Amanda Knox, the 22 year old American undergrad studying in Perugia, Italy, has been found guilty of murder in the slaying two years ago of her British roommate, and sentenced to 26 years in prison. It's hard to imagine a more unlikely "perp" or a less likely outcome.
Amanda, who had worked three jobs to pay for her trip to Italy, had no history of violence and was shocked, after she volunteered to try to help the police, to find herself interrogated late into the night and physically abused to coerce a confession that the police, in time-honored and apparently international police fashion, decided to get from her.
There was no physical evidence linking her to the murder. The man whose DNA and blood were found all over the scene had already been found guilty of the murder and sentenced to 30 years.
The case against her was based on ephemeral evidence that must have seemed fantastical even to the Italian authorities. For example, the blanket thrown over the body, which prosecutors said would have been done by a woman, not a man, therefore made her guilty. Or because, they said, there had to be more than one murderer. Her lapses during the interrogation were turned into proof of guilt rather than the mistakes of a frightened, novice scapegoat. They concocted a tale of sex, drugs and violence that any fiction writer would have envied, and the British and Italian tabloids lapped it up.