What next for Amanda Knox?

Adam Parris-Long

Amanda Knox beamed as she strode through the Leonardo di Vinci airport on Tuesday, after she was acquitted of the November 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy.

Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison for 21-year-old Kercher’s death, along with then-boyfriend Raffaelle Sollecito – a computer science student at Perugia University. Local man Rudy Guede was also sentenced to 30 years for the murder [later reduced to 16], though he denied killing and sexually assaulting the British student. 24-year-old Knox and Sollecito were eventually absolved Monday after the four-month hearing, posing the question - is it all over?

In short, no. Though Knox and Sollecito have been fully exonerated of Kercher’s death, the process could move up to the Italian Supreme Court if the prosecution decides to appeal the Perugia court’s ruling. Just as the pair were able to overturn the guilty verdict, so might the Supreme Court be able to reverse this latest decision.

But that would depend on the outcome of appeal Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellmann’s case report, to be written up within the next 90 days, on the reasoning behind Knox and Sollecito’s acquittal. Should prosecutors see reason to take issue with any points of the report they will appeal to the Supreme Court, a motion that is unlikely to be heard until next year.

For the time being Knox is free, but her future still depends on legal dealings in Italy. Any subsequent appeal would look at the handling of the case to see if there were any mistakes in the application of the law and decide on whether the case should be re-opened. There would also be problems surrounding Knox’s extradition from Seattle, where she flew to via London Heathrow.

[ Gallery: Amanda Knox appeal trial in pictures]

Though US and Italy signed an extradition treaty in October 1983, no-one has ever been sent from the US to Italy to stand for trial. If that possible scenario became reality then a sticking point would occur, causing fractions between the two states.

For now at least the US is set to welcome back the 24-year-old with open arms, after media coverage of the trial in Knox’s native Seattle hit fever pitch.
But while this all depends on the contents of a report we won’t see for up to three months, some things are clearer on Knox’s immediate future.

Speculation circling since the acquittal has suggested that she might try to cash in on her ordeal, with interviews, books or even a film suggested. Certainly she will not lack requests from various members of the media, desperate to sign her up and get that first “exclusive” interview.

The conjecture of a lucrative deal has centred on the Knox family’s use of PR consultants in dealing with the diverse media and helping shape public perception of their daughter. Willingness to speak with international media throughout the trial has prompted many to predict that a ‘life story’ is on the cards.

[ Article: World reaction to the Amanda Knox verdict]

However, this all happened when Knox was still imprisoned. It is unclear if she will follow her family’s lead and open up publicly with her story. The only clue we have is that her first words after release were written thanks to the Italy-US Foundation, a body which promotes and supports ties between the two nations.

 “I am forever grateful for their caring hospitality and their courageous efforts,” she said. “Those who wrote, those who were close, those who prayed for me – I love you.”

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