I really wanted to share this exciting and crazy news with y'all so you would have it first thing this morning as you perhaps watch the news/TV, but I couldn't stay awake last night to post another blog. However, I might get this in right under the wire. Yesterday I had an absolutely INSANE afternoon! After I got out of my afternoon Italian survival crash course, I heard that NBC's The Today Show was going to be at the courthouse where the appeal trial for Amanda Knox is taking place, which just happens to be a 1 minute walk from my apartment. The courts had been on holiday all August and re-opened at the beginning of September. This appeal case is based on new evidence that may help prove Knox innocent. I won't go into detail of the case because 1. I am unclear of them myself and 2. I'm pretty sure you all have tuned in over the years to this case. Also, once I told you all I'd be in Perugia, the city where the murder occurred, you all recognized the city because of the infamous and unfortunate case.
So anyway, me and some friends walked down to the courthouse where we saw another Umbra student talking with Lester Holt from The Today Show! She asked us if we wanted to do an interview with him. He introduced himself and shook my and hand and I was like "I'm Melissa-Oh I met you like 10 years ago when my family was outside at The Today Show!" HAHA-he pretended he knew who I was and we laughed about it! We agreed to the interview so 4 other girls from Umbra and I all sat on the courthouse stairs and got an on-camera interview with Lester Holt that is tentatively supposed to air this morning (EST). He asked us general questions about why we chose to study in Perugia and if there were any hesitations from our families and friends about coming to this city. The camera crew got some wide shots of us walking up and down the streets near the courthouse. The locals all gathered down by the courthouse and were watching us Americans flaunt our stuff for the cameras. If we didn't stick out before, we stick out like sore thumbs now. We probably didn't draw the most positive attention either which bothers me.
We then got to talk to the camera men for a few minutes and one started giving us his take on the whole case and what he thinks went down that November night just about 4 years ago. He kept naming all these places that we now know of from walking the streets for almost a week. I asked them if her mom was in court today, he said no but that her dad and step-dad apparently were there. We hung around for a little bit and then the camera man said, "You know you can go inside and watch the trial right?" WHAT?!?!?! Well, I guess the court system is really different from the American courts. I was at home when Whitey's girlfriend was in court and I got to sit in a public viewing room at the Federal Court House in Boston and watch some of the trial with my aunt and my mom. We would never be allowed inside the courtroom back home? So, one of the women with The Today Show crew told us she could take 4 of us down to the court room. Some girls had shorts on and they were immediately eliminated. I got to go in though-thank goodness I was wearing a dress!! Me and 3 other girls gave our licenses to the police officers at the front door. They copied our info and, in Italian of course, said how my last name is Italian-I was like "Si, si!" because that's all I could say to them. For cops, they were super pleasant.
So then the officer took us down these steep and uneven stairs to what was essentially a cellar in the court house. This is where the court room is located. He dropped us off and we just walked in through this glass door built into ancient stone walls. There is a fenced off section where all the important people in the case obviously sit in front of but reporters, journalists, and general public are allowed to sit behind the fence. You can just grab an empty chair and watch this story unfold. We only saw the last few minutes of the session because the courts close at 6 p.m. We couldn't see Amanda Knox at first and then the judge said, "A domani, a domani", or "See you tomorrow, see you tomorrow." There was a mad rush of people to stand up and start dispersing but we moved up to the front of the fence and saw this tall, blonde woman officer escort Amanda Knox herself out of the courtroom! The hair on my arm stood up on end! No joke, my body was trembling! She looked frail, pale, exhausted, and just weathered from the whole case. Compared to pictures of when the trial first started, she looked so emaciated. She was wearing a gray, silk blouse with her hair tied back. Everything about her made her look like plain Jane. One reporter (I think that's who it was...) asked my roommate Alyssa if we were some of Amanda's friends-ummm, NO! Once we got back to the street level, we saw two big police trucks with blacked out windows and their lights on leave from behind the court house, obviously containing Knox.
Later that night, and then this morning, I started researching the case and all the newspaper stories etc. I saw video clippings from earlier that day in court because I saw that gray blouse. I was so drawn in and kept reading story after story trying to form my own opinion of the whole case. I had never paid too much attention to it over the past 4 years. I didn't want to know much about it over the summer either considering I knew I would be here for the semester. But after yesterday and last night, I had a hard time falling asleep and staying comfortable asleep because the whole experience was just so eerie. I wish I hadn't researched all that material. The University for Foreigners of Perugia, where Amanda Knox was studying, is relatively close by and her apartment was very close to that school. Knowing that her situation could happen to any of us at Umbra is beyond frightening.
I think my experience yesterday was so incredibly awesome but at the same time really weird. I was telling my story to someone today at lunch and they asked what parts makes it the most eerie for me now rather than before yesterday. To answer, knowing how close she was didn't bother me before. But being maybe 20 ft. from her in a courtroom after only having ever seen pictures of her creeped me out beyond belief. I didn't know I would react like that! The courts say a verdict is expected at the end of the month. If she walks away innocent, Perugia will go crazy. She could walk out the front door of the court house 1 minute from where I live. However, the prosecutors apparently can appeal again. This appeal happening now is the appeal from Amanda and the boyfriend she was with at the time of the crime.
I do have to say that Lester Holt has a pretty sick job, as well as the camera crew. We were asking them what they're favorite location and story to cover has been in their own careers. Very interesting stuff!
Only in Perugia! Hope you guys get to see me on TV! If they do decide to air our footage, I will find the link online and post it here!