Knox Found Guilty...Again

Friday, February 07, 2014


Last week an Italian court found Amanda Knox guilty of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher. Again. Knox was first found guilty in 2009. In the almost seven years since this story broke, an industry of books, websites and made-for-tv movies has emerge to exploit  - or investigate - the case of Amanda Knox. Brooke speaks to author Nina Burleigh, who wrote one of the best accounts of the Knox case, “The Fatal Gift of Beauty, The Trials of Amanda Knox."


Nina Burleigh

Hosted by:

Brooke Gladstone

Comments [21]


I love OTM and listen to it regularly, but the piece on Amanda Knox was not up to the show's normal standards. Indeed, I was astonished at its lazy reporting and analysis, which resulted in a myopic, one-sided presentation. I think Brooke (who is normally excellent) was poorly served by Nina Burleigh’s shallow explanations. Brooke then didn't try to ask any serious questions, taking on face value that cultural differences and "trial by media" can explain everything about what happened in the Perugia courtroom.

I admit that the Italian justice system may have disgraced itself with its bungling investigation and prosecution of the Kercher murder case. But it seems that Amanda Knox isn't as innocent as she claims and as her unquestioning supporters believe. Knox had many inconsistencies with her mutable (and unconvincing) alibi, her behavior as the body was discovered and in the days after the murder are so hard to reconcile to the actions of an innocent and grieving person, and -- most of all -- Knox falsely accused an innocent man of the crime (ruining his livelihood and reputation). Her accusation of Patrick Lumumba can only be explained as an attempt to throw off the investigation from targeting her. The listeners of OTM deserve much, much better than that segment.

Feb. 12 2014 09:31 PM

To NPR, On the Media, and Brooke Gladstone:

There is certainly enough outcry in the US about reporting this case, and specifically here in comments by roseellen, LucNYC, Romeo Salta, Pat Az, Tyler_D to warrant looking into doing a second story. That might set things right. But if not, I may have lost faith in even YOUR reporting. Wouldn't a much better story have been about how the two sides report, rather than trial by media? Believe me, this was PR from the get-go.

Check out what Alan Dershowitz said, even on CNN:

And, on the Newsmax site, January 31, you can hear another Dershowitz interview regarding Knox, extradition, and her incredibly successful media campaign, of which he says in 50 years of practicing law he's not seen a more one-sided presented case.

This fact has gone by the way side: Amanda Knox's boss Patrick Lumumba (whom she fingered as the killer), had given her notice her job would end because she was not performing adequately. Coincidently, he had asked the to be victim Meredith to work one night a week for him. If you know much about young women and jealousy, this would surely have been a factor in a motive, even before any drugs were consumed. They were in the cottage in the early afternoon together.

Please do a follow up story after looking at the facts. Thank you.

Feb. 10 2014 11:23 AM

Remind you of anyone?

"Some people diagnosed with a narcissistic personality disorder are characterized by unwarranted feelings of self-importance. They have a sense of entitlement and demonstrate grandiosity in their beliefs and behavior. They have a strong need for admiration, but lack feelings of empathy."

Feb. 10 2014 02:31 AM
Pat Az

1- You fail to mention that the supreme court annulled Knox's acquittal PRIOR to the current re-hearing of Knox's appeal for her original conviction.

2- You talk about "trial by media", but fail to acknowledge the bias in the US for hometown girl Amanda Knox.

3- You fail to mention that it was the british TABLOIDS that reported on the "foxy knoxy" moniker.

4- The video of them kissing wasn't "leaked"... news reporters were standing nearby and videoed them.

5- Your interviewee admits she was not there for the first two years after the murder.

6- Physical evidence against Knox was her DNA found mixed with the murder victim's blood and DNA in multiple rooms of the house.

7- Guede didn't "show up".. he was stopped in Germany on the train as he returned to Perugia to turn himself in.

8- You fail to actually look at the evidence, and instead claim that everyone who believes in Knoxs involvement is only influenced by the media.

9- There is no evidence to support the claim of national pride- two italians have also been convicted of participation in the murder of Meredith Kercher.

10- For the crime to be "simple" and for Knox to be innocent, you have to resort to claims of: police incompetence, contamination, prosecutor vendetta, conspiracy, and massive coincidence making Knox the second most unlucky person in the world in Nov 2007.

Feb. 10 2014 12:15 AM

Here's the link to Amanda's blog post January 8, 2104 blog post cited below:

Feb. 09 2014 11:32 PM

Criminals wish to be caught. Why? So they can be at peace with themselves and stop putting up a false persona, which is difficult.

Authors on serial killer Ted Bundy wrote that he seemed to always be helping the prosecution. He seemed to want to confess. Along similar lines, we have the following from Amanda Knox's own website:

January 8, 2014 [Amanda talking]

"..For everyone’s convenience, I’ve started taking notes on these closing arguments, starting with the civil attorneys for the Kercher family. I haven’t made it all the way through (it’s emotionally difficult), but here, so far, are the arguments of this civil party:

Guede was definitively found guilty of having committed murder with accomplices. There is no reasonable alternative for who Guede’s accomplices might have been.

Knox was definitively found guilty of having committed slander. The slander is connected to the murder. It is further proof of her involvement because it was an attempt to lead the investigation astray.

Sollecito’s claim that his DNA on the bra clasp was the result of contamination is phoney. The contamination doesn’t exist.

Sollecito always carried a pocket knife with him, and he did the night of the murder. It was just never found.

Even if there’s the minimal chance that the DNA on the blade isn’t Meredith’s, it is the DNA of someone whose throat was cut with the knife.

Knox knew that the violence was perpetrated by a person of color. She accused Lumumba instead of Guede because she wanted to lead the investigation astray from her companion and his apartment.

Knox knew that Meredith screamed.

Knox knew that Meredith’s throat had been cut.

Knox knew that there was blood everywhere and that Meredith’s body had been covered.

The independent review of the forensic evidence is not the principle proof of guilt because it is subject to diverse interpretation.

The principle proof of guilt is the congruence of the circumstantial evidence.

There is no valid and reasonable alternative to the evidence of guilt.

The motive is irrelevant because the will to murder has been amply demonstrated.

The claim that Guede committed the murder alone is not sustainable.

The criminal act occurred after the consumption of drugs. A light drug is enough to diminish one’s inhibitions.

Knox does not share the same sensuality as Meredith. Knox takes sex to the extreme.

Knox and Sollecito needed to consume drugs.

The murder was committed by more than one person because so many wounds were inflicted against Meredith in the seconds that the assault lasted.

Knox, Sollecito, and Guede are persons of strong criminal capacity when their inhibitions are dropped, even if they don’t seem so.

They didn’t comprehend what brought them to commit such a horrible act such that they removed it from their minds and convinced themselves that they didn’t commit it."

Thanks Amanda, you have convinced me: You are guilty.

Feb. 09 2014 11:08 PM

Those who thank NPR for “finally breaking the barrier” and allowing “the truth to be told” have clearly not seen the recent fawning coverage given Amanda Knox by the American press. If, in the days immediately following Meredith Kercher’s murder, the tabloids were unfairly biased against Miss Knox, the American media has since then unquestioningly assumed her innocence. Whether one believes her to be guilty or not, the overwhelmingly one sided reporting in her favor in the United States would in itself make an excellent story for On the Media.

Instead NPR has chosen to accept without challenge Nina Burleigh’s contention that Amanda Knox was tried in the tabloids and found guilty simply because she is a free-spirited American girl whose open sexuality was shocking to unsophisticated Europeans. We are to believe that she was convicted on nonexistent evidence solely because the Italian concept of “la bella figura” would not permit authorities to admit they had made a mistake.

There is in fact a wealth of evidence which American media have ignored in exchange for access to Amanda and her family. It is an insult to Italy and its courts that you do not feel it necessary to explore what that evidence might be.

I agree with the poster who asks that you now devote a segment to the other side of the story. For a more nuanced view of court proceedings and the evidence presented there, perhaps this time you could interview a journalist who speaks Italian fluently, unlike Nina Burleigh who admitted in a blog post for Slate in 2009 that her Italian is at the elementary level.

May I suggest Andrea Vogt who has spent many hours in the courtroom following this case.

Feb. 09 2014 07:39 PM
Romeo Salta from New York, NY

To Rave 1995: to answer your challenge, please see themurderof if you want a clear discussion on the forensic evidence in this case that is based on the evidence, not biased journalistic garbage such as what we heard on NPR. On a thorough reading of same, no rational person could conclude that the two people were obviously railroaded. Do the homework.

Feb. 09 2014 06:59 PM

What baffles me is why? Why such blatant biased reporting? Is it because the reporter does not care about the truth? An American vs. The Italian government and Italian people, she reflexively sides with the American? Is it because she really believes she presented the truth? Is it that she is gullable enough to believe whatever the negative narrative presented to her about Italians who believe the conviction was accurate,without thinking to challenge it? I mean today ,to hear such a biased filled presentation, on NPR no less, is truly baffling!

Feb. 09 2014 04:53 PM

Talk about invoking clichés and not looking at evidence; this piece did exactly that; resorting to casting aspersions on the Italians for not being capable of objectivity and looking at evidence.[unlike us of course]. Of course "it's about "nationalist characteristics" as it always is with Americans' critique when other countries don't do things our way. The evidence points to a conviction there as much as it would here. What biased reporting! Obviously designed to indoctrinate the public with a narrative that an injustice was done. Those incompetent Italians falsely convicted the American! BS. And shame on NPR for not presenting the real evidence that convicted her[DNA, witnesses[ seen with the guy buying TONS of bleach which was then used to wipe out the prints ,her confession, no alibi and other evidence.] Instead you put up straw men "evidence", and proceed to vilify the Italians for not seeing through the straw men evidence YOU presented. As dishonest and biased a report as you've ever done.

Feb. 09 2014 04:10 PM
Rave1955 from California

Just because the US has many injustice does not mean it is okay for us to sit back an allow injustice to happen. Here, in the US, we have freedom of speech. There are many articles that criticize our government by the press and the people. Even our own President is taken to task, even Supreme Court Judge Scalia has been raked over the coals. I don't see any slander charges against the press. In Italy, the slander charges are used as a weapon to keep the press under control. How many people has Mignini charged with slander for their audacity to criticize him? Is Italy a democracy? Is there true freedom of the press in Italy? If you think there is, try going there and criticizing the judge, come on, I dare you.

Feb. 09 2014 02:32 PM
Rave1955 from California

Amanda and Raffaele are innocent. They were no where near the crime scene. There have been ample of good, solid studies that prove that false confessions do happen. It irritates me to no end when people only talk about "the confession" and Amanda's "behavior" and refuse to look at the evidence. The only time Amanda and Raffaele contradicted each other was during the interrogation. How come people do not talk about their consistent stories since then. This case has been going on for more than 6 years. They have not changed their stories since that initial confusion. I mean, they have been through many interviews since then, don't ya think they would have slipped up if they were not telling the truth. And unlike, Rudy Guede, the one only murderer in this case, they never turned on each other. Their account has been the same, they were with each other in Raffaele's apartment.

Why don't you,LucNYC,Paul,Romeo. May, talk about forensic evidence. it does not have to be a scholarly discussion. Please do tell, how there is no evidence of Amanda and Raffael in the murder room. A violent struggle took place, there were 4 people in the room and there was only Rudy Guede's DNA that was found. The bra clasp is a no brainier. The Italian Law Enforcement videotaped themselves handling the bra clasp. You don't have to be an expert to know about evidence collection to see that the evidence was collected improperly and stored improperly.
For too long, the media has bombarded the public with lies and salacious details about Amanda and Raffaele and about the case. I am glad that NPR has broken the barrier and decided to let the truth be told.
Amanda and Raffaele are innocent. They were railroaded. Rudy Guede, Meredith's killer is in jail and he is getting out on work release this year. That should be the focus, a murderer going free because he gave the prosecution what they wanted, lies about Amanda and Raffaele.

Feb. 09 2014 02:21 PM
Rupert from Jolly Old England

I believe she's innocent but I still hate her.

Feb. 09 2014 10:52 AM
Rupert from Jolly Old England

Yeah, this stuff never happens in American media. (!)

Feb. 09 2014 10:50 AM

It's frustratiing to hear this story here on On The Media, not just for the content of the story, but also for the lack of balanced research - which I would expect, given the overview of the show. The story could have worked fine, if OTM acknowledged the two sides (as was mentioned within the story), and classified this particular story as 'one side', and offered the 'other' side in the coming weeks. This would seem to be responsible journalism. Not everyone believes Amanda Knox has been railroaded. If one looks beyond the two countries, two sides, two judicaial systems, two ways of reporting, and concentrates on the facts: the stories that come out might be more interesting - and illuminating. As it was, this story simply reflected what is clearly acknowledged: Amanda Knox has a gigantic PR firm behind all her interviews, photos and news clips. Readers: please look beyond one side to form an educated opinion. And OTM, please consider the 'other side' in coming weeks. Thank you.

Feb. 09 2014 08:36 AM
LucNYC from New York

Mr Halkides should be concerned with the content of his own comments, especially if based on tv documentaries...
Unlike him I don't pretend to know the truth, as stated in my comment, but I have tried to read the many sides of this story. That's why I'm surprised and disappointed by the biased, incomplete and questionable approach of the interview, considering the high standard of journalism I am used to and expect from NPR.

Feb. 08 2014 08:04 PM
Paul from Panama city beach, fl

Wait, you're telling me that it's possible that media has a disproportionate influence on criminal trials and public opinion?

Like maybe that the five seconds of the Rodney king tape that was played over and over and over and over, just MIGHT have been taken out of context because we never saw the whole video?
Or that the pictures of Travon Martin depicting him as a twelve-year-old were repeatedly aired in an effort to paint him as a helpless victim?

Pu-leeeeeze. Next you'll be telling us that Y2K wasn't really a problem.

Feb. 08 2014 12:49 PM
Romeo Salta from New York, NY

This interview was one of the most pathetic pieces I ever heard on this case, one that I would expect on a FOX tabloid propaganda program, not NPR. To believe what Burleigh said, one would have to conclude that the whole of Europe (the vast majority of Europeans, not just Italians, firmly believe in the guilt of Amanda Knox) swallowed the story of "Satanic ritual," that the Italian judiciary system convicted this young lady because she did not comport to their vision of how a young lady should behave, and that the authorities were so stupid they could not see that what happened was merely a break-in burglary gone bad. What absolute nonsense! Amanda Knox would have been arrested, indicted, and convicted in most jurisdictions of this country - no doubt (I myself am a practicing attorney with decades of experience of our own criminal justice system).
Amanda Knox lied to authorities (because of "police pressure?" - she was interrogated for only an hour and a half during which time she lied repeatedly and accused a man she knew was innocent), and, despite what the media has been reporting, there is DNA evidence; moreover, nowhere in the court record is there any hint that arguments were made by the prosecution concerning Satanic rituals.
People are incarcerated in this country for murder on less evidence than what was presented against Amanda Knox. Amanda Knox received to date $4.2 million for her story, and the family of the slain girl (English, not Italian), convinced of the guilt of Amanda Knox, are contemplating legal action to divest her of the funds (I suppose the concept of "la bella figura" is rampant in England as well?).
Burleigh is clearly guilty of the same slanted journalistic tactics that she criticizes. Worse, Ms. Gladstone interviewed someone regarding a case about which she quite obviously knows nothing - Jon Stuart on Comedy Central gives a much better interview!

Feb. 08 2014 08:33 AM
Paul Smyth from Michigan

A good piece. Burleigh's book is clearly one of the better books on this case, which is rapidly turning into Italy's version of the Dreyfus Affair. A powerful institution, in this case the Italian judiciary, evidently finds it preferable to convict two innocent people than to admit mistakes. The reputation of important individuals and institutions must be protected at all costs, apparently.

Nina's book is particularly strong on the evidence against Rudy Guede, the true and only killer in this case. All of the evidence points to this. In fact, the effort to falsely convict Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito has been coupled to an equally powerful attempt to cover up Guede's involvement in previous crimes and deflect attention from the him. I wish more journalists had followed Nina Burleigh's lead in trying to get to the bottom of this and keep public attention on the real killer.

Finally, the claim that Amanda wrongly accused an innocent man is understandable but terribly unfair considering the true situation. As she has made crystal clear any number of times, Knox feels terrible about her role in causing Lumumba's ordeal. Persons with common sense might be a bit more charitable. It is obvious that in providing false statements Knox succumbed to intense police pressure to confirm their theory that Lumumba was involved in the murder. She did not proclaim his innocence in categorical terms right away for one simple reason: she did not know that he was in fact innocent. The police told her repeatedly that they had hard evidence against him. Knox did immediately retract her own statements as unreliable, which is all she could realistically have been expected to do.

Feb. 08 2014 07:30 AM

Ms. Knox withdrew her accusation completely within 36 hours of making it when she wrote her second memoriale on 7 November. WIthin a few days a Swiss professor came forward to give Lumumba an alibi. A British TV documentary showed how easy the climb was, owing to the grating on the first story window. Both Amanda and Raffaele claimed that they were at his apartment before their interrogations, and that is what they claim now. Therefore, LucNYC's comments should be best ignored. The focus of the Florence trial should have been on Meredith's TOD, which was certainly before 10 PM, probably before 9:30. Even the prosecutor accepts that Amanda and Raffaele have an electronic alibi until about 9:26. There is simply not enough time for them to have committed this crime. There is a simple explanation for this tragedy. Rudy Guede, a known second-story man, attempted to burglarize the flat. Meredith came back, and the confrontation escalated. "Murder in Italy" and InjusticeAnywhere are good resources for what happened and how.

I have studied the DNA and blood forensics of this case for some time. The Court of Supreme Cassation has made up a set of unscientific rules about DNA evidence that, if followed, virtually ensure further false convictions.

Feb. 08 2014 07:15 AM
LucNYC from New York

I can't believe this is presented as the best account of the Knox trial: it seems like it has been written by the Knox family to support their case. And Ms. Gladstone didn't do any homework on the trial, the evidence, the reasons for the guilty verdict.
The writer forgets to mention that Amanda accused an innocent for more than four weeks until his alibi was proven and set free. She forgets to mention that Amanda and Raffaele contradicted each other's alibi and that the hypothesis of somebody getting in the apartment through the window has been proven to be physically impossible because of the height from the ground and distance from any other reaching point. So much for journalism one-o-one...
And the bag of stereotypes about Italy she mentions really make me wonder if she has ever travelled to Italy or outside of the US.
Nonetheless, I don't know if Knox and Sollecito are guilty or innocent but two trials have found them guilty, and they have an option of an additional appeal. Had this happened in USA, (there's no media frenzy here, correct?) they could possibly be facing the death penalty.
Most of all I am disappointed about NPR broadcasting such a biased and subjective piece of subpar journalism.

Feb. 07 2014 10:13 PM

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