It is a gorgeous, sunny, cool fall day in Perugia. The locals are out strolling up and down the central Corso Vannucci enjoying the sunshine while the hundreds of journalists here for the Amanda Knox verdict are scurrying around trying to do background stories.
I spent most of my day at the outdoor cafe at the exclusive Brufani Hotel where all the US networks have set up. It was there that I was able to sit down and have a conversation with Amanda’s father Curt Knox.
He was suprisingly calm on the surface and very articulate although he admitted his stomach is churning. He said his daughter’s life is in “somebody else’s hands.” I asked him if all the press attention was driving him crazy and he said “no, you are not driving me crazy.”
I was impressed by his thoughtful response during our interview on the Italian judicial system that has come under harsh criticism from some quarters in the United States. Unexpectedly one of the individuals who has suffered the most, Amanda’s father, was the most respectful of the Italian system. Below is his entire quote to me:
“I am very thankful that they have the style of system that they do here in Italy, which really allows a re-trial in some circumstances and I think what has been presented in the appeals trial with a review of the independent experts that are court-appointed, as well as re-examining certain witnesses I think has been very helpful….In our opinion there is a very wrongful conviction that took place in the first instance but given the nature of how the appeals system works here, it is an opportunity to resolve that. I am very thankful that system exists in the manner it does here.”
On the independent experts he was referring to a 145 page report by independent experts analyzing the DNA. These experts said that traces of murder victim Meredith Kercher’s DNA on the presumed murder weapon, a kitchen knife, were unreliable. The knife had Amanda’s DNA on the handle and was found in the kitchen of her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, not at the scene of the crime. The experts also said fragments of Sollecito’s DNA on Meredith’s bra strap were unreliable and should be thrown out because they were not found until 45 days after the murder and were likely to be contaminated.
Curt Knox did however have a bone to pick with me, which he did very graciously. He asked me if I was the journalist who went into the prison with the delegation from the US-Italy Foundation and briefly interviewed Amanda in her jail cell shortly after the verdict in the first trial. I said I was, and he told me he thought I had mislead both the prison officials and Amanda and that was dishonest. I assured him that the prison officials were given my documents, including my press pass at the entrance, and as soon as I saw Amanda I told her, in English, I was a journalist with the Associated Press before the guards even opened the door to her cell. He seemed satisfied with my answer.
When asked how Amanda is spending her final hours before the verdict Curt said, “Well it is a very stressful time right now, I mean she is 24 years old and she could be looking at the rest of her life behind bars so she’s trying to just pass the time and and prepare herself to do her spontaneous statement.”
Amanda is expected to make a spontaneous statement shortly after the court session begins Monday morning.