Knox clashes with witness in Italy murder trial

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 27, 2011 10:08 AM
Knox clashes with witness in Italy murder trial

ROME (Reuters) - The appeal by U.S. student Amanda Knox against her conviction for the 2007 murder of her British housemate resumed in Italy Monday, with Knox telling a key witness to "tell the truth," after he insisted she was guilty.

Knox, 23, and her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito have been sentenced to 26 and 25 years in jail respectively for the murder of Meredith Kercher, who was found half-naked with her throat slit in a flat she shared with Knox in the university city of Perugia.

Rudy Guede, an Ivorian who is serving a 16 year sentence for his own role in the murder, denied evidence from a convicted child killer, Mario Alessi, that Guede confided to him while they were in prison together than Knox and Sollecito had nothing to do with the killing.

Guede told the Perugia court that Alessi's evidence was "all lies," adding that they had never discussed the murder and that Alessi was clearly being maneuvered by others.

He said he still stood by the contents of a letter he wrote to his lawyers last year referring to "the horrible murder of a splendid girl by Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox."

Guede denies killing Kercher but, unlike Knox and Sollecito, he has admitted being at the crime scene the night of the murder and DNA evidence showed he had had sex with her.

Knox told the court she was "shocked and anguished" by Guede's testimony and appealed to him to "tell the truth."

"He knows that we weren't there, the only time that Rudy, Raffaele and I have been together is in a courtroom," she said. "I'm sorry I can't tell him that best way to make up for your mistakes is to tell the truth."

The Kercher murder has attracted huge media attention in Italy, the United States and Britain.

Prosecutors say it was the result of an extreme sex game that turned violent, but the defendants have always protested their innocence and Knox's family, friends, and some U.S. media have said her conviction was a miscarriage of justice.

The appeals trial began in November last year.

(Reporting by Maurizio Troccoli, writing by Gavin Jones; Gavin Jones; Editing by Jon Boyle)