* I have added to the end of this post a simply excellent comment I recieved from Greggy in response to this post, which outlines perfectly how we would have expected Amanda to have behaved had she been completely innocent of any involvement.

The body of Meredith Kercher was discovered on the floor of her bedroom on the 2nd November 2007. She had been stabbed in the neck, sexually assaulted and left to die. Just two days after the body was found, her American housemate Amanda Knox (by that time, probably well on her way to becoming a suspect) wrote this email to 23 of her family and friends.

I must confess I have never seen anything like this. To put it in some sort of context: Sending this email just days after your housemate (and friend) has been brutally murdered in the house you share, is a little bit like taking all your clothes off, walking to the police station and presenting them with a selection of handmade cakes, decorated (in blood) with the words ‘I killed my friend and I really don’t want to get caught’. It’s completely unnecessary, totally bonkers and a good indication that she was almost certainly involved in some capacity.

I’m currently working from the assumption that the formatting, content and structure of the email are Amanda’s own and that it has been posted ‘warts and all’ including structural and grammatical errors. With these points in mind, a few things about this email strike me as particularly indicative of guilt:

Lack of emotional response or fear and evidence of psychological detachment

The first thing that struck me when I read the email was its cold statement like tone. It’s almost as if Amanda is talking to the police, not her friends and family. At no point does Amanda directly indicate that she was afraid even when walking around the house she suspected had recently been burgled. After the discovery of the body she does not mention her emotional reaction to it or the reactions of other people present. This is supported by the testimony of Meredith’s friends who were surprised and disturbed by Amanda’s bizarre behaviour and lack of emotion or empathy at the police station. Sure it’s true that many people take death in different ways and some may go into shock. Amanda was not in shock. Amanda wasn’t feeling anything at all.

Amanda does briefly mention how she felt about Meredith at the beginning of the email where she describes her friend as being “english, beautiful, funny.” Yet Amanda has no praise for Meredith in life or in death other than to comment on her nationality, level of attractiveness and sense of humour which is an interesting insight into traits that are important or significant for her. Amanda expresses no kind words for the family and no reaction to the news that her friend is dead.

One point that interested me was, despite her lack of ability to process emotion, she mentions a guy she doesn’t like (Shaky) arriving at the police station, this is seemingly one of the only emotions she expresses, one of personal distaste. Also another interesting point to bear in mind; Amanda refers to her email as an “update”, either this implies she already knows that people are aware of the situation (and it is actually an update) which would contradict the content which implies this is not true, or she genuinely believes that this sort of message is actually an update instead of life-changing news.

Selective detail, contradictions and chronological order of events

Amanda states the purpose of the email is to inform family and friends of her account of “how i found my roommate murdered the morning of friday, november 2nd.” Though Amanda never found Meredith’s body or even saw it when the door was broken down, she later goes on to say “but when they opened merediths door and i heard filomena scream “a foot! a foot!” in italian i immedaitely tried to get to merediths room but raffael grabbed me and took me out of the house.” This is the first of many contradictions in this email. Firstly Amanda states that her email contains the details of how she found her friends body, then she states she was taken out of the house before she could get to the room where the body was found. Which is it Amanda? Did you find the body or didn’t you? Other people present at the police station and in Perugia in the subsequent days following the murder remember Amanda seeming proud about ‘finding the body’.

Memory of the events of the morning and afternoon (Nov 1st)
Amanda seems to have a virtually perfect memory of the events before and after the murder took place. She remembers exactly what she was doing the morning and afternoon of the 1st of November, allegedly the last time she saw Meredith alive. Amanda remembers in very precise detail when she went home, that Meredith was sleeping, her own location within the kitchen ,what Meredith was saying and doing, the fact she still had blood on her chin from the costume she’d worn out for Halloween, what Raffaele was eating and when Meredith took a shower.

I believe the detail: “meredith came out of the shower and grabbed some laundry or put some laundry in, one or the other and returned into her room after saying hi to raffael”, is highly deceptive.  In the previous paragraph Amanda has demonstrated an almost perfect recall of what Meredith had been saying and doing that morning, almost as if she had been watching her the whole time. With the previously alarming recall of Meredith’s precise movements and the fact that it’s pretty obvious whether someone is loading or unloading a washing machine it seems that the washing machine is a stress point for Amanda, the mop is also a stress point which I will discuss in more detail later.

Memory of the events of the evening and of the subsequent day (Nov 2nd)
Now I don’t know about you but if I was going to write a narrative odyssey of my precise actions and whereabouts before and after the murder of my housemate and friend I’d probably remember to include at least some detail about what I was doing the night my friend was actually killed. Bearing in mind Amanda’s penchant for detail, she offers this as an explanation for what she was doing that afternoon and evening: “after a little while of playing guitar me and raffael went to his house to watch movies and after to eat dinner and generally spend the evening and night indoors. we didnt go out.” Does this strike anyone as particularly odd? With the previous level of detail about the mornings events and details of the day after the murder continuing for pages and pages. Amanda offers the reader the most benign, vague and convenient excuse that they ‘generally’ spent ‘the evening and night indoors’ and ‘did not go out’.  Telling indeed. Amanda also discusses in great detail what happened when she got up the following morning around 10.30am and went back to the cottage. Amanda takes the readers on a journey through the cottage, making sure to point out the seemingly ‘obvious’ evidence of a break-in. It’s overly dramatic and completely detached, it felt like I was reading a bad CSI script.

At one point she tries to explain the presence of blood in the bathroom as being from her ears which she had recently had pierced “extensively”, then discounts this as insignificant. As with the previous section of the email (and assuming her version of events is true) she has seemingly excellent recall of what happened before, during and after the discovery of the body but not what she was doing at the time Meredith was killed. We could always blame the magic cop out bud, but we all know it doesn’t exist.

Amanda’s recollection of detail is too good and in her email she comes across like an actress practising her lines to the only audience that will believe what she has to say.

People construct lies in chronological order; therefore it would make sense that Amanda is telling her lie in chronological order but without referring to precise actions and whereabouts the night of the murder. It’s too vague. Some people might argue that as she is talking to her family and friends she does not need to defend herself and say what she was doing that night as they would assume she had nothing to do with it. If this is the case, why the spiel? Why the defensive tone? She might not be at the police station making a statement but it certainly seems she perceives it that way.

Bad spelling, grammar and punctuation

The spelling, grammar and punctuation are appalling as is the sentence structure and flow. As a language student (and we are led to believe a very smart one at that) one would expect her grasp of the English language to be slightly better, after all she’s telling the story of a lifetime. The errors could indicate that she was very tired when the email was written or in a state of high panic and/or stress.

Defensive tone and too much detail

The email is highly defensive in nature. Right from the very beginning Amanda wants the readers to know it is her side of the story. Rather than displaying any kind of empathy for the victim she launches into a scatty and badly structured rant about: the front door, the hairdryer, the faeces in the toilet, the faucet in the bathroom, the mat and why she needed to bring the mop back to Raffaele’s house. The mop is another stress point for Amanda. When the postal police arrived Amanda and Raffaele were holding a mop looking “embarrassed and surprised”.  As the evidence indicates a fairly thorough clean-up of the house, I imagine that Amanda would be fairly eager to explain away the presence of that mop pretty quickly.

Amanda claims that they needed to bring the mop “because after dinner raffael had spilled a lot of water on thefloor of his kitchen by accident and didnt have a mop to clean it up.” This is highly indicative of deception; a liar will often use too much detail and elaborate in order to convince you that their version of events is so full of detail and so specific that they couldn’t possibly have made it up. However the liar usually falls down in a similar way to people who stage a crime scene, they will often create the lie in a way that makes sense to them which is often illogical and lacking in common sense or any basis in reality. The fact that Amanda simply had to get the mop to clean up the water on the floor is nonsense; nobody would leave a big puddle of water on the floor overnight because they didn’t have a mop to clean it up you’d use a towel or some newspaper.  Also, if you simply had to have the mop, why not take the five minute walk over to the house and get it, it’s not far. It seems Amanda’s version of events does not add up, she wanted to clear up the water but she didn’t want to do it that night and she definitely, definitely wants them to know she didn’t go to the cottage *sighs* how amateur.

Identification with victim, self and others

I find the following comment about why the police were asking her too many questions very strange: “because i was the closest to her”. Anyone could have testified that Meredith and Amanda were close initially but drifted their own separate ways. Amanda is almost boasting here and seemingly trying to insinuate a close personal relationship with the victim that did not really exist.  Amanda mentions Meredith roughly 22 times in the whole email and uses first person singular words (such as I) nearly a thousand times. We would expect her to use quite a few of these words as she is telling a story, but Amanda rarely mentions anyone other than herself. She frequently spells the names of other people wrong, including her boyfriend Raffaele, whom she refers to as her ‘friend’ throughout. Amanda does not identify with any of the other ‘characters’ in the story and at no point does she make any effort to understand how they must be feeling. She is very detached, almost like she is writing a rather disjointed short story.

Certain parts of the email detail how she was annoyed at only having her bag and passport at the police station, being cold, having a stomach ache because of vending machine food, not wanting to repeat herself (despite repeatedly doing so throughout the email), not being able to leave Italy, not having any underwear or clothes and having to pay the next months’ rent without being able to live in the house. It reads like a narcissists manifesto. All this without expressing a single, solitary drop of emotion for the victim or her family and without even a flicker of fear. Truly, frighteningly disturbing.

Purpose of email

At this stage I believe Amanda already knew she was a suspect and was distancing herself from Raffaele. She mentions not being able to leave Italy and wanting to continue her studies without knowing if it will be possible, this is not exactly the sort of thing you worry about in an email informing people that the body of your friend has been found in the house you shared.

At this stage of the investigation the police had almost certainly noted her odd behaviour as had the people close to Meredith and were seriously considering her as a suspect. This email was both a bitter lie and a cry for help as the police were closing in and Amanda realised she really had nobody left to turn to who would believe what she had to say.  She knew she was going to be arrested.

(update below)

Greggy wrote: “To a narcissist, everything is me, me, me. How should of AK reacted if she was an innocent narcissist? First, she would have run screaming from the house as soon as she saw blood, called the police several times, and bragged to everyone about being at the murder scene and the trauma it inflicted on her. She would brag that she found the body (wait, she did do that). She would demand immediate police protection from the killer who came to the cottage, not for that British girl but to kill her. She would quickly leave school because she no longer had a nice place to live and wouldn’t go near her old house ever again. She would say her old clothes and belongings had bad karma now and demand that her parents buy her all new things. She would give newspaper interviews emphasizing that she was Miss Kercher’s best friend (take my picture, I am gorgeous!). She would adore talking to the police and everyone else about the crime exaggerating more and more details until the police realized she was a worthless witness and deport her back to Seattle. She would tell the Seattle newspapers that she was writing a book about the crime and its effects on her. She would thank Italy for being a wonderful country with nice people. These are some of the activities an innocent narcissist would possibly do. Miss Knox’s behavior has been decidedly different.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Why didn’t you do this Amanda? Are you ever going to tell us the truth?

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