly often. The police were accused of tampering with evidence in both cases, which was the technicality both cases were eventually won on. Prosecutors argued if O.J was innocent, why was he in a three hour police chase before his eventual arrest. In Knox’s trial they argued she had no valid alibi for her supposed whereabouts during the murder, and she accused an innocent man of committing the murder. Leading many to speculate, isn’t pinning the murder on someone else what a guilty person would do?
Lack of motive was also a big deal in this case. Fact: according to a research article by Ben Best, one-third of the murders in the world are committed without motive. Another 10 percent were for miscellaneous (i.e. random) reasons. To clarify, lack of motive is not equivalent to innocence.
To be clear, I am not advocating the guilt of Knox, or the innocence of Simpson. I am simply stating the eerily similar circumstances surrounding the case. Why is this important? Simple, despite the clear relevancies to both cases, there is one stark difference. O.J. is met with the damning eyes of those who believe he was released on a technicality; whereas Knox is rapidly approaching celebrity status. The prosecution will attempt to appeal, but with all the attention (undeserved or not) focused on Knox in America, it is unlikely she would be extradited for another case. That brings us full circle to what this article is really about.
This article asks a simple question: If this case were about an Italian being convicted of the murder of a young American female college student. One who was subsequently released based on faulty DNA evidence and sent back to Italy, would the American people be lobbying for the release of the Italian Amanda Knox? Would they have dedicated millions of dollars in defense of her? Or are they as arrogant as to believe that their justice system, which lets murderers and rapists go free on technicalities with frightening regularity, is superior to Italy’s? If not, then why do they cheer for Knox?
Whilst the Americans engage in their great debate, a mourning family awaits for justice that will probably never come. One thing requires no debate; Meredith Kercher is dead, the victim of a grisly murder and the primary suspect is one of America’s most celebrated citizens.
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