Convicts Testify In Defense Of Amanda Knox - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Convicts Testify In Defense Of Amanda Knox

Rome (CNN) -- An Italian inmate on Saturday testified that a fellow prisoner confessed that Amanda Knox, the American student convicted of murder in Italy, was not actually involved in the killing.

Knox was sentenced last year to 26 years in prison for the death of Meredith Kercher at a villa the two shared in Perugia, the central Italian town where both were students.

Knox has vehemently proclaimed her innocence and her family has continued to fight the conviction.

There was nearly two hours of legal wrangling between attorneys before the judge decided to allow inmate Mario Alessi to testify. Alessi is serving a 30-year sentence for kidnapping and killing a 18-month old boy.

Alessi testified that Rudy Guede, who has also been convicted of being involved in Kercher's murder and is serving a 16-year sentence, told him that Knox was not involved in the killing.

According to Alessi, Guede said that he and an unnamed friend visited Kercher to try to get her to participate in sexual acts. When Kercher denied them, Guede's friend forced himself on her, and Guede also participated, Alessi said. At one point, the friend pulled out a knife, and then Guede, who was holding Kercher at the time, noticed she had started bleeding, Alessi testified.

Alessi told the court that Guede tried to stop the bleeding, but that his friend urged him to leave. Alessi said Guede remained by himself with Kercher for a while, but eventually left her injured.

Prosecutors questioned the validity of Alessi's testimony.

Through his lawyers, Guede has denied this version of events.

Another witness Saturday was Marco Castelluccio, a mafia member who testified from behind a screen because he is a protected witness.

Castelluccio said that he also heard from Guede that Knox had nothing to do with the crime.

Another inmate expected to testify is Luciano Aviello, who is serving a 16-year prison term for mafia-related crimes. Aviello is expected to say that it was his brother and Guede who killed Kercher.

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