LOS ANGELES (AP) — Amanda Knox, the American exchange student convicted and later cleared of a murder in Italy, is offering her support to a Massachusetts woman convicted of manslaughter for encouraging her suicidal boyfriend to kill himself.
In an op-ed published Thursday in the Los Angeles Times, Knox wrote that Michelle Carter deserves sympathy and help, not a jail sentence.
Carter on Thursday was sentenced to 15 months in jail for the 2014 death of 18-year-old Conrad Roy III. Carter was then 17 and is now 20. A judge agreed to her request to remain free on bail while her state appeal is pending.
The 30-year-old Knox is no stranger to sensational trials drawing global media coverage.
The student from Seattle was convicted along with her Italian boyfriend in the 2007 killing of Knox's roommate, British student Meredith Kercher, in Perugia, Italy. Knox spent four years in jail but was exonerated by the Italian Supreme Court in 2015.
Knox said she felt a "sickening sense of deja vu" as she watched prosecutors try to depict Carter as a "femme fatale," the way she said the media tried to portray her during her trial.
Knox noted that it's difficult to feel sympathy for Carter, who sent Roy dozens of text messages urging him to follow through on his plan to kill himself and then told him to "get back in" his truck after he became frightened as it filled with carbon monoxide and briefly got out of the vehicle.
But Knox pointed out that for months leading up to Roy's suicide, Carter had tried to talk Roy out of it and urged him to seek mental health counseling. She also wrote that Carter — who struggled with depression, bulimia and anorexia — was "ill-equipped" to help Roy, who also suffered from depression.
"By holding her accountable for Roy's death, we increase the tally of victims in this case, we ignore the mental health factors that lead to suicide, and we learn nothing about how to prevent it," Knox wrote.
"Conrad Roy III needed our sympathy and our help and didn't get it in time," she wrote.
"Michelle Carter deserves the same sympathy and help now."
Roy's mother, Lynn Roy, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Carter. The lawsuit was filed last month on behalf of her son's estate. It seeks $4.2 million in lost future wages.