American student jailed in Italy


Published: Saturday, December 1, 2007 at 3:28 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, December 1, 2007 at 3:28 p.m.

ROME - The parents of American student Amanda Knox visited their daughter in jail in Italy on Saturday a day after a court ruled she must remain in detention despite her declaration of innocence in the killing of her British roommate.

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This photo released by the Italian Police, shows 22-year-old British university student Meredith Kercher, who was found dead Friday, Nov. 2, 2007 with her throat slashed in the bedroom of a house in the Umbrian town of Perugia. There is not enough evidence to place Italian suspect Raffaele Sollecito, jailed in connection with the slaying of British student Meredith Kercher at the crime scene, his lawyer said in court documents obtained Thursday, Nov. 29, 2007. A judge must rule Friday on whether suspect Raffaele Sollecito and his then-girlfriend, American Amanda Marie Knox, should remain jailed in connection with the killing of Knox's flatmate, Meredith Kercher. The two were arrested Nov. 6.

Italian Police/The Associated Press, file photo

During a closed court appearance Friday, Knox, from Seattle, said she was not in her Perugia apartment the night Meredith Kercher was killed, but was at the home of Raffaele Sollecito, her boyfriend at the time, said Kercher family attorney Francesco Maresca.

But during the hearing, prosecutors presented the court with an intercepted conversation Knox had with her parents while in jail, in which she appeared to indicate she was indeed in the apartment she shared with Kercher, Maresca said.

He confirmed Italian media reports citing the intercepts in which Knox was quoted as saying: "It's stupid. I can't say otherwise; I was there and I can't lie about that."

Calls to Knox's attorney, Luciano Ghirga, were not answered Saturday. The daily La Stampa quoted Ghirga as saying that the quote places Knox in Sollecito's home, not her own.

Kercher, 21, was found dead Nov. 1 in the apartment she shared with Knox in the central Italian town of Perugia where both were studying. She had been sexually assaulted and died of a knife wound to the neck.

Knox, Sollecito, and an Ivory Coast national, Rudy Hermann Guede, have been detained in the slaying. On Friday, a court ruled that Knox and Sollecito must remain in detention.

On Saturday, Knox's parents, William Knox and Edda Mellas, visited their daughter in jail, but declined to speak to reporters outside.

Francesco Sollecito, Raffaele's father, also visited his son in jail and said he found him "serene" despite the court setback. "We expected a different" outcome," the elder Sollecito told reporters.

Guede was arrested in Germany on an international arrest warrant issued by Italian authorities and is awaiting extradition to Italy.

He has acknowledged he was in Kercher's room the night she died, but said he did not kill her and that an Italian who is trying to frame him did. It is not clear whom Guede accused. DNA testing has confirmed that Guede had sex with Kercher the night of the slaying.

A fourth person, Diya "Patrick" Lumumba, was released from jail for lack of evidence.

All four deny wrongdoing.

Knox has given contradictory stories to prosecutors, initially saying she was at Sollecito's apartment the night of the slaying, then saying she was at home and that at one point had to cover her ears to drown out Kercher's screams. She had at one point accused Lumumba as the killer.

Maresca said that during Friday's hearing, Knox went back to her initial version that she was not in the apartment.

Maresca confirmed that prosecutors had obtained a diary Knox had written while in custody. News reports Saturday said that in the diary, Knox hypothesizes that Sollecito could have killed Kercher, slipping out of his apartment while she slept.

Sollecito has maintained he was at home the entire night of the slaying, working on his computer and watching a movie.

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