How Did Meredith Kercher Die? She's The Victim At The Center Of The Amanda Knox Trial

Much of the media focus on Amanda Knox has to do with her lengthy trial and the legal complexities that allowed her to be convicted when there was so little evidence connecting her to the crime. Though her conviction was appealed and overturned, the debate over Knox's questionable behavior has continued. However, we can't forget that at the heart of this legal mess is a very real victim who deserved to see justice served for what happened to her. But what did happen to her? How did Meredith Kercher die?

Meredith Kercher was only 21 when she was killed. People reports she was an English student studying abroad, but she had only been in Italy for a few months at the time of her death. She truly had the rest of her life ahead of her, as cliche as it may sound. Kercher's sister referred to her as "a great friend to everyone that she knew" who was always there to help whoever needed it.

On Nov. 1, 2007, Kercher met with friends for dinner before returning to her empty flat. It was a national holiday in Italy so her two Italian roommates were out of town, and Knox has said that she was with boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito. According to BBC News, Kercher was beaten, stabbed, sexually assaulted, and her throat was cut. She was found the next day on the floor of her room covered in a duvet.

Franco Origlia/Getty Images News/Getty Images

There was evidence at the scene, even though the degree of contamination has been contested. There were handprints and footprints, as well as an un-flushed toilet. A knife belonging to Sollecito was said to have Kercher's DNA on the blade and Knox's on the handle, but the sample was finally considered too small to be definitive. Forensics expert Dr. Carlo Torre also said that the knife did not match the wounds found on Kercher, according to The Telegraph, and may not have been the murder weapon. Sollecito's DNA was also allegedly found on the clasp of Kercher's bra, but because it took six weeks for the clasp to be taken into evidence, it was argued that it was not reliable.

Someone else was linked the the crime: Rudy Guede, a friend of Kercher's downstairs neighbors. He is currently in prison for Kercher's murder, but some do not believe he acted alone. His fingerprints and DNA were found at the scene, but his (unproven) story is that he and Kercher had been fooling around when he excused himself to the bathroom and someone else came in and killed her.

In a press conference in 2011, Kercher's sister Stephanie expressed worry that Meredith had been forgotten in the chaos that followed her death, and spoke about how huge the loss still was. "What everyone needs to remember is the brutality of what actually happened that night and everything that Meredith must have felt that night," Stephanie said. "Everything she went through, the fear, the terror and not knowing why. She didn't deserve that, no-one deserves that, she loved this place."

Meredith Kercher is the victim at the heart of this entire situation, and it's important to remember that she was a real person who lost their life in a horrific way. She is more than the assembled details of her death.