Ray D’Arcy to Amanda-Waiting-to-be-Heard-Knox: “Why do you *keep* coming out to tell your story?”

Fullscreen capture 20180204 174325Every time Amanda Knox steps out of the cozy confines of Seattle, vitriol follows. Every time she’s asked to relate the events surrounding Meredith Kercher’s murder, she tells the same less-than-convincing story. So why does she keep doing it? by Nick van der Leek

Overall I found Amanda Knox’s demeanor in this interview to be suitably grave, until the moment she spoke about what she calls “the single victim fallacy”, and then dug the hole even deeper when she sang Come Out Ye Black and Tans, complete with an Irish accent, and then couldn’t stop laughing.

It’s this behavior that caused a riff not only between Knox and Meredith, or Knox and Meredith’s friends, but it’s what’s made her something of a misfit before and after the crime, and to the present day.

In the context of living together, a new lodger singing loudly and frequently, just being inappropriate constantly at inopportune moments eventually gets old, and then it gets irritating. Meredith eventually conveyed as much to her friends and her sister.

At 1 hour 9 minutes into D’Arcy’s interview with Amanda Knox which aired Saturday January 3rd, 2018, D’Arcy says, in the context of Meredith not being the only victim: “So you were wronged as well?” Knox answers unabashed: “Yeah!”

D’Arcy then offers an interesting insight into how he sees the whole debacle. If it was him, knowing what Knox had endured [in the media, in Italy and elsewhere], he said he’d stay home, close the door and pull the curtains.

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D’ARCY: Why do you come out and tell your story?

KNOX [Sighs heavily]: Well…one…reason is because a whole load of people have authored my experience, for me, and they’ve done a terrible job of it. Um…I feel like…my story belongs to me. And I’m the only one who can…tell it…TELL IT!

Not the noblest of reasons then, for wanting to be heard.  Interestingly, Knox didn’t actually author Waiting to be Heard, it was ghost written by Linda Kuhlman, and as narratives go, was pretty thin around the pertinent issues at hand.

When the New York Review of Books published their review of Waiting to be Heard, it was titled Amanda in Wonderland. The author of that article was taken aback by the publisher’s contention that Knox was telling the full story of what happened to her, from her point of view for the first time.

In reality, the story had been told inside out, drawn through the washer of four individual trials, explicated in dozens of books [including Sollecito’s which came out before Knox’s], analyzed in hundreds of magazine articles and circulated in thousands of newspaper columns in many languages. Blogs and counter blogs erupted, wiki sites and counter wiki’s dueled online, along with true crime forums entirely dedicated to one case. Knox herself, and her family, saturated the media with coverage of her that was more akin to a PR campaign than anything else.

In terms of Knox’s ability as writer, she’s not yet authored her own standalone work, despite claims in a People magazine article recently that she was working on another memoir titled Lady Justice.

In November 2017, coinciding with the ten year anniversary of Meredith’s murder [Knox’s claim to fame as she sees it, but infamy in fact] she wrote an article titled Mourning Meredith.

It starts as follows:

Ten years ago tonight, my friend was raped and murdered by a burglar when she was home alone in the apartment we shared while studying abroad in Perugia, Italy. 

In fact, Meredith was not raped, and neither was she murdered by a burglar. Whether Meredith was home alone is also a matter of some dispute. In other words, in just a single sentence from an article penned by Knox herself, one can see how full of crap her writing is.

….a whole load of people have authored my experience, for me, and they’ve done a terrible job of it…

To date I’ve written two trilogies on the Knox case, one, Deceit, – the most reviewed of 71 books currently published on Amazon – was quickly but briefly banned.

All the books I’ve published on Knox have been heavily trolled, earning negative reviews within hours of publication.

I’ve written about a number of high profile criminals, but Knox’s army of supporters are by far the most aggressive and vindictive.  That said, some of Knox’s critics are also some of most obsessed in the true crime genre.

Knowing the case file, and understanding what Knox has gotten away with, it’s difficult not to be angered by Knox.

Ten years later, Knox is back trying to claim ownership of “her” story [the story about how she didn’t murder someone]. By saying “my story belongs to me”, it sounds as if Knox is pitching for some sort of second book or movie deal; she seems mostly adamant about making a financial case for “her” story.

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In Knox’s February 3rd interview, I was surprised at two things above all:

Firstly, by how often she referred to herself as a slut or a whore. In the archives I’ve gone through, and remember, I’ve written two trilogies with two final books on the way,  it’s not accurate to say that’s how she was depicted in the media, then or now. I’ve not depicted her that way, nor in those terms, and I can’t say I’ve come across those depictions, other than occasionally on social media. So who is Knox referring to? The Italian police circa 2007?

Knox also seems to be trying to cotton-on to the #MeToo movement, except it doesn’t quite work. Or does it? Perhaps I’m in the wrong demographic.

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The second thing that surprised me was when Knox became emotional, and just how emotional she became. She chokes up and seems to start crying. Knox first becomes tearful as she describes Lumumba’s family having the “Jesus” [actually it’s the “bejesus”] scared out of them. Knox doesn’t mention that she could simply have told the police she’d been mistaken at any time afterwards, and Lumumba would have been off the hook.

I’ve listened to many prison intercepts immediately after her arrest [Knox, Sollecito and Lumumba were arrested and jailed on the same morning] yet Knox doesn’t communicate the sort of remorse we see on TV, or mention Lumumba to her parents. She’s never adamant to them that he’s innocent, and that it’s her fault he’s in jail.

Imagine how that conversation might have gone if it happened.

KNOX: My boss, I accused him and he’s in jail but he didn’t do it.

MOM: Why’d you do a thing like that?

Because I tell lies? Because I’m a liar?

KNOX: Um…look, the point is he’s innocent. Will you make sure Mignini gets that message?

MOM: Okay but if he’s innocent, who did it? Why did you falsely accuse him?

Fact is, she falsely accused him and the accusation remained in force even when her memory cleared. While he was under arrest it was to her benefit. It was only when Rudy Guede was found, that Lumumba was released about two weeks later, but by then the damage to his reputation [thanks to Knox] was done.

Isn’t it ironic, Knox petitioning for the rights of falsely accused person’s, when that’s exactly what she did to him?

As easy as it is to be duped by  her emotion – and it may well be sincere, in the sense that a narcissist’s sense of victimization is piercing – just nine minutes after the tears she’s singing and laughing uncontrollably. That’s Amanda Knox for you.

Knox, overall, seems to have aged a lot more than ten years since the murder in 2007. There’s something gaunt and sterile about her now. The frivolity is still there, one can see that in Knox’s goofy logic and in the dress code of her oddball boyfriend Christopher Robinson.


Coming back to the original question:

Why do you come out and tell your story?

In studio, Knox casts about towards the ceiling, in search of the most appropriate response. Knox has had ten years of practice – writing about it, performing in front of cameras, reading about herself and thinking about it – how to portray herself just right.

Why do you come out and tell your story?

Well, because you’re innocent, right? Oh no, that’s passé.

For Meredith. In order to set the record straight in terms of justice, and to assure them that Knox is above reproach. No, that’s passé too.

Because you want to set the record straight, once and for all, after ten years you finally have it all down to bite sized chunks. No, during this interview she essentially glosses through things just as she did in her book, with the exception of the break-in to Filomena’s room.

It’s odd that, because that was the first thing she mentioned in her memorial to Meredith:

Ten years ago tonight, my friend was raped and murdered by a burglar…

She leaves that out during her run through of arriving home and finding weird things. There’s an open door, there’s poop, and there’s splodges of blood in her bathroom. No big deal, she has her shower and heads off.

Besides the burglar narrative, what’s missing from the umpteenth reiteration of the story?  There’s just no reason for Amanda Knox to check on Meredith. Meredith’s the only resident that’s supposed to be home that weekend, and she’s supposed to Knox’s friend [according to Knox].

Also, Knox knew Meredith was supposed to be home, but unless people researched elsewhere for the full context, they wouldn’t know that much of Perugia had decamped for the long holiday weekend. Knox naturally doesn’t tell them that while everyone had gone to be with their family and loved one’s, Meredith and herself were exceptions.

In the last couple of narratives I’ve done, I’ve made it explicit via a detailed timeline, that despite Knox’s contention that she was spending all her time at Sollecito’s, actually, she wasn’t. In fact, within a few days of their dalliance they appeared to be not getting along very well, and Knox seemed to be cheating on her new Italian love. Sollecito says as much in his memoir, noting it wasn’t easy getting his thesis done while Knox sang Beatles songs, kept him awake and woke up at the crack of dawn.

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They even spent Halloween apart – Knox partying with…who again?  Because it wasn’t Meredith and her friends.

As it stood, when Knox went home for her shower, Meredith was already dead, and it was her blood in the basin, and some of Amanda Knox’s blood too.

In her book, the one she sold for $4 million, in her published version of events, during her first visit to the villa, Knox notices the front door open and Filomena’s broken window and showers anyway.

Here’s a quick recap of the pertinent narrative highlighted in pink:

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Fullscreen capture 20180204 182759-002Knox calls Filomena afterwards to tell her her room’s been broken into [so Filomena can sort of take responsibility for the crime scene] and then decides to check in to Seattle too, right then, even though it’s around 01:00 on the other side of the world, and it’s been weeks since she called her mother.

Filomena has to tell Knox to call Meredith, and Knox’s mother has to tell her to call her roomates [and later the police], but she waits until they arrive, and then Sollecito calls to report a break-in where “nothing has been taken”.

Meanwhile, Filomena’s worried about Meredith, and Knox is worried about poop that’s not even in her bathroom.  The blood? It’s no biggie.

The poop of course belonged to Rudy Guede, and so highlighting that to the cops from the get-go was an early ploy to get the cops focused on a third suspect. But who would know to do that?

Knox, unperturbed about Meredith, tells the police it’s normal for Meredith to have her door locked. It’s eventually Filomena’s friend who breaks the door down to reveal a bloodbath, with Meredith at the center of it. While Filomena screams, Knox is mute, and Sollecito kisses and comforts her outside.

Why do you come out and tell your story?

Is Knox aware that her friend is dead? How long has she been aware?

Why is Meredith’s door locked?

Why would a murderer who didn’t live there, lock the door behind him/her, and why are bloody shoe and footprints partially washed away?

Who would be more likely to clean up a crime scene – someone who lived there, or someone who didn’t?

Why do you come out and tell your story?

And why does Knox return to Sollecito carrying a mop and bucket on that day of all days. She was well-known among her roommates to be something of a slob.  She had to be reminded to wash and clean-up after her. it was another pet-peeve with Meredith.

Also, why is Knox’s reading lamp on the floor in Meredith’s room, when the door’s kicked open?

Why do you come out and tell your story?

So if Meredith was supposed to be home, and there was blood, why not knock on her door and say, “Hey, you okay?” There’s no reason to do that if Meredith’s dead, although a clever storyteller would do that.

Of course this lack of care and consideration for Meredith is the theme of the whole interview with D’Arcy. Knox doesn’t waste a breath talking about the things Meredith has missed out on over the last 10 years.

When Knox is asked about her friendship with Meredith, she immediately begins fudging. She doesn’t have much to say about Meredith, “out of respect.”

If your neighbor accused you of stealing his car when you were honeymooning in the Caribbean, why would you come out and tell your story, ten years after the false accusations?

If you’d written a book about your lousy neighbor, and were paid $4 million for it, might the reason you’d be back not be to sell more books? Perhaps you’re thinking of settling down and starting your own family, and you’re in need of a nest egg. Perhaps your not extremely successful partner is pressing for this too. And the fastest way to earn dosh is to talk about how you didn’t steal your neighbor’s car?

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Amanda Knox was so wronged, she earned a $4 million advance on her book, and continues to do speaking engagements at $7000 a ticket – which doubles as PR for the book that earned those millions.

Her co-accused, Raffaele Sollecito was also offered a $1 million advance on his book.

But ten years later the money is mostly gone, the story has been wrung out, and Meredith remains murdered without sufficient explanation or recompense.


Our Conclusions In “Deceit” & “Dark Matter” And How Our Journey Took Us To Them

Originally posted August 2015, by Nick van der Leek

Albert Einstein once said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

One of the tremendously rewarding experiences we [my co-author Lisa Wilson and I] have as authors is our research forces us to set up camp around questions.  We spend time: mornings, afternoons, days, weeks, even months asking questions and pursuing answers.  The amazing thing when it comes to True Crime, especially popular crime, is those answers are out there. One merely needs to go out and make the effort to look for them. And keep looking.  Seek and we do find!

What makes our narratives distinctive, I think, is that Lisa and I, more often than not, work as a team. How many other narratives have two researchers and authors, working from opposite sides of the Atlantic?  While Lisa provides a US perspective as a juror, a researcher and a True Crime buff, I’m most interested in the intuitive subtleties that underlie these cases.  The psychology, the economics, the motives. Human behavior is fascinating, especially when it drives people to the extreme. I’m also intrigued by what these intuitions reveals about us, and society.


I wasn’t always into True Crime, in fact, like Ann Rule, I sort of fell into it by accident.  While Rule worked with Ted Bundy, I was Facebook friends with the model, Reeva Steenkamp, that Oscar Pistorius shot dead in his bathroom.  I didn’t intend to write a novel, I simply started asking questions, and then penned a 12 000 word magazine article [intended as a 4 part series].  That narrative eventually became my first bestseller.

Although I studied law and economics, I left the corporate environment to freelance full-time as a photographer and writer. My great grandfather was a famous South African artist, and my brother and aunt are also both well regarded artists [and yes, freelancers] in their own rights too.  I guess there is something restless in both mine and Lisa’s blood that makes us want to dig beneath the surface, to see expanded perspectives beyond what the media serves us.

I need to not only explore the world beyond my door, but represent it to myself and others in a constructive and meaningful way. I feel passionate about meaning above all, and it’s gratifying to find so much in such grim a setting where someone has lost their life.  When we honor the victims, when we remember them honestly, something unexpected happens: we also set ourselves straight, we also get ourselves [and society to some extent] back on track.

In terms of the Amanda Knox case, I stepped into the bullring for the first time in April this year [2015].  I knew virtually nothing about the case other than it had been newsworthy around the world.  I knew ‘something’ had happened in Italy, and that Amanda Knox was somehow involved [or not] because she was a housemate of a murdered British girl [also a student].  Before I started studying the case I had no bias either way – I didn’t know whether she was guilty or not.  Based on the little media that came my way, there seemed to me to be equal parts bias that she was innocent and…suspicious.

As soon as I started examining the case, literally within a few minutes, my interest was aroused.  It was along the lines of: she’s hiding something.  It was also along the lines that Amanda might be complicit in some way, but probably not involved in the actual murder.  How could she? Why would she?

Again, it is easy to ask these questions and then walk away from them without investing time in their answers. And when they do come they’re…well…stupefying.

While Lisa was in Italy, for work and research, I started working behind-the-scenes on a narrative Lisa and I designed a framework for called DOUBT.  The plan was that Lisa would return and then we would work on the narrative together.  I got so caught up in my own research I started on the narrative and by the time Lisa returned from Italy, DOUBT was done.  Interestingly, upon Lisa’s return, she still wasn’t 100% convinced Amanda was directly responsible for the murder.  The topic resulted in one or two heated Skype calls between us.

A lie repeated often enough [there was no DNA] eventually becomes, if not the truth, then a kind of truism, doesn’t it? A truism isn’t the truth, it’s a platitude. It’s something you say to get rid of inquiring minds.

No DNA? Well, of course there is – at least five instances of it, mixed with Meredith’s blood.  What’s perhaps more bizarre, for example, is the lack of Amanda’s fingerprints in her own home.  A single print? How many of us could say the same about fingerprints in our own homes?  Our computers, door handles, kitchen areas ought to be covered with prints.  Coming back to DNA, not only is Amanda’s DNA present in the villa, but so is Raffaele’s in Meredith’s bloody bedroom.

What’s the chance that Raffaele was at the villa, in Meredith’s room, but not Amanda?  What was he doing there if Amanda wasn’t with him? And is it any surprise that Meredith’s bra, cut with a knife after the murder, also had Raffaele’s DNA on the bra clasp? This is a guy who had a knife fetish, and who was carrying a knife at the time of his arrest.

In DOUBT [which was banned at first by strident Pro Knoxers and then resurrected as DECEIT], I identified 28 Red Flags.  These were singular signals that seem to show patterns of inconsistency.  Things just didn’t add up.  Indeed, Amanda did seem to be [and still is?] hiding something.  In our follow-up narrative, DARK MATTER, Lisa and I brought a binocular laser-like narrative focus to the four days of intense police investigation following the discovery of Meredith’s body at midday on November 2nd, 2007.

This time, we identified an additional 100+ Red Flags.  In addition to these, we listed several other highly suspicious events amongst other increasingly odd behaviors – not only from Amanda, but also Raffaele. It’s when we pool all of these clues together that a picture begins to emerge.  Patterns emerge.  And suddenly the mystery becomes…less mysterious.

If my initial ‘gut feel’ was that Amanda was simply ‘hiding something’, by the end of DECEIT there was little doubt that there was a lot more going on than that.  In fact, I’ve suggested to Lisa that based on forensic evidence alone [if one threw away all the circumstantial evidence], Amanda would still a have a major case to answer to. Lisa would eventually agree.  Conversely, if one took the entirety of circumstantial evidence, including the on-again-off-again alibi, and simultaneously ignored the totality of forensic evidence, Amanda would still have a major case to answer to.  That’s my opinion.  Lisa’s too, now that she’s gone beneath the surface of this case herself.

The irony is this case is so large, so convoluted, so full of spin and counter-spin, that it is easy to get lost in the details. As we see so often in court cases, it is not a lack of evidence that is a problem, it is the volume of it that gets disconcerting, and frequently confusing.  Confusion and doubt [and ‘reasonable doubt’] go hand in hand.  Of course, being confused by a lot of information is not the same as uncertainty based on a lack of evidence, or based on ambiguous evidence. The evidence isn’t ambiguous.

As such it is Lisa’s and my mission to demystify the eight years culminating in Amanda’s and Raffaele’s ultimate acquittal.  Our narratives, especially the first two or three in the series are probably better suited to newbies [people like us].  In the many narratives to come, Lisa and I expect to be as well versed as some folks on forums and resources like the incredibly valuable True Justice.org.

Before wrapping up, I’d like to share a final insight based on our experience writing another true crime series.  It may seem like Amanda Knox, Jodi Arias and Oscar Pistorius are three distinct individuals, with nothing in common.  But when we look closer, we don’t simply see matches in certain defense schemes, we see entire patterns of conduct [including motive] overlapping, and doing so perfectly.

what you thought

In South Africa, we have a similar situation where the media profit from stories on Oscar Pistorius.  They are reluctant to declare him guilty as that would be slaying a potential ‘cash cow’, and with book deals hanging in the balance [an acquittal is literally worth millions], the media are hedging their bets.

As a person involved in the media, I’m appalled at this, hence our multiple narratives on Oscar, two detailing his motive and the method of what we speculate was premeditated murder.  In terms of Amanda Knox, we suspect a similar game play between the media and Knox.  Both seem to be involved in a kind of PR waltz which both stand to benefit from, if they can dance consistently to their own music.

It was once said of Lance Armstrong that one shouldn’t make Lance Armstrong angry.  Anger is what motivates Lance to win.  And then the punch line: ‘Beating Lance makes him angry.’  Lisa and I have been astonished at the level of organisation and aggressive militancy [and dirty tricks] employed by Amanda’s supporters.  If this was intended to dissuade us from writing, these folks couldn’t be more wrong.

We are not out to make money, Lisa and I, although we care that our narratives resonate and are successful.  What we really care about is justice.  The bottom line, whether one is a criminal, or the supporter of a criminal is you never look good trying to make someone else look bad. The venom and personal insults Lisa and I have endured in our reviews is impressive.  The strategy is clear – attack the credibility of the messenger [since the message itself is problematic].

Our credibility is simple to establish. For my part, I am a professional writer. I did not gain a twitter following of almost 14 000 based on bad writing.  I work and write in partnership with Lisa because her research is often deeper and even more thorough than mine.  For me, our credibility is based on just two tests:  our personal standards and our level of honesty towards ourselves and others.  What distinguishes our narratives from all the others out there is the level of honesty – including self disclosure – both of us bring to our work.

This is because we care about something beyond justice. Besides wanting our readers to have a meaningful and genuine experience reading about these tragic crimes, we – as authors – also want to be enriched.  When we make it a personal journey, the insights and intuitions are truly rewarding. We find how these folks – not only the victim but also the perpetrators – are not so very different from us.  In this sense, if we genuinely learn something from these true stories, Meredith Kercher’s death need not be in vain.

Follow Nick van der Leek @HiRezLife and Lisa Wilson @lisawJ13