Amanda Knox’s fate in hands of ‘third man’ Rudy Guede
Will Guede confirm what other prisoners are saying - that he knows who really killed Meredith Kercher?
A convicted Mafia criminal appeared in court yesterday to claim that the Seattle student Amanda Knox and her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito had nothing to do with the gruesome murder of Meredith Kercher in November 2007, for which they are both serving lengthy jail terms.
Luciano Aviello, a member of the Naples-based Camorra, said his own brother, Antonio, had killed the English student during a break-in that went wrong, and had then asked him to hide the knife he had used to cut her throat and the keys he had used to enter her apartment.
Aviello gave his testimony at a hearing in Perugia where Knox and Sollecito are appealing against their convictions for murder. Knox is serving 26 years for the killing of her flatmate, Sollecito 25.
Forty-two-year-old Aviello, who lived in an apartment along the road from the one Knox and Kercher shared in Perugia, explained that his brother had been staying with him at the time.
On the night of November 1, Antonio came home with a ripped jacket, covered in blood, and had scratches on his arms. He told Luciano that he had stabbed a young woman after surprising her when he broke into her apartment to steal a valuable painting he mistakenly believed was hanging there.
Antonio had managed to get hold of a set of keys to let himself in to the apartment. He asked Luciano to hide both the knife and the keys.
However, there appeared to be two big holes in Aviello's testimony.
First, under cross-examination yesterday, it transpired that Aviello had been convicted seven times of defamation, to which he angrily replied: "That's because all of you, the judiciary are a clan."
Second, Aviello's story did not tally with that of another convicted criminal who also gave evidence yesterday - Mario Alessi, a Sicilian bricklayer serving life for the kidnapping and murder of a young child in 2006.
Alessi's evidence centred on Rudy Guede, the Ivory Coast immigrant who was also convicted of Kercher's murder, but who was dealt with in a separate fast-track trial.
The prosecution's story has always been that Guede, Knox and Sollecito murdered Kercher together when a drug-fuelled sex game got out of hand.
But Alessi told the court how he became friends with Guede in prison in Viterbo and one day, in the prison yard, Guede confided to him that Knox and Sollecito were innocent.
Guede told Alessi that "the real truth" of what happened on November 1, 2007, was that he and another man decided to visit Kercher's apartment after leaving a Perugia discotheque together.
The other man was very drunk and sexually assaulted Kercher, Alessi claimed. Kercher was killed to avoid her giving evidence of rape against the man.
Whether yesterday's evidence helps get Knox and Sollecito's convictions overturned depends on who you listen to.
Amanda Knox's stepfather was heard at the close of the hearing telling a defence lawyer that they had scored "a home run". But the jury was plainly befuddled by the conflicting evidence put before it by Aviello and Alessi - and by three other convicted criminals, all from the Viterbo jail, brought in to back up Alessi's story.
The three, along with Alessi, were supposed to have been the writers of a letter sent from the jail last year out of a sense of justice, telling the world what Guede had said about Knox and Sollecito being innocent.
But the third of the three, a Romanian, presented with the letter in court, said he had never seen it and that his signature had been forged.
It has now been agreed that Rudy Guede should be allowed to give testimony himself. He is due in court next Monday, June 27. Will he confirm the story that the drunk killed Meredith and that Knox and Sollecito are victims of a miscarriage of justice? Amanda Knox's fate appears to be in his hands. ·
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