Regardless of the Verdict, Amanda Knox Should Pay This Debt

Bar and cafe owner, Patrick Lumumba, was taken from his home – in front of his wife and child — and imprisoned after Amanda Knox falsely accused him of murdering Meredith Kercher

By Wendy Murray

The guilty verdict on  the murder charge against Amanda Knox was  rendered on Thursday, Jan 30 in Florence. British college student, Meredith Kercher (Knox’s housemate) was brutally raped and murdered in the home they shared on Nov. 1,  2007. Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, along with a third party, Rudy Guede, were charged. (Guede is already in prison serving his time.) The case has dragged on for six years as the Italian court system, in its methodical way, inches toward a decisive ruling. (Note: This verdict will still need to be confirmed by the Italian Supreme Court, but this is the most critical phase of the appeal.)

(For a general view of the case to date, visit here. For a detailed timeline, visit here.)

Regardless of the verdict as it relates to the murder, all courts at every phase of this tortured contest have agreed that Knox is guilty of slander, having wrongly accused her then-boss and local cafe owner,  Congolese-born, Diya “Patrick” Lumumba, of being the killer. Knox  told police she ‘covered her ears as he killed’ Kercher in her bedroom.

As a result of Knox’s false statements Patrick Lumumba was taken from his home, in front of his wife and child, and held in custody for two weeks. He was released when witnesses verified his alibi was airtight.

‘Because of what she said, I was put in jail for two weeks and my bar was impounded by the police for four months,’ Lumumba said.

Patrick Lumumba taken into custody

In 2011 Knox was ordered to pay him 22,000 euros. Knox has not paid this, despite having received a $4-million advance from HarperCollins for her book, which came out in April 2013.

Italian Prosecutor Alessandro Crini, in his closing statements on November 26, 2013, urged the court to increase Knox’s separate sentence for slander from three years to four years since, Crini argued, she lied to “deflect suspicion from herself — which would be an aggravating circumstance.”

If Knox is innocent, as she claims, she would do well to attempt to exonerate her name by doing all she can to compensate for harm caused Lumumba. Not doing so tarnishes her. In either case, guilty or not-guilty, her unpaid debt leaves her, at best, a slanderer who ruined the life of an innocent black immigrant to save herself. On top if it, she is a slanderer who has not paid a court-ordered debt.

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About Wendy Murray

Wendy Murray is a veteran and award-winning journalist. She served as associate editor and Senior Writer at Christianity Today magazine and has written extensively for other publications such as Books & Culture and The Christian Century. She has written 11 books.

  • mhelbert

    I did not know this about the case. Thanx, Wendy, for enlightening me. I agree with you that the real victim in all of this Meredith. I don’t know enough about the facts of the case, after all U.S. news doesn’t seem to care about the facts, to say that

    Knox is guilty or not. I’m not an Italian judge! But, she should at least own up to her responsibilities to Mr. Lumumba. That’s the minimum she should pay.

    As always, thank you for you insight into complex issues. You’re the best!

    • Wendy Murray

      Thanks for reading, Mike. And thanks for your encouragement.

  • Fredly

    You really should research the case. Knox was a victim of a coerced confession, same as The Central Park Five. Would you fault the Central Park Five for implicating one another and confessing? New York will be paying them millions in an out of court settlement soon. Knox and Sollectio are the one’s who have been framed here and spent 4 years rather than 2 weeks in jail.

    • Wendy Murray

      Thanks for reading and for commenting.

  • mark

    I disagree with your position that Knox should pay this person. That is not to say that he is not due compensation, but it is the police, not Knox that should pay. Knox was questioned for many hours, all night, by police and in a language in which she had limited knowledge. The police failed to provide her with a independent translator or an attorney. Furthermore, in violation of their own policies, they failed to video her interview. As a result of this police incompetence, we don’t know what transpired during that interview. Therefore, nothing said should have ever made it to court, let alone be used in a verdict. In addition, slander should be a civil matter4, not a criminal matter.

    I have followed this travesty of justice almost from the beginning and while I will admit that Knox is a little unusual, I am convinced that she had nothing to do with this crime. It is impossible for her to have committed this crime and not leave any DNA behind or have transferred any DNA onto her person or clothing. The only person guilty of this crime is, and has been, in jail since 2009.

    • Wendy Murray

      Thank you for your respectful comment, Mark. By way of one point of clarification: Knox’s initial interview with the police was as a witness, as opposed to suspect. Witness testimony is a different matter and no one is offered an attorney (even in the U.S.) when being interviewed as a witness. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • mark

        As I recall, and it has been several years since I read about this interview, Knox was asked to “imagine” who could have committed this murder and suggested Lumumba’s name. Regardless, if the Italian police arrested Lumumba on nothing more than Knox suggesting that he might have been involved, then it is still the incompetence of the police and not Knox who are responsible. Especially given that Knox had limited knowledge of the language at the time.

        That said, you do make a good point that this man is entitled to compensation in this matter. In the US, the police, not the witness, who would be sued for false arrest.

        • NoName

          Mark, Lumumba was awarded $8000 from the authorities.
          He has been paid this money.

          • mark

            Then the police got off cheap and are trying to shift the burdon of their mistakes and incompetence onto Knox. I don’t trust the Italian police and will never travel to Italy again. If the Italian police told me the sky was blue, I wouldn’t believe them.

  • Wendy Murray

    Dear NoName, I have a very strict comment policy (see tab). I delete any post that is incendiary, personal and disrespectful, whether they agree with me or disagree. (Please note “Mark’s” and “Fredly’s” comments, both of which disagree with me.) Also, anyone who comments under the moniker “NoName” seems to me to lack merit. Your latest comment is going to be deleted as well. But not before you’ve had a chance to read my response.

  • quixotic1

    Your opinion tends to do service to the entity that actually harmed Lumumba. It is the authorities that beat him, jailed him and seized his business for months even though they had at the very minimum ample cause to suspect that the statements of Knox were false. Her statements included a description of imagining the scenario that she stated. She recanted her statements as soon as she knew she would have legal representation. The authorities held Lumumba and his business long after they had verified his alibi.

    Thinking further than the minimum you reassert that Knox was deflecting suspicion away from herself but you have not balanced that opinion with any defensive statement while stating that your opinion is “regardless of the verdict as it relates to the murder”. Therefore your assertion must also be that Knox should pay because she implicated Lumumba absent any impetus or reason to name him whatsoever. So therefore if she is innocent and therefore there is absolutely no reason to distance herself then why would Lumumba be implicated? The only answer would be that it was at the authorities request and if that is true then Knox shouldn’t pay, the authorities should. The verdict as it relates to murder is inextricably tied to her statements against Lumumba. Any suggestion otherwise is at minimum prejudiced if not hypnotized.