A Documentary, ‘Beyond The Headlines: Amanda Knox’ Is Your Starting Point!

I’ve been fascinated with the Amanda Knox case since it broke in late 2007, but haven’t researched it with any kind of zeal, such as a writer would who is possessed with a fever, and typing out frantically a book on these most puzzling set of circumstances.

A few weeks back, My Lifetime came out with a movie made for TV, Amanda Knox: Murder On Trial in Italy. Anticipation for this new film considerably raised the pitch of my enthusiasm, for now I had two separate mediums to use as fodder for a brutal comparison.

With one cursory viewing of the film (you can watch it on your computer) under my belt, I noticed now it will air again tonight on Lifetime, and this time I’ll be smart enough to tape it. I heard of some criticism that’s been leveled at the movie, so in order to understand the problems with how the story’s being told, I began some legitimate research, in search of answers of how things went down in Perugia.

Amanda Knox
Amanda Knox

I picked up a book on Amazon that I’d heard good things about, “Murder In Italy” by Candace Dempsey. I’m only 21 pages into it, but it seems to be well written and very thoroughly researched, so you might want to check it out. Then there’s another book, “Angel Face” by Barbie Latza Nadeau, which I haven’t had a chance to get to yet. My problem is that I want immediate gratification, so instead I watched a documentary, also produced by My Lifetime, Beyond The Headlines: Amanda Knox.

The reason why I’m penning these lines on a sunny Sunday afternoon is to recommend this documentary on Amanda Knox. You will need to watch this first, before you watch the movie. I need to gather a bunch of facts together myself, so I can view the movie with a critical eye. You will probably need to do this as well, unless you’ve been putting the case under a microscope since 2009.

Barbie Latza Nadeau
Barbie Latza Nadeau

Beyond The Headlines comes in at 42 minutes 40 seconds, and is a good crash course on Amanda Knox. Lots of photos and news footage (if this is your bag), which include some graphic crime scene pics of a sprawled out Meredith Kercher, lying dead on her bedroom floor, covered with a blanket. Okay, and there’s the infamous footage of a seemingly callous Amanda kissing her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, in public.

The special includes summaries of how the crime was first detected, Amanda’s unexplained behavior in the few days after Meredith was discovered murdered, and mention of how the evidence changed drastically over time. Especially important, are the ways in which the Italian media covered the case and sensationalized it. Other media sources joined in the game and we were off to the races!

The murder itself was portrayed in the media as an evil, brutal, drug-fueled sex game. Amanda began to be called Foxy Knoxy and footage of her intoxicated was widely viewed on YouTube. Also, someone found a photo of her behind a machine gun, as some sort of joke one time, that was used against her. Anyway, the special does a superb job in showing you the role played by the media in making this look like a sex-cult murder, somewhere along the lines of the Moors Murders of the early 1960s!

The main talking head interviews are with friends and family of Amanda, and this is balanced with interviews with Meredith’s friends and family from England. The key here is there are two sides to this story. This is the reason why this is such an interesting case. You can spin it either way; one time you think Amanda is guilty, the next time you think she is as innocent as a lamb. And so it goes back and forth, “she loves me, she loves me not, she did it, she didn’t do it, ad infinitum.”

Meredith Kercher
Meredith Kercher

I’m just barely scratching the surface so far myself, but I’m getting good information with the My Lifetime documentary. You will want to pay close attention to what Barbie Latza Nadeau says; she knows it backwards and forwards. And then there is Steve Moore, a retired FBI agent. Steve has looked closely at the evidence, and he’s convinced Amanda and Raffaele had nothing to do with it. The reason he gives, is that no DNA of Amanda is found on the scene.

There are problems, however, with an innocent Amanda scenario. Why did Amanda submit a written statement of guilt? She claims she was coerced, even hit over the head by Italian detectives. And why did Amanda finger her boss at the Le Chic, Patrick Lumumba, as the killer? Rude Guede seems to be the real killer, but why didn’t Amanda blame him in her confession? And what about her strange, detached behavior in the days after Meredith’s body was discovered?

The question of Amanda’s behavior is probably of most interest to me. Some people react strangely to sudden death, almost having contempt and a lack of remorse for the victim. This seems to be the case with Amanda Knox; in fact, I’ve heard she was doing flips and cartwheels at the police station when she faced her first interrogation. I’m not so convinced she really liked Meredith Kercher all that much.

This is why I will have to peruse these documents some more, and see further evidence of Amanda’s behavior, both before and after her roommate was killed. And why was Meredith’s room locked? It never was before. Was the crime scene staged to look like a robbery had taken place? And had the bedroom window been the source of entry for the intruder? Why wasn’t there any blood trailing out of the broken window, if the killer exited out this way?

You will want to view this My Lifetime documentary before you watch the movie or read the books. It’s AK 101, and will get you up to speed as you dig into more exhaustive studies. If this was an ordinary case, all of this would have been forgotten by now. But this isn’t an ordinary case; the evidence has been turned on its head. And then there’s the issue of the Italian judicial system, which seemed to assume Amanda was guilty right from the day they first discovered the body of Meredith Kercher.

Let’s give it another shot, and read the books, newspaper articles, replay the talk show coverage and see what the My Lifetime movie does with the story. One cannot fathom that this pleasant American coed will spend the rest of her life in an Italian jail, but that’s just what it’s starting to look like. Young people may want to think twice before they enroll in a foreign exchange program. But cartwheels at the police station? What frame is that in?

Beyond The Headlines: Amanda Knox