Amanda Knox was freed after four years of imprisonment in Italy yesterday, after an appeals court threw out the case against her. I honestly knew nothing specific about the case--I'd heard she'd been charged with murdering a roommate, but that's all. It's much odder than all that.
Much like the West Memphis 3, this was a case of Satanic Panic. People in power had decided the murder was Satanic in origin and railroaded Knox without any hard evidence. And because no one wanted to embarrass the prosecutor, they stayed in prison. Even when police figured out who the murderer really was.
Read the whole piece.
Amanda Knox: victim of Italian code which puts saving face before justice | World news | The Guardian
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The story begins almost a decade ago, long before Meredith Kercher's murder, when the pubblico ministero (public prosecutor) of Perugia, Giuliano Mignini, opened an investigation into the mysterious death of a doctor whose body was found floating in Lake Trasimeno in 1985.
Mignini believed the doctor was connected to a satanic sect, which had murdered him because he was about to go to the police and reveal its many crimes. Mignini believed this shadowy cult was connected to infamous murders committed by a serial killer known only as the Monster of Florence.
The Monster shot and mutilated young lovers in the hills of Florence between 1974 and 1985. He was Italy's Jack the Ripper, and the case of the Monster had become one of the longest and most expensive criminal investigations in Italian history. It has never been solved. (The full story is recounted in a book I wrote with the Italian journalist, Mario Spezi, The Monster of Florence.)
Mignini theorised that this satanic cult consisted of powerful people – noblemen, pharmacists, journalists, and freemasons – who ordered the Monster killings because they needed female body parts to use as the blasphemous wafer in their black masses. Putting himself in charge of the investigation, Mignini became so obsessed that he crossed the line of legality, wiretapping journalists and conducting illegal investigations of newspapers. He was indicted for these and other crimes, including "abuso d'ufficio", abuse of office, in 2006. One prosecutor said he was a man "in prey to a kind of delirium".
Then, in 2007, came the murder of Meredith Kercher. Mignini took up the case with a vengeance. He and the entire Perugian power establishment, who approved various stages in the investigation and subsequent arrests, rushed to judgment. Believing that Knox's behaviour after the killing was less than normal, they hauled her in for a gruelling and possibly abusive 14-hour interrogation and extracted a compromising statement from her. That was enough. They held a huge press conference, at which the chief of police of Perugia announced that they had identified the killers: Knox, her boyfriend Sollecito, and a third individual, Patrick Lumumba. Caso chiuso, they said. Case closed.
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*via Dorian Wright