Amanda Knox Confides in Man Wrongly Convicted of Murder
(SEATTLE) -- Amanda Knox has confided to Ryan Ferguson, who spent 10 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, that she is hopeful that “justice will prevail” when an Italian jury renders yet another verdict on her this week. Knox expects to hear on Thursday the verdict on her latest trial in the 2007 murder of her roommate Meredith Kercher. Knox spent four years in prison before her initial guilty verdict was thrown out.
An Italian appeals court has reheard the evidence in recent months. Ferguson, 29, who was released from prison last year after his conviction was overturned by a Missouri state appeals court panel, told ABC News in an email that he has spoken with Knox this week.
“She seems to be doing incredibly well considering the circumstances,” Ferguson said. “The Italian courts continue to play games with her life, which is sadly no different than what happens here on a daily basis.”
“Having said that, she is very positive and we all believe that justice will prevail and the facts that have proven her innocence will set her free,” he said.
Knox, 26, returned to the United States as a free woman in 2011 after her 2009 murder conviction was thrown out by an Italian appeals court.
A third trial is underway in Italy for Knox, who is being tried in absentia, and her former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito. Knox refused to return to Italy for the trial, saying she feared conviction again.
Since her return home, she has formed a friendship with Ferguson.
“I can identify with Amanda on many levels as I know first hand what it is like to have the world turn against you based on a series of lies,” Ferguson wrote in a Facebook post on Jan. 19.
The two became friends after Ferguson said he read Knox’s book, Waiting to be Heard, while in prison. Knox became a “Free Ryan” supporter and even appeared in a photo welcoming him home when he was released from prison.
In 2005, a jury convicted Ferguson, then just 19, of murdering Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt in the Tribune parking lot on Halloween night 2001.
None of the DNA collected at the scene -- the footprints and fingerprints -- matched Ferguson’s, but the jury convicted him largely based on testimony from Charles Erickson, one of Ferguson’s classmates who claimed they had murdered Heitholt together. Erickson has since recanted his testimony.
As Ferguson rebuilds his life after prison, he urged his supporters to consider Knox’s case.
“If Knox loses this appeal she may be extradited to Italy to serve a life sentence for Kercher’s murder. If she isn’t extradited she will never be able to leave the US and will have this ‘conviction’ hanging over her for the rest of her life,” he wrote on Facebook. “I know that I have the BEST supporters in the world -- so please judge Amanda’s case on the facts NOT the lies.”
Knox has also befriended Ray Spencer, a former Vancouver, Wash., police officer who spent two decades trying to clear his name after he was wrongfully sent to prison for allegedly sexually abusing his young children.
Though he maintained his innocence, Spencer’s mental state had deteriorated and he was worried he wouldn’t win over a jury in trial. Instead, he entered Alford plea, which allows a defendant to plead guilty without admitting guilt. The move, while it maintained his innocence, cost him with the judge, who sentenced Spencer to multiple life sentences plus 14 years.
Spencer was released from prison in 2004 when Gov. Gary Locke commuted his sentence and cited several troubling facts about how the investigation was handled. Spencer’s convictions were vacated in 2009 by the Court of Appeals after his two children, now adults, recanted the abuse allegations.
In January, Knox appeared in court alongside Spencer’s wife to support him in a civil trial against the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.
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