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The court of public opinion on the internet was frenzied.
BOSTON — Before Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were pronounced guilty late Friday night, the court of public opinion spun into an internet frenzy.
Virtual spectators raged in debate over the innocence or guilt of the American student from the University of Washington who was studying abroad in Italy, accused of killing her British roommate during a wild sex game.
On one of at least three Knox-related Facebook pages, opinion fell into two clear camps, often defined by the two sides of the Atlantic.
One side saw no solid physical evidence in the case and felt Knox was innocent of slicing the throat of her roommate, Meredith Kercher. The other side saw fire in the Italian prosecutorial smoke, and seemed eager to attack Knox’s character.
“Honestly, I don't think she really had nothing to do with it," said a Facebook contributor named Mark Anderson. "I think she's being wrongly accused because she's American.”
"She's guilty somehow," said another Facebook user identified as "Jack Del." "She looks like a snotty, bitchy, spoiled by life, princess.”
Tweets and posts ricocheted faster than users could hit “refresh,” and continued well after the guilty verdict was announced Friday night. Some maintained Knox's innocence even after she and her boyfriend had been declared guilty, while others thanked the Italian justice system for the job it did.
"Thank God they've got a justice system in place that seems to work," wrote Facebook poster "Brittany Sajbel," who described herself "as an American law student studying in Italy this summer." "Compatriot or not, with DNA evidence, I hope any country that can get their hands on you convicts you. 26 years is a blessing."
"WHAT EVIDENCE?" asked another, called Craig Lockett. "They labeled her a sex fiend and a drug user. Italy's criminal justice system is a joke."
Kercher, the victim, was a 21-year-old student from the University of Leeds in England, and one of Knox's roomates in their hillside cottage in Perugia, Italy, two years ago.
Kercher's bloodied body was found under a duvet in her bedroom in November 2007; Knox and her then-boyfriend, the Italian Sollecito, were charged with taking sex games that resulted in Kercher's death too far.
A third suspect, Rudy Guede, fled to Germany where he was arrested and extradited back to Italy. Guede, from the Ivory Coast, was convicted in 2008 in a fast-track trial.
The attractive and wholesome-looking Knox, who attended a study abroad program through the University of Washington, has spent two years in Italian jail. Her gender, good looks, lifestyle choices and nationality have been the fuel of a fervid debate about her innocence or guilt.