With the release of the Netflix documentary, Amanda Knox, there’s renewed interest in the 2007 incident that left one woman dead and another woman living with the fact that some people will likely doubt her innocence forever. She opened up during a Friday evening Nightline interview, and explained why she initially lied to police about her whereabouts the day her roommate was murdered.
People reports that Knox was just 20-years-old when she decided to take a trip from her Seattle, Washington, home, to Perugia, Italy, where she hoped to spend a year learning and growing as an adult on her own. Knox’s stepfather initially felt she was too naive to make such a long trip alone. She went anyway, and soon after arriving, became roommates with British student, Meredith Kercher.
On November 1, 2007, police found Kercher lying in the apartment she shared with Knox, dead from a deep slash wound across her throat. Prior to authorities arriving, Knox discovered blood in the apartment bathroom after she returned home from spending the night with her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito.
She became alarmed when Kercher’s bedroom door was locked, although she thought it probably meant her roommate was still sleeping. Nevertheless, she called Sollecito, who quickly came over and began searching the apartment for missing items. Unbeknownst to him at the time, he contaminated a crime scene while scrambling through the apartment. After he found Kercher’s cellphones in a nearby garden, he too became alarmed.
The couple called the police and asked them break into Kercher’s bedroom, but when they declined, Sollecito’s had a friend knock her door down. After discovering Kercher, lifeless, lying under a duvet, they phoned Italian authorities again. Once the police arrived, they began questioning both Sollecito and Knox relentlessly, and according to Knox, it was their brutal interrogation that resulted in her lying about her whereabouts on the night of the murder.
“I was hit on the back of the head, I was yelled at. Police were coming in and out of the room telling me that I was a liar. It was chaos. It was utter chaos.”
TIME reports that Knox initially denied being in the apartment, but after a 53-hour interrogation, she changed her story and said she was actually there the night Kercher was killed. Knox stated that detectives accused her of having amnesia and used a number of different tactics to break her down.
“The police told me that I had amnesia, and that I better remember the truth. And so what they were forcing me to consider was that my memories that I had — that I had spent the night with Raffaele — were wrong and that I needed to re-scramble my brain around in order to bring out the truth.”
Knox and Sollecito were both charged with murder, and the case quickly became a media frenzy, with journalists from all over the world flying into Italy to snap photos of Knox. They were both found guilty in 2009, and although Knox later won an appeal and returned to the U.S., she admitted that the traumatic experience changed her life so much that she’ll never again be the person she once was.
“I am never going to be free of having had to go through that experience. There is no way I can go back to being the person who I was before all of this happened.”
Part of experience included spending four years in an Italian prison while tabloids across the world smeared her image by calling names such as a “sex-crazed killer” who participated in a “demonic orgy” with her boyfriend.
Both Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were officially found “not guilty” by the Court of Cassation, Italy’s highest court, on March 27, 2015. She currently lives back in her hometown of Seattle.
[Featured Image by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images/Stringer]