Friday, January 16, 2015

Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and Meredith Kercher

update:  all blog comments will be removed that are deemed a personal attack.  There is no freedom of the press in blog land.  You are welcome to your opinion but not welcome to attack me for expressing mine. 

I have never done book reviews before so I thought, why not start with two books on the same subject which may get me in trouble? 

Let me explain.   A few weeks ago I decided to read Amanda Knox story.  I tweeted a simple tweet or three on what I was reading: 
Sorry about the language! 

I was shocked at the harassing and down right nasty tweets I got, leading me to have to block people.  Apparently, you aren't allowed to have opinions on this case unless you believe the way people want you to?! 

First you should know that when I went into both these books I knew very little about the case.  That's not true now.  Not satisfied to take Amanda's version or Raffaele's for that matter, I googled, I read, I looked at photos, I listened to podcasts and I have become convinced that neither one of these young people were anything more than victims of circumstances and a inept police force and somewhat crazy prosecutor. 

But enough of that.  I read Amanda's book first, okay actually I listened to it on and then listened to Rafaelle's.  What I found most interesting was how completely they back each other up. They have the same memories and the same experiences of what happened.  Almost like, they are telling the truth. They talk about why they behaved the way they did, things that caused much criticism.  They both talk about how their language barriers, she spoke very little Italian at the time and he spoke little English, lead to confused translations.  There are simple explaination a for the things they did and said. For the record, let me stress,  if the best evidence you have in a homicide is that a girl kissed a boy a few hours after finding her roommates body and she may have done a cartwheel after waiting for your boyfriend and then being stuck in police interrogations for hours (she is a yoga fan, BTW) well lock me up too.  I would definitely kiss my husband and want to be comforted and, gasp, held.  Especially, by the way, if my family were an ocean away and I was in a foreign country where I could barely speak the language.   (A fact that nobody who believes she is guilty seems to remember when they start taking about the confession she signed in formal Italian which she couldn't have actually written or read.) Her quirky behavior, didn't actually seem all that strange to me knowing she was only 20 and from Seattle.  People from Seattle are a little quirky, don't you think?   I could go on and on about this case and why I don't think they are guilty, but I won't.  

As far as the books are concerned "Honor Bound" was my favorite.  It's very easy to like this young man when he starts explaining why he did the things he did in the days, weeks, months, and years since that tragic November day in 2007.  He was standing by Amanda because he cared and because he wasn't going to lie to get out of prison. They had only known each other for about 10 days when this happened and yet they remain friends to this day, bound by tragedy. 

"Waiting to be Heard" is actually read by Amanda and while the recitation itself seems a little flat, I'm not sure if I had had every single move I made analyzed and second guessed for the last 7 years, if I wouldn't want to try and shield my emotions also.  When you listen to what she went through, it's hard not to come away appalled and yet, appreciative of the justice system in the USA.  I have put my 20-21 year old self in her shoes and I could honestly say, I am not sure I would have been much different.  I certainly would have cried about Meredith's death and Amanda did, just not around reporters.   This book, like the other, is a fast read and engrossing. 

Both books are easy "reads" and completely scary.  What I walked away thinking is "I never want to visit Italy."   This is sad actually considering I have always wanted to visit Rome, Tuscany, and Assissi, which happens to be next to Perugia. 

I should warn you I am in the middle of a 3rd book on this trial and have another I will read when I can.  What I can say is that I understand how obsessive this case can be to those watching but the sad part, the part I can't seem to shake is that Meredith, the victim has become lost.  Rudy Guede, the only person who's DNA was actually found in the room where Meredith was killed is about to walk free.  Amanda and Raffaele lost years of their lives and stand to lose more because of the crazy Italian "justice" system.  People have gotten so wrapped up at taking sides that they attack each other on Twitter, Blogs, and other forms of Social Media. Sadly, all of this should have been avoided, could have been avoided, had the police work been done well. Mostly, I am sad that it looks like Meredith will never truly have justice and Amanda and Raffaele may never find peace. 

Should you read these books?  Yes!
As Americans I think it is important to understand this case.  As a step-parent and aunt I think it is vital to know what you should worry about before sending your kids to another country.  

Finally, I keep hearing that phrase in my head, you know the saying "The simplest explanation is probably the truth."   What is more simple?  A known criminal with a history of breaking in to others places by throwing a rock through the window, surprised when Meredith came home early, killed her, or Meredith's roommate and her boyfriend of a week teamed up with a guy neither had met more than once, in a ritualistic sex game and killed Meredith when the game got too real?  Justice for Meredith does not include wrongly convicted people spending time in prison.  Respecting Meredith does not include allowing innocent people to be railroaded by a crazy prosecutor and a unfair legal system.

Note on Blog Comments:  if you are going to tell me she was convicted save it.  50% of Italian initial convictions are overturned.  It means nothing.  I pray the judge who hears this case in March looks at the evidence.  Anyone who does can see there is none.  


mh4justice said...

Here's the problem with your Rant. The U.S. justice is so much worst, and yet you parade it as the best system in the world. What rubbish. Amanda Knox & Co stand convicted. If they are so innocent then they should be return to the court without delay. We are watching closely, because Meredith and to many others who have face U.S. justice want the justice they rightly deserve.

Laura @Simply Me, The way I see it said...

I never said the U.S. system is perfect. They are scheduled to be retried. Anyone looking at this case with logic can see what the Italian system did. This is not a "rant" and if you don't like what I had to say then just don't read my blog. Pretty simple.

Alex K said...

I have followed this case since 2011. As you may recall, Amanda and Raffaele were acquitted in 2011 after an appeal trial that was essentially a de novo trial, with key witnesses questioned once again and Italy's leading forensic DNA expert exposing the DNA "evidence" from the state police as thoroughly unscientific, that is fake. The motivation report by the acquitting judges showed that the prosecution's "facts" was either untrue or irrelevant and its witnesses were useless.

Then I turned to the 2010 report by the convicting judge. It turned out to be an argument for innocence as well, since the judge's conclusion contradicted his statement of facts, which necessitated an acquittal. Amanda's and Raffaele's innocence became clear to observers of their first trial, such as Candace Dempsey and Nina Burleigh, as early as 2009-10. In particular, the validity of the state's DNA analysis was questioned by leading US forensic scientists, including the FBI veteran Bruce Budowle and the well-respected forensic DNA researcher Dan Krane.

Then in March 2013, Italy's supreme court quashed the acquittal in a bizarre ruling that contained errors of fact and seemed to violate Italy's constitution by venturing into fact-finding, exclusively reserved for trial courts. According to the judge who acquitted the couple in 2011, the party of the prosecutor was too strong, which explained the reversal at the highest level. What followed in 2013-14 was another appeals hearing that was essentially an abbreviated trial in absentia, in sharp contrast to the one that led to Amanda's and Raffaele's acquittal. When the convicting judge released his motivations in 2014, it was so absurdly biased that no doubt remained about Italy's being hellbent on convicting Amanda and Raffaele, truth be damned.

I have also read some of the trial transcripts and experts' reports - that has much improved my Italian. Now, when I look back at these trials and ask myself what went wrong, the answer is "Everything!"

If one were looking for a textbook example of why Italy's justice system is dysfunctional, one could find no better case than this. (Although "The Monster of Florence" by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi, published in 2006, could also work as a good introduction.) I have written about the case on my blog but Lenroot at Auguries of Innocence has made his case more eloquently. I also recommend the pro-innocence Wiki and the Injustice Anywhere forum. There are also more technical short books on Amazon dealing with "scientific" evidence and Rudy's burglary, by Mark Waterbury and Ron Hendry.

Laura @Simply Me, The way I see it said...

Thanks Alex, that is great info. I actually have the Monster of Florence book at home and once my brain decompresses from reading 3 books in 3 weeks on this case, I plan on reading it. I also downloaded Trial By Fury by Douglas Preston and The Forgotten Killer: Rudy Guede on Kindle and I plan on reading those as well.
I follow Injustice Anywhere and I will check out those blogs.

I appreciate all the info and your analysis as someone who has followed the case for a long time. This case simply blows my mind at all the errors and bone headed mistakes made. It seems clear to anyone who takes a hard, honest look at the evidence that there is something rotten in Perugia.

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