AP Photo/Luca Bruno
AP Photo/Luca Bruno
Two years ago, I was in Italy studying abroad in Florence. On the morning of November 1st, I awoke to the terrifying news that a British abroad student, Meredith Kertcher, had been brutally murdered in the nearby town of Perugia. That terror turned into shock when my mother called to tell me a suspect had been arrested and it was someone I knew?my high school classmate from Seattle, Amanda Knox.
In the two years since that tragedy, I have gone on to finish my senior year, graduate and immerse myself in a career. But for Amanda, time has stood still in the walls of an Italian prison. As the national and international media have sensationalized this brutal murder, Amanda's family has stood by her, at great emotional, financial and personal cost.
Clearly, Amanda made some bad choices and I can't possibly know what happened that night. I do know it seems out of character for the Amanda I went to school with to be engaged in such a brutal crime. The facts didn't add up for me. Her temperament seemed too mild for me to believe that minor roommate drama could escalate to murder. Trust me. I've had a lot of roommate drama over the years.
The crime scene was reportedly too devoid of evidence tying her to the murder, and yet it was laden with physical evidence from the lone criminal already convicted for the slaying.
The Italian court found Amanda guilty on Friday and sentenced her to 26 years in prison. I'm no legal expert (gossip is obviously my forte), but while living in Italy a few years ago, it was easy to observe a great difference between the Italian judicial system and ours. Let's just say I'm very grateful for the country I live in and our justice system. I never knew "reasonable doubt" meant so much in other courts.
My heart goes out to the Kerchers and maybe this will give them some closure they need. But, should it be at Amanda's cost?
Obviously I wasn't in the courtroom to hear the evidence, and I must respect the judicial system of another country. But I can also have respect for a kind Seattle family; standing by them in their time of need is the best I have to offer.