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Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy

Director:
Robert Dornhelm
Release Date:
21 Feb 2011
Genre:
Drama / Crime
Country:
USA
Runtime:
87 min

Amanda Knox is an American college student who arrives in Perugia, Italy in September 2007 to study foreign languages at the Stranieri (the University for Foreigners). She shares an upstairs flat, in a cottage on the edge of the hilltop town, with British student Meredith Kercher, and two Italian women, Filomena and Laura. In October, at a classical music concert, Amanda had met Raffaele Sollecito, a young Italian man studying computer engineering, and they began staying at his house each night.On November 2, 2007, two days after Halloween, the sudden death of Meredith, locked inside her bedroom, seemed to be a shock to everyone. Amanda thought back of how friendly Meredith had been to her, such as when Amanda asked her to "drop everything" and help support her at a job interview at the pub Le Chic, and Amanda got the job. Meredith had been charming to the pub's owner, Mr. Lumumba, and showed him a special way to mix a mojito, with diced limes and rum. In town, a memorial display was created for Meredith, with hundreds of red glowing candles lighting the night air.The police questioned both Amanda and Raffaele about recent events, trying to gain evidence about the murder. Under pressure, Amanda admitted that she and Raffaele had smoked "weed" during the evening of the murder, and they went to his house, watched a movie on his computer, and went to bed.Meanwhile, the head prosecutor of Perugia continues talking with the coroner and forensic investigators from Rome. The coroner mentioned many bruises on Meredith's body, saying that she likely fought back, and the prosecutor asks if multiple people could have attacked her.The police called Raffaele back for questioning, at the police station, and Amanda waited in the hall. Inside, a police officer shoved Raffaele and screamed that phone records seemed to show he called the emergency number "112" for help after, not before, the postal police had arrived at the cottage, and warned him that his wealthy, influential family could not save him. Immediately, Raffaele starting claiming that Amanda had told him to say things, and that she wasn't really with him during the time of the murder, and he hadn't "thought about the contradictions" in his story. Then, the police go to Amanda, waiting alone in the hall doing cartwheels, and asked her to explain a text message on her cell phone. The police claimed she had left a text message to her boss, Mr. Lumumba, as indicating she would meet him later the night of the murder; however, Amanda responded that, in America, those words meant, "I'll see you around" rather than "meet me later". Surrounded by many police officers, Amanda was told that she must remember and tell them about meeting her boss that night, or else. After several hours, she said she met her boss at Grimana Square, nearby, and they went to the cottage with Meredith, and he went into her room when she died.The police then arrests Amanda, Raffaele, plus her boss. Under interrogation at the police station, with swollen bruises on his face from being beaten by the overzealous police officers, her boss insisted he barely knew Meredith and had never been to her apartment. Some days later, her boss is released when a college professor came forward to confirm he was with him, at the pub Le Chic, and could not have been at the cottage during the murder.Amanda's mother and father came to Italy to help her, and hire two professional Italian lawyers to defend her in court. Amanda explained that she had been threatened by the police to say things, so then her father understood why she had been arrested after the interrogation.Soon, however, the forensic investigators from Rome found a clear "fingerprint" in the murder room, in blood, which did not match either Amanda or Raffaele. A nationwide manhunt led to the arrest of Rudy Guede, a young black man whom Amanda and Meredith had met, weeks earlier as she thought back, when he played guitar in the downstairs flat at the cottage (with the Italian guys living there). Rudy is put on trial and found guilty of the murder and sexual assault, but then Amanda and Raffaele are also sent to trial in the same judgment by Italian law.Amanda and Raffaele are tried, together, during the summer of 2009. They were charged with murder, sexual assault, staging a crime scene, and transporting a lethal knife. Luminol testifies that in the cottage hallway revealed small footprints, which were too small for the men to have made, but close to Amanda's foot size. DNA experts testified that Amanda's blood had been found, on a bathroom faucet, mixed into a drop of Meredith's blood. In Raffaele's apartment, the police find a large kitchen knife with Amanda's DNA on the handle and 4 cells of Meredith's DNA on the blade; however, a defense expert testified that 10 cells would be needed because 4 cells of DNA indicated "contamination" rather than actual evidence of the knife being used. The prosecution insisted that Amanda had argued with Meredith and cut her (as shown in an imagined scene in Meredith's room).The head forensic investigator is called to testfy where he says that Sollecito's DNA had been found on the metal bra clasp severed from the back strap of Meredith's bra (as shown cut by a knife in an imagined close-up scene). However, his attorney asked on what date the bra clasp was found, and she replied the clasp was photographed during the first day, but not collected until 47 days later, after being moved around the room and passed between multiple investigators. The attorney claimed the small amount of DNA could have been contamination, but the investigator responded that Sollecito's DNA was only found, elsewhere, on a cigarette butt in the kitchen, and she said, "DNA does not fly around".Eventually, in December 2009, the judges and jury panel delivered the verdict of guilty, as a shock to the courtroom. Amanda is sentenced to 26 years in prison, and Raffaele is sentenced to 25 years. Amanda is led in tears out of the courtroom to a police van to take her to prison as she continues to protest her innocence. Amanda's father reassures her that they will appeal the verdict.The disclaimer in the final shot says that Amanda's parents had both been arrested charged with criminal slander for claiming the police abused Amanda, and they now face up to three years in prison if convicted of the slander under Italian law.
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