American Amanda Knox was acquitted today of murder charges after spending four years in an Italian prison.
How do you return to your life after being accused — even convicted — of killing your friend in a “Satanic rite” involving rough sex? How do you live down being called everything from a “She-devil” to “Foxy Knoxy?”
That’s what Amanda Knox must figure out. Today, she was acquitted in an Italian courtroom of murdering her friend, Meredith Kercher, in 2007. Originally, Knox was convicted of the murder, but a higher court released her this evening.
From the moment she was arrested, Knox was dragged through the mud, by tabloids and prosecutors who saw in the fresh-faced 20-year-old Seattleite some kind of kinky, bloodthirsty occultist, and they spared no effort in letting the world know what they thought of her. Now, as she returns to her former life, echoing the release of the West Memphis Three, it seems that the only sex games or Satanic practices were in the minds of the prosecutors.
In a New York Post piece, Nina Burleigh breaks down how the Knox trial turned into a “witch hunt”:
[Prosecutor Giuliano] Mignini always included witch fear in his murder theory, and only reluctantly relinquished it. As late as October 2008, a year after the murder, he told a court that the murder “was premeditated and was in addition a ‘rite’ celebrated on the occasion of the night of Halloween. A sexual and sacrificial rite [that] in the intention of the organizers … should have occurred 24 hours earlier” — on Halloween itself — “but on account of a dinner at the house of horrors, organized by Meredith and Amanda’s Italian flatmates, it was postponed for one day.”
Likewise, Candace Dempsey writes for the Seattle PI about the parallels between the Knox case and the West Memphis Three, down to the prosecutor’s obsession with sex and the occult:
In the Amanda Knox and West Memphis cases, even high-profile reporters at major networks cling to exciting crime theories, no matter how loony or baseless. … In Amanda’s case, tabloid journalists are of course the worst offenders–still enraptured by the satanic four-way drug-fueled orgy that made them so much money, even though it was just a sexual fantasy on the part of prosecutor Giuliano Mignini. Independent experts have rejected the DNA that put the two college students at the crime scene.
There is also the matter that plenty of people celebrate rites on or near Halloween — Satanic or not — without killing anyone, because murder and human sacrifice are not part of their practices. In other words, even if Knox was a devout Satanist, she wouldn’t have been any more likely to murder than if she belonged to any other religion.
If you were Knox today, what would you do? Would you make an effort to clear your name? Or would you ignore the bad press, hoping it would eventually be forgotten?