The murder that won't die - Follain review

The murder that won't die - Follain review

Postby Sarah » Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:47 pm

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/life/Th ... 76684.html


Italian justice is persevering in its bid to find the killers of Meredith Kercher. Though acquitted, Amanda Knox is back in the news
Death in Perugia

By John Follain

Published by Hodder & Stoughton, 2011

Available at Asia Books, Bt440

Reviewed by Paul Dorsey


Italian prosecutors' Valentine's Day announcement that they will appeal the acquittal of American Amanda Knox in the murder of her British fellow university student Meredith Kercher certainly adds value to "Death in Perugia", an account of the case released just after it was supposedly resolved last October.

And if the appeal succeeds, paving the way for Knox's possible (but unlikely) extradition to resume a 26-year jail term, it would also certainly revive the animosity between the "heartland people" of the US and UK, to use a kind euphemism for flag-waving bigots on both sides of the sea who followed the case via tabloid news outlets.

Ugly debate raged during the snail-paced but turbulent two-year trial that convicted Knox and her by-then-former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito of brutally murdering Kercher (with the help of a second man, Rudy Guede, who remains in prison) and the year-long appeal that overturned the verdict.

"Foxy Knoxy", the British news rags called Amanda, playing up the sexual aspects of the crime while never acknowledging that she got the nickname at age five for her slyness on the soccer pitch. Consider yourself wise or lucky if you ignored the daily fulminating, because getting the big picture from a book like this is surely preferable.

And John Follain, the London Sunday Times' man in Italy who covered the drawn-out court wrangling, does a great job with a complicated story in 400 pages. Once or twice his objectivity yields to slight subsidence, but overall this is a balanced account that doesn't presume to suggest guilt or innocence.

Based on a mass of circumstantial evidence - much of which was withheld from the American public, according to several accounts - the often obnoxious Knox and the rather seedy Sollecito seemed quite guilty of participating in Kercher's drug-addled sexual assault and gruesome murder on the night after Halloween 2007.

As the shock of the slaying spread, Amanda and Raffaele appeared more interested in cuddling than caring, laughing at inappropriate moments, given to jarring remarks. Challenged over her bizarre lack of emotion, Knox allowed that she was indeed concerned - it could have been her found lying dead and mutilated rather than her housemate.

This was the Amanda Knox who prosecutors presented to the judges and juries: self-centred, carefree, sexually uninhibited and envious of Kercher's friendships, her natural appeal to men and her devotion to study.

Knox and Sollecito were tossed back in prison for another quarter century, but in total served four years before their convictions were overturned last October 3 when the appeals court decided that too much weight had been accorded DNA evidence which might have been contaminated.

There was room for doubt over the traces, there were no witnesses (Rudy Guede refuses to say more than he has), and the circumstantial evidence was merely that. Knox promptly flew home to Seattle to resume her studies in more trusting environs.

On February 14 the Italian prosecutors reaffirmed their belief that Knox and Sollecito are guilty and will challenge the logic behind the appellate court ruling. The Court of Cassation will, probably later this year but in the course of a single day, weigh accusations of procedural irregularities that could represent grounds for a retrial.

The announcement was not a surprise. Follain refers to the possibility in this book. Unspecified "officials" had already told the chief prosecutor, "Yes, there was an extradition treaty between the two countries, but no, America would never send Amanda back".

On February 16 HarperCollins announced it would pay Knox US$4 million for a memoir. She has a huge legal bill, of course, and she'll need $54,000 anyway if yet another appeals court insists that she does indeed, as ordered at her acquittal, have to compensate a Perugia bar owner for wrongly accusing him of the murder.

And, of course, there are the film rights, over which Knox has also been negotiating. "Da Vinci Code" director Ron Howard, who obviously has a thing for mysteries set in Italy, has expressed interest.

This is surely a case made for Hollywood - a classic crime saga in a gorgeous setting, with a faked burglary meant to mask a horrific killing, with partying college kids, sex, drugs, strange witnesses, a good-looking victim and equally attractive defendants and red herrings galore. Plus there's a powerful "supporting cast" of prosecutors and lawyers, not to mention the families, one anguished, one incensed.

While the Kercher family, left without knowing who murdered Meredith, has denied any intention of suing Knox or Sollecito in civil court, the furore surrounding the case appears unlikely to die anytime soon. Buy the book if you need to get up to speed, but continue ignoring Fox News and the Daily Mail until Follain publishes an updated second edition.
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Re: The murder that won't die - Follain review

Postby Sarah » Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:49 pm

Reviewed by Paul Dorsey

Comments are open. Please correct his mistakes.
Let him hear it from IIP.
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Re: The murder that won't die - Follain review

Postby MustBeQuantum » Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:05 pm

Can't do it because it is facebook.

The striking paragraph for me was:

"Based on a mass of circumstantial evidence - much of which was withheld from the American public, according to several accounts - the often obnoxious Knox and the rather seedy Sollecito seemed quite guilty of participating in Kercher's drug-addled sexual assault and gruesome murder on the night after Halloween 2007."

Whaaaat?

Also wonder about the "heartland" dissing. And this from Thailand? Meh.
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Re: The murder that won't die - Follain review

Postby sflicker » Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:19 pm

What mass of circumstantial evidence? she kissed her boyfriend?
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Re: The murder that won't die - Follain review

Postby Dougm » Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:21 pm

Isn't there any way to comment on this thing without using your Facebook profile? I hate that. I had a really good rebuttal going too.
When you berate someone and push them and confuse them and lie to them and convince them that they're wrong you're not finding the truth.

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