So you know, Amanda Knox is free. In hours she arrives in Seattle.
There are two stories. One story is the well-told tale of the her controversial conviction in a far-fetched case overturned on appeal. Knox and former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were arrested in November 2007, after her flat-mate Meredith Kercher was found murdered.
The other story is the world she left and came back to: Seattle, WA.
Seattle has been woven into the case as much as Knox’s questionable reactions. Sophie Egan wrote that being a student abroad in Italy as Knox was initially accused was exciting, especially because she is from Seattle. The group “Friends of Amanda” is based here, and they watched the verdict in a local hotel. Knox’s father works for the Seattle Opera, and her mother works as a math teacher in an area school district. Knox attended Seattle Preparatory School. In other words, she is well connected and embedded in the Seattle community.
These connections assisted the Knox family with fundraisers and even resulted in a local judge writing to one of the Italian judges, though he was censured for improperly using his prestige to influence another case. One of the only politicians to take a stand on the case was Washington senator Maria Cantwell.
Amanda was a language student at the University of Washington. I walked around UW’s (that’s U “Dub” for you non-Seattlites) public gathering space, Red Square, asking students what they thought about the case. Though the school’s newspaper, the Daily, has covered most aspects of the case, many of the students I spoke with were unaware of the case.
“You’d think we’d know because we’re university students, we’re UW students,” Alana V. told me, after describing how unfamiliar she was with the case. Jason L. told me, “I know it’s big news… it’s a big deal apparently.” But he was mostly unfamiliar with it.
It happened too long ago. Four years is sufficient time for most of an undergraduate population to completely turn over. The people who were at the University when it happened have mostly graduated. Should Knox return to the UW, she’ll likely recognize the cherry trees and the roses around Drumheller Fountain, but she will not recognize the numerous construction projects on the campus, or that have sprouted up across the city. Time has elapsed.
Of course, not everyone was dispassionate about the story. Annica M., who also went to a girl’s prep school, described at length that this was a “sad story,” that she “feels bad for [Amanda].” Annica has followed the case because Knox is “from Seattle… a homegirl,” and felt the “appeal was very fortunate.”
These sentiments were common among anyone who had paid attention to the case. Katy K. said, “Whether she was guilty or innocent, I’m glad justice was served.” Students who paid attention gave explicit descriptions on why the evidence provided just was not enough, even if, like Katy, they were “unsure” of whether or not she was guilty. No one expressed regret over the decision, just that the case was “a mockery of the Italian justice system,” as Jason G. put it.
The media in Seattle has been overwhelmingly supportive of Knox. During the time preceding the appeal, the media ran stories woven with friend and kinship ties to Knox, as if to indirectly say, “She is one of us.” KOMO News wrote of the Knox family’s struggle to support their daughter in a heroic light. King 5 News asked viewers what questions they would like to ask her.
A local bar, Neumos, offered half-off their happy hour to celebrate Knox’s acquittal.
When Knox finally lands in Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, she will return to a place she has not seen in four years: Seattle. By all signs, it is a place ready to welcome her back.