The murder of foreign exchange student Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy and the trial of Amanda Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito has been a strange and twisted one -- not least because we've heard so little directly from Amanda and Raffaele themselves. Now Raffaele is telling his story in his new memoir.
And! I got to hear part of Raffaele's side of the story live and in person this afternoon. Raffaele appeared on Katie Couric's new show today to discuss his book -- and I was sitting in the audience just a few feet away. It was so surreal to be sitting so close to one of the key figures in this story I've been following and writing about. This was his first interview in English, so it was a little difficult to understand him sometimes. But I picked up a few hair-raising details from the interview.
On the set at 'Katie'First of all, I couldn't believe how young Raffaele seemed. He's still under 30, maybe 28 or so. He looks so fresh-faced and youthful for someone who endured a four-year nightmare in prison. And that's exactly what he calls it, a nightmare.
Contrast that with how he describes his relationship with Amanda -- "a dream." But here's the crazy part: They were a couple for only nine days before the murder! Suddenly all that weird cuddling and canoodling we saw them doing during the investigation makes sense. They were these two love-sick kids, lost in that hormonal haze we've all found ourselves in at the beginning of a romance. Was it appropriate? Probably not! But at least now it's understandable.
Raffaele also pointed out that he was comforting Amanda, who was on the other side of the ocean from her family and friends during a difficult time. Katie drilled him on some of the other details, and I was a little confused with his answers. Why didn't Amanda call the police when she first saw all that blood in her apartment? What was with the cartwheels in the police station?
Oddly, Raffaele contradicted what he wrote in his memoir. In his book he says he was surprised by Amanda's behavior. But in person he seemed to find it less so. Maybe he's changed his mind? As for why she didn't call the police, he says the blood drops were tiny, some mixed in standing water, and Amanda didn't see the broken window. When she looked in, it looked like something had happened, but never in her wildest imagination did it occur to her that there'd been a brutal murder. She just didn't get how serious the situation was. It wasn't until Raffaele looked around that he realized they needed to call the police (he also says her Italian wasn't that good then and she didn't know the emergency number).
So Raffaele is still a little fuzzy on the details. Well, who can blame him? It was years ago, and it was a traumatic series of events. But here's the touching part: He told Katie he doesn't regret meeting Amanda. "No, it was not her fault," he says.
And he could never have betrayed her. His family kept urging him to throw Amanda under the bus to clear himself. But he refused. "It was terrible, but I cannot walk on the street as a free man knowing I'm responsible for a 20-year-old innocent woman being in prison," he told Katie. To him, that would have been just as bad as spending time in prison.
As for meeting with Amanda after their ordeal, he says the woman he hugged at their meeting in Seattle was nothing like the woman fabricated by the media. He was nervous about meeting Amanda again in person and still felt the psychological scars from his ordeal. There was the girl he fell in love with, the girl he wrote to while was in prison, the girl created by the prosecution -- and then there was just Amanda, meeting Raffaele for the first time again after all of that. They still correspond, and the last time he heard from her, she sent him a song.
As much as we're still scratching our heads over this case -- and waiting to hear, someday, from Amanda herself -- I get the feeling Raffaele is still trying to figure out what happened, too. That must be part of the reason he wrote his story. But it seems like the story is still changing for him.
By the way: Today's episode also included a segment on Joanna Montgomery, the subject of CafeMom Studios' web series, It's Cancer, Baby. She is gorgeous and radiant in person, and she had her cute husband and adorable baby, Magnolia, with her. You'll have to catch the whole episode on Katie!
And about Katie -- she's so funny in person. She made a porn joke off-camera, you guys! And she had on the most perfect pair of nude stilettos.
Do some of the details Raffaele reveals clear up some of the questions you had about the case, or just make things more confusing?