Amanda Knox’s life story reads like a Lifetime movie — which it later became. But now that the American exchange student accused of murdering her roommate in Italy is going back on trial for the third time, she sat down with Diane Sawyer to tell her side of the story.
Knox’s name first hit headlines when she was accused of stabbing her roommate, Meredith Kercher, 47 times in their Italian home and subsequently sentenced to prison for 26 years after being found guilty. But after three years in prison, Knox was released on an appeal. Now, after completing a memoir titled Waiting to be Heard, Knox is heading back to Italy after that country’s Supreme Court ruled for the case to go back to trial.
Knox sat down with ABC’s Diane Sawyer for the special “A Murder. A Mystery. Amanda Knox Speaks.” Here are 10 takeaways from Knox’s testimony:
Knox was just trying to find herself: Calling her interest in having casual sex “an adventure of self-hood,” Knox explains that “I thought that’s what all self-confident free-spirited women did, and at that point, I still felt like a clueless girl.”
She was attracted to her Italian boyfriend because he reminded her of Harry Potter: Knox’s alibi on Nov. 1, the night of the murder, is that she was with her boyfriend, Harry Potter lookalike Raffaele Sollecito, at his house. “We had dinner. We watched a movie. We smoked. We had sex. We were together,” Knox said. “I smoked a joint with Sollecito, and what that did to my memories was it made them less concrete, but it didn’t black them out and it didn’t change them. We stayed in the whole night.”
She did not do cartwheels at the police station: After arriving home to find the front door ajar and hopping in the shower despite the blood on the bathmat, a lot of people question how Knox could’ve gone back to her boyfriend’s apartment without calling for help. And even more people question why she was doing gymnastics at the police station. Knox sets the record straight on the alleged cartwheels: “I did the splits, and that’s once.”
Her confession was forced: “I didn’t confess. I was interrogated. They acted like my answers were wrong. They told me I was wrong, that I didn’t remember correctly, that I had to remember correctly. And if I didn’t, I would never see my family.” And after Knox named Patrick Lumumba the murderer, more red flags appeared. Now, she explains that her hand was forced once again: “I wasn’t providing a lot of the detail,” Knox said. “They were asking me if I had heard Meredith scream, and when I said I didn’t remember, they said, ‘How could you not remember that she screamed?’ And I said, ‘Okay, I guess I remember that she screamed.’ It was all like that.”
She didn’t clean her DNA from Kercher’s room: Knox’s lack of DNA in Kercher’s room was no fault of her own. According to Knox, cleaning DNA is not one of her specialties. “That’s impossible. It’s impossible to see DNA, much less identify whose DNA it is.”
The prison lied to her about her having HIV: Knox admitted to contemplating suicide and recalled a particularly hard day in prison: “The doctor told me that I had tested positive for HIV,” Knox said. “I was stunned. I went back to my room with one of the prison officials telling me, ‘Well, you should’ve thought about it before you had sex with all those people.'” This information prompted Knox to make a list of all of her sexual partners, a list that the prison then confiscated. “They leaked it to the media often with mistranslations of what I had actually written in English.” The prison later informed her that they had made a mistake. Knox was not HIV positive.
She made friends in prison: Knox and her cellmate would sing The Star Spangled Banner every day. And in her spare time, she learned a song from the prison chaplain and became fluent in Italian.
Her friends and family stuck by her: With numerous visits from her family, Knox started to feel guilty about the sacrifices they were making: “I felt incredibly guilty for what they were having to sacrifice for me, and there was a certain point in my thinking in prison that if it didn’t work out and I never was free again, I was trying to figure out how I could ask them to move on with their life without me because I was tired of them having to sacrifice everything for me.”
Her life is back on track: Knox is currently studying creative writing at the University of Washington and has reunited with a former pre-Italy boyfriend, one who sent her a tracing of his hand while she was in prison… so that she would always have a hand to hold.
She’s still friends with her Italian boyfriend: Her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, the same one who never turned on Knox, has since visited her in Seattle. “He was faced with the prospect of not having a sentence if he just blamed me and he didn’t because he couldn’t live with a decision like that,” Knox said. “I had known him for seven days.”
Although she’s not as “chirpy” anymore, Knox is ready to be “reconsidered as a person.” And with that, she would love the opportunity to pay her respects at Kercher’s grave. But for now, with another trial looming ahead, “I have to be ready to fight and defend myself.”