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  • American Girl Faces Murder Charges in Italy
    Could Amanda Knox have killed her British roommate while studying abroad?
    Our Paesani

    by Francesca Di Meglio

    MARCH 8, 2009 - For more than a year now, Italians have been obsessing over a young American woman, Amanda Knox, who got to know the country as a study-abroad student at the University for Foreigners in Perugia. By now, you've probably heard about Knox, too. She remains in Italy. But these days she only gets to observe the culture from behind bars in a private prison in Perugia. She's there as she stands trial for murder.

    Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito (an Italian) are accused of killing her British roommate Meredith Kercher in a sex game gone wrong. Another man, African immigrant Rudy Guede, is already serving a 30-year sentence for the crime. Attorneys for Knox and Sollecito allege that Guede carried out the attack single handedly, according to reports.

    But Italian authorities say Knox implicated herself by acting strangely and leaving clues at the crime scene. The two bits of hard evidence being presented are a shoe print that reportedly was found to belong to Guede and a kitchen knife found in the apartment Knox and Kercher shared. The knife had traces of Kercher's DNA and Knox's fingerprint, say Italian police, according to the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

    An article about the crime in the November 2008 issue of Marie Claire painted the picture of a normal, American University of Washington student, who was a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The article also indicates that the Italian authorities fumbled the case by making elementary mistakes and accusations without gathering hard evidence. The pressure was on to catch the killer, according to the article, because parents of the many Italian and foreign students, who go to Perugia to study, were threatening to take their kids out of school because of the murder.

    The investigation got off to a rocky start because Knox was not provided a lawyer or interpreter and was not fluent in Italian at the time. The results of that interrogation were thrown out of the case, which was a win for Knox. But media reports since then have indicated that Knox might be losing in court. Italian police testified that Knox behaved strangely in interrogation and added that she performed cartwheels and sat in her boyfriend's lap, according to ABC News.

    Knox's parents, who are Americans, make sure someone is in Perugia to visit her regularly. In fact, the Marie Claire article reports that her family is going broke to try to help her case and be with her during such a trying time.

    Still, it seems to be one person's word against another. The authorities and Guede say one thing and Knox and Sollecito's stories are completely different. If Knox hadn't had enough problems, she is getting sued by Diya "Patrick" Lamumba, her former boss and a Congolese immigrant, who she allegedly implicated in the crime early in the investigation, according to UPI. He was later cleared of all charges.

    You can easily find information about this case all over the Internet on both Italian and American news sites and blogs. If you're like me, you'll read it all and still not know what to believe. When you see Knox on TV or in pictures, it's hard to imagine she could be a killer. Then again, looks can be deceiving. What do you think? Do you believe the Italian police gave her a fair shake? Do you think she and Sollecito are cold-blooded killers? Or do you think she's innocent?

    Di Meglio is the guide to Newlyweds for About.com.

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