One week from today, the long awaited book “Waiting to Be Heard: A Memoir,” written by Amanda Knox, will hit bookshelves across America. Knox’s first interview, conducted by Diane Sawyer of ABC News, will air on the evening of the book’s release.
In a recent interview with John Follain of the Sunday Times, Patrick Lumumba stated that Amanda Knox’s book deal was dirty money. Like Knox, Lumumba was falsely accused of murdering Meredith Kercher by Perugian authorities in late 2007. The difference being that Knox spent nearly 4 years in prison before being exonerated. Lumumba’s ordeal with police was cleared up within 2 weeks.
Meredith Kercher was murdered in Perugia Italy, November 1st, 2007. Kercher was found stabbed to death in her bedroom, in a cottage she shared with Amanda Knox and two other roommates.
In an extreme rush to judgment, the police used faulty information to arrest three innocent people: Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, and Patrick Lumumba. Headlines around the world would deliver the shocking news that Kercher was murdered by this trio in a satanic ritualistic group sex game gone wrong.
Knox was first to enter the cottage the morning after the murder when returning home from spending the night at her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito’s apartment. Knox became concerned because the front door was left opened and a small amount of blood could be seen in the bathroom. She left the cottage, returning with Sollecito to further investigate what she had seen. After discovering a broken window, the police were called, leading to the discovery of Kercher’s body behind her locked bedroom door. Knox and Sollecito instantly drew the attention of police. Both endured many hours of questioning in the days leading up to an aggressive late night interrogation that would produce unreliable results.
Things went seriously wrong in the investigation when a text message on Knox’s phone was taken out of context. The text from Knox to Lumumba (a local bar owner Knox worked for), “see you later” was taken literally by investigators. In the US, this phrase, in the context that it was written, simply means goodbye. The police told Knox the text meant that she planned on meeting Lumumba on the night of the murder. The police also left out the second part of the message, “good night.” When you put the phrase together, it explains the meaning even more clearly. Knox had no intention of meeting Lumumba that night. Lumumba had told her she was not needed at work and Knox was simply saying goodbye in response.
The text gave the police a name. Once they had Lumumba in their sights, interrogators turned up the pressure on Knox to implicate him. Knox was told to imagine how the murder might have occurred. When Knox could not provide the information requested, she was physically and mentally abused.
Amanda stated in court testimony that she was repeatedly slapped on the back of her head and called a stupid liar. Interrogators lied to Knox, telling her they had proof that she was at the crime scene at the time of the murder, and if she did not do as she was told, she would end up in prison for 30 years, never to see her family again.
This abuse went on for hours until Knox was finally broken. Suffering from extreme exhaustion, after a long and grueling interrogation, the twenty-year-old college student gave in to her interrogators demands by describing an imaginary dream or vision. In this vision, she was in the kitchen of the cottage covering her ears to block out screams, while Lumumba was in Meredith’s bedroom.
Shortly after the interrogation ended, Knox recanted her statements stating that she was under the pressures of stress, shock and extreme exhaustion. Knox’s retraction had no influence on the police; they rushed out to arrest Lumumba anyway.
The ordeal began for Lumumba and his family in the early morning hours of November 6, 2007, when he and his wife Aleksandra were shocked out of bed by the doorbell ringing, followed by up to twenty police officers barging through their door. Lumumba was forcefully taken from his home as his wife tried to console their screaming son Davide. Lumumba would later recall the event during interviews:
“They were wearing normal clothes and carrying guns, I thought it must be some sort of armed gang about to kill me. I was terrified.”
“They hit me over the head and yelled ‘dirty black’. Then they put handcuffs on me and shoved me out of the door, as Aleksandra pulled Davide away, screaming.”
The police were well prepared when they came for Lumumba, bringing a fleet of seven squad cars to his home in order to give him a safe escort back to the police station. When Lumumba arrived at the station, much like Knox, he was subjected to a long grueling interrogation.
Lumumba revealed this information in an interview with the Daily Mail and later confirmed the details with Katie Crouch from Slate.com.
“I was questioned by five men and women, some of whom punched and kicked me. They forced me on my knees against the wall and said I should be in America where I would be given the electric chair for my crime. All they kept saying was, ‘You did it, you did it.’”
“I didn’t know what I’d ‘done’. I was scared and humiliated. Then, after a couple of hours one of them suggested they show me a picture of ‘the dead girl’ to get me to confess.”
“It might sound naive, but it was only then that I made the connection between Meredith’s death and my arrest. Stunned, I said, You think I killed Meredith?”
Lumumba spent two weeks in prison before being released because he had a rock solid alibi. Lumumba repeatedly told police that he was at his bar “Le Chic” at the time of the murder. Thankfully for him, a Swiss professor who had spent the evening in question at Le Chic talking to Lumumba came forward to confirm Lumumba’s whereabouts. Without this alibi, Lumumba could have easily found himself in a far more terrifying situation.
Shortly before Lumumba’s release, DNA evidence taken from the crime scene led investigators to another suspect named Rudy Guede. Unsurprisingly, by the time the police came looking for Guede, he had already fled to Germany. He was stopped in Germany trying to board a train without a ticket and was immediately extradited back to Italy.
The truth is Guede’s known history of burglaries in Perugia should have led the authorities to him much sooner, causing experts like Dr. Mark Waterbury and Forensics Engineer Ron Hendry to question why it took so long to bring him in. Was Guede a police informant as suggested by Waterbury? Did they have no choice other than to bring in Guede when the case against Lumumba fell apart?
We may never find out the truth about the relationship between the police and Rudy Guede, but one thing is clear, Patrick Lumumba is fortunate to have had a solid alibi on the night of the murder. Chances are, if he had been alone that night, instead of working at his bar where someone could verify his presence, he would have likely spent many years in prison waiting for vindication.
After Lumumba’s release and Guede’s arrest, the prosecution should have admitted that all credible evidence pointed right at Guede, no one else, just him. Knox and Sollecito had absolutely nothing to do with Kercher’s murder. There was no evidence at all to suggest that Meredith was killed by a trio of attackers during a satanic ritualistic group sex game gone wrong as originally alleged.
Unfortunately, actual facts did not matter to the prosecution. Statements had already been made to the press that the crime had been solved. In order to save face, the prosecution simply removed Lumumba from their theory, plugged in Guede, and pressed forward with their “revised” trio of attackers.
Lumumba went on to sue the police for his wrongful imprisonment seeking 516,000 Euros (approx. $700,000) in damages, and also filed a lawsuit against Amanda Knox for naming him during her interrogation. You would think that Lumumba’s experience with the police would give him an understanding as to why Knox gave in to the demands of her interrogators but this was not the case.
There is little doubt that Lumumba was heavily influenced by hatred, along with the possibility of monetary gain, due to the suffering he endured. In order to go after Knox, Lumumba toned down his initial accusations made against the police, retracting his claims that he had been beaten and called a dirty black. He obviously could not stick with his story that he was horribly mistreated by the police if he expected to win a lawsuit against Knox because his past claims would further support Knox’s defense argument that her statements were coerced. Lumumba made his hatred for Knox well known when making these vindictive comments shortly after his release:
“She was angry I was firing her and wanted revenge,” he said. “By the end, she hated me. But I don’t even think she’s evil. To be evil you have to have a soul. Amanda doesn’t. She’s empty; dead inside. She’s the ultimate actress, able to switch her emotions on and off in an instant. I don’t believe a word she says. Everything that comes out of her mouth is a lie. But those lies have stained me forever.”
Lumumba would work diligently to demonize Knox every time he had the opportunity. Lumumba was first to make the claim that Knox was jealous of Kercher. His claims were obviously fabricated because he barely knew Knox. Lumumba had never visited Knox’s home and had rarely interacted with Knox and Kercher at anytime outside of his bar, yet we are expected to believe that he somehow knew that tensions were high at the cottage and that Knox had jealousy issues.
Lumumba also made the false claim that he fired Knox for flirting with customers. This claim helped the prosecution to put Knox in a bad light. The truth is that Lumumba never fired Knox. She was still waiting tables and handing out flyers for his bar on a part time basis on the days leading up to the murder. We know that Lumumba texted Knox on the night of the murder to let her know that she was not needed at work. Why would this text be necessary if Lumumba had already fired her?
Lumumba’s lawsuit would prove to be extremely damaging to Knox as it most certainly influenced the murder trial. In Italy, civil trials against defendants run concurrently with their criminal trials, meaning both cases are heard by the same judge and jury. Even though the Italian Supreme Court ruled that the information acquired during Knox’s interrogation was inadmissible in the murder trial (because Knox did not have an attorney present), the jury heard the damaging erroneous details anyway, due solely to Lumumba’s lawsuit against Knox.
Lumumba’s claims were a gift for the prosecution and they did not hesitate to take every negative detail about Knox and run with it. If the civil lawsuit had not been filed, the court would not have heard anything about the coerced statements obtained from Knox during her illegal interrogation. Lumumba’s fabricated claims about Knox (most importantly the false claim that Knox was jealous of Kercher), would have had no bearing on the case, and Lumumba’s attorney, Carlo Pacelli, would have never had the opportunity to viciously attack Knox as he did at trial.
Pacelli described Knox to the court as a diabolical she-devil, telling the jury that Knox was an actress crying crocodile tears. “Knox is Quite the opposite of sweet, she has a split personality, fresh-faced, the daughter everyone would like, Saint Maria Goretti, and then with her histrionic side she is an impostor, satanic, diabolic,” Pacelli said to the jury. Pacelli’s vile attack on Knox was not only heard in the courtroom. His hate filled rants were scooped up by the media, furthering the damage caused by Lumumba’s civil lawsuit.
The prosecution’s case against Knox and Sollecito was extremely weak. Was it the civil trial that tipped the scales? Were the coerced statements showing Knox implicating an innocent man, along with the vicious attacks on Knox’s character made by Lumumba and Pacelli, enough to sway the jury to believe in guilt?
On December 4, 2009, Amanda Knox & Raffaele Sollecito were wrongfully convicted for the murder of Meredith Kercher and sentenced to 26 and 25 years respectively. Knox was also convicted for Calunnia (a crime similar to defamation that is not recognized in the USA), and given an extra year in prison for naming Lumumba during her interrogation.
On October 3, 2011, Amanda and Raffaele were declared innocent of murder on appeal and were released from prison. The appeals court upheld Knox’s Calunnia conviction but disagreed with the first court’s reasoning that Knox named Lumumba in an attempt to divert attention away from her involvement in the murder. The appeals court suggested that Knox named Lumumba due to the pressure of the interrogation, concluding that she was merely looking for a way to end the stressful situation she was in.
Lumumba has continued to defame Knox after her release. In October of 2011, Lumumba repeated the lie that Amanda has never shown any concern for his plight and he repeated that he believes Amanda was responsible for Meredith’s death. Lumumba’s claims are completely false. Knox gave this statement in court on December 10, 2010:
“Patrick? I don’t see you. But I’m sorry. I’m sorry because I didn’t mean to do wrong to do you. I was very naïve and not courageous at all; I should have been able to withstand the pressures that caused me to do harm to you. I didn’t mean to contribute to what you have suffered. You know what it means to have unjust accusations imposed on your skin. You didn’t deserve what you experienced and I hope you will be able to find peace.”
The truth is Amanda did not owe Lumumba an apology. She offered those words out of the kindness of her heart. Knox, Sollecito, and Lumumba were all wronged by the authorities. It is those that were in charge of the investigation that owe all three an apology.
No one can say for sure if Lumumba’s lust for money led to the wrongful convictions of Knox and Sollecito, but it is clear that Lumumba’s behavior has been reprehensible. He knows firsthand how the system in Perugia works. He was taken out of his home in the middle of the night and beaten by the same police force that obtained coerced statements from Knox. Lumumba has chosen to distort the truth about his suffering at the hands of police, while demonizing an innocent woman, all in the pursuit of money.
Unfortunately this case continues to drag on. The Italian Supreme Court recently overturned the appellate level decision exonerating Knox and Sollecito of murder, sending the case back for further review. The court finalized Knox’s Calunnia conviction, reserving the right to review the decision again if the appeal effects the charge. In other words, nothing is final.
The new trial will be heard in Florence, and regardless of the outcome, believe it or not, that decision will be appealed as well. The case will most likely not be finalized for at least another 3 years, giving countless opportunities for Patrick Lumumba to continue his hate campaign against Amanda Knox.
Please visit www.injusticeinperugia.org to learn more about this case.