Candace Dempsey, author of Murder in Italy, speaks to the crowd gathered to hear a panel of experts present their views on the innocence of Amanda Knox on April 4 at Seattle University. Paul Ciolino, 48-Hours CBS investigator, another panelist, is pictured in profile.
SLIDESHOW: Amanda Knox panel makes the case for her innocence
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A forum of forensic and scientific experts, and authors gathered at the James C. Pigott Pavilion on the Seattle University campus Monday afternoon, April 4 and spoke to an audience of about 120 about the innocence, in their view, of West Seattle-raised Amanda Knox, convicted of killing her roommate Meredith Kercher in Italy.
Edwin Weihe, PhD., the S.U. Director of Film Studies, sponsored the forum. Tom Wright, a film producer who helped establish Friends of Amanda, assembled and moderated the forum,They included Paul Ciolino, Candace Dempsey, Mark Waterbury, author of The Monster of Perugia, Steve Moore, and Michael Heavey. In the audience were Amanda's father, Curt, her step-mother Cassandra, her aunt and uncle, Janet and Mick Huff, aunt Christina Hagge, and her grandmother, Liz Huff. Students also attended.
"Verdicts were reached," said Weihe. "The court has published the articles in evidence, what is the case for innocence that the defense can and must take."
"I'm Italian," said Ciolino, the CBS 48-Hours investigator who flew in from Chicago for the event. "I was raised by Italians. I had my ass kicked by Italians all my life. I don't have a problem with Italians. I love Italians. I love Italy(...) We've got a prosecutor who's got a lot of baggage, a lot of problems, Giuliano Mignini. I have seen more crap in this country. We're not any better than Italians, but we do have this rogue prosecutor on the case(...) Americans think we're bullet proof. That we're running the world. We're seen in Italy is that we're big shots, pushy, want to run the show.
"This is a big story because there is no evidence," he said. "She has been sitting in jail about 1,000 nights. She's in jail for being American, being pretty, and stretching and not looking right. (...) If we don't raise our voices she's going to sit in there for 26 years. She'll come out in a year or two is my best guess. Someone in the State Department will step in."
"There is a cottage in Italy where four attractive girls live," said Moore, reitred FBI agent, of the murder scene. "Rudy Guede burgled one room. He went to the bathroom and Meredith came home. He assaulted her, took her money, her phones, then fled to Germany. A crime like that happens in the world just about every day(...) In murder investigations you have to add evidence and remove suspects. In this case they added suspects and removed evidence."
"You can sell your story twice and make six figures," said Dempsey referring to Patrick Lumamba, Knox's boss at the disco she allegedly falsely accused. He sold his story both to a British, and Italian newspaper. Dempsey said British tabloids scoured the UW campus offering a lot of money to any student who knew Knox and could tell any salacious story about her personal life. Dempsey said her love life was pretty tame.
"The knife was selected from Raffaele's kitchen drawer because the police said 'It looked especially clean,'" said Waterbury of the alleged murder weapon. "They put it in an ordinary envelope. This knife had no special handling. In the press, the media mantra was 'Amanda's DNA is on the handle', Meredith's on the blade'. "
"Nearly 99.9- percent of accused murderers around the world go to court anonymously," said Heavey, a King County Judge and Fauntleroy resident, speaking in his private capacity. "With a high profile case you cannot put out information that will poison the jury pool. They have a duty not to release anything to public media. This was violated over and over, and the released information, the false information, came from police. "Foxy Knoxy" (Knox's knickname a British tabloid journalist exploited) was translated into "Evil Fox" in the Italian tabloids.
"It's hard to get someone back through back government channels when the two countries are allies," said Wright, who hopes Sen. Cantwell will get involved.
"Amanda is from Seattle and we own her," said Karen Pruett, a Vashon Island resident and Knox advocate. Knox's father grew up on Vashon Island, where his parents still reside. "The international press stole her from us and we want her back."
The complete video of this event is one hour fifty minutes long. If you are on a slower connection give it time to load. You may also watch the full event on YouTube HERE.
UPDATE: The Q and A segment is available through this link http://www.westseattleherald.com/2011/04/11/news/amanda-knox-forum-case-...
The West Seattle Herald thanks the Seattle University Film Studies Program for their provision of this video.
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