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Amanda Knox ( 1987 - )  Category ( Infamous ) [suggest a correction]

If nothing else, Amanda Knox has demonstrated how quickly a previously unknown person can become an international celebrity in this hyper-media age.

Born July 9, 1987 in Seattle, Knox led a pleasant but unremarkable life prior to November of 2007. She graduated with honors from a Jesuit high school (where she picked up the nickname "Foxy Knoxy" because of her clever soccer dribbling skills), then received a scholarship to the University of Washington.

A budding writer, Knox was heavily into social media and socialization -- in short, not much different than thousands of other college students. Her parents, Eddy Mellas and Curt Knox, were comfortable but not rich, and when Knox was accepted into a study abroad program, she wound up working three jobs to help pay for it.

In Perugia, Italy, Knox shared a cottage with several other students, including Meredith Kercher from Great Britain. On Nov. 2, Kercher was found dead in her bedroom, strangled and stabbed and sexually assaulted -- and Amanda Knox, accused along with two others of the murder, was catapulted into the spotlight.

It didn't hurt that Knox was attractive ("The face of an angel," rhapsodized one Italian newspaper), and that her demeanor at times seemed inappropriate for the circumstances. Add an international cast of characters, rumors of sex orgies and vampirism, and a story emerged that attracted the tabloids like a piece of spoiled meat attracts flies.

The prosecution contended that Knox, her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and a friend, Ivory Coast native Rudy Guede, killed Kercher when she refused to participate in a sexual orgy. Or maybe they killed her to satisfy vampire fantasies. The accusation seemed to move around a bit.

There was, however, little physical evidence to link anyone but Guede to the killing. He was tried first, convicted, and sentenced to 30 years.

Knox contended that she had spent that night with Sollecito at his apartment.

"Her story and her version of what happened that night has totally stayed consistent," said Mellas.

Knox's family made frequent trips to Italy to lend their support, although the benefits of their presence to knox was sometimes questionable -- such as when Knox's sister Deanna showed up in court wearing a red, white and blue hot pants outfit. Or when the family took a group photograph outside the cottage where Kercher was slain.

The trial of Knox and Sollecito has gone on through most of 1990 and is expected to continue into the fall. In her time on the stand, Knox insisted that the local police had "beaten" her into making questionable and incriminating statements.

"We got along well," she said of her relationship with Kercher. "When we ran into problems, we talked them out."

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