SEATTLE - A retired FBI special agent was once convinced Amanda Knox was guilty of murdering her roommate in Italy. Now, Steve Moore is convinced she is innocent, and he believes Knox was bullied into confessing.
"I did 25 years in the FBI. My forte was complex investigations dealing with minute information that involved murders, mass murders," said Moore. He says he once interrogated killers worldwide, from terrorists abroad to the man who shot up a Jewish community center in Los Angeles.
He knows how to get confessions. So, we asked him to analyze the statements Knox gave, implicating her in the murder of Meredith Kercher.
"Listen to what she's saying. 'I was very scared. I plugged my ears. I do not remember anything. I was upset, but I imagined.' If you take all those prefaces to her sentences, what she's saying is 'none of this is really true to me,'" said Moore.
Moore says Knox was interrogated over 10 hours, using tactics just short of waterboarding and was bullied into telling police what they wanted to hear.
"Two new detectives would come in every hour. Three in the morning, four in the morning, five in the morning. And what they were trying to do is not get information. They were trying to break her," said Moore.
Knox signed two statements written by police. One at 1:45, another at 5:45 a.m. saying she was in the house when Kercher was killed and pinning the murder on her employer at the time, a bar owner named Patrick Lumumba.
But hours later, she wrote a long statement in her own words.
"I'm told that there is hard evidence saying that I was at the place of the murder. This, I want to confirm, is something that would be impossible," it reads.
"A judge would look at this and say, 'Signed here. An hour, two hours later, after you gave her food, she took it all back. That's not a confession," said Moore.
Lumumba was ruled out when DNA evidence implicated another man. Still, prosecutors stuck with their theory that Knox and her former boyfriend helped commit the murder during a drug fueled sex game. A jury convicted them last December. Moore hopes their convictions will be overturned on appeal.
He met Knox's family for the first time Sunday.
"They said thanks. They had gotten a letter from Amanda saying thanks and they are happy that I'm doing what I'm doing," said Moore. He says this is not how he expected to spend his retirement.
"My family's been threatened. My family has been harassed. I've been threatened with arrest if I go to Italy," said Moore.
Moore says he's not criticizing the Italian courts overall, but he strongly believes something went wrong in Perugia.
Criticism of Italian police and courts is taken very seriously in that country. Knox, her mother and her father have been charged with slander for saying that police hit Amanda. The slander trials get underway in October, just one month before the appeal begins for Knox's murder conviction.