Amanda Knox is offering her support to a Massachusetts woman convicted of manslaughter for encouraging her suicidal boyfriend to kill himself.
In an op-ed piece published in the Los Angeles Times, Knox wrote that Michelle Carter deserves sympathy and help, not a jail sentence.
Carter on Thursday was sentenced to 15 months in jail for the 2014 death of 18-year-old Conrad Roy III. Carter was 17 then and is now 20.
The 30-year-old Knox is no stranger to sensational trials drawing global media coverage. The American exchange student from Seattle was convicted along with her Italian boyfriend in the 2007 killing of Knox's roommate, British student Meredith Kercher, in Perugia, Italy. Knox spent four years in jail but was exonerated by the Italian Supreme Court in 2015.
In the op-ed, Knox says that the media has vilified Carter in a way that reminded her of her own trial.
"When I was on trial for murder in Italy, the media tried to paint me as a 'femme fatale'. So it was with a sickening sense of deja vu that I watched the prosecution attempt the same trick with Carter, whom they said coldly and calculatingly insinuated herself into Roy's vulnerable consciousness,' she writes.
Since being released from prison, Knox has become an advocate for the wrongly convicted. And it's her opinion that the crimes Carter was charged with do not align to her actions.
Roy, Carter's boyfriend,committed suicide by filling his truck with poisonous carbon monoxide gas in July 2014. A central point of Carter's case was a text message she sent Roy after he got scared and got out of the truck, in which she urged him to get back in to die.
Prosecutors argued that the text made Carter culpable in Roy's death, and charged her with involuntary manslaughter.
Knox says Carter isn't guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
"Involuntary manslaughter is when a drunk driver crashes into another vehicle, when a gunman shoots at tin cans in his suburban backyard, when a carnival ride operator fails to ensure that all passengers are strapped in, and as a result an innocent person dies.
"Encouraging your boyfriend to follow through with his own death wish should not qualify. Carter may not be innocent in a moral or philosophical sense, but she was wrongfully convicted," Knox says.
Text messages show Carter urged Roy to get back in his car that he was filling with carbon monoxide to kill himself.
The idea that Carter "coerced" her boyfriend to commit suicide isn't true, Knox says.
She points out the fact that Carter counselled her boyfriend to get help in the months before his suicide, but ultimately "bought into it" because she was "ill-equipped to manage her own social anxiety...much less Roy's depression and tortured obsession with ending his own life".
While Knox says Carter's sentencing of 2.5 years is "relatively lenient" for an involuntary manslaughter conviction, she still thinks it's "too much" for what Carter did.
"Each served as catalyst to the other's mental illness, yes, but without calculation, without cruelty," she writes.
Ultimately, it was Roy's decision to get back in the truck, and that makes him his own murderer, she says.
By punishing Carter for the tragic incident, Knox says "we increase the tally of victims in this case' because it will likely encourage Carter to hurt herself.
"I should know. For months after my own wrongful conviction, I fell into a depression as I realised that my innocence did not guarantee my freedom," Knox revealed.
While she admits that it's hard "to feel sympathy for Michelle Carter", she says that trying to understand the young woman and get her help is the "just" thing to do - one that will hopefully prevent her from succumbing to a similar fate as her boyfriend.
In the wake of Thursday's sentencing, Roy's family have voiced their outrage that Carter wasn't given a longer sentence and that she's being allowed to remain free on probation until her appeal.
Where to get help:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• Samaritans 0800 726 666
• If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.