Knox was arrested on 6 November 2007 but not formally charged. She spent nearly two years in custody waiting for her trial which did not begin until 16 January 2009. It’s simply a statement of fact to say that wherever your sympathies lie, she was tried by the media in the interim.
The ways of this West Coast American student were put under as much forensic examination as the murder scene of Meredith Kercher. CCTV evidence of her and Sollecito reportedly buying sexy underwear two days after the murder entered the Italian press. The press adds that the amount of men she’s slept with is approaching double figures. This amount of premarital sex is rare in a country where extra partners are frowned on before marriage. And in Italy, very few women would keep their condoms and rabbit vibrator in a transparent wash-bag like Knox did. It’s also revealed that her creative writing included a rape story where the victim is drugged.
Her mother, Edda Mellas, and her father, Curt Knox, telephone her once a week for ten minutes.
In total, they would make two dozen trips to Italy to be by their daughter’s side and spend over a million dollars in an ultimately doomed PR and legal campaign. As their daughter’s character is endlessly assassinated, Amanda Knox turns 21 in an Italian cell that she shares with three others.
The American media parade an equal number of friendly counter witnesses who all agree that Knox hasn’t a ‘harmful bone in her body’. An American’s commentator’s view that ‘This is a lynching and it’s happening to an American girl’ summarised most US sentiment. Her family, however, didn’t always help her case. Her mother and sister took part in a dubious photo- shoot for a woman’s magazine where two of Knox’s sister posed by the house where Kercher was murdered.
As media networks battled with each other (essentially, Italy and the UK versus the US) there was an actual judicial process occurring. The third suspect, Guede, had been arrested in Germany when he was caught on a train without a ticket. The police had been after him after finding a bloody handprint on Kercher’s pillow that didn’t match either Knox or Sollecito’s. It had matched a fingerprint of Guede’s entered in an immigrant register.
After being extradited, he went for a fast track trial behind closed doors fearing that he would be singled out as the killer by Knox and Sollecito in a group trial. He admitted he was in Kercher’s home but like the Knox/Lumumba confession, Guede said he heard the murder from another room.
In October 2008, he was sentenced to 30 years. Damningly, the judge in the his case explained in a 106 page verdict that he believed that Guede acted with Knox and Sollecito. In December 2009, his sentence was nearly halved on appeal. The reduction was due to his youth at the time of the crime, his lack of a previous criminal record, and the fact that he had opted for the fast track trial which both saved money and the suffering of the Kercher family.
Despite being a fellow suspect, the far less photogenic Sollecito received little attention and he and Knox separate. A leak of her alleged prison diary suggests the separation isn’t just about the end of a romance. "I think it is possible Raffaele went to Meredith's house, raped her, then killed her and then when he got home, while I was sleeping, he pressed my fingerprints on the knife."
Before the trial even started, most interested people had been exposed to a lot of evidence making a fair trial, in the sense of jurors being unaware of a case, and considering the evidence for the first time, an unlikely possibility. In 2008, an Italian online poll rated Amanda Knox the most well known person in Italy.