end for Amanda Knox, who was acquitted of murder (her convicted for slander in accusing her former boss of the murder stood, but she had already served the three-year sentence).
The British family of the murdered student, Meredith Kercher, have had what they thought was justice for her death taken from them. "We respect the decision of the judges but we do not understand how the decision of the first trial could be so radically overturned," the Kerchers said last night. "We still trust the Italian justice system and hope that the truth will eventually emerge." Some Kercher family responses are here.
If you are wondering why Knox was tried and convicted, part of the answer was physical evidence that was later discredited, but more of the answer was her alleged attitude that the prosecution used for its own ends. Here's one example of the argument that there was something wrong with her character that justified prosecution. The prosecution's case involved the claim that Knox killed Kercher as part of a satanic ritual. (See the Rolling Stone overview of the original investigation and prosecution, and Amanda Crouch's discussion of her conversion to doubt about the conviction in Slate, and the Friends of Amanda website.) The claim of a Seattle neighbor that Knox "is someone who blindly trusts other human beings" could be, well, circumstantial evidence that she lacked the character to resist Satan and was actually a witch (see also the Daily Telegraph overview) . . . Other than some reversals in Knox's story, the prosecution never had anything on her really: my earlier post on the initial conviction has some links with background on that.
It gets worse. The co-author of a book on an unresolved serial murder case in the area, Douglas Preston. reports that the prosecutor in the Kercher murder was a known incompetent with a fixation on satanic conspiracies who had been convicted of "abuse of office" for prosecutoral malpractice in 2006. Yet he was allowed to work on this case using the same discredited framework.
This is a ludicrous, tragic situation that produced a lose-lose-lose outcome for the parties involved, now particularly for the long-suffering Kerchers, it's back to square one on what happened to their daughter that night in 2007.