Who Killed Meredith Kercher? Amanda Knox & More Past Suspects Appear In Netflix's New Doc
Many who remember the murder of Meredith Kercher will likely agree with a journalist interviewed for the new Netflix documentary Amanda Knox, who remembers the case of the British student's death in 2007 appearing to be tailor-made for the tabloids. The 21-year-old Kercher was found murdered in her room in the Perugia, Italy home she shared with three other young women, and the press were quick to the scene, perhaps due in part to the victim being pretty, foreign, and a perceived innocent. The violent and mysterious details of the killing, plus the lack of an easily discernible motive, held the press and the public's interest for years. Especially when the investigation latched on to Kercher's American flatmate, 20-year-old college student Amanda Knox, and Knox's then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, as possible suspects (the duo were later exonerated of the murder charges). The Netflix doc explores the question of who killed Meredith Kercher, bringing Knox, Sollecito, and more back into the fold, along with Rudy Guede, the man currently imprisoned for Kercher's murder.
Amanda Knox debuts on Netflix Sept. 30, and the documentary combines archival footage with new interviews with members of the investigatory team, representatives of the media, lawyers who argued the case, and Knox herself. The documentary endeavors to give a full picture of the aftermath of that November night for Knox, with the new perspective made possible only by the passage of time. The question still remains: who killed Meredith Kercher? Amanda Knox is interested in four individuals, some mistakenly linked to her murder.
Guede, who was convicted of the murder, had lived in Perugia for most of his life but was born in West Africa. His fingerprints and DNA were both found at the crime scene, and previous charges of breaking and entering added to the police's suspicions that he was involved in Kercher's death. Guede fled to Germany after the murder, but was brought back to Italy to stand trial. Guede claimed in court that he had been invited into Kercher's home by her and that they were physically romantic, though did not have sex. He claimed that he went to the bathroom and came back to see the figure of a man with a knife fleeing the premises. Yet since the physical evidence didn't support his testimony, Guede was convicted of murder and sexual assault, sentenced to 30 years in prison, although he was acquitted of theft, as there appeared to be no break-in. An appeal caused his sentence to be cut down to 16 years.
Diya "Patrick" Lumumba was Knox's Congolese boss at a pub where she worked. According to Knox's statements in the documentary, on the night of Kercher's murder, Lumumba texted Knox to tell her she didn't have to come in for her shift, and Knox was happy to have the time off. When the police later questioned her about a text she sent to Lumumba explaining that she would see him later, Knox claims that she became confused and scared, and so she implicated Lumumba and herself during interrogation. Lumumba was arrested, but eventually freed when he supplied an alibi for his whereabouts that night. Knox was charged with slander and given a three-year sentence for falsely implicating Lumumba.
Knox had met Sollecito about a week before Kercher was killed. Both of them recount the whirlwind nature of their romance in the Netflix film, discussing how they spent as much time as they possibly could together. Knox maintains that they both stayed at Sollecito's apartment all night, smoking pot, hanging out, and having sex, and were not at the scene of the murder. Later, Sollecito told police that Knox was out late without him. His DNA, however, was found on the bloody clasp of the bra Kercher had been wearing, but Knox and Sollecito's defense attorneys both argued that the crime scene had been contaminated. After originally being convicted alongside Knox, Sollecito was cleared of the murder by the highest court in Italy in 2015.
Investigators were troubled by Knox's initial response to Kercher's murder, as footage of Sollecito and Knox hugging and kissing each other on the lips just outside of the crime scene caused many raised eyebrows. After interrogations, Knox and her boyfriend were charged with Kercher's murder, with headlines screaming about alleged "drug-fueled sex games" led by "Foxy Knoxy" (Knox's MySpace nickname). Knox spent four years in prison before she and Sollecito were eventually acquitted. They were tried again by the Court of Cassation in 2013 without having to return to prison, and in 2015, for Knox like for Sollecito, the process was finally over. She was found not guilty of the murder and cannot be retried.
To hear these stories in greater detail, check out the documentary on Netflix, out Sept. 30.