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Truth, Justice, & The Italian Way

Yesterday, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were acquitted of the murder of Meredith Kercher, overturning their previous convictions.  Rudy Guede’s separate appeal did not have the same result and his 16 year sentence was upheld.  It’s fairly obvious from comments from the Kercher family that they believe all three of these people held some responsibility for the death of their family member.  The most damning evidence was a bloody hand print from Guede under Meredith’s body as well as DNA evidence on her person, DNA evidence from Knox on the knife that was used in the murder, and DNA evidence from Sollecito on Meredith’s broken bra clasp.  While this seems like enough to uphold a conviction, the evidence was shown to not be as reliable as initially thought.

I truly feel for Meredith’s family and hope that they are able to find peace of mind and closure.  To have a family member die in such a violent manner, to have her violated as she was, has got to be heart wrenching.  It’s made even worse when two of the three people you believe to be guilty are set free, their time behind bars counted as time served for lesser crimes, the charge of murder dropped.  It must feel as though justice was not served, as though Meredith won’t be able to rest in peace because not everyone involved in her untimely death received the punishment that was due to them.  The fact that this trial received so much attention can’t help either.  Hopefully the family is left to mourn in peace and Meredith is remembered in a positive light.

The focus of this case has primarily been on Amanda Knox, who has been nicknamed “Foxy Knox” and compared to Jessica Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit by her own attorney.  I’ll admit, the one thing that stuck in my mind when first hearing about the trial was Amanda.  It wasn’t because I viewed her as the most important person, but because she was the primary focus of every news report.  Amanda Knox, the pretty girl from Seattle who was being unfairly treated overseas.  Knox, the femme fatale who killed her friend in a jealous rage.  Knox, the unwilling participant in a sexually driven blood bath.  No matter what the viewpoint, she always seemed to be smack dab in the middle with theories orbiting around her.

I imagine that some people feel an obligation of sorts to want Knox to be freed; a US citizen being prosecuted in another country doesn’t sit well with some, especially when you can’t be sure of how their legal system works and tend to assume that they would rather prosecute a foreign person than one of their own.  It’s easy to look at Knox and see a scared little girl, too innocent to be involved in something so violent.  It’s also easy to look at her and see a woman who is using her attractiveness to her advantage, knowing that she can bat her eyelashes and seem as good as gold.

One thing that confused me about this trial was the DNA evidence.  Initially, it was enough to convict all three of the accused in the murder of Meredith.  Now it appears that it was only enough to convict Rudy Guede.  I’m not going to dissect the case, you can do that on your own time if you desire, but it seems to me that DNA evidence is pretty straight forward proof that you were in a certain place or doing a certain activity.  It should be analyzed as soon as possible and recorded.  Part of the reason Knox and Sollecito had their murder convictions overturned was that the evidence was said to have been contaminated.  What I don’t understand is that if it was contaminated as they say, how could you still get a match?  DNA is quite different from one person to the next and it seems to me that contamination would result in a false negative match and NOT a false positive match, especially not for 2 people.

Now that Guede is the only person who has been convicted in Meredith’s murder, the race card players are coming out in full force.  Guede has maintained that the only thing he is guilty of is being in the flat during the murder and not doing more to help Meredith; he was not involved in harming her in any way.  Evidence strongly suggests that he was partially or fully responsible for her death, but his supporters still maintain that since he’s the lone black man out of the three accused, he is the natural scapegoat for the crime and has been wrongfully prosecuted.  The only fair stereotype I do see to lay on Guede is that it’s quite possible he’s guilty because he’s been in trouble with law enforcement prior to the murder.  I’d like to think that we don’t still exist in the separate water fountain era and an innocent man wouldn’t be convicted simply because he’s black and the only other options are white people.

If you’re waiting for my opinion on whether or not Knox and Sollecito are guilty or innocent, pull up a chair and get comfortable because I don’t have one.  I don’t even have an urge to form one because there are too many holes in the story that has been released to the public.  Meredith’s family stated that they would keep faith in the legal system and trust that the judges made the right call, and hopefully the truth will emerge eventually.  It was a graceful response to the result of the appeal and I believe it’s also the correct response.  Nothing is gained from crucifying Knox and Sollecito after the fact.  If they are guilty, it’ll catch up with them eventually.  If they are innocent, it’s a good thing that they’re finally free and can move on from this tragic event.

What we, the general and mostly ill-informed public, need to do right now is to back off a bit and quit trying to inject their opinions into what is now a closed matter.  The parties who have now been deemed innocent of the murder have the right to be able to move on with their lives without fear of retaliation from those who seek to carry out justice in their own way or who feel it’s appropriate to harass them for the crime they were cleared of.  Meredith’s family also deserves to be left alone to heal; they’ve been through more than enough as it is.  Life can be great, can sometimes give you lemons, and sometimes just plain out acts like a bully.  There is very little about this chain of events that can be called positive, but that’s life.  People die before their time, guilty ones get away and innocent ones sit behind bars, people get angry and sad and frustrated, then it ends and starts all over again with a different cast of characters.  This time around, can we please begin to resist the urge to obsess over things we can’t change and let these people fade into the background?

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