L-R: Amanda Knox's sister Deanna and mother Edda Mellas, and Amanda's UW friend, Madison Paxton, attend a reading of "Murder in Italy" by Seattle-area journalist Candace Dempsey who wrote the book. The reading took place at the University Book Store just blocks from the campus Amanda Knox attended before becoming an exchange student in Perugia, Italy.
Amanda Knox book reading near UW campus sparks emotions
Seattle area resident Candace Dempsey, journalist, and author of "Murder in Italy" which covers what Italians have coined "The Crime of the Century," the slaying of Meredith Kercher, the conviction of West Seattle UW student Amanda Knox, her boyfriend of six days, Raffaele Sollecito, and drifter Rudy Guede, spoke at the University Book Store just blocks from the campus Knox attended college prior to her move to study in Italy.
Over 60 people attended, including members of Knox's family and college friends. Dempsey read portions of her book and took questions. Most people asked about differences between the American and Italian court systems, Amanda's possible motive, DNA, and her upcoming appeal.
"I want my book to unfold like a movie," Dempsey told the audience. "It starts out chronologically with the dream and nightmare. The dream, of course, is the two beautiful young students who are in Perugia and have a wonderful time and are roommates there, and ends with the nightmare, Meredith is murdered. Amanda is arrested and convicted for the murder.
"I'll read from Amanda's diary," Dempsey continued. I's not really a diary, just letters written on some of the tons of paper and pens given to her when she was first held in prison. She was given a desk lamp, but no books. She wrote this letter to her mother two weeks after she was in prison, 'Please don't leave me here. I need you to get me out. I don't belong here. I miss my life. I love you.'"
Dempsey then read a short letter Knox wrote to her former boyfriend D.J., back in Seattle. Then Dempsey discussed the circumstances.
"An English tabloid leaked this letter," Dempsey said. "D.J. never received the letter. It appeared within minutes in British tabloids, but was altered, really garbled."
She read dialogue from her book spoken by Madison Paxton, one of Knox's best friends from UW. "Clothes are just things to wear, a blouse, pants, shoes," Paxton tells Dempsey, and continues, "That's how Amanda thinks. She gets up in the morning and puts things on. She gave away lots of clothes and other things before she left Seattle. She wanted to save room in her luggage for her hiking and mountain climbing gear. She thought she was going to take all these great side trips in Italy. She wanted to get out into the countryside. She was excited about that."
Dempsey told the West Seattle Herald that she felt it was important to appear at the University Book Store.
"This is where it all started," she said. "This is where Amanda Knox left to go to Perugia and it's also symbolic because the book is about college students."
"I have not read the book," said Amanda's mother, Edda Mellas, emotional after the talk. "I can't do it. It's just too close to me now. I think that's cool that Candace read at this book store. It seems like there are so many supportive people here."
"I've only actually been to this book store once, with Amanda when she first started college," recalled her sister Deanna. "I went to Western (Washington U.) for two years." That campus is a two hour drive north of Seattle.
Of the book reading, Deanna said, "It still feels weird to hear stuff like this. I don't believe it's my family. I still don't get it through my head even after almost three years that it's about Amanda. I think the talk was good. On July 9 Amanda will be 23. I'll turn 22 in December."
"I'm looking forward to reading this book," said Cassandra Knox, Amanda's step-mother. "I'm thinking this might have a more accurate picture than other books that are out there.
"My daughters are doing fine, but have a very hard time, especially every time something comes up and Amanda is in the news," Cassandra said, referring to Ashley and Delaney. "It's surfacing again with the June 1 date."
On June 1 Amanda Knox was scheduled to reappear in court to face slander charges for accusing the police of hitting her in the head while first being questioned.
"One daughter gets very angry and another just talks a lot about it," added Cassandra. "They have different ways of handling it. Curt's home now so it keeps everything good at home."