Saturday, December 05, 2009

Amanda Knox and Meredith Kercher

I know very little about this case.  I have avoided stories of this story feverishly, even though it is a story that touches many of my neighbors.  Even though the accused lives in the same city, the same neighborhood, as my family.  However, I feel called to talk about it because it is so close to home, literally and figuratively.  

I have avoided this story the way I avoid all stories of murder:  gruesome murder, celebrity murder, exploitative stories about murder, tragic stories about murder.  I avoid these stories.  I don't watch movies that talk cavalierly about murder, or movies like Pulp Fiction that use dead bodies as a punch line.  I wince at the way murder is treated in this country, and especially in the news.

So I did not seek out and I do not wish to know more about the Amanda Knox story:  about her alibi, her claims of innocence.  I do not wish to hear the cries from her family that she could not possibly have done something like this.  I do not want to know.  I don't follow murder stories.  

My brother was murdered fourteen years ago, you see.  (Some of my longtime readers have heard me talk about this before.)  We found out weeks after it had happened.  They found my father's address in his personal effects and were able to track him down, and they called him to identify the body of his son.  

One of the killers was found and arrested, years later.  He went to trial.  I was asked to attend as a witness.  I saw photos of my brother's body, taken at the morgue, depicting the blows that ended his life.  I saw the evidence of what had been done to him.  I saw these things and I wish that I never had.

I saw the man who was accused of murdering my brother.   I heard the prosecutor and a witness to the crime describe the things that had been done to end my brother's life.  I heard his attorney offer alibis, explanations, reasons why their client could not possibly have done these horrible things.

I met his family, the murderer's family.  They couldn't understand how such a mistake could have happened.  They were upset, angry, confused, and they know their son was innocent.  They just knew it.  He wasn't that kind of person. 

He was found guilty by a jury of his peers, and was sentenced to life in prison.  I have not seen him since that trial and I don't know if I will ever see his face again, except in my dreams, except when I want to think about my brother and instead, I see the ruddy face of the man who took his life.

So no, I don't want to know more about Amanda Knox' situation.  I don't want to know the holes in the prosecution's case.  I don't want to know the alternative theories of how the murder transpired.  It's not that I dislike Ms. Knox or that I've prejudged her.  I just don't want to know any more.  I can't do it.  I choose to just close my eyes and let the system do its job.   

I know this, however.  I know that Italy is a nation of laws, a nation with a legitimate government.  I know that Knox' trial was not conducted by reading goat entrails or casting runes.  I know that her trial was carried out in a legitimate court.  And if the jury said that she was guilty, then I have to believe that she was guilty.  A person was murdered.  Meredith Kercher's family deserves justice.  I will not, I dare not question the judgment of that Italian jury.  It is not my right.  None of us has that right except the judge and the men and women who made up that jury.  That's how it works.   

I believe that the jury who convicted my brother's murder carried out their role and meted out justice.  I believe that the jury who convicted Amanda Knox did the same.  I have to believe that.  There are so many murders in this country and around the world that go unsolved, their perpetrators left to roam free, the families of the victims left with gaping wounds in their hearts.  I have to believe that justice was carried out here, and I do believe that.  It is disrespectful to Meredith Kercher's family, to that jury, and to the entire country of Italy to claim otherwise.  

And that's all I can say about that.  

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