Popular forensic crime writer says Amanda Knox is innocent

NEW YORK - Popular crime writer Patricia Cornwell said she has no doubts that Amanda Knox is innocent and had nothing to do with the murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher in Italy.

Cornwell, who is widely known for writing a popular series of novels featuring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta, said in an interview with the Associated Press that she follows modern stories closely, from the trial of Casey Anthony to the murder of Jon Benet Ramsey.

She believes the Amanda Knox case in Italy is an example of a poorly investigated crime, rejecting speculation that British exchange student Meredith Kercher was killed as part of a wild sexual ritual.

Knox, a Seattle college student, was studying abroad in Perugia, Italy, at the time of the murder. She and then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were jailed for four years, then freed, and are currently being tried again.

"The case is not the elaborate scenario it's been spun to be," says Cornwell. "Instead, it's more a sexual predator who went after this woman and tried to rape her, or did. And it's a very violent assault."

"They've made a great big deal about the victim's stomach contents and how they placed the death at a certain time because her food had not really digested all that much. It's like, 'Hello, when you go into flight or fight mode, your digestion either shuts down completely or at least it slows, because all the blood is going to your extremities so you can defend yourself or run.' And if somebody is being assaulted, their digestion quits. I've seen it in the morgue where somebody who ate 8-10 hours earlier - their food is exactly as they swallowed it."

Cornwell's books, which rely heavily on forensic evidence and have influenced the development of popular TV series on forensics such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, have sold more than 100 million copies.