Once again, Amanda Knox has her head on the chopping block. Caught in a seemingly endless case that has gone on since 2007, her innocence is back in question and she is set to face re-trial in Italy.
Knox has recently announced to the Today show that she will not be returning to Italy for her retrial, which is a decision made within her legal rights. Instead, she will be represented by lawyers. She cites financial reasons and school behind her decision, though her quotes suggest fear is the real root of the decision.
For those of you who have not followed the story (or for those millennial friends of mine who were only 13 when the heat of the trial took place), here is a basic run down:
Amanda Knox was studying abroad with her friend Meredith Kercher in Italy in 2007. Knox had recently started seeing an Italian man who was 22 (she was 20 at the time) named Raffaele Solicito. All three were living in the same house, studying in the town of Perugio.
On November 7, 2007, Meredith Kercher was found dead in her bedroom. Knox and Sollecito became the primary suspects in the case. Other suspects were Rudy Guede, a drifter who later admitted to having sexual relations with Knox, and Patrick Lumumba, the owner of the bar where Knox was working.
To make a VERY long story short, Guede was eventually convicted and put in jail on an expedited trial. He is the only person in jail for the murder of Meredith Kercher. Knox and Sollecito were convicted on all counts, appealed the court’s decision, and were eventually acquitted on October 3,2011. This is a very shortened account. The lengthier story involves Knox getting sued for libel by Lumumba, Knox’s parents getting indicted for libeling Perugian police, and a whole series of DNA testing and re-testing that eventually led to the demand for a re-trial.
Do yourself a favor and read CNN’s timeline of the case here. This story is unreal.
There has been no “life after” for Amanda Knox. That is to say, she has not come back into society, regained even a sense of normalcy, or been able to move on and enjoy her innocence (even that is disputed by many people, myself included).
Knox spoke to ABC about the panic attacks that she began to suffer in prison, and the PTSD that she continues to be plagued by, saying that her physical freedom has not freed her mentally from the distress and damage caused by the case.
“I was continuing to have panic attacks and nightmares, and I was continuing to think that strangers on the street were prisoners that I had known,” she told ABC News in a recent interview. “I had panic attacks and just broke down. And I couldn’t breathe.”
In addition, her ex-boyfriend Sallecito has come out and spoken candidly about the lack of normalcy in his life, that even though he has been freed, he still remains prisoner to the case and to the many people who doubt his innocence.
“Every tiny little day, it is constantly on my shoulder, because these trials, this kind of situation, has put my life on hold,” said Sallecito to ABC News. “I cannot find a normal life, a job, a career or something to focus on instead of thinking about the trial, about the documents, about what will happen, about how to pay lawyers, how to pay my bills.”
This is often true for those who suffer from huge scandals in the public eye. Think Monica Lewinski, Jerry Sanduski, George Zimmerman, or especially Casey Anthony. These people never regain a sense of normalcy in their life, and they live in infamy as the “person who….”
Would we want to change this? I understand that for people like Sanduski or Lewinski, whose role in the act was proven, they have made their beds. I believe in second chances and God’s grace, but I also believe that we must take responsibility for the mistakes that we make and be accountable for our actions. Though Anthony, Zimmerman, and Knox were all proven innocent, the American public is not so sure. This is particularly complicated because Knox is under Italian legal rule, not even the American justice system. Do we continue to condemn her, or do we try to let her slink into oblivion and find shreds of a normal life?
Knox has gone on record to the Today show saying that she wants to meet Kercher’s parents and visit her grave with them. She is asserting her innocence, and she feels that by not going to the trial, she is further stating her confidence that she was not involved in the murder of Meredith Kercher.
I think that the re-trial will be either the nail in the coffin that will put Knox and Sallecito back into jail (not very likely), or it will be another development in a life forever plagued by the ghosts of her past.