- Who was the victim? "Meredith has been completely forgotten in all of this," the sister of the victim lamented at a press conference before today's verdict. On the night she died, 21-year-old English exchange student Meredith Kercher had decided to watch The Notebook and eat pizza with her English friends before heading home. Known to those close to her as "Mez," Meredith's family described her as "a lovely, intelligent person," and she had earned a degree in European studies.
- Why Foxy Knoxy? Many murders happen every day without catching the attention of international media. Amanda Knox's youthful good looks brought her the tabloid nickname "Foxy Knoxy" (originally given to her for her sly performance on the soccer field) and many strong opinions based not on the evidence, but the public's perception of her.
- Was she Jessica Rabbit or a she-devil? It's not just the press who paid attention to Amanda's looks. In court she's been called a "she-devil," a "witch," and a "femme fatale" by the prosecution, and her attorney called her an "angel face" similar to Jessica Rabbit. He said, "Jessica Rabbit looks like a man-eater, but she is a faithful and loving woman," he continued, she "is not bad, she's just drawn that way."
- Who is Rudy Guede? Following the murder, Ivory Coast immigrant Rudy Guede, an acquaintance of Meredith, fled Italy. His fingerprints and DNA were found in Meredith's room and on her body, and he was convicted of the murder and sexual assault after being granted a fast-track trial. He originally said he had sex with Meredith and then came out of the bathroom to find a strange man standing over her with a knife, but later changed his story to fit the prosecution's, saying it was Raffaele and Amanda participating in a sex game gone wrong. He is now serving his prison sentence, and some protesters outside the courthouse today chanted, "Shame, shame. They condemned the black man."
- What about the dark sex games? The prosecution alleged that Amanda and Raffaele killed Meredith in a drug-induced orgy, and the fact that Meredith dressed as a vampire the night before her death — as it was Halloween — fueled rumors that Amanda had a thing for witchcraft. In fact, the prosecutor in Amanda's case, Giuliano Mignini, had used this reasoning before, reopening a previous murder investigation on the theory that the killer was a satanist from a cult.
- How was her sexual history used against her? Much was made of the fact that Meredith had become upset with Amanda for leaving a sex toy around their flat. There were also mentions in the press of Amanda's "visible cold sores" on her lips. And when she went out with Raffaele to buy underwear after being locked out of her crime-scene flat, it was considered an insensitive reaction to the murder. Footage of them shopping for the thong underwear, recorded by the store's cameras, was played across the TV and Internet. Amanda's sexuality was meant to somehow prove her guilt.
Find out more about her bizarre behavior and the bad evidence below.
- What about her bizarre behavior? As part of the case against her, police told the court that Amanda behaved inappropriately before being questioned by the police immediately after the murder. They said she did cartwheels and splits. Amanda and Raffaele also admitted to smoking marijuana the night of the murder and gave varying accounts of what exactly they did that night. In addition, a distasteful story about a rape she'd previously posted on her Myspace page was dug up and used to persuade public opinion against Amanda.
- What's the deal with the bad evidence? Amanda claims that she was initially interrogated without a translator and without an attorney present, leading to a false "confession." In the end, Amanda's freedom came down to the lack of evidence against her. Independent experts found that DNA evidence was contaminated or too insubstantial to test, and the knife alleged to be the murder weapon was no longer certain to be that used. The prosecution relied on Amanda's bizarre behavior, but that wasn't enough to convict her without a clear motive.