A 16-MONTH INVESTIGATION BY CBS NEWS’ “48 HOURS MYSTERY”
RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CASE AGAINST AN AMERICAN GIRL
ON TRIAL FOR MURDER IN ITALY
“I WAS HIT IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD BY ONE OF THE POLICE OFFICERS,” SAYS AMANDA KNOX IN AN AUDIO TAPE OBTAINED EXCLUSIVELY BY “48 HOURS MYSTERY” BROADCAST ON SATURDAY, APRIL 11
In an exclusive audio tape obtained by CBS News’ 48 HOURS MYSTERY, American student Amanda Knox describes to an Italian judge what happened the night she was brought in for questioning in the murder of her roommate, Meredith Kercher. “They kept asking me the same questions,” she recounts. “At a certain point the police began to be more aggressive with me…I was hit in the back of the head by one of the police officers who said she was trying to help me remember the truth.”
In addition to her claims that physical abuse led to her false confession, 48 HOURS MYSTERY, working with private investigator and 48 HOURS consultant Paul Ciolino, launched our own investigation. The 16-month probe raises serious questions about the key evidence, witnesses and forensic procedures in the case against Amanda Knox. Is this University of Washington honor student being falsely accused?
On November 2, 2007 Knox, who was studying for a semester in Perugia, Italy, was at the house when police discovered Kercher in her bedroom, semi-naked with her throat slashed. Within days she went from being a witness to a suspect in what prosecutor Giuliano Mignini called a drug-induced sex orgy gone wrong. After a 14-hour police interrogation, Knox told authorities that she and a local bar owner went to the apartment that night and the bar owner had sex with Kercher and then murdered her, a story that later proved false. “They threatened that I was going to go to prison for 30 years…They said I was lying,” she explains. “I was terrified, because I didn’t know what to do.”
Knox’s interrogation experience is echoed by best-selling author Doug Preston. In 2006, Preston was living in Italy writing a true-crime book about 14 serial killings that occurred in the Tuscan Hills between 1974 and 1985. Preston wrote The Monster of Florence with journalist Mario Spezi challenging investigators’ theory of the case. Prosecutors accused the authors of being involved in the murders and falsifying evidence.
“They hauled me in for an interrogation in front of Giuliano Mignini…About an hour into the interrogation the questions became very pointed and they became aggressive,” he recalls. They almost broke me down…I was terrified, my knees were shaking, I could barely walk.”
Preston was released without charge and left Italy. But as Knox’s trial enters its fourth month, Preston worries that she will be there for a very long time. “[Mignini] is absolutely determined to see her convicted…Public opinion is so against her that there will be an uproar if she is acquitted.”
Correspondent Peter Van Sant reports on “American Girl, Italian Nightmare” Saturday, April 11 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT), on the CBS Television Network. This broadcast is produced by Joe Halderman and Douglas Longhini. Peter Schweitzer is the senior producer and Al Briganti is the executive editor. Susan Zirinsky is the executive producer.