An Italian appellate court recently acquitted Amanda Knox and released her from Italian custody after having her serve nearly 2 years of a 26-year sentence for the murder of her roommate, Meredith Kercher.  Kercher was brutally raped and stabbed on November 1, 2007 in the flat she shared with Knox in Perugia, Italy.  Knox and her then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were both convicted after circumstantial evidence, and some contentious physical evidence, seemed to point to their involvement. Their alibi for the night of the murder was that they were together and at Sollecito’s flat watching movies on the computer.

Rudy Guede, an alleged drug dealer and local resident, was also convicted of the murder as his DNA was found at the crime scene and inside of the Kercher.  Guede implicated both Knox and Sollecito after  meeting with Perugia prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, who was a controversial figure as he was under indictment for alleged abuse of power at the same time as the Knox trial (and he was later convicted on some counts).

Mignini concocted a crime-scene scenario that included allegations of a satanic ritual orgy as the motive behind Kercher’s murder; the problem is that he had leveled that same motive at over a dozen other suspected killers in the unsolved crimes in Florence.*   Later Mignini would allege a “sex game gone wrong”  and economic gain as further motives for Kercher’s murder.**

While being interrogated by police within five days of the murder, Knox also implicated herself  and  Diya “Patrick” Lumumba, a local Perugia bar owner originally from Africa, in the crime.   Later she would withdraw her confession and claim police brutality and coercion to obtain it from her.  However, she has never adequately explained why she falsely implicated Lumumba.   Police originally arrested Lumumba based on Knox’s allegations, then later had to release Lumumba after he provided an air-tight alibi.  At the time of Lumumba’s arrest, DNA results had not yet pointed to Guede as the main suspect.

The Italian press had a field day with Amanda Knox, ascribing the nickname Foxy Knoxy to her after lifting same nickname from her facebook page, running salacious pictures of her found online (one in particular that I remember had her holding a gun and smiling), and spreading stories of her sexual conquests after Knox was duped by prison officials into providing her sexual history while in their custody awaiting trial.

The primary concern of feminists and judicial watch dogs, both then and now, is that Amanda Knox was convicted not for her actual involvement in the murder, but for her inappropriate behavior after the murder (apparently performing a cartwheel at the jail house during an early part of the murder investigation, and canoodling with Sollecito often and inappropriately after the murder) and for her provocative sexual history.

Her conviction was overturned by Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellman, who stated that he remains unsure if Knox and Sollecito are  innocent or guilty.  He stated

They were absolved, but its possible they are guilty,” he said on television and in interviews. ‘The truth in the courtroom is not always the real truth.’ He explained that even the slightest doubt in the appellate process must lead to an acquittal. “This case will never be solved,” he said. ‘The only one who can say for sure is Rudy Guede. We don’t know if Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were there or not.’***

As a feminist, I am heartened that the Italian appellate court punctured the smoke screen of apparent sexism perpetrated by the Italian media and court system to look at the heart of the evidence,  and that they concluded  there was some doubt surrounding Knox’s involvement in the crime.  In my opinion, by overturning her conviction, the  appellate court has sent the message that Knox’s sexual conquests and reputation were completely and utterly irrelevant to the question of guilt.

However, as an individual, I am a little more concerned about one item I have never been able to reconcile in my suspicious mind:  why did she implicate and/or accuse Patrick Lumumba of involvement in Kercher’s murder?  The reason why this question is so pertinent to me is because both Lumumba and Guede are black males – this is a rare commodity in Perugia.  The fact that she would accuse one black male, while police would find the DNA evidence of another black male , in a locality where there is a dearth of black males, has always played havoc on my assessment of her involvement.

Nick Squires of The Daily Telegraph reported that Guede ‘…became a suspect in the murder two weeks after Miss Kercher’s body was found, when DNA tests on a bloody fingerprint and on samples taken from the body were found to match samples which police already had on file following his earlier arrests.’****

Knox pointed the finger at Lumumba before the DNA results implicated Guede.

Was Knox merely, in her quest to get police attention and suspicions off of herself, supplanting one black male (innocent, Lumumba)  for another (Guede) that she knew was guilty?  Was Lumumba, for whatever reason, less threatening to her as an individual than Guede? Was she threatened by Guede to maintain her silence? Or was it that Lumumba could never accuse her or provide information to the police because she knew he had nothing to do with the murder and was even not present?

I do not know the answers to these questions.  I can only speculate and postulate.

Kercher is dead, Knox is free and Rudy Guede appears to be the only living person, aside from Knox and Sollecito, to know the true extent, if any, of Knox’s involvement in Kercher’s murder in Perugia, Italy on November 1, 2007.

*Wikipedia, Murder of Meredith Kercher, citing to  “Monster of Florence: Amanda Knox Prosecutor’s Satanic Theories Rejected by Judge”CBSe. 23 April 2010 and Bachrach, Judy (27 April 2010). “Murder, Mayhem and Amanda Knox”Obit-Mag.).

** Wikipedia, Murder of Meredith Kercher, citing to  Grinberg, Emanuella. CNN. 1 July 2011. Page 6.

***From the web blog “Knox Case’s Unsolved Mysteries” by Barbie Latza Nadeau for

****Wikipedia, Murder of Meredith Kercher, Squires, Nick. “Amanda Knox trial: Rudy Guede profile”,The Daily Telegraph, 5 December 2009.

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