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Is Amanda Knox Another Jodi Arias?

Amanda Knox: Did she or didn't she?

Amanda Knox was found guilty then innocent then guilty again, though the latest verdict is up for appeal. Is she a guilty sociopath à la Jodi Arias, or every traveler's worst nightmare—wrongly accused by an over-zealous foreign prosecutor?

To recap:

November 2, 2007

Amanda Knox's roommate, Meredith Kercher, was found dead (partially clothed, throat slashed) in their apartment in Perugia, Italy. Three days later, Knox allegedly confessed to being in the apartment when Kercher was killed, and pointed to Patrick Lumumba, the owner of the bar where she worked, as the killer.

November 20, 2007

After two weeks in prison, Lumumba was released after his alibi was validated. Two days later Knox stated her “confession” was not accurate, due to stress, shock, and exhaustion.

December, 2007

Fingerprints from the crime scene and DNA from Kercher's vaginal swab placed drifter and drug dealer Rudy Guede at the scene. He fled to Germany, but was found and extradited back to Italy, where Guede claimed he and Kercher had sex, but someone else killed her when he went to the bathroom.

July 11, 2008

Guede, Knox and her then boyfriend, Raffaele Sollectio, were charged with murder. Guede was found guilty as an accomplice and sentenced to 16 years. This year, 2014, he will be eligible for work release.

December 4, 2009

Guilty verdicts were handed down. Knox received 26 years; Sollecito, 25 years.

May, 21, 2011

Knox’s guilty verdict was overturned on appeal and a new trial was ordered. She immediately returned to the U.S. and her Seattle home. Sollecito's guilty verdict was also overturned.

January 30, 2014

The original guilty verdict was reinstated after Knox was re-tried in abstentia. Knox's attorney vows to appeal this third verdict, a process which is estimated to take about a year. If upheld, Italy could demand extradition.

Knox says she will "never go willingly" to the Italian prison system and vows to "fight this to the very end." Will the U.S. State Department extradite Knox to serve her 28 year sentence in an Italian jail? John Kerry would make the call.

Now I'd like to analyze a few things about Amanda Knox that remind me of Jodi Arias.

The murders were brutal and ironically, both victims—Alexander and Kercher—had their throats slashed.

We watched in disbelief as Arias performed headstands and laughing during her interrogation by detectives. Knox’s, for her part, performed cartwheels and splits.

During her trial, Arias was very calm and matter-of-fact while recounting shocking details about her sex life and Alexander’s murder. She laughed it up with attorneys and flaunted her T-shirt for the cameras, which read "Survivor."

Knox, also, seemed to be very relaxed and sometimes flippant while testifying and once arrived in court wearing a T-shirt which contained the Beatles' quote "All you need is love."

Arias had harsh and disturbing words about Alexander during her trial, insisting he "masturbated to photos of young boys," even though there was absolutely no evidence. She seemed almost to relish voicing those cutting comments.

Similarly, when a friend expressed hope that Kercher had not suffered, Knox supposedly said "What do you think? They cut her throat…she f*cking bled to death." It seems neither woman held much empathy for the deceased.

However, one big difference between the two—in fact THE difference, is that initially Arias denied, denied, denied and made up multiple stories, each changing whenever detectives produced proof she could no longer refute. Knox, on the other hand, confessed once under questioning, only to recant her statement, saying she was confused and scared at the time.

Here's where we must understand Knox's circumstances and cut her some slack. Keep in mind she was in another country; thousands of miles from home. She was interrogated in a foreign language by aggressive police offers accusing her of murder.

She did not have an attorney or an interpreter present. Interrogators are known to manipulate and play mind games which over time could confuse even the best of us. She was repeatedly slapped and called a liar. Put yourself in that scenario for many hours; you'd be confused, exhausted and scared, too.

My view is that Amanda Knox is not Jodi Arias, is not a sociopath, not even a narcissist. Her roommate was murdered and she was caught in the middle of something terrifying with very real consequences. Unlike Arias, when confronted with the facts, she admitted the lie and then told her story which has been consistent ever since.

As for the statement, "What do you think? They cut her throat…she f*cking bled to death." As callous as it sounds, it’s true. We should not think this was an easy way to die—it must have been horrific and Knox knew that, but it doesn’t mean she did it.

Looking closer, Knox has friends in her life, not victims or eventual victims. Nowhere have I heard about impulsiveness, constant need for stimulation or crazy, manipulative behavior. Nor have I seen evidence regarding a sense of entitlement, or a history of her demanding unrealistic and special treatment.

Finally if you have followed either case, the persona of each woman is telling. Arias comes across cold, scheming, and untrustworthy, while Knox appears to be a deer in the headlights, stunned and scared about the situation. That’s hard to fake.

It's a big, big world out there and in a worst case scenario, Knox could move to a country which does not have an extradition treaty with Italy. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Dale Archer, M.D., is a clinical psychiatrist and author of The New York Times bestseller, Better Than Normal: How What Makes You Different Can Make You Exceptional.

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