2016, Movies

Amanda Knox (2016, Rod Blackhurst, Brian McGinn)

If you are like me, you paid little attention to all the stuff around Amanda Knox, the American 20-something who supposedly killed her roommate because of her deviant sexual interests and other odd interests and beliefs. If you’re like me, you didn’t even know what she was supposed to have done, beyond murder, because you don’t follow these kinds of stories because you cannot trust the TV media cover of them. But, if you’re like me, you knew she was guilty, because the media told you she was guilty for years and years. And wasn’t she convicted before she returned to the US?

SPOILERS to follow, if you knew as little about the case as I did.

I had no real interest in this story until it was turned into a documentary because I don’t have interest in these sort of “lurid” sex crime things. I don’t understand their appeal, and I’d much rather focus on something important or interesting.

But it turns out there’s a much more interesting story to what happened to her and her Italian boyfriend in 2007, than the whole “sex crime” thing, and that story is one we’ve heard way too many times before: the police came up with a theory based on “instinct” and proceeded to create a case out of nothing, convicting the wrong people for the crime. This happens a lot but this one has a unique spin, since someone was already convicted of the murder Knox and her boyfriend were then convicted of. (Yes, that’s actually true.)

This film focuses on Knox herself, but also on the lead prosecutor, who is allowed to impeach himself with his bizarre wish to be the Italian Sherlock Holmes, and a Daily Mail journalist complicit in creating the media frenzy that created the impression of guilt in the public.

The prosecutor is probably the most maddening of those interviewed. He says many stupid things, but at one point he says that female murderers always cover their victims’ bodies. He does not provide any evidence of this belief nor does he explain where it comes from; it’s just his belief and, on that basis, Amanda Knox was the prime suspect in the murder or her roommate. This belief is stupid for any number of reasons such as:

  • How many female murderers has this prosecutor successfully convicted of murder?
  • Statistics say that most murders are men but, of those women who murder, most of those women poison or suffocate their victims, or use otherwise less violent means, not stab them to death.
  • Even if women murderers in his experience covered their victims’ bodies, or there was statistical evidence that women killers did this, one cannot use statistics to predict individual behaviour because people make individually choices that cannot be predicted 100% of the time – the behaviour of some people does not determine the behaviour of another.

He says other ridiculous stuff, but that is the one that stuck with me.

They already had a person in jail for this. It’s incredible that they decided, for no apparent reason, that 3 people must have committed the murder. This has got to be one of the more bizarre things I have ever heard – convicting two additional people for a murder when all the evidence seems to point to the person already convicted of the crime. It is literally insane.

Anyway, there’s a relatively happy ending, so that’s much better than most criminal justice stories I encounter.


Update: I wrote the last sentence before, and I quote, “In June 2024, an Italian appellate court upheld Amanda Knox’s slander conviction for falsely accusing Patrick Lumumba of murdering Meredith Kercher in 2007.” That’s right: she was convicted of defamation for a statement she made while she was being interrogated. Whatever you do, folks, do not get accused of a crime in Italy. Fffs.

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