Tue, Nov 27, 2007 - Page 7 News List

Suspect in slaying speaks out

CONFLICTING EVIDENCE The latest suspect in the murder of a British student in Italy told his lawyer he was at the scene on the night of the killing and saw the murderer

AP , ROME

The newest suspect in the slaying of a British student in the central Italian city of Perugia admits he was in the woman's room the night she died, but says he didn't kill her and that an Italian who is trying to frame him did, his lawyer said on Sunday.

Rudy Hermann Guede is wanted in the death of Meredith Kercher, 21, who was found dead on Nov. 2 in her apartment in Perugia where she was studying for the year. Kercher died from a stab wound to her neck, and prosecutors said she was killed resisting a sexual assault.

"Rudy was present; he was there, but he denies having committed acts of sexual violence against Meredith, and it wasn't he who killed her," lawyer Walter Biscotti said by telephone.

"He saw the assassin; he knows he's Italian," because the killer, before he fled, told Guede in Italian that police would blame him for the murder, Biscotti said.

Biscotti met with Guede for the first time on Saturday in the German jail where he has been held since his arrest last week on an international arrest warrant issued by Italian authorities.

DNA testing has confirmed that Guede had sex with Kercher the night of the murder.

Biscotti said Guede had left Kercher's room to go to the bathroom when the killer slipped in and knifed the girl. He said Guede returned to the room and held Kercher in his arms, but then fled.

"He found himself in a totally desperate situation, with Meredith in his arms dying," Biscotti said. "External circumstances made him flee immediately."

DEFENSE STRATEGY

He said, however, that Kercher had uttered some words to Guede before he left, which he said would be the "central strategy" of Guede's defense. He declined to elaborate.

Biscotti said he thought Guede, an Ivory Coast native, would be extradited to Italy within 10 to 15 days.

Two other people are in custody in connection with the slaying -- Kercher's American roommate, Amanda Marie Knox, 20, a University of Washington student from Seattle, and Knox's then-boyfriend, Italian Raffaele Sollecito. Both have denied wrongdoing.

Another man arrested along with Knox and Sollecito, Diya "Patrick" Lumumba, was released from custody last week for lack of evidence. Nothing was found linking him to the scene and witnesses placed him at the bar he owns at the time of the slaying.

In a contradictory statement to police, Knox fingered Lumumba as the killer, saying she had to cover her ears at one point to drown out Kercher's screams.

In interviews published on Sunday with two British newspapers, the Sunday Mirror and the Daily Mail, Lumumba said Knox may have falsely accused him because she was mad that he had fired her from her job at his pub -- and that he had offered a job to Kercher.

He said Knox was extremely jealous of Kercher.

"Amanda hated Meredith because people loved her more than they did Amanda," the Mirror quoted him as saying. "She was insanely jealous that Meredith was taking over her position as Queen Bee."

KNOWING THE KILLER

He said he thought Knox knew who the true killer was. Authorities have said they found Knox's DNA on the handle of a knife believed to have been the murder weapon; the knife came from the kitchen of Sollecito's Perugia apartment.

"I don't always think Amanda did it, but I think she knows who did it, and whoever killed Meredith should stay in prison forever," the Mail quoted Lumumba as saying.

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