Yesterday Amanda Knox finally took the stand in her murder trial here in Italy. Amanda and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, are on trial for the murder of a British student, Meredith Kercher, back on November 1st, 2007 in Perugia.
Amanda, her boyfriend, and another man already convicted of the crime (Rudy Guede) were accused of killing Kercher while taking part in a bizarre sex and drugs game the night of the incident.
Amanda gave conflicting testimony during the investigation phase–but now claims that she was under a lot of pressure from Italian authorities and that they are to blame for her misleading claims.
The crime and the trial has been a huge deal here in Italy–and has gained notoriety in the U.S. I don’t know if Amanda is guilty of any aspect of this murder or not–but I find one particular aspect very intriguing and it runs to our broken human nature. Amanda expects others to extend her credibility out of a reservoir of flawed character. Read Amanda’s court room testimony as to her “true” alibi for the evening of November 1st: “She said she checked her e-mails at his place before the couple had dinner, watched a movie, smoked a marijuana joint, made love and fell asleep.”
Think about this–first, she already committed another crime. Possessing and smoking marijuana is against the law here in Italy–just as it is in the U.S. (Yes, I know there is a medicinal provision that exists in the U.S.–but not in Italy). Second, after only being in the country two months as a study abroad student, Amanda had an Italian boyfriend and was having sex with him–and this was probably not the first time. Third, the investigation and trial has revealed without a doubt that Amanda kept a very questionable stable of friends–guilt by association? No, but it certainly points to a lack of judgment. It is always interesting to me in our society that while we want to legalize drug use and allow people to maintain whatever moral lifestyle they choose–we inherently question people’s truthfulness when these extenuating factors exist. Think of any famous trial in the last quarter century and you will see the same thing. Deep down we actually believe that we are created with a moral conscience–with a moral compass–though deeply flawed, still active. In other words–good people largely don’t do heinous crimes–but bad people do. When we observe bad or illegal behavior in other areas of a person’s life it becomes really difficult for any of us to extend moral credibility in another area. Yet the accused always expects us to simply buy what their selling–even though their character doesn’t back it up. Character does matter–and we all know it–whether we are followers of Christ or not–it is in us. We are glad to extend credibility to those who demonstrate honorable character–we are immediately suspect when our observations do not back up the proposed claims of innocence–and so it will always be.
Character has everything to do with integrity–meaning we are the same people inside and out–there is a moral consistency to our lives that people can trust–we are not one person in one situation and another person in a different situation. Compare Job 1:1 and John 8:43-45.
Amanda cannot remotely demonstrate that integrity–therefore she is suspect. I don’t know if Amanda Knox is guilty of this crime–but her character has eroded her credibility. She deserves a fair trial–she does not deserve unquestioning trust and believability.