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In the bleakest hours of her time in an Italian prison for a murder in which she was ultimately acquitted, Amanda Knox revealed she fantasized about committing suicide.
Writing in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times about the case of Michelle Carter, 20, who was sentenced to 15 months in jail for her involvement in the suicide of her boyfriend, Knox detailed her own dark thoughts of taking her life during her time in prison.
"For months after my own wrongful conviction, I fell into a depression as I realized that my innocence did not guarantee my freedom,'' she wrote. "I fantasized about the various ways I could kill myself."
"Most often, I pictured myself sitting on the floor of the shower, wrists slit, bleeding out under the warmth and privacy of hot water and steam. I felt the power of those thoughts, the comfort in knowing that no matter how bad things got, no matter how seemingly desperate and inescapable a situation, there was always an escape."
Knox, 30, languished in an Italian prison for nearly four years after initially being sentenced to 26 years in 2009 for the murder of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, 21, who was found dead in the house she shared with her in Perugia.
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While her mind went to dark places, she did not act upon the idea of committing suicide.
"But I never took it, in part because I was repulsed by the idea of actually killing myself,'' she wrote. "Probably more than anything else, it was this healthy visceral impulse that kept me alive."
Knox and ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were acquitted on appeal and released on Oct. 4, 2011. In 2014, Knox went through another ordeal when the two had their convictions reinstated while she was living at home in Seattle. She and Sollecito were then ultimately acquitted again in 2015 by Italy's highest court.
In her op-ed, Knox argued that Carter, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for using text messages to coerce her boyfriend to kill himself, should not have received any jail time. Conrad Roy III, 18, took his own life in 2014 by using a portable water pump to fill his truck with carbon monoxide while Carter texted him to stay in the vehicle.
"In our zeal to deflect blame, we insist on villainizing Carter because we want easy explanations, black-and-white reasons,'' Knox wrote. "We want to assign agency whenever something bad happens. But in so doing, we discredit Roy’s agency, which included his choice to get back inside his truck."
Knox also saw some parallels with her own ordeal.
"When I was on trial for murder in Italy, the media tried to paint me as a 'femme fatale,''' she wrote. "So it was with a sickening sense of déjà vu that I watched the prosecution attempt the same trick with Carter, whom they said coldly and calculatingly insinuated herself into Roy’s vulnerable consciousness."
She argued that Carter deserves sympathy and counseling for her own issues more than jail time while acknowledging that it's hard to feel sympathy for her actions.
"Carter may not be innocent in a moral or philosophical sense, but she was wrongfully convicted,'' Knox wrote.
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