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Convict says he believes Knox committed murder

/ Source: The Associated Press

The first man convicted in the slaying of Amanda Knox's roommate says he thinks she and her ex-boyfriend are the killers, confirming his previous accusations.

Knox says she was "shocked and anguished" at the testimony by Rudy Hermann Guede, an Ivorian man who is serving a 16-year prison sentence for the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher, a British student who was stabbed to death in the apartment she shared with Knox.

Taking the stand, Guede confirmed the contents of a letter he wrote to his lawyers last year, which ends with a direct accusation to Knox and her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito. In the March 2010 letter, which was read out loud in court, Guede wrote that he had nothing to do with the "horrible murder of the splendid and wonderful Meredith Kercher by Knox and Sollecito."

"This is a thought I've always had in my mind," Guede told the court Monday. "It's not up to me to decide who killed Meredith Kercher," he added.

"I've always said who was there that damned night in that house."

In a spontaneous statement seconds after Guede left the packed courtroom Monday, the American stood up and said "he knows we weren't there" and that she doesn't know what happened the night of the murder.

"Raffaele Sollecito, Guede and I have only been in the same place in a court," Knox said. She was only allowed to speak after Guede was escorted out.

epa02798036 US student Amanda Knox looks on during her appeal trial in Perugia, Italy, 27 June 2011. Knox is attending her appeal hearing after she was sentenced to 26 years in prison for her involvement in the killing of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, in 2007. EPA/PIETRO CROCCHIONIPietro Crocchioni / ANSA

Guede was convicted in the Nov. 1, 2007 slaying of Meredith Kercher. He sought a fast-track procedure and has already exhausted all levels of appeal. Guede denies wrongdoing but has admitted being at the crime scene.

Speaking at the opening of his appeals trial, Guede claimed he had heard Kercher and Knox argue minutes before the Briton was slain. He said he was at the house with Kercher when he fell ill and went to the bathroom with his iPod. He heard Knox and Kercher argue over money, then heard a "very loud scream" coming from Kercher's bedroom, and rushed to it. There, he said, he saw an unidentified man who tried to attack him. Backing down into the hallway, Guede said he heard the man say "Let's go, there's a black man in the house." Guede said he heard footsteps leaving the house and looked out of the window, where he saw a silhouette that he later identified as Knox's. He said he then tried to rescue Kercher, who was lying in a pool of blood after her throat was slit, taking her in his arms and trying to mop up the blood with towels. But he panicked and left the house.

Guede fled Italy, and was found and arrested in Germany about a month after the killing. His DNA confirmed sexual intercourse with Kercher, while fingerprints and other traces attest to his presence in the house.

Knox and Sollecito have maintained they were at Sollecito's house the night of the murder. Their defense lawyers claim Guede was the killer and acted alone.

Guede is testifying at Knox's appeals trial for her conviction on murder charges.

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

The long legal saga of Amanda Knox, an American student accused of the violent death of her roommate, British student Meredith Kercher, has made headlines around the world since it began in Perugia, Italy, in late 2007.

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