Convicted killer still insists Knox murdered her flatmate
A man convicted of murdering a British exchange student yesterday claimed that he believes her roommate, Amanda Knox, and her ex-boyfriend killed her.
The accusation prompted an emotional denial from Knox.
"He knows we weren't there," the American student Knox insisted, seconds after Rudy Hermann Guede left the courthouse. "I'm shocked and anguished by these statements."
The testimony by Guede, a 24-year-old immigrant from the Ivory Coast, was closely watched in the packed courtroom in Perugia. He had been called as a witness for the prosecution in the appeals trial of Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, her Italian ex-boyfriend and co-defendant.
Knox and Sollecito were convicted for the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher, whose body was found in a pool of blood in the apartment she and Knox shared in Perugia.
Prosecutors claimed in Knox's first trial that Guede, Knox and Sollecito killed Kercher in what had begun as a sexual game.
Taking the stand, Guede confirmed the contents of a letter he wrote to his lawyers last year, in which he accused Knox and Sollecito of killing Kercher. In the March 2010 letter, which was read out loud in court, Guede wrote that he had nothing to do with the "horrible murder of the splendid and wonderful Meredith Kercher by Knox and Sollecito".
Guede, who is serving a 16-year-prison sentence for the murder, said he was telling "the truth. I lived through that night".
Knox and Sollecito were convicted of sexual assault and murder in separate proceeding. She was sentenced to 26 years in prison, he to 25.
"Raffaele Sollecito, Guede and I have only been in the same place in a court," Knox said as she denied Guede's accusation.
"I don't know what happened that night," Knox added, saying she wished she could have said so to Guede's face.
Guede was called by the prosecution to counter testimony by a fellow inmate and convicted child killer who claimed Guede told him during recreation time in prison that Knox and Sollecito had nothing to do with the killing. On the stand, Guede denied talking to Mario Alessi about the case.
Like Knox and Sollecito, Guede has denied killing Kercher. Unlike them, he has admitted being at the crime scene on the night of the murder.
Speaking at the opening of his own appeals trial, Guede claimed he had heard Kercher and Knox argue minutes before the Briton was slain.
He said he was at the house with Kercher when he fell ill and went to the bathroom with his iPod. He heard Knox and Kercher argue over money, then heard a "very loud scream" coming from Kercher's bedroom. There, he said, he saw an unidentified man who tried to attack him. Guede said he heard the man say: "Let's go, there's a black man in the house".
Guede said he heard footsteps leaving the house and looked out of the window, where he saw a silhouette that he later identified as Knox's. He said he then tried to rescue Kercher after her throat was slit, but that he panicked and left the house.
Guede fled Italy, but was arrested in Germany a month after the killing. His DNA confirmed sexual intercourse with Kercher, while fingerprints and other traces attested to his presence in the house. Knox and Sollecito have maintained they were at Sollecito's house the night of the murder. Their lawyers claim Guede acted alone.