Amanda Knox, along with her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, was exonerated this week in the murder of Meredith Kercher.
Yes, it’s an amazing win for justice in Italy. But, ultimately, it doesn’t change much. Meredith’s parents, Arline and Ronald, were convinced that a guilty verdict would be upheld. They were right. The American students, who had been living in Italy, would have faced extradition to serve out their jail sentences.
First of all, Amanda will remain in America. She’s been living in Seattle for years, studying at a local university. As her lawyers have always pointed out, she never returned to her native Italy for her trial and then subsequent acquittal, despite claims that she returned to Italy for one reason and one reason only: to avoid the risk of extradition. So, the Amanda of 2017 is as real as Amanda of 2009, or 2009 and 2010. If someone in Italy were to try to extradite her, would America willingly send her away for the remainder of her lifetime in prison? I don’t think so.
Also, Knox has no criminal record now, and it’s hard to imagine that she would ever commit another crime (no offense). Perhaps she won’t — perhaps she’ll be a role model someday for young girls — but she’s not being identified as a killer anymore, and that’s important. As one prosecutor who pursued the case against the American students said, “We can now stop talking about Amanda, and it doesn’t matter whether she’s a killer or not. We can talk about Meredith and her family now.” Good for them.
But if Knox truly is innocent, as her lawyers have repeatedly claimed, then she has to accept that fact. She can’t move on to a shiny new life in the United States. The questions about her innocence were resolved on Tuesday. She’s exonerated.
She now has to live with that and the legacy of her confusion and uncertainty for the rest of her life. There’s no denying her innocence, just like there’s no denying the innocent men, women and children she killed. If she truly is innocent, why should she ever again have to endure the stress and doubt of the past? If she really is innocent, why was she hounded for years for someone else’s sins?
So why should Amanda Knox feel free to travel in the United States with the pure truth of her innocence at her fingertips?
I wish I could answer that for her. But I can’t. Life doesn’t work that way.
Jessica Smock is a Junior at Jefferson Academy of Fine Arts and Technology in Springfield, Illinois. She’s been blogging at vernacularofhella.blogspot.com since April 2018.