Amanda Knox: There’s No Place Like Home…

BREAKING NEWS MARCH 27: Italy’s highest court overturns Amanda Knox/Raffaele Sollecito murder convictions, closing legal saga.  (SOURCE)

Several years ago I started reading and watching shows about the Amanda Knox case. Knox was the University of Washington student who was studying abroad in Italy. Her roommate, Meredith Kercher, was murdered in Italy on November 1, 2007. Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted of the murder of Kercher. She was declared innocent after spending four years in an Italian prison. The story gets weirder from there.

Here’s a timeline of events from the pro-Knox website Injustice in Perugia:

  • On December 4, 2009, Knox and Sollecito were convicted of the murder of Meredith Kercher. They were sentenced to 26 and 25 years in prison.
  • On October 3, 2011, Knox and Sollecito were declared innocent on appeal and were released from prison.
  • On March 26, 2013, the Italian Supreme Court overturned the acquittals and ordered the case back to the appellate level.
  • On January 30, 2014, the appeals court in Florence reinstated the guilty verdicts for Knox and Sollecito. They were sentenced to 28 years plus and 25 years respectively.
  • Knox and Sollecito have now appealed the guilty verdicts to the Italian Supreme Court and that is what we are waiting to hear about today.
  • On March 27, 2015, Italy’s highest court overturns Amanda Knox/Raffaele Sollecito murder convictions.

One interesting fact is that a man named Rudy Guede was found guilty of murdering Meredith Kercher. In October 2008 Guede was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the murder. Later the sentence was reduced to 16 years on appeal and later confirmed by Italy’s Supreme Court. Judges believe Guede had help from Knox and Sollecito.

If you think the justice system in the United States is messed up, then one needs only to read the story about Knox and the Italian system to see how “wonderful” we have it in the good ol’ USA.

The Italian justice system is a freaking circus.

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Barry Beach: A Light…

It looks like convicted murderer Barry Beach has at least two more chances to be freed from prison. Beach is serving a 100-year prison sentence for the 1979 murder of Kimberly Nees near Poplar, Montana.

Beach’s case came to light back in 2008 when a show on Dateline NBC called “The Killing at Poplar River” aired. Beach contends he was coerced into a confession. His case has bounced around the justice system in Montana, and for about 18 months he was even freed from prison.

He has an appeal pending before the Montana Supreme Court. Just this week a bill was signed by the Montana governor that, according to the Associated Press, will allow the governor to grant clemency to prisoners even if the state parole board recommends against it. The governor can also waive fines, lessen a sentence, or issue a pardon.

The law takes effect Oct. 1, 2015.

I’ve probably written about Barry Beach more than most. It all started back in April 2008, and this will be the 30th column in which I mention Beach. You can read them all by going to “categories” on the right side of the screen and selecting “Barry Beach” from the dropdown menu.

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MT Legislature: CB Radios & Polish Sausages

Are you feeling safer on Montana’s highways already? A bill (House Bill 297) to ban texting while driving passed the second reading in the Montana House 52-48. It has to pass a third reading before heading to the Montana Senate.

If this bill passed, you’ll still be able to play with your “navigation devices” or your radios, CD players, cassette decks, 8-track players, etc.

It looks like the bill is silent about EWD (Eating While Driving). That is when you are distracted behind the wheel because you’re eating a cheeseburger, hamburger, French fries, or maybe a polish sausage. By the way when you travel across the state, I highly recommend the polish sausages from Town Pump – get plenty of napkins – nom, nom, nom…

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Caught My Eye…

You’ve made it to Friday – and we’re halfway through January – so congratulations!

Now buckle your seatbelt for “Caught My Eye.”

If you are a first-time visitor, “Caught My Eye” is posted right here every Friday morning! This is when I take a look at some of the stories I did not have time to write about during the week. Sometimes I throw in a touch of sarcasm to make you smile – or to irritate you just a little – or maybe both.

Today I write about drunk driving in Montana, another Hail Mary from Tester & Daines, Republicans/Democrats retreat, a trained assassin, plus there’s a winner who is Making Montana Proud!

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The Western Word: 10 Years!

The Western Word (TWW) is celebrating its 10th Anniversary today (January 10).

Please, no parades.

My first blog post was January 10, 2005, on Google’s Blogger. It was a big one – a 79-word column about football. Most of the columns back then were about sports due to my day job.

Later on I made the switch to WordPress and transferred the information from Google Blogger to WordPress.

This is the 2,428th post here at TWW.

Today, my “mission” is to provide independent commentary about politics, sports, the media, and current events.

My two most-read columns of all time:

Politics 2012: 10 Most Vulnerable Senators was published on November 4, 2010, to get a jump-start on the 2012 campaign season. It was updated several times and was published in several newspapers and linked on several websites.

The Killing at Poplar River was written April 8, 2008, after I watched the show on NBC about Barry Beach and just as the interest in his case was taking off.

Thanks to all the folks who read The Western Word, follow me on Twitter (@TheWesternWord), and like The Western Word Facebook page.

A special shout-out to those who are subscribers (you can subscribe by clicking on the “Follow” button at the bottom or enter your e-mail in the box on the right side of this screen under the word “Subscribe” ).

“The only writer to whom you should compare yourself is the writer you were yesterday.” –David B. Schlosser


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USDOJ: Circle the Wagons

I guess I was not too surprised when I read that U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) attorneys argued that “hundreds of inappropriate and offensive emails” from U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull can’t be released. You can read the Associated Press story HERE.

The Feds contend the emails are “confidential.”

In case you forgot, Cebull, who was a U.S. District Judge in Montana, sent a racist email about President Obama. Cebull resigned for that. Now, attorneys for a former chairman of the Crow Indian Tribe who was convicted of bribery in Cebull’s court want to see if any of Cebull’s e-mails reference their client.

In January of this year, it was reported:

A judicial committee determined Cebull sent hundreds more inappropriate emails from his federal account that showed disdain for blacks, American Indians, Hispanics, women, certain religions and others.

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Caught My Eye…

Welcome to the 226th edition of the (almost) award-winning “Caught My Eye!”

If you are a first-time visitor, “Caught My Eye” is posted right here every Friday morning! This is when I take a look at some of the stories I did not have time to write about during the week. Sometimes I throw in a touch of sarcasm to make you smile – or to irritate you just a little – or maybe both.

Today I write about Zinke and the Armed Services Committee, the Montana Legislature, Barry Beach & Tim Fox, Great Falls’ unusual ice event, a change of venue, plus we have a winner who is Making Montana Proud!

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