Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Explaining The Massei Report: How Motive For The Crime Is Addressed By Judge Massei

Posted by James Raper

The March 2010 Trial Sentencing Report

The Massei Report in the main I thought was excellent. He was incisive with his logic, particularly, though not exclusively, with regard to the staging of the break in and how that necessarily meant that Amanda was present at the scene when the murder was committed.

However, I thought that he was rather feeble in his coverage of the defendants’ motives as to the attack which led to this brutal murder.

Perhaps he thought it better to stick with the indisputable evidence. Since this pointed to a sex attack he surmised that Guede had a go at Meredith first, and then - because the stimulation was too much for them - he was joined by Amanda and Raffaele. This works but does seem a bit weak.

Micheli, the judge who committed Amanda and Raffaele to stand trial, was more certain in his mind as to the roles played by these three. He said that there was “an agreed plan”, “to satisfy sexual instincts” with “murderous intent” and that effectively Amanda was the instigator and catalyst.

Motive is largely an area of speculation but it is surely possible to draw inferences from what we know?  As Micheli did.  The Appeal Court and ultimately The Supreme Court of Cassation may well adopt the same reasoning and conclusion - maybe go further.

And there were, to my mind, undoubtedly many factors at work, and it is these which I wish to address. I have always been interested in the possible dynamics of just how these three came to murder poor Meredith. Pro-Knox campaigners once made much of “No Motive”. Now not so much, because the issue draws people in to a discussion of the evidence and of Amanda’s personality.

For instance, Massei asks, though he says we can not know, had Amanda egged Guede on as to the “availability” (my word, not his) of Meredith during or prior to their presence at the Cottage?

Frankly the answer to that has to be “yes” since it is a bit difficult to figure out why Amanda and Raffaele would otherwise wish Guede to join them at the cottage. I doubt that Amanda and Raffaele would have wanted Guede around if they were just going there to have an innocent cuddle and sex and to smoke cannabis, as Massei implies. The evidence is that Raffaele hardly knew Guede and in the presence of Amanda was very possessive about her. If he had known of Guede’s interest in Amanda, he would have been even less keen to have Guede around.

Also, if all was so innocent beforehand, then why would Guede have tried it on with Meredith, and then pressed the situation in the face of her refusal to co-operate? Knowing that there were two others there who could have come to her assistance?

The answer is of course that Guede knew full well in advance that there would be no problem with Amanda and Raffaele. He had been invited there, and primed to act precisely in the way he did, at least initially. Why? Well there is plenty of evidence as to why Amanda, in her mind, may have been looking for payback time on Meredith. Come to that later.

What does not get much attention in the Massei Report, other than a terse Not Proven at the end, is the matter of Meredith’s missing rent money and credit cards and whether Amanda and Raffaele stole them. It is as if the Judge (well, the jury, really) felt that this was a trivial issue that brought nothing much to the case, and thus it was not necessary to give it much attention. And indeed there is no summation of or evaluation of that evidence.

Now that does surprise me. Of course there may have been some technical flaw with the charge and the evidence. But in the absence of any comment on this then we do not know what that may be.

What I do know is that the matter, if proven, is not trivial. A theft just prior to the murder significantly ups the stakes for Amanda and Raffaele, and produces a dynamic, which, threaded together with a sexual assault, makes for a far more compelling scenario to murder. It also leads one to conclude that there was a greater degree of premeditation involved: not premeditation as to murder, but as to an assault, rather than the more spontaneous “let’s get involved” at the time of the sex attack as postulated by Massei.

What is the evidence? What evidence was before the court? I do not yet have access to trial records. Therefore I stand to be corrected if I misrepresent the evidence, or if my interpretation of it does not met the test of logic.

There were two lay witnesses to whom we can refer. The first was Filomena Romanelli, the flatmate and trainee lawyer. If there was anyone who was going to ensure that the rent was paid on time, it would have been her. She gave evidence that, the rent being due very soon, she asked Meredith about her contribution of 300 euros, and was told by Meredith that all was OK because she had just withdrawn 200 euros from her bank. Filomena assumed from Meredith’s reply that the balance was already to hand.

Is there a problem with this evidence? Is it hearsay and thus inadmissible under Italian law?

Perhaps it is not enough by itself because of course had Meredith not in fact withdrawn the money from her bank, or sufficient funds to cover the stated amount, then that would be a fatal blow to that part of the theft charge. Her bank manager was summoned to give evidence, essentially to corroborate or disprove Filomena’s testimony. I do not know what exactly that evidence was. One would assume that at the very least it did not disprove her testimony. Had it done so, that would as I have said been fatal. It is also unbelievable that Massei would have overlooked this in the Report. I am assuming that Meredith did not tell a white lie, and that the bank records corroborate this.

There may of course be an issue of timing as I understand that the bank manager told the court that transactions at a cash machine are not necessarily entered on the customer account the same day . However that does not seem to me to be significant.

One must also think that the bank manager was asked what other cash withdrawals had been made if the credit cards were taken at the same time as the money.

I understand that there is of course a caveat here: my assumptions in the absence of knowing exactly what the bank manager’s evidence was.

It would be useful also to know how and when the rent was normally paid. It sounds as if it was cash on the day the landlord came to collect.

We do know that the police did not find any money, or Meredith’s credit cards. Had Meredith, a sensible girl, blown next month’s rent on a Halloween binge? Unlikely. So somebody stole it. And the credit cards? Again, just as with the fake break in, when according to Amanda and Raffaele nothing was stolen, who and only who had access to the cottage to steal the money? Yes, you have guessed it. Amanda, of course.

Does the matter of missing rent money figure anywhere else? There is the evidence of Meredith’s phone records which show that a call was placed to her bank late on the evening of her murder just prior to the arrival of Amanda, Raffaele and Guede. Why? I have to concede that there is no single obvious reason and that it may be more likely than not that the call was entirely unintentional.

But if, as may seem likely, the credit cards were kept with her handbag, and the money in her bedroom drawer, then on discovering that her money was missing she may have called her bank in a funk, only to remember that the cards were safe and that no money could be withdrawn from her account.

The missing money also figured in the separate trial of Guede. He made a statement which formed the whole basis of his defence. Basically this was that he had an appointment with Meredith at the cottage, had consensual foreplay with her, and was on the toilet when he heard the doorbell ring etc, etc. What he also added was that just before all this Meredith was upset because her rent money had disappeared and that they had both searched for it with particular attention to Amanda’s room.

Now why does Guede mention this? Remember this is his defence. Alibi is not quite the right word. He had plenty of time to think about it or something better. His defence was moulded around (apart from lies) (1) facts he knew the police would have, ie no point denying that he was there, or that he had sexual contact with Meredith: his biological traces had been left behind; and (2) facts known to him and not to the police at that stage, ie the money, which he could use to make his statement as a whole more credible, whilst at the same time giving the police a lead. He is shifting the focus, if the police were to follow it up, on to the person he must have been blaming for his predicament, Amanda.

If all three, Amanda, Raffaele and Guede, went to the cottage together, as Massei has it, then Guede learns about the missing rent money, not in the circumstances referred to in his statement, but because Meredith has already discovered the theft, and worked out who has had it, and challenges Amanda over it when the three arrive. Perhaps this is when Guede goes to the toilet and listens to music on his Ipod. After all he is just there for the sex and this is all a distraction.

Although Micheli thought Guede was a liar from start to finish, he did not discount the possibility that Guede was essentially telling the truth about the money. Guede expanded upon this at his appeal, telling the court that Amanda and Meredith had an argument and then a fight over it. It is a thread that runs through all his accounts, from his Skype chat and initial statements in Germany to his final appeal.

Guede’s “evidence” was not a factor in the jury’s consideration at Amanda’s and Raffaele’s trial. Although he was called to give evidence he did not do so. Now his “evidence” and the findings and conclusion of the courts which processed his case come in to play in the appeal of Amanda and Raffaele.

When were the money and credit cards stolen?

I have to accept that, as to the money, at any rate a theft prior to the murder is critical to sustain the following hypothesis. The credit cards were in any event probably taken after the attack on Meredith.

According to Amanda and Raffaele they spent Halloween together at Raffaele’s, and the next day went to the cottage. Meredith was there, as was Filomena.  Filomena left first, followed by Meredith to spend the evening with her friends, and Amanda and Raffaele left some time afterwards.

So Amanda and Raffaele could have stolen the money any time after Meredith left and before she returned at about 9.30pm - the day of her murder. Incidentally Filomena testified that Meredith never locked the door to her room except on the occasions she went home to England. Meredith was a very trusting girl.

What motive had Amanda for wanting the money, apart from the obvious one of profit?

There are numerous plausible motives.

To fund a growing drugs habit which she shared with Raffaele? Not an inconsiderable expense for a student. Both Amanda and Raffaele explained during questioning that their confusion and hesitancy was due to the fact that they had been going rather hard on drugs. Mignini says that they were both part of a drugs crowd.

Because her own financial circumstances were deteriorating, and to fund her own rent contribution?  She was probably about to be sacked at Le Chic, where she was considered by Lumumba to be flirty and unreliable, and to add insult to injury would likely be replaced by Meredith. In fact Meredith was well liked and trusted by all, whereas Amanda’s star was definitely on the wane. 

But maybe Amanda just also wanted to get her own back on Meredith.

Filomena testified that Meredith and Amanda had begun to have issues with each other.

Here are some quotes from from Filomena in “Darkness Descending”.

At first they got on very well. But then things began to take a different course. Amanda never cleaned the house, so we had to institute a rota… then she (Amanda) would bring strangers home… Meredith said she was not interested in boys, she was here to study.

Meredith was too polite to confront Amanda, but she did confide in her pal, Robyn Butterworth. Robyn winced in disbelief when Meredith said that the pair had quarreled, because Knox often failed to flush the toilet, even when menstruating. Filomena began noticing that Amanda could be odd, even mildly anti-social.

It seems that Amanda did not like it when she was not the centre of attention. It was observed that, comically if irritatingly, she would sing loudly if conversation started to pass her by, and when playing her guitar would often strum the same chord over and over again.

On the evening of Halloween, Amanda texted Meredith enquiring as to whether they could meet up. But Meredith had other arrangements. Meredith appeared to be having a good time, whereas Amanda was not.

Indeed there has been much speculation that Amanda has always had deep seated psychological problems and that after just several weeks in Perugia her fragile and damaged ego was tipping towards free fall.

With Meredith’s money, both Amanda and Raffaele could have afforded something a little stronger than the usual smoke, and I speculate that they spent the late afternoon getting stoned.

Of course Amanda was still an employee of Lumumba, and she was supposed to turn up that evening for work, but perhaps she no longer cared all that much for the consequences if she did not.

Again I speculate, that she, with or without Raffaele,  met Guede at some time - perhaps before she was due at work, perhaps after she learnt that she was not required by Lumumba -  and discussed Meredith’s “availability” and agreed to meet up again on the basketball court at Grimana Square.

The notion that Amanda and Guede hardly knew each other seems implausible to me. We know that they met at a party at the boys’ flat at the cottage. Guede was friends with one of those boys and was invited there on a number of occasions. He was ever-present on the basketball court in Grimana Square, which was located just outside the College Amanda and Meredith attended, and just metres from the cottage. He was known to have fancied Amanda, and Amanda was always aware of male interest.

What else did Amanda and Raffaele have in mind when arranging the meeting or when thinking about it afterwards?

Guede was of course thinking about sex and that Amanda and Raffaele were going to facilitate an encounter with Meredith later that evening. However Amanda and Raffaele had something else on their minds. The logic of their position vis a vis Meredith cannot have escaped them. They had taken her money whilst she was out.

Had she not already discovered this fact then she would in any event be back, notice the money was missing and would put 2 and 2 together.  What would happen? Who would she tell? Would she call the police? How are they going to deal with this? Obviously deny it, but logic has its way, and the situation with or without the police being called in would be uncomfortable.

They decided to turn the tables and make staying in Perugia uncomfortable for Meredith? Now the embarrassing, for Meredith, sexual advances from Guede were going to be manipulated by them in to a sexual humiliation for Meredith. Meredith was not going to be seriously harmed, but as and when they were challenged by Meredith over the missing money, as inevitably they would be, she was to be threatened with injury or worse. Knives come in useful here.

Amanda may have fantasized that Meredith would likely then give up her tenancy at the cottage, perhaps leave Italy. Whether that looks like the probable and likely outcome, I leave you to judge, but the hypothesis is that they were starting to think and behave irrationally and that this was exacerbated by the use of drugs.

In the event there came a point when neither Amanda nor Raffaele had any other commitments anyway. They got to the basketball court. They waited for Guede.

We know Amanda and Raffaele were on the basketball court the evening of the 1st November. This is because of the evidence of a Mr Curatolo, the second lay witness. He was not precise about times but thought that they were on the basketball court between 9.30pm and 10pm and may have left around 11.00 - 11.30pm and then returned just before midnight.

In any event he testified to seeing Amanda and Raffaele having heated arguments, and occasionally going to the parapet at the edge of the court to peer over. What were they looking at? Go to the photographs of Perugia on the True Justice for Meredith website, and you will see. From the parapet you get a good view of the iron gates that are the entrance, and the only entrance as I understand it, to the cottage.

So why the behaviour observed by Mr Curatolo? They may have been impatient waiting for Guede to arrive. Were they actually to go through with this?  Was Meredith at home, alone, and had she found the money was missing and had she called the police or tipped off someone already? Who was hanging around outside the entrance to the cottage and why?

There was, apparently, a car parked at the entrance, a broken down car nearby with the occupants inside awaiting a rescue truck, and the rescue truck itself, all present around 11.00pm. Amanda and Raffaele did not wish to be observed going through the gates with these potential witnesses around.

We of course cannot know for certain what went on in the minds of Amanda and Raffaele between the time of them leaving the cottage and their departure from the basketball court to return to the cottage. It has to be speculation, but there is a logical consistency to the above narrative if they had stolen Meredith’s money earlier that day, and their meeting up with Guede just before leaving the basketball court does not look like a coincidence.

From there on in to the inevitable clash between Amanda and Meredith over the money.

It is my opinion that at the cottage Amanda came off worse initially: that she got caught in the face by a blow and suffered a nose bleed.

Experts Stefanoni and Garofano both say that there was an abundant amount (relatively speaking) of Amanda’s blood in the bathroom washbasin, and to a lesser extent the bidet.  Whereas most of Amanda’s blood in the bathroom was mixed with Meredith’s, the blood on the washbasin tap was Amanda’s alone. Both of a quality and quantity to discount menstrual (from washed knickers) or bleeding from ear-piercing. Their conclusion was that Amanda bled fairly profusely though perhaps briefly at some stage.

Possibly Amanda may have cut her feet on glass in Filomena’s bedroom but if so it’s difficult to see how blood from that ends up as a blob on the basin tap and in the sink, and cut feet are painful to walk on and she did not display any awkwardness on her feet the next day.

Amanda’s blood may have come from a nick by a blade to her hands. I think the nick would be obvious the next day. If so, she was not hiding it. She was photographed the next day outside the cottage waving her hands under the noses of a coterie of vigilant cops.

She might have got a bloody nose during the attack in Meredith’s bedroom save that there is no evidence of her blood there.

On the other hand if she got into a tussle with Meredith (say in the corridor outside their rooms and where there was little room for other than the two to be engaged) and was fended off with a reflex blow that accidentally or otherwise connected with her nose, Amanda’s natural reaction would be to disengage immediately and head for the bathroom sink to staunch the flow of blood.

A nose-bleed need not take too long to staunch, especially if not serious and if there is no cut (certainly none being visible the next day). Just stuff some tissue up the offending nostril. A nose bleed is not necessarily something of which there would be any sign the next day.

Raffaele fusses around her, whilst Rudy briefly plays peacemaker. But Amanda is boiling. As furious with Raffaele and Guede as she is with Meredith. She eggs Guede on and pushes him towards Meredith.  Raffaele proudly produces his flicknife, latent sadistic instincts surfacing.

Is a scene like this played out inside the cottage or outside? I think of the strange but sadly discredited tale told by Kokomani.

In any event motive is satiated and the coil, having been tensed, is sprung for the pre-planned, but now extremely violent, hazing of poor Meredith.

I am also thinking here of Mignini’s “crescendo of violence” and where a point is reached where anything goes ““ where there is (from their warped perspectives) almost an inevitability or justification for their behaviour. A “Meredith definitely needs teaching a lesson now!” attitude.

Psychology is part of motive and there is much speculation particularly with regard to Amanda and Raffaele. They have both been in prison for well over three years now and during this time psychological assessments will certainly have been carried out.

Based on specific incidents and and general patterns of behaviour, speech and language, and demeanour, some preliminary conclusions will have been reached correlated with the facts of the crime.

If their convictions are upheld, these assessments may be relevant to sentence insofar as they shed light on mitigation and motive.


Have read the earlier report also & just two lines does it for me (4th paragraph.)

“Micheli, the judge who committed Amanda and Raffaele to stand trial, was more certain in his mind as to the roles played by these three. He said that there was “an agreed plan”, “to satisfy sexual instincts” with “murderous intent” and that effectively Amanda was the instigator and catalyst.”

Yes, Judge Micheli. To a T.

These faces as displayed (photos chosen by Peter Quennell, I assume?) invite our thoughts.

Amanda’s face, as so often, imperturbably blank except for an alertness in the eyes. Her parted lips may indicate expectancy & she is not entirely composed.  It’s not the face of a psychopath: she wasn’t born to be a psychopath. It’s how she developed under the conditions of her upbringing.

Rudy’s face much deeper, as are his gloomy thoughts. Good-looking man but fool of a willing rapist. No visible anxiety.

Sollecito’s face—here posing, eyes & lips—is weak. Also the willing fool. He would never have instigated this crime if Amanda hadn’t fathomed his fantasy & drawn him in.

As [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs) Goes for all three.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 04/12/11 at 06:39 PM | #

Where others (FOA) see no motive on Amanda’s part, I see a never-ending list of motives. As to stealing the money, the motives James lists are very possible. As to “getting Meredith back,” I can imagine her thinking how fun it would be to say later: “You mean, YOU don’t have the money for the rent? Miss Perfect doesn’t have the money? Ha ha ha!”

I know this probably wasn’t even presented at the trial, but that rental notice for the cottage that appeared shortly after the murder, to me, indicates great hatred of Meredith on Amanda’s (and possibly Raffaele’s) part. The fact that the rental notice mentions the Erasmus program, and Raffaele had been an Erasmus student and still longed for those “perfect” days, makes me think he was also jealous of Meredith. (I should explain that, even though it hasn’t been proven, I believe Amanda and Raff wrote and posted that rental notice.) To me, if you believe that notice was written by Amanda, it contributes to motive by showing great hatred and jealousy of Meredith; of wanting to “be rid of” her and find another roommate, one who would understand her “quirks.” As kids say these days so often (without murderous intent, in general), Amanda “was done with” Meredith (literally, in Amanda’s case, unfortunately).

Just my 2 cents. Thanks for a good article, James.

Posted by Earthling on 04/12/11 at 08:34 PM | #

James, thanks for the update;  you’ve got-it,  motive-and-all. Only a few impossible-to-know details remain.

The INTENT was not “murder”, rather it was intent to teach-a-lesson - with reckless disregard-for, and brazen denial-of, the fatal consequences of their psychopathic actions.

As Ernest Werner, indicated, it is wise to avoid labels such as “Psychopath”; it is enough to say that what they did was psychopathic.

IMO MOTIVE should not even be part of the offence charged - murder, but necessary to offer one.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 04/12/11 at 11:42 PM | #


Thanks for your excellent post on motive in the Meredith Kercher case.

All three people, Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede were justly tried in an Italian court and convicted for the murder of Meredith Kercher.

“Stefanoni and Garofano both say that there was an abundant amount ( relatively speaking ) of Amanda’s blood in the bathroom washbasin, and to a lesser extent the bidet. Whereas most of Amanda’s blood in the washroom was mixed with Meredith’s, the blood on the washbasin tap was Amanda’s alone. Both of a quality and quantity to discount menstrual ( from washing knickers ) or bleeding from ear piercing. Their conclusion was that Amanda bled fairly profusely though perhaps briefly at some stage.”

Through her very own court testimony, Amanda Knox herself, qualified the date for which ” at some stage” that blood was deposited in the bathroom. In court Amanda testified that she saw no blood in the bathroom the day before Meredith was murdered.

Amanda Knox’s own incriminating court testimony, wherein she effectively dated the blood in the bathroom ( and as this date was correctly concluded by the Italian forensic investigators ), must have been yet another most welcomed “gift” given by Amanda Knox to the prosecution.

Posted by True North on 04/13/11 at 02:19 AM | #

James, thank you for a huge examination of motive. Much food for thought, neatly served. Thanks. Good reminder about Kokomani who although not reliable for court, probably did see some wild behavior, Amanda knife waving, taunting him, Raf, Rudy, Foxy out by the street in the dark with one wearing a mask, IIRC.

Motive? most perplexing. Infuriating really, so hard to know. Perhaps we can work backwards to see the end result as a clue and then the cause. What did these three accomplish? They stole the bright, bright future that was Meredith’s. Maybe this is what they feel had happened to them: someone had stolen their bright, bright futures. Who Meredith represented to each perpetrator is likely a fusion of several people they blamed starting with parents. Take alcohol and drugs out of the equation, the murder would not have happened.

The short version of Why Why Why might be answered by a quote from the movie, “The General’s Daughter”: “Because she’s a freak and that’s what freaks do.”

Posted by Hopeful on 04/13/11 at 02:24 AM | #


In this case: Drugs + unbalanced personalities + stress = criminal behavior.

Posted by giustizia on 04/13/11 at 02:47 AM | #

Do you think Amanda could have possibly showed some Asperger traits because of her inability to fit in socialy?

Posted by Barry on 04/13/11 at 11:18 AM | #

I believe that ak was always allowed to get away with anything due to her parents early divorce. Neither one would discipline. And most importantly, all children try lying and parents are supposed to know when they do, catch them and discipline but ......these two just kept bobbing their heads and ignored the juvenile lies. The end result is a pathological liar and amoral adult who thinks everybody will believe whatever she says. These two parents who by the way still act scummy themselves are more than a little responsible in my opinion.

Posted by friar fudd on 04/13/11 at 11:39 AM | #

Thank you for a very thorough and interesting assessment, James.

I think you are right in focussing on the missing money. Knox was not financially secure, and her drug habit must have cost her a fair bit.

You wrote: “facts known to him and not to the police at that stage ie the money, which he could use to make his statement as a whole more credible, whilst at the same time giving the police a lead. He is shifting the focus, if the police were to follow it up, on to the person he must have been blaming for his predicament, Amanda.”

That Guede talked about an argument over missing money between Meredith and Knox is telling. You are spot on, the police did not know about this detail. If the money was in fact missing the only person who could have known that would be a person at the scene. And it does not seem logical that he would make this kind of detail up. It would not benefit him to do so and it doesn’t fit with his story of “I was on the toilet when an unknown assailant attacked her”.

If the money was taken from a drawer in Meredith’s room before she was attacked then the only person who could have done that must have been someone who (a) knew the money was there and (b) someone with access to the cottage.

Posted by lilly on 04/13/11 at 12:17 PM | #

A fine analysis, James. It irks me that the Knoxophiles keep repeating this “no motive” mantra like this was an Agatha Christie novel or an episode of CSI where everything is tied up in a neat little package. Some things are only understood by those who do them, and sometimes, even in that case, only understood very dimly. Ultimately, Knox’s motive was as simple and as sad as this: she didn’t like Meredith.

Another tragedy of this case is that, in my view, none of the three killers would ever have killed anyone without one or both of the other two. They all have rage and bitterness in their souls, but it was only with the encouragement of the others, feeding off itself and stoked by drugs that they could express that rage in such a brutal and vicious manner.

Posted by Janus on 04/13/11 at 01:07 PM | #

Hi Barry,

Asperger Syndrome? It’s something I have thought about as I have a young daughter with autism. AS is generally thought to be an autistic condition.

The defining attribute is unquestionably an inability to relate to what it is to be anybody else - to be able to empathise or see beyond one’s own needs. In so far as someone with this condition appears in their behaviour to achieve this it is primarily, in my opinion, adaptive and learnt behaviour.

AS sufferers, as you know, can be high achievers.

Whether AK has AS is another matter. How does one distinguish it from general anti-social behaviour? Or from, say, pathological narcissism?

Anti-social behaviour can be due to disturbance in the family, but also disturbance in the family can be due to a child or young person with AS. Would family members understand what was going on?

Also I think that any chance of a proper diagnosis has probably passed as this usually has to be done earlier.

Anyone with autism, wherever they are on the spectrum, requires a great deal of love and patience and, believe me, this is not always easy.

Posted by James Raper on 04/13/11 at 03:08 PM | #

Great post, James!  Thank you.  Your account of the sequence of events is the most logical I have read so far - and perhaps the most plausible.  I had also never read Filomena’s full comments as presented by you here.  They are most revealing.  I often wonder how AK subdues her attention-seeking, selfish, self-absorbed behaviour in prison.  Isn’t it the case that she a) shares a cell with another person and b) is considered to be a very well-behaved inmate?  I also read somewhere that the population of Capanne Prison believes AK to be innocent of this crime…. would the prisoners have access to the Massei report?  Maybe not but the warders should.

Posted by thundering on 04/13/11 at 03:20 PM | #

This is a wonderful post and I thank you for it. It has never ceased to mystify me as to the total denial of the pro Knox supporters and in all honesty because of their incalsitrant behavior the publicity surrounding it this case would never have not reached the hysteria that it has. The total denial/outright lies etc; is very often a bitter pill to swallow because it sullies the memory of Meredith and her family. Some of the pro Knox posts can be put down to simple misunderstanding or ignorance. On the other hand there is this small cadre of disgustingly vicious people who desire to manipulate public opinion, usually for monetary gain. Therefore, apart from the obvious, if anybody can explain the psychology behind these sick people then I would welcome their comments because simply stated I don’t understand it when there is so much evidence here pronouncing guilt.
Sincerely Grahame Rhodes

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 04/13/11 at 05:35 PM | #

Only speculation on my part, but Knox could have had a nosebleed, not from being struck, but from cocaine.  I wonder if we will hear anything else about the coke dealer’s number found in her call history.  I also wonder how she went through so much money in one month’s time in Perugia.

Posted by Corrina on 04/13/11 at 08:32 PM | #

Earlier & elsewhere I speculated about Amanda’s motive, which I have come to believe grew somehow deeply within her (like a hidden cancer?) The pathology of it I tried to describe in the following words, but I do accept Cardiol’s restriction on the label, psychopath, as he says above:
“it is wise to avoid labels such as “Psychopath”; it is enough to say that what they did was psychopathic.”

Earlier I wrote that
(a) Amanda Knox, whose case is distinctive, falls ... into a type of psychopath, of which the Machine has given several examples. [Nice girls who killed with little motive: similar cases]
(b) She had entertained a fantasy of rape well before coming to Perugia…
(c) No comic-book daydream but deep-rooted in her psyche… & makes us ask: What possible earlier cause?
(d) Too-flagrant promiscuity is no indication of pleasure… She experiences these events as conquest (boasts that she “can have any man she wants” in an e-mail.)
(e) In Sollecito… she finds the object of her quest: a deep-lying psychopathic disposition of which she becomes quickly aware & exploits to her purpose. (Similar examples given by the Machine.)
(f) And in Meredith she has already found her victim. Dark-haired & having an olive complexion, Meredith is of the South, Amanda Nordic—& from earlier evidence, half a Nazi in her sympathy…
(g) Meredith’s almost trifling complaints… do not constitute a “motive.”
(h) [Amanda’s faults] are planted irritants, the more to arouse her own dislike.
(i) Hence the evident lack of motive, remarked on in the trial: Amanda does not require a motive: she requires only the trigger. Events involving jobs & Diya Lumumba suffice…

Posted by Ernest Werner on 04/13/11 at 09:31 PM | #

I think that AK suffers from schizophrenia and should have been put on meds a long time ago.

Posted by aethelred23 on 04/14/11 at 03:08 AM | #

Werner, great comment. I resonate with so many of these comments. Giustizia put it in a nutshell, sweet. Earthling says it plainly, Amanda had many motives. I agree, she was a mess, ready to explode, very fearful of being so far from home despite the false bravado. Werner incorporates Earthling’s many motives idea with the assertion that she only needed a trigger. She already had a twisted disposition proven by early ideas of rape written into stories. Early trauma to herself can be theorized.

Thundering points out Amanda is behaving very nicely in prison. That implies she needed structure to behave. Others agree that she got no discipline and was allowed to lie and manipulate as a youth. The problem only grew. I like Cardiol’s wise caution that she cannot be proven to be a psychopath, but that it’s true she did a psychopathic act in heat of moment under influence of drugs and excitement, group dynamic. Some commenters suspect a mild case of Asperger’s, it’s possible. As for other mental defects, she could even develop full blown schizophrenia if that is latent. Nosebleed from cocaine, possible too.

I agree with Werner that Meredith’s dark complexion and mixed race did somehow create anxiety and rage within AK and RS, who identify with white race naturally. I think it had to do with Meredith’s big, wide-set eyes like Edda’s and Chris Mellas’s eyes. AK and RS linked up with Guede, too, so they aren’t consistent. But Rudy had drugs, that made the difference, and he wasn’t averse to partying, he didn’t want to get serious and study like Meredith did. With Raf soon to graduate yet still dragging his feet on a final paper, and Amanda wanting the Halloween holiday to go on and on, a rebuke about scholarly tasks ticked the students off. Meredith’s indignation over her stolen money could have brought many resentments into play. Here the many motives are unleashed. I think the money had a LOT to do with the fight.

Werner, I agree Amanda’s bed partners represented not pleasure but confusion and experimentation. She was harriedly trying to find herself and absolutely not committed to anyone. David Johnsrud’s slow romantic approach to her, his hesitancy in expressing his affection for her if Amanda’s writing about him is correct, is a case of opposites attract. She is the loud, raucous, risk taker and he the careful, deliberate, cautious and much more serious, grounded person. She yearned for Johnsrud immediately when she went to prison.

Opposites attract theory might explain Curt Knox the more restrained, deliberate speaker and meticulous CPA in contrast to Edda the verbose, interrupting, weeping emotional open book. That marriage didn’t last.

I bet Amanda has said things in Capanne prison that would spell out guilt in capital letters if we were privy to her conversations, unlike her manufactured chat for Rocco Girlanda when he visited the locked up ladies. Did anybody even read his book? Amanda is a misunderstood saint to him, maybe a bit of Marilyn Monroe as birthday singer “friend” to President Kennedy. Rocco said he dreamed that Amanda was with him in a taxi on the way to JFK Airport, New York City. In the taxi she gave him a pink I-pod but all it played were BEATLES songs over and over. Let me guess: “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”, “HELP”, “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”, or the famous, “Mother Mary Calls to Me…Let It Be”. I think the latter might be Virgin Mary warning Rocco hands off, the subconscious knows us so well.

Posted by Hopeful on 04/14/11 at 03:38 AM | #

“I think it had to do with Meredith’s big, wide-set eyes like Edda’s and Chris Mellas’s eyes.”

Hopeful: Something about this of yours really resonated with me. You may have struck on something. Meredith was a dark beauty like Amanda’s mother.

Amanda also wrote something about her mother and herself being “the same person” (something like that) in one of her writings for Rocco’s book, that really was pretty Freudian. You always have such interesting ideas. Thanks.

Posted by Earthling on 04/14/11 at 07:43 AM | #

Hey, new member here, but I’ve been following the case for a long time. As a young Seattlite woman myself (although I now live in South Africa) who graduated the same year as Amanda and even coincidentally was in Perugia at the same time, the case has been quite interesting to me. On the afternoon (or midnight in Italy) of her sentencing, my entire office was constantly refreshing the news page to see if she was ruled innocent of guilty. Most people just took the “Of course she’s innocent” because they saw the vague news articles.

Anyway, that’s my background. The motive is something that I’ve always struggled with. Nothing has seemed to fit, whether it was a sex game, a fit of rage, hazing gone wrong, or an “accident.” After reading this, many things make much more sense. Now I think the reason I struggle with a motive is not a lack of consistent storyline, but rather just being unable to comprehend how anyone could ever be led to murder anyone else. I don’t understand the mind of someone who would murder over, essentially, petty cash, or out of jealousy, or whatever else.

Posted by kpva33 on 04/14/11 at 09:27 AM | #

I instinctively feel that Amanda set up the murder but did not physically commit the murder. “I cannot lie, I was THERE….” This does not lessen her culpability of course. Meredith had to die or Amanda would have been in trouble over the theft. If the money had been used to buy coke, the mood would have been high, reckless, audacious. Cocaine fuelled the sexual assault prior to or after the murder. The men may have carried out the deed for her while she crouched in the kitchen blocking her ears to the screams. Liars usually use a mix of truth and lies to increase plausibility, at least to themselves as this makes lying less stressful. She may have entered the room to cover the body and stage the rape. In her email to numerous recipients she states “that was the last time I saw Meredith ALIVE”. (But I saw her dead). She substituted Patrick for Rudy in the interrogation because with her limited knowledge of dna science she may have supposed that this was possible: after all they are both black aren’t they? Could someone have been staging the crime scene to cover the theft when Meredith turned up and demanded to know what was happening? They are all up to their necks in it but none of them can throw the others unequivocally under the bus without implicating themselves. Hence all of their half-hearted attempts at self-exoneration. RS not taking the stand but refusing to give AK an alibi, RG suddenly remembering that RS and AK were there but as silhouettes or vague shapes, AK musing fish blood and fingerprints.

Posted by pensky on 04/14/11 at 10:31 AM | #

Hi kpva33,

There have been a number of high-profile murder cases where seemingly normal women have committed horrific and senseless murders.


Posted by The Machine on 04/14/11 at 10:33 AM | #

Massei found an extenuating circumstance in M’s body having been covered by her quilt, indicating remorse. “Maybe” is I think the best that I can say about that.

Posted by James Raper on 04/14/11 at 11:18 AM | #


It’s not just the theft Knox would have been accused of, had Meredith survived, it would have been assault also. The evidence shows that more than one person attacked Meredith and held her down so she had no chance to fight back. At some point that assault (which was carried out with more than one knife) turned deadly and someone of the three made that killer blow.

What you say about all three of them being up to their necks and not being able to admit anything without implicating themselves is interesting. I wonder whether Knox’s “I was THERE” would have turned into a more coherent confession if her parents had not begun the hard line “she had nothing to do with it”. They painted her into a corner. I don’t think she would choose life in prison to cover up for Sollecito, her boyfriend of just a few days. They have no defense apart from to be silent and deny it, and hope that some doubt can be shed on the evidence pinning them at the scene. Sollecito’s defense also tried hard (but failed) to demonstrate that he COULD have been at home even though there were no computer records and his cellphone was suspiciously switched off.

I don’t think the staged break-in would be to cover up the theft because it makes no sense that the break-in was only in Knox’s flatmate Filomena’s room. It makes far more sense that the break-in was to provide a cover story for the murder, in which Meredith is attacked by the burglar. It was part of the clean-up and staged rape scenario, after Guede had fled.

@James, I for one don’t think the quilt was remorse. I think Knox just didn’t want to look at Meredith. It was “yucky” or whatever her sick phrase was. Where was her remorse when she staged the rape? It’s very difficult and sickening to imagine what that involved Knox in doing and thinking.

Posted by lilly on 04/14/11 at 11:52 AM | #

Many thanks. And thanks, too, for a wide-ranging post.
Edda’s large eyes, noticed by Earthling, is a beauty point that passed to Amanda’s younger sister.
And yes, lilly, Amanda to my mind is incapable of remorse (too strong a word here.) A hint of pathology in that seeming incapacity.

Posted by Ernest Werner on 04/14/11 at 02:10 PM | #

Sollicito is an interesting case and given the propensity for stupidity as demonstrated by his sister over wire tap phone knowledge this leads me to this conclusion. The family pulled strings to get the sister into the police force. Ergo the family has power money and influence. Therefore Sollicito and Knox need not have stolen the money for drugs but rather as the first act of revenge.
In Knoxs cell after lights out therefore it would not surprise me at all to have Knox think “Well we sure showed her, and I’m going to show the court that I can get away with it too.”
Of course this is conjecture but I feel that it is not so far from the truth.
Sincerely Grahame Rhodes

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 04/14/11 at 04:21 PM | #

Revenge for what though?  Meredith had done nothing wrong to warrant any kind of ‘revenge’,  other than in Knox’s twisted mind for being brigher, more attractive, popular etc.  Said this before in other posts but hard to feel sympathy for any of the three with regards to their family background.  Amanda had to contend with her parents’ divorce, but so what?  That happens to many, many people and by all accounts she stayed close to her father.  Guede had a privileged background, which he rejected; Sollecito had a father who was supportive in ways other than financial and seemed to be there for him constantly to advise and guide. Must admit planning and intent always puzzled me.  If Knox had planned to assault/threaten Meredith, in her warped mind ‘teach her a lesson’ (for what though?) she must have known that Meredith, being the type of girl she was, would undoubtedly have reported the assault to the police.

Posted by Lola on 04/14/11 at 05:29 PM | #

Lola I don’t understand your question. Revenge for what? How about replacing her at Patricks pub. If you read the documentation ak enjoyed herself there while ignoring her duties. And divorce whether or not people admit it or have convinced themselves that it doesn’t, DOES affect the children involved especially at her age when the divorce. Some much more than others and certainly is not an excuse for criminal acts later. But as all interested in this case and ak’s statements and story changes and all things pychological we are all vexed as why this murder surfaced in her mind. She fully expected to cartwheel her way through any unpleasant questioning from authorities and believed that whatever came out of her mouth would be believed and didn’t understand why it wasn’t. In my humble opinion it is from playing one parent against the other growing up and never held to the truth by her parents when she lied as all children try.

Posted by friar fudd on 04/14/11 at 06:06 PM | #

If you are a murderous type then the same boundaries and rationality don’t apply to you. So what might be perceived as benign behaviour to normal people could be seen as provocative and rage-inducing in the homicidal. It is a weak argument so say that the perps had never done anything like that before. There is a first time for everything, even killing. Even if AK hadn’t been involved in the crime at all, her antics afterwards would have been a cause for concern and if I had been one of her parents I would take a close look at her and get her to a head doctor quickly.

Posted by pensky on 04/14/11 at 06:40 PM | #

Friar Fudd

I can assure you I have read all the documentation on this site as well as the books and judges’ reports.  I am well aware of her behaviour at Patrick’s pub and his dissatisfaction with her.  However, correct me if I’m wrong, but Patrick has stated that she was not aware he may be about to actually sack her.  Even being sacked, which she hadn’t been at that time hardly, on its own, constitutes motive for planning to harm a blameless person.  I did say though the need for ‘revenge’ was only in ‘Knox’s twisted mind’.  We are all speculating on the psychological elements and do not of course know the details of the psychological evaluations.  I did not say divorce doesn’t affect children in different ways.  It certainly affected me, but unlike many children she at least had the benefit of maintaining close and regular contact with both parents. I agree with those on here who highlight her on-going lying and manipulative behaviour; I have often listened to both parents and wondered just how can they blatantly lie and mislead.  Cannot now be that they are in denial; think that stage long past.

Posted by Lola on 04/14/11 at 07:23 PM | #

No I agree Lola and thanks for posting back. Meredith did nothing as ALL accounts report to warrant any attack and my heart breaks for her parents. ak’s parents obviously have acted like scummy Americans and I am ashamed of them being from the states. Have you seen any recent clips from Casey Anthony’s parents? Its shameful how they defend their murdering daughter and is an afront to justice for little Caylee. Anyway the tide of American support has left ak and she now will have to deal with her punishment, but again some of the blame I believe rests squarely on her parents and their lack of real parenting. Respects to you Lola

Posted by friar fudd on 04/14/11 at 08:22 PM | #

Thank you everyone, but aren’t you all approaching this discourse from your own point of sanity. Knox saw Meredith as a real threat to what she perceived as her own identity. an identity, by the way, that she had nurtured and was proud of ie, “I can have any man I want, therefore I have control over not only other men but woman as well.” Meredith underscored something that Knox could never have and that was purity not only of thought, but hard work and the desire to succeed. Consider Knoxs mind concerning her own future which would have been the same as her upbringing, and the society which she was used to.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 04/14/11 at 09:05 PM | #

someone mentioned that knox’s killing had a racial aspect to it. I fail to see how that is. I find it more plausable that she was jealous of Meredith, and jealousy was the main motive at getting her back.

Posted by Barry on 04/14/11 at 11:20 PM | #

Lola says: “Patrick has stated that she was not aware he may be about to actually sack her.”

However, Patrick did meet Meredith at his club the night before during Halloween, and invited her to work there and make mojitos.  It is a possibility that Meredith mentioned this conversation the next afternoon to her roommates, and Patrick would not have known that this conversation took place. If so, this could have infuriated AK further, since she had been recently demoted to distributing flyers.  Who knows, perhaps this even triggered her stealing the money (if she in fact did steal it).

Posted by annc on 04/15/11 at 12:26 AM | #

There is a short clip on you-tube of Knox half drunk with several boys. The blond one leaning against the counter at one point calls Knox a ‘Dirty Jew.” as a joke. While this is minor, and I grant you it is, you should be aware of a mind set which is prevalent in certain cities in North America. Halifax in Nova Scotia Canada is one example. During the American civil war Halifax was the Eastern final destination of the underground railroad which smuggled slaves from the deep South to Canada and freedom. This created a deep backlash against any person of color in Halifax. It created a ground swell of open hate in a small faction of the population. Seattle is no exception being the final jumping off point to Vancouver British Colombia and thereby freedom for American slaves at that time.
My take on it is that the society Knox grew up in dictated her view of the world so much so that she viewed anyone of color to be less than she was. Hence her accusation of Patrick Lamumba. Far better revenge in her mind to have Meredith raped by Guede than say somebody of the so called ‘White Races.’ In Knox’s mind by providing Meredith for Guede to rape Meredith, then Guede (the drug dealer) would owe Knox a huge favor. Make no mistake here Knox is above all a very clever manipulator. This is proven by how she operates. Again watch her during the trial. There is a clip on that also. Watch her, it’s a very interesting example of how she operates. As a side issue. The amount of publicity her family has garnered through their PR firm has had a strange backlash.  As People have become more interested in this case more people have psychoanalyzed Knox than any other. In other words no matter how clever she is she cannot escape from people who are cleverer at this. What’s that thing about being ‘hoisted on your own petard?’

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 04/15/11 at 05:33 AM | #

James, your post has sparked lots of thought and amazing comments. Thanks! Speaking of the backlash against the Knox PR campaign, I looked at a recent Candace Dempsey post and found that all of the comments after her article disagreed with her point of view.

Posted by Sailor on 04/15/11 at 06:53 AM | #

In the Massei Report, it is recorded on page 72 that Laura, Filomena, Meredith and Amanda spoke together on the 30th October. As to the forthcoming rent payment Meredith offered to pay up immediately but was told to wait until they all had to pay together.

This was Amanda’s testimony. I am unclear as to whether this would have been the same conversation with Meredith as that recorded by Filomena. If so then Amanda was privy to the same information, i.e that Meredith had just withdrawn the money from her bank, but if not she could have inferred this and in any event Meredith’s room could have been searched at any time she was not there.

If all four had had this conversation just before the two italian girls were to split, then Meredith, on a subconscious level at least (had she had any doubts as to Amanda), could have been reasonably reassured that cash in her room was safe since that would be a fact known to all four.

We may also speculate that Meredith was angry but not unduly disturbed when she discovered the money missing. She would have regarded it as a an act of mere stupidity on Amanda’s part which could be easily rectified. Hence no reason to alert anyone in particular. Amanda however would have known the implication vis a vis her italian flatmates were they to be informed of the incident.

Looking at things rationally with the above in mind one has to ask why take the money in the first place and, if that was a prank sparked by jealousy and hatred, why not return it before Meredith got back? I think that had Amanda not been with Raffaele all the time that might have been the case.

Posted by James Raper on 04/15/11 at 12:15 PM | #

I’m wondering why nothing has been made of the fact that Amanda tried to reach Meredith by phone on Halloween numerous times, according, as I remember this, to her cell phone records.

It seems to me that this could possibly speak to motive, as well.  If Amanda was trying to hook up with Meredith and join her, according to one interpretation I read, and Meredith failed to answer or call her back, this could be seen by Amanda as rejection and thus increase any hostility she might be feeling for other reasons (jealousy, fear of being revealed as not the very successful person she wanted everyone to think she was and rejected by the entire social group and so on). With someone as unstable as Amanda, I could see this leading to fury and a desire for payback.

On the other hand, it could have been that Amanda was already planning an attack on Meredith and was trying to set it up as early as the 31st of October.  This would mean premeditation of the attack, at least, if not the murder.

I’d be interested in what other people think.

Posted by NCKat on 04/15/11 at 06:13 PM | #

The cell phone records have provided so many markers as to where people were and whom they were calling. Even though we’re left to guess why Amanda called Meredith so many times on Halloween, there are other times when the records are damning. For example, Knox and Sollecito claimed that they slept in till 10:30 on the morning after the murder, when in fact their cell phones were turned on at 5:30.  Why lie about that?  To anyone who is new to this case, I highly recommend the “Vital Must Read Posts” that can be found near the top right of the TJMK homepage.  I just reread the first post there which gives a powerful review of the evidence against Knox and Sollecito.

Posted by Sailor on 04/15/11 at 10:40 PM | #

I’d like to add my thanks to the many already given to James Raper for his thorough effort to provide a clearer understanding of the motives for Meredith Kercher’s murder.  I’ve always thought that the stolen rent money was probably a significant factor: after all, 300 euros is not an insignificant amount of money, and Meredith, like any normal person, would have been furious at the theft and probably threatening to call the police.  Unfortunately, I had not seen James’s initial post on motive until Peter recently provided a link to it.  This fine-tuned version makes an even more compelling argument.

James’s post makes it hard to understand why the prosecution didn’t pursue the issue of the stolen money aggressively.  Of course, it’s difficult to get into the minds of individuals as morally bankrupt as these three appear to be.  The prosecution may have found Rudy Guede too much of a liar to believe at all, especially with his claim that Meredith had invited him to her room for an amorous encounter.  But it seems doubtful that he would have made up the story that Meredith had argued with Amanda over the stolen money. 

Why would Guede bring attention to the issue of the 300 euros at all?  If investigators found out that money had been stolen, they probably would have considered Rudy Guede as the likely culprit.  It was his DNA all over Meredith’s room as well as in the victim herself.  In addition, Guede was not gainfully employed and didn’t have the (at least superficially) respectable status of university student.  And he apparently had gone into Meredith’s purse, since his DNA was found on it.  It seems most reasonable to assume that Guede would have kept quiet about the stolen rent money unless he actually had heard Meredith confront Amanda about it.

As James’s post makes clear, poor Meredith didn’t stand a chance that night.  A jealous, angry Amanda, a sadistic Sollecito, and a sex-driven Guede, all fueled additionally by drugs, made an inescapably lethal trio.

Posted by Tullia on 04/16/11 at 02:37 AM | #

@ NCKat,

I recall reading somewhere - and quite some time ago - that Meredith mentioned to her friends that she felt ‘guilty’ that she had turned down Amanda’s offer of going out / spending the evening together.

Posted by thundering on 04/16/11 at 03:11 AM | #


I am just curious: Since when does Candace Dempsey allow comments under her articles? Have I missed something? To my knowledge, she closed her articles to comments a long time ago, evidently because she couldn’t find the time anymore to delete all the comments that questioned her way of “reporting”, which was the vast majority of readers.

After reading your comment, I had a look at her blog and I cannot find any comments.

Posted by Nell on 04/16/11 at 04:43 AM | #

Indeed Nell, Dempsey disallowed comments long ago.
I think it became too much of a chore for her to delete roughly 99% of the comments posted and leave just those made by herself and her sister, but actually I think the real reason of finally disallowing comments was she realised how ridiculous and unreadable her spurious blog became when anyone trying to read the comments section would be confronted with what was left after her bleaching - page after page of comments only by Dempsey herself - disjointed, laughable and unreadable.

Considering her self professed experience and love of cooking I asked her on many occasion whether she had accidently pricked anyone with a knife whilst cooking.

Instead of answering simply either yes or no, she deleted my comment.
Says it all really doesn’t it?

Posted by Black Dog on 04/16/11 at 07:12 AM | #

thank you, James, for your excellent analysis and articulation. April is Autism Awareness Month (at least according to a poster on the bus i rode yesterday). I have helped (as a teacher’s aide) with Asperger’s kids, and I strongly suspect AK falls somewhere on the spectrum. So, in that much, Barry, we’re in accord.
I was one of several people who took racism into account, at least partially, for Knox’s mindset. Seattle is a lively mixture, ethnically, and West Seattle has a growing “third world”, non- Teutonic population, but I have personally encountered the superior (self-whiteous) attitude of a few individuals who perceived me as an outsider due to my complexion (light brown skin, shiny chestnut hair, dark and deepset eyes) and i got a very telling response to my ethnic name from a rather unprofessional blonde and blue-eyed store manager, when i requested an ‘ethnic’ pastry. Sticks and stones, blah blah blah, but anyone who is the minority in the population can give you examples. Meredith’s mom is very darkly complected. I happen to feel that Meredith’s looks are stunning, whereas Knox is bland button- nosed and boring, but our genetics are beyond our control, and noone should have to apologise to anyone else for their features.
Edda as a dark beauty? I did’nt see it, but whatever drew Curt to her, the effect was overruled by her harpy-like haranguing, i’m certain. If she and toyboy similarly harangued Amanda, I can understand how she might over-react to any perceived criticism, judgement or mothering on her flatmate’s part. Could her rage have been sublimation, projecting onto Meredith years of pent up frustration, of needing to be her own boss but not knowing how? Did Cmellas call her whitebread boring to her face, egging her on and daring her to distinguish herself? She could loathe the man yet still feel a need to prove her mettle.
And I agree, also, that the duvet was placed there for the onlooker’s benefit, not the victim’s.

Posted by mimi on 04/16/11 at 09:16 AM | #

Please excuse me if this sounds silly, but has anybody considered Knox’s sexuality? By this I mean is it at all possible that Knox is bi-sexual. Of course I don’t wish to appear homophobic because I’m not in the slightest, but this idea hasn’t been presented before. Consider if you will, that Knox has always identified herself more with boys than with girls. (The soccer, rock climbing, etc;) Is it at all possible that she was attracted to Meredith and was turned down? ‘Hell hath no fury’ etc; Again I hesitate to mention this but I would sooner consider all aspects of Knox’s sociopathology rather than leave it unconsidered.
Sincerely Grahame Rhodes

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 04/16/11 at 10:14 AM | #

Yes, I also have always thought that the duvet was there to hide from the perpetrator the dreadful reality of what she had done.  I do believe that the recognition of her deed will have given her a profound shock.  Covering Meredith with the duvet was in some respect a way to blank it out - erase it - to avoid actually feeling inconvenient emotion. 

As soon as AK allows herself to be in touch with the emotion that must be there in the depths of her soul she will be undone. 

Remember the knife drawer episode with the police in the cottage? 

Remember that she refused to look at the images of Meredith’s butchered body in court?  Once tapped into that emotion will undo - or save - her.

I have difficulty imagining how AK feels about CM’s presence in Perugia.  Imagine having your not-so-beloved stepfather being your most regular visitor in prison and being unable to avoid him.

She could refuse to come out of her cell for visitation except that it probably breaks the monotony of the day and any visitor is better than none at all.

Posted by thundering on 04/16/11 at 10:24 AM | #


Another dimension of Knox’s personality which rarely seems to get mentioned or discussed is her allegiance to Wicca.  Sure read somewhere she stated this as her religion.  Always knew she was a witch ...!

Posted by Lola on 04/16/11 at 01:53 PM | #

@ Lola
Re Wicca - I think Knox just lived in a fantasy world, where she was trying out various identities and imagining them. She read Harry Potter and probably in her childish way identified with the fictional characters there.

Sollecito’s lawyer, who is no slouch, described her as the “Amelie of Seattle”. That movie is about a young woman who lives in a fantasy world. It’s a fantasy movie, where the central named character has the power to shape the lives of others around her. Knox is a fantasist, a narcissist, who believes she is the main character in her own movie.  Other people are just side characters. Like Meredith. Think of the way she conducted herself in the trial, as if it was about her, instead of a murder trial for justice for the brutal slaying of an innocent young woman.

@NCKat re Knox’s phone calls to Meredith - I think Knox felt rejected by Meredith. Meredith was popular, beautiful, smart, funny and classy. She had a circle of friends. Knox did not have these things, but she wanted them. In the apartment, Knox wanted to be the center of attention but Meredith eclipsed her. She could not control Meredith. I think Meredith’s rejection of her enraged Knox.

Posted by lilly on 04/16/11 at 07:16 PM | #

Hi Lily

I agree Knox is a narcissist and a fantasist but I think she did indeed state Wicka as her religion on her social networking site (see for example comments under post dated December 2010 by Some Alibi).

Posted by Lola on 04/16/11 at 09:08 PM | #

@Lola -

I think that pursuing the Wicca detail would be misleading.  While she may have stated Wicca as her religion on her networking page, she does not make any references to it elsewhere (at least not in the extracts I was able to read).  To me, that shows that Wicca is not part of her worldview.  It seems that she was piecing together her identity and chose Wicca because it matched her “wild child” image, not because she had any serious affiliations with it.  It’s probably also a sign of rebellion, considering that she went to a Jesuit college.

Also, there is nothing sinister about Wicca as far as I understand - their moral tenets include not doing harm to others while exercising free will, as well as an emphasis on personal responsibility.  Obviously, AK did not believe in either.

By contrast, RS references prayer several times in his diary (I’ll admit that I found it pretentious, whiny, and self-absorbed, so I couldn’t finish reading it).  To me, this means that religion was important in his upbringing, although perhaps in a ritualistic, rather than philosophical way. 

AK makes two very odd references in her diary about encounters with religious figures in prison. One is the nun, who magically helped her remember everything.  It’s too bad she hasn’t found it fit to share these revelations.  The second encounter is very revealing for her narcissism: she talks about being “excited” when the bishop washed her feet because she considered herself “nobody.”

It’s perhaps ignorance of what his act meant, but I find it difficult to accept that someone who attended a Jesuit school doesn’t know.  I think to her it was similar to Jennifer Lopez coming in to paint her toenails in order to assuage her loneliness in prison.  In that case, she would have been right to be “excited.”  In this case, excitement is not a normal emotional response.

The bishop washed her feet because, to him, washing the feet of a convicted murderer is an occasion for great humility.  Somehow, she managed to convert what should have been shame and sorrow into a positive, self-centered emotion.  I felt sick after reading that.

Posted by Vivianna on 04/18/11 at 07:30 PM | #

Vivianna, you are spot on. Just reading your post I too felt sickened. To me this shows what a plastic upbringing that this murderer had. Parents who would pay for a Catholic education ..but never would bother to take the time to explain the deep lessons of scripture…as foot washing. To put others first. To serve others. Instead of course was a narcissistic lying murderer who doesn’t believe in anything but herself. I always go back to the parents who in reality neglected her by not really parenting. They too make me sick.

Posted by friar fudd on 04/20/11 at 12:36 PM | #

NCKat says “On the other hand, it could have been that Amanda was already planning an attack on Meredith and was trying to set it up as early as the 31st of October.  This would mean premeditation of the attack, at least, if not the murder. “

I doubt this because everyone was in groups during Halloween.  AK probably just wanted her group of friends to meet up with Meredith’s group of friends.  Also, remember that AK thought she had to work on the night of the murder, and she and RS had already made plans to go traveling out of town the next morning (which they had to cancel because of the attack).  And so if there was premeditation for an attack that day it couldn’t have been for more than a couple of hours.  Not that they couldn’t have discussed the idea of an attack before, but not for that particular day.

Posted by annc on 04/22/11 at 12:45 AM | #

The reasoning above also rules out premeditation for murder.  If they had premeditated murder (either a few hours before or any time before for that matter) then they would have given themselves plenty of time for the cleanup and not scheduled a trip for out of town for the very next morning (i.e. hours later) that everyone knew about (e.g., RS’ father).

Posted by annc on 04/22/11 at 01:04 AM | #

Hi annc. Under Italian law even a few minutes of intent is classified as premeditation. The timing might have been open and opportunistic but Mignini argued that killing Meredith was premeditated in the summations.

This is what Barbie Nadeau wrote in the Daily Beast on 20 November 2009 in an article well worth reading in full:. http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-11-20/the-knox-trial-endgame/

“As closing arguments began, prosecutors described accused murderess Amanda Knox as a sex-and-drug-crazed sociopath while tears streamed down her face.

Amanda Knox is finally facing her moment of truth. The Seattle native spent Friday listening to Perugian prosecutor Giuliano Mignini lucidly describe how he believes she and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito schemed to violently assault and kill Knox’s roommate, Meredith Kercher, in November 2007.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/22/11 at 01:21 AM | #

Premeditation or not, I definitely think that AK had an active role in the attack well beyond just crouching in the kitchen covering her ears from the screams.  Seeing how her defense team will grasp at straws for any advantage, I can’t imagine she would remain quiet if that had been the case.  She would be screaming and kicking that she was in the kitchen and had nothing to do with the crime and she would even be making up lies of why she didn’t inform the authorities (such as that she was afraid of RG or any other such lie).  She would have insisted that she at least be given a much shorter sentence once she realized things were not turning out well at the trial.  In fact, the fact that none of the 3 have tried this strategy points to all 3 participating in the attack at once just as the prosecutors put forth.

Posted by annc on 04/22/11 at 03:46 AM | #
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