As I'm sure is the case for many others, your story has stayed with me through the years. Admittedly for a long time, it was easy for me, a self-proclaimed critical thinker who has had my own youthful experiences with the "justice" system, to believe that you had in fact done exactly what the media and the Italian authorities had claimed.
Even for someone who questions just about everything, it was very hard for me to wrap my head around so many seemingly authoritative figures conspiring against a young American student without having a valid reason to do so. In so many ways I had written you off as a killer who deserved exactly what she received. In fact, it wasn't until I saw the documentary about your story on Netflix that I recognized in myself, so much of what I have disdain for in others. Seeing your images and hearing you describe the thoughts that were going through your head at the time, combined with the unbridled hubris and disregard for any type of justice from the Italian prosecutor, made me realize how utterly fallible we are and how we are all to blame for increasing the emotional debt of such tragedies as Meredith’s and frankly, yours. The media didn’t just fail to report the truth, but instead actively participated in not only the miscarriage of justice, but the absolute destruction of an innocent person.
Unfortunately, my false belief in the authoritative narrative presented in your case, makes me complicit in the system that continues to proliferate such abuses in our “civilized” society and worse, helps to breed a fearful and compliant population in which original thought and critical thinking is subject to legal action. I fear that our need for blind justice at the cost of truth, contributes to the overwhelming fear that has led half of our country to support a fascist who is actively trying to dismantle democracy, even as they claim themselves patriots for doing so. So for my part, the best I can do is offer my sincere apologies and actively seek better truth in life, aside from the noise of “authority.”
I'm truly sorry you had to suffer through something that I can only imagine was absolute hell, that none of us should ever have to face, much less in a foreign country where we can’t fluently communicate or understand the nuances of the legal system. I can’t begin to imagine the helplessness your parents must have felt, or how Meredith’s family must have initially treated you. I know that your writings on Medium are likely cathartic and I hope it works for you. Based on what I perceive as your resilience, I’m certain you are a fighter, you have good family support and that whether they realize it or not, those that conspired against you, have made you stronger than you would have been without them.