Left is Rudy Guede who is serving a sentence for the murder of Meredith Kercher, the college roommate of West Seattle raised Amanda Knox, pictured right. He placed Knox and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito at the crime scene which helped convict them. Two witnesses in today's appeals hearing testified that Knox and Sollecito were not involved in Ms. Kercher's murder.
Two prisoners testify Amanda Knox "was not involved"
Today, West Seattle raised Amanda Knox appeared in court in Perugia, Italy during her appeals trial. She is serving a 26-year sentence there for murdering her British roommate, Meredith Kercher on Nov, 1, 2007. Her boyfriend of six days at the time of the murder, Raffaele Sollecito, was also convicted and is serving 25 years. A third person, Rudy Guede, is serving a 16-year sentence for the murder. He has claimed that Knox and Sollecito committed the murder and that he was not involved. The defense claims he was the lone wolf and committed the murder alone. The prosecution claims all three are guilty.
The courtroom became melodramatic today as Knox listened to two prisoners who serve time in the same jail as Guede that he revealed to them, separately, that he was involved in the murder, but that Knox and Sollecito were not.
One witness, Mario Alessi, is convicted of murdering an 18-month old child in a kidnapping. He testified that Guede, originally from the Ivory Coast, told him in Novemeber, 2009, that Knox and Sollecito were innocent. Knox and Sollecito were convicted Dec. 4 and Guede had already been convicted in a fast-track trial. Alessi claimed that Guede said he was worried because "I don't know whether to tell the truth or not," and that the truth "is altogether different from what you hear on TV." Alessi said he and Guede had developed a friendship in prison which then stopped because he did not like that Guede "said two innocent people were in jail" but did nothing about it. Alessi then contacted Sollecito's attorneys.
Three more witnesses were called to back up Alessi's testimony, including police informant Marco Castelluccio. They corroborated Alessi's statements, confirming, not that they heard the conversations themselves, but that they heard Alessi speak openly in prison of his conversations with Guede.
The last witness was Luciano Aviello. His testimony told of another scenario in the murder, that his brother and an accomplice killed Ms. Kercher. Aviello is a well-known mobster. He said he was home in Perugia the night of the murder when his brother showed up bleeding. He said his brother, now a fugitive of justice, told him that he and a friend meant to rob a different house and found Ms. Kercher alone in her house. Then they attacked her.
The Kercher family has an attorney, Francesco Maresca. He pointed out that both Alessi and Aviello were serving life sentences. He said they could not be trusted.
"They have absolutely nothing to gain by testifying," countered Janet Huff from her West Seattle home, referring to Alessi and Aviello. She spoke to the West Seattle Herald about today's hearing.
"The findings of the forensics experts regarding the DNA will be more critical to the case," Huff said. "We're not hinging all our hopes on these guys. It's just one more thing that points in the direction of Amanda and Raf's innocence."
Huff said that the biggest surprise in court today was that the prosecution will have Guede take the stand to respond to Alessi's claim. That is scheduled for June 27.
So is the defense concerned that Guede is expected to simply deny these conversations?
Said Huff, "The point is, when Rudy gets up on the stand, it's going to do nothing but make him look like a bad person, regardless of what he says. He claims that Amanda and Raf are guilty, but when people see him and hear him speak, they will see how strange, how odd, he really is."
Knox's stepfather Chris Mellas was in the courtroom to support her, and her mother, Edda, will be flying out in a day or two. They live in West Seattle's Arbor Heights neighborhood, where Knox grew up.
"We talked to Amanda this morning," said Huff. "As soon as she got back to the prison (after court) she was allowed to make her weekly phone call." Huff said that at first her niece sounded down. "She doesn't like all the media. They hound her and make her feel nervous. She's afraid any little thing she does is going to be twisted into something else. If she smiles at Chris while entering the courtroom the press will say she marched into court giggling her head off. So now she just kind of walks in with her head down and addresses her attorneys. We told her during the phone call that this time she was getting positive coverage, so that made her feel a lot better."