Nina Burleigh writes that Amanda Knox never retracted her bizarre sort-of-confession “officially”:
After she was arrested, Knox wrote in a notebook that she wasn’t sure of the memory described in her signed statement, but she did not officially retract her claim that Lumumba had been in the house.
Officially or not, Knox passed two handwritten notes on to the investigators, on Nov. 6 and 7. The second note contained an unequivocal retraction.
As a reminder, Amanda Knox was interrogated all night long on Nov. 5-6 at the Perugian questura. By all signs, her interrogation was planned well in advance: a team of cops from Rome had descended on Perugia, and a well-informed journalist admitted later, “[o]n the night of the fifth, we knew, journalists knew, something was going to happen.” At some point, there were as many as a dozen cops in the room with Knox.
Prosecutor Mignini – the conspiracy-obsessed, manipulative man who has persecuted dozens of innocents in his career – was also with the police by midnight, when the interrogation had barely begun.
Oddly, that crucial interrogation was never recorded even as the police had meticulously listened on and transcribed Knox’s phone calls for days. The official explanation was running out of the budget or some such nonsense, raising a huge red flag. No defense lawyer was present, either.
Know signed two typewritten statements in officialese Italian (which she probably did not quite understand) that night, at 1:45 and 5:45 a.m. The first was a “witness statement,” which is supposed to be in a Q & A format but Knox’s had no Q’s and her own “statement” was not marked as an answer – a bizzarre document. She admitted being at the house she shared with the victim and seeing Patrick Lumumba there while the crime was being committed. Lumumba had been a suspect for days – his calls had also been monitored – but to Knox, the interrogators feigned ignorance of his name.
In the morning on Nov. 6, before she was taken to prison, still at the questura, Knox wrote a note (all documents I’m quoting can be found here) and handed it to the cops. To quote parts of it (bear in mind Knox had a habit of writing down her thoughts instead of arguing, especially when under stress, a habit that went back to an early age):
In regards to this “confession” that I made last night, I want to make clear that I’m very doubtful of the verity of my statements because they were made under the pressures of stress, shock and extreme exhaustion. Not only was I told I would be arrested and put in jail for 30 years, but I was also hit in the head when I didn’t remember a fact correctly. I understand that the police are under a lot of stress, so I understand the treatment I received.
However, it was under this pressure and after many hours of confusion that my mind came up with these answers. In my mind I saw Patrik in flashes of blurred images. I saw him near the basketball court. I saw him at my front door. I saw myself cowering in the kitchen with my hands over my ears because in my head I could hear Meredith screaming. But I’ve said this many times so as to make myself clear: these things seem unreal to me, like a dream, and I am unsure if they are real things that happened or are just dreams my head has made to try to answer the questions in my head and the questions I am being asked.
Note this detail: 30 years is the maximum non-life prison term in Italy. Unless she’d been reading Italy’s criminal code – and her computer provided no such indication – Knox is probably telling the exact truth. She also reports:
The police have told me that they have hard evidence that places me at the house, my house, at the time of Meredith’s murder. I don’t know what proof they are talking about, but if this is true, it means I am very confused and my dreams must be real.
This explains a lot about the nature of the interrogation, which was not targeted at finding the truth but rather at getting someone arrested, preferably not Rudy Guede, the man who committed the crime alone (in all likelihood) and was probably a police agent of sorts.
Her “second memoriale” submitted from prison – handed to a guard on Nov. 7, less than two days after her “confession” – states clearly:
But now I remember that I can’t know who the murderer was because I didn’t return back to the house.
That’s a perfectly clear retraction to me. To put it into context, a longer excerpt from the Nov. 7 note:
I received a message from my boss about how I didn’t have to come into work and I sent him a message back with the words: “Ci vediamo. Buona serata.” While Raffaele rolled the joint I laid in bed quietly watching him. He asked me what I was thinking about and I told him I thought we were very different kinds of people. And so our conversation began, which I have already written about. After our conversation I know we stayed in bed together for a long time. We had sex and then afterward we played our game of looking at each other and making faces. After this period of time we fell asleep and I didn’t wake up until Friday morning. This is what happened and I could swear by it. I’m sorry I didn’t remember before and I’m sorry I said I could have been at the house when it happened. I said these things because I was confused and scared. I didn’t lie when I said I thought the killer was Patrick. I was very stressed at the time and I really did think he was the murderer. But now I remember that I can’t know who the murderer was because I didn’t return back to the house. I know the police will not be happy about this, but it’s the truth and I don’t know why my boyfriend told lies about me, but I think he is scared and doesn’t remember well either. But this is what it is, this is what I remember.
The notion that Amanda Knox is responsible for the 15-day incarceration of Patrick Lumumba should be put to rest. She made it clear enough to her interrogators on Nov. 6-7 that her “confession” was to be disregarded. Moreover, it was her interrogators who insisted that she imagine herself at the crime scene. Finally, the investigators knew from DNA tests by Nov. 6 that a third man, neither Lumumba not Sollecito, had sexually abused the victim.
The quote in the first paragraph is from The Fatal Gift of Beauty by Nina Burleigh. The texts of Knox’s memoriale can also be found in Candace Dempsey’s Murder in Italy.