In her first TV interview since being released from prison, Amanda Knox told Diane Sawyer that she wants to meet with the family of the roommate she was accused of killing, Meredith Kercher. But the Kercher family has reportedly said they're not interested, even though an Italian court determined she did not commit the crime. Why won't they accept Knox's innocence?
A retired King County Superior Court judge tells KIRO Radio's Ron & Don Show that the Italian court reviewing Knox's appeal studied the case for 10 months.
"There are three verdicts in Italy in a criminal case, as opposed to ours where there are only two verdicts. Ours are guilty and not guilty. There it is guilty, not guilty - meaning insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, and they have a third one that is rarely used in an appeal trial where there's been a conviction: they did not commit the crime," says retired Judge Michael Heavey. "That's what they said on Oct. 3 after looking at this intensely for 10 months. 'They did not commit the crime. They are innocent.'"
Heavey says the judges made clear in their written opinion that they believed Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were not responsible for the murder of Meredith Kercher.
"The last sentence of that 144-page opinion says, 'Our system will not tolerate the wrongful conviction of the innocent.'"
Regardless of that, the Kerchers are reportedly not interested in a meeting with Knox and do not plan to read her recently released book.
The Kercher family is locked on the idea that Knox and Sollecito are guilty, says Heavey, and once people have their mind locked on something, it's very hard to change.
"It's a thing called confirmation bias. It's a thing that we all have when we believe something, it's very hard to shake it. It doesn't matter how many facts that you tell them," says Heavey.
"Unfortunately for Amanda, a lot of the world and especially the people in the Kercher family, believe that she's guilty and that's all they've been told over and over. They cannot see the truth of the matter."
As for the recent Italian court decision to overturn Knox and Sollecito's acquittals, Heavey says that shouldn't cast doubt on their innocence; it's just an attempt to save face.
"If you listen to the commentators in Italy, they said 'Perhaps Judge Hellman went too far, with 'They did not commit the crime.'" If he'd just said 'There's insufficient evidence,' everybody could have saved face, but what he was really saying to people who understand it is, 'this four-year Italian opera is a farce. It's a fiction. It's an insult.'"
Heavey says the real criminals are the prosecutors and cops who told lies about Knox and Sollecito, and unfortunately some people still believe them.
"I can tell them [those who doubt Knox's innocence] that two judges and six popular judges looked at this case for 10 months and said there's a substantive non-existence of evidence, our system will not tolerate the wrongful conviction of the innocent. I could tell that to you, and I could tell that to your listeners, and you're still going to think Amanda Knox might have been involved. And that's the crying shame of this."