Just be happy for Amanda Knox

The woman at the heart of a notorious murder case is reportedly settling down

By Mary Elizabeth Williams
Published February 13, 2015 3:23PM (EST)
Amanda Knox      (Reuters/Andrew Kelly)
Amanda Knox (Reuters/Andrew Kelly)

The Reuters headline is almost charmingly understated. It reads, "Former U.S. exchange student Amanda Knox is engaged: reports." But Amanda Knox's great claim to life will never be that she was just an exchange student. As the announcement goes to quickly explain, she's also the woman who was "acquitted in the slaying of her British roommate in Italy and then being convicted again in absentia." And now that she may be headed down the aisle, the world's ceaseless fascination with the woman at the center of one of the most lurid trials of the century is destined to reignite.

In 2009, the Italian courts convicted Knox – along with former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito -- in connection with the 2007 murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher. She spent four years in prison and became internationally vilified as "Foxy Knoxy" before her conviction was overturned and she returned to the US in 2011. In March of 2013, she was retried in absentia and in January of 2014 she was found guilty again. She remains in the US awaiting appeal, which could go before the Italian courts as early as next month. Most recently she has been working as a reporter for a local newspaper in Seattle. The Seattle Times' Jonathan Martin reports that the 27 year-old is now set to wed New York musician Colin Sutherland, a childhood friend.

In its zeal to forever paint her as notorious, The Daily Beast tastelessly announced "A wedding to die for" and declared, "Amanda Knox Found Someone to Marry: The twice-convicted murderer who fled Italy for her native Seattle is engaged to a musician," adding, "It might seem perilous to marry a woman who has been convicted of murder." And the Mirror, not even trying, declared, "Killer Amanda Knox 'engaged to musician boyfriend' one year after being convicted again for murdering British student."

The vitriol towards Knox isn't as loud or consistent as it was in the heyday of her trial, but it still persists, and will, perhaps, forever. The idea of her being married only adds to the femme fatale role so many in the media seem determined to cast her in. She will wear the "convicted killer" badge her whole life, even though another person — Rudy Guede — was convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering Meredith Kercher. In an interview with Matt Lauer in 2013, she said, "There’s no trace of me in the room where my friend was murdered. There are traces all over the place of the man who actually did this. Rudy Guede was convicted, his DNA was everywhere, and it’s impossible for me to have participated in this crime if there’s no trace of me," but said she understood that " There is a polarization: I’m either a victim or a bloodthirsty killer who got off scot free." And in writing about the latest milestone in her unusual life, Jonathan Martin calls Knox's "a highly circumstantial case" and says, "She might be America’s most famous wrongfully convicted person." But what's sexy about that?

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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