I just finished watching Netflix’s new documentary Amanda Knox, and I felt compelled to make a few comments on it.
What struck me initially was how similar it was in tone and storytelling methodology to Making a Murderer. Since I did not really follow this case when it was initially taking place (there were much bigger things going on in my life at the time), I was seeing it all with a fresh set of eyes. I was further struck by the similarities of this case to the murder of Teresa Halbach.
In both the Kercher and Halbach murders, there was very little to no physical evidence to tie those convicted to the murders. What evidence existed either did not support the prosecutorial narratives or was obviously tainted and/or found under suspicious circumstances.
The only physical evidence that potentially tied Raffaele Sollecito to the murder of Kercher was found after 47 days. This is a direct parallel to the bullet fragment and key fob found after numerous searches and much time had passed in the Halbach murder investigation. That clasp apparently had the DNA of four other unknown males on it, which means one of three things:
- There were multiple assailants who were never found.
- It was contaminated by all of the numerous people who were in and out of the crime scene without properly changing gloves or having any protection at all.
- Kercher was really not the pristine asexual angel she was portrayed to be and had numerous men in her life who had opportunities to remove or touch her bra, thus adding to the pool of potential murderers with obvious motives such as jealousy and heartbreak.
The other specious piece of physical evidence was the knife that was found at Sollecito’s apartment after many days had passed in the investigation. This apparently had Knox’s DNA on it (big surprise if it is a knife she might have used while it was at his apartment) but also a small trace of Kercher’s DNA on it. On Appeal, it was argued that the sample was so small that it was most likely DNA that ended up on the knife from contamination – shoddy forensic and police procedure. This again was very similar to many of the pieces of evidence in the Halbach case, such as the DNA on the bullet fragment and on the one bone fragment (the only evidence that actually suggests Halbach is, in fact, dead).
The other obvious parallels in the two cases include:
- False confessions by suspects in the investigation (Knox and Dassey) obtained under obviously coercive and borderline obscene circumstances. These confessions are primarily what lead to the various convictions.
- Investigators/prosecutors with a stunning amount of certainty in their cases and equally stunning lack of humility.
- Investigators/prosecutors whose tunnel vision result in a very poorly conducted investigation with little work done to check alibis of all potential suspects or follow all plausible leads.
- Prosecution of the cases in the media, thus making an impartial jury or courtroom environment virtually impossible.
- Stunning lack of knowledge or certainty in what actually happened and who really committed the murders.
- Injustice for both the wrongly convicted AND the murder victims themselves.
I think it is possible that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were involved in the murder, but there is much more than a reasonable doubt. That is exactly my opinion of the Steven Avery conviction. We simply must not reward police and prosecutors for terrible investigatory practices.
The only other major thought I had was about the Daily Mail “journalist” who is interviewed in the documentary. I won’t even bother using his name because he is rightly getting bashed on social media and just about everywhere else. Much of the journalism profession is trying to paint him as an aberration or lowest common denominator of their field. I think most of us realize that, even though he really is the worst kind of slimeball, he really is representative of a profession that has long since surrendered any sense of objectivity and striving for the greater good. I wasn’t shocked by him, and that says it all.
What are your thoughts? “Guilty or Innocent?”