There is an amazing story being played out in Italy, where a young college student named Amanda Knox has appealed her murder conviction due to inconsistencies, non-disclosures, and a plethora of circumstantial evidence. And as she and her attorneys are allowed to present new and refute old evidence in her defense in the hope of seeing her conviction overruled, Lifetime network will broadcast “Amanda Knox: Murder On Trial In Italy” (also referred to as “The Amanda Knox Story”) about the controversial case. The movie, starring “Heroes” actress Hayden Panettiere as Amanda Knox, has become the center of a bit of controversy as well.
Apparently the family of the victim, Meredith Kercher, are upset that the movie is being aired at all. Their lawyer, Francesco Maresca, said (as noted in London’s Metro), ” It is inopportune as the trial is still ongoing with two further appeals.”
Their objection is to the recreation of Kercher’s murder. Kercher, a 21-year-old English exchange student, was brutally murdered in Peruglia, Italy, in 2007. Evidence suggested that she had been choked and stabbed, dying a slow, horrific death.
Amanda Knox, then 20, and Raffaele Solecito, 23, were arrested five days after the murder. A month after her death, 20-year-old Rudy Guede was arrested for her murder. Inconsistencies in the stories of the three young people blurred the investigation from the start, but when it was all said and done, it was adjudicated that Knox and Sollecito, her boyfriend of less than a week at the time of Meredith Kercher’s murder, had participated with Guede in the sexual assault and murder of the exchange student after she had refused Guede’s sexual advances.
In sentencing, Guede received 16 years in prison after a fast-tracked trial. Sollecito received 25 years. Knox got 26.
Panattiere told ETOnline, ” “It is very fact driven and Lifetime is great with doing things like that and fact checking,” Panettiere tells ETonline. “I don’t think there is anything in there that would sway an opinion or have any impact negatively or positively on her appeal. I think if the family saw it, they would probably be much more relaxed then they are about it now.”
Meredith’s father, John Kercher, a British journalist, complained to The Sun, ” It’s awful what these film people have done.
“I’m surprised they have gone so far. I was told the original brief of the film was to take it up to the point of the killing but not actually show the killing.”
Kercher added, referring to the trailer of the Lifetime movie, “It’s obvious from these pictures they are showing the killing.”
He said he couldn’t understand how they could make a movie when there were still appeals in the process of being adjudicated. Kercher also noted that making the film also put the producers in jeopardy of being sued by Sollecito and Knox’ families should their appeals be upheld.
“I said a few months back I didn’t understand why the film was called Amanda Knox when my daughter was the victim.”
He said he hopes the pictures would be withdrawn from the Internet.
The trial became the center of a media firestorm, with people worldwide following the developments in the courtroom. It appeared that everyone had an opinion on whether or not “Foxy Knoxy,” as she came to be called by tabloids (for her alleged sexual appetites), had actually committed the murder.
Knox’ family and supporters believe that the publicity that the case received prior to trial may have prejudiced the jury. The appeals have been based on police testimony and possible coerced material, along with the possibility that the DNA evidence may have been somehow contaminated.
Knox and Sollecito’s lawyers have both attempted to stop the airing of the movie, according to MyWay.com. Knox’ lawyer, Della Vedova, sent a letter of warning to Lifetime to cancel the film and trailer. Sollecito’s lawyer, Luca Maori, noted that the letter contained the threat of sequestering the film to ensure that it was not aired.
It is unclear what the range of legal issues might be concerning the broadcast, nor is it clear what the legal ramifications might be once it is shown. But shown it will be.
“The Amanda Knox Story” (actual title: “Amanda Knox: Murder On Trial In Italy”) premieres on Monday, Feb. 21 at 9:00 p.m. EST on Lifetime.
Ann Lee, “Amanda Knox film recreates Meredith Kercher’s bloody murder,” Metro.co.uk
Paulette Cohn, “Panettiere On the Controversy Surrounding ‘The Amanda Knox Story,'” ETOnline.com
Dan Sales, “Meredith dad’s fury at sick murder film,” TheSun.co.uk