Mention the name “Amanda Knox,” and most people respond: “Oh, isn’t that the American girl who killed her roommate in Italy?”
Knox was, indeed, convicted of murdering her roommate, Meredith Kercher, during a study-abroad program in 2007 in Perugia, Italy. She spent almost four years in an Italian prison before being freed in 2011. She was formally exonerated in 2015.
Many now consider the trial a witch hunt, a spectacular miscarriage of justice in which Knox’s character was put on trial. Yet there is a lot more to Knox—and her fateful time in Italy—than the details emphasized by the media. Here are 10 little-known facts about the Amanda Knox case.
1. Knox’s family was worried about her choice to study abroad
A student at The University of Washington, Knox worked several part-time jobs to earn enough money for her year abroad. Despite her work ethic—she was also on the dean’s list at school—her stepfather worried that she was too naive to be out in the world on her own.
2. One of the two first detectives at the scene of the crime dropped out of the investigation early on
Marco Chiacchiera dropped the case after Knox and her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were arrested, believing the arrests were premature. He left the investigation in the hands of his subordinate, who had never before been in charge of a murder case.
3. Someone had already been charged with the murder
The DNA of known burglar Rudy Guede was found all over the crime scene. He was convicted of the murder in 2008. So why were Knox and Sollecito prosecuted, despite the fact their DNA was not found at the crime scene?
4. It’s largely due to prosecutor Giuliano Mignini that Knox was singled out for prosecution
Mignini was convinced that Guede, Knox, and Sollecito conspired together to murder Kercher in some sort of occult-related sex game. The theory that three individuals had perpetrated the crime was eventually proven to be completely unsubstantiated.
5. Mignini was later convicted of corruption
The prosecutor received a 16-month-long sentence in 2010, for unauthorized wiretaps he had ordered on an investigation prior to Knox’s case.
6. Italian authorities completely botched the investigation
According to a cosmopolitan.com article about the case, “court-appointed experts later testified that the initial investigation was so badly botched by police that the evidence should be ruled inadmissible.”
7. Knox told ABC that she was sexually harassed by authorities while in prison
Sometimes, Knox claimed, a prison official brought her into his office, locked the door, and, in Knox’s words, would “talk to me about sex … He asked me what kind of sex I liked to have, what kinds of people I liked to have with and would I like to have sex with him.”
8. Knox’s parents were indicted for libel against the Italian police
They were indicted in 2011, for claiming that the authorities were abusing their daughter.
9. In 2014, Knox started working as an occasional freelancer for the Seattle West Herald
She has also expressed hopes of becoming an advocate for the wrongly convicted.
10. Amanda Knox has been the subject of multiple books and documentaries
Some notable books about the case include The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Trials of Amanda Knox by Nina Burleigh, and Waiting to Be Heard: A Memoir, by Knox, herself. Works of fiction directly inspired by Amanda Knox’s case include Cartwheel, by Jennifer duBois, and Abroad, by Katie Crouch. Netflix released an original documentary, entitled Amanda Knox, in October 2016.
Feature photo: Stephen Brashear / Getty Images