Amanda Knox: School Provides Respite After Murder Conviction

Image: Amanda Knox: School Provides Respite After Murder Conviction

Wednesday, 19 Feb 2014 10:41 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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Despite being convicted of murder for the second time in Italy last month, Amanda Knox has returned to school in the U.S. to finish the degree requirements she started nine years ago before her life turned upside down.

Knox, 26, has been locked in the throes of the Italian justice system ever since 2007 when she and ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were accused of murdering Meredith Kercher, Knox's flatmate in Perugia, Italy, where she was studying abroad.

The University of Washington student was convicted and sentenced to 26 years in prison. Sollecito was sentenced to 25 years. Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast drifter, was also convicted in the murder and is serving a 30-year prison term.

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Then, in 2011, an Italian appeals court threw out Knox and Sollecito's convictions and harshly criticized the prosecution's handling of evidence. The pair was free after serving four years in an Italian prison.

But in March 2013, Italy's highest court overturned the acquittals and ordered a new trial to begin within the year in Florence. Knox, who had resumed her studies at UW in her hometown of Seattle, did not travel to Italy for the proceedings.

Her worst nightmare came true last month, though, when she was again found guilty.

"This has gotten out of hand," Knox said in a statement after the verdict was announced in late January. "Having been found innocent before, I expected better from the Italian justice system. The evidence and accusatory theory do not justify a verdict of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt . . . There has always been a marked lack of evidence."

There are still many more steps in the Italian court system before a final Supreme Court decision is handed down and experts say extradition is a long way off, but Knox is trying to live as normal a life as possible in the meantime. That includes finally finishing the college degree she started in 2005.

She's scheduled to graduate this spring.

"I feel like after so much time in dealing with this, I’ve gained a store of inner fortitude, but only so much . . . that this doesn’t completely debilitate me," Knox told The Daily UW this week. "That doesn’t mean that I feel okay, and that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel hurt."

"In Italy, I’m a convicted murderer," she continued. "That shouldn’t carry weight because it’s not true, but it does. We are social, that is what human beings are — we have a place in society and it seems like that is taken away from me for nothing."

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