Injustice in Perugia
a website detailing the wrongful conviction of Amanda Knox & Raffaele Sollecito
Meredith Kercher’s Killer Takes The Stand
Meredith Kercher’s Killer Takes The Stand

After another long delay, the eighth appeal hearing was held on June 18 201. This hearing was not short on drama as five prison inmates would take the stand in defense of Amanda and Raffaele. These inmates were called to testify about prison yard conversations they had with Meredith Kercher’s killer, Rudy Guede.

Guede’s conversations were significant because he repeatedly stated that Amanda and Raffaele were not present at the crime scene when Meredith Kercher was murdered. It was shocking to see the defense calling on a convicted child killer to testify but that is exactly what they did when they put Mario Alessi on the stand. Alessi told the court that he was friends with Guede in prison and he spoke of conversations that he and Guede shared in the prison yard where Guede told him that Amanda and Raffaele were innocent. According to Alessi, Guede told him that he and another man murdered Meredith Kercher.

It is understandable to ask why a jury would believe the testimony of a convicted child killer. The man is a repulsive human being. However, the defense also brought in three additional inmates to corroborate that Guede told them the same story. It would be very difficult for the three to keep details straight during questioning if there was no truth to the story. Importantly, the testimony showed that Guede stated repeatedly that Amanda and Raffaele were innocent.

Another inmate, well known mobster, Luciano Aviello, also testified but his story was far from that of the others. He told the court that his brother Antonio murdered Meredith Kercher. According to Aviello, his brother came home to the residence they shared to inform him that he stabbed Meredith after entering her apartment to steal a painting he thought was there. Aviello told the court that his brother's jacket was torn and he was covered in blood. He claimed that is brother asked him to help hide a set of keys and a knife used in the murder.

Aviello wrote to the court several times about his brother's alleged involvement but was never questioned.  In the case of Aviello, the fact that he was never questioned by authorities was more important than his actual testimony because the court had an obligation to exhaust all possibilities and in this case they failed to do so. It showed that the prosecution cherry picked witnesses that fit their theory and ignored those who contradicted it. Antonio Curatolo was a good example of this. Why did they extensively interview a homeless drug addict and completely ignore Aviello?

As expected, both witnesses were completely unreliable. As we know Curatolo was embarrassed on appeal, and as it turned out, Aviello later admitted that his claims were fabricated. The defense did not buy Aviello’s story but by calling him to testify, the court saw firsthand how the prosecution selectively sorted through the witness list, a clear violation of Italian law.

The defense move to put the inmates on the stand prompted the prosecution to request that Rudy Guede be called to testify to refute the allegations made by the inmates. This request was granted by the court and Guede took the stand during the 9th hearing held on June 27, 2011. It was understandable that the prosecution wanted to generate some kind of response to the inmate testimony but calling Guede was a long shot. Guede lied repeatedly throughout this case, modifying his stories, based on news reports as it best suited his defense, meaning anything he said on the stand would lack credibility.

Guede was recorded during a Skype conversation before his arrest telling a friend that the reports on the news were incorrect. He said Amanda Knox was not present the night the crime took place. After his arrest Guede realized he had no way out and repeatedly modified his story to help his own defense. His latest story suggests he was being intimate with Meredith in her room when he suddenly needed to use the bathroom. While he was in the bathroom Amanda and Raffaele came in and murdered Meredith. Of course, none of his stories were accepted as his conviction has been finalized by the Italian Supreme Court.

Guede's attorneys did an excellent job of securing the most lenient punishment possible for his crime by convincing the court that Guede was merely an accomplice. Guede received a reduced sentence of 16 years on appeal, of which he will only serve a fraction, leaving many years of freedom in his future. The sad truth is that Guede will be eligible for work release in 2014.

How can we say with complete certainty that Rudy Guede murdered Meredith Kercher? Unlike Amanda and Raffaele, Guede was arrested after the evidence collected at the crime scene was analyzed and that evidence points right to him—no one else, just him. There was no rush to judgment when it came to arresting Rudy Guede. Investigators found Guede’s hand print on a pillow case found under the victim’s body. The fingerprints led police to their suspect. When the police came looking for Guede, he had already fled to Germany. Thankfully, old fashioned police work nabbed Guede; he was stopped in Germany trying to board a train without a ticket and was immediately extradited back to Italy.

The evidence of Guede’s guilt is irrefutable and should have been more than sufficient to secure a life sentence. Guede admitted he was in Meredith’s room at the time of the attack. His DNA, along with Meredith’s blood, was found on Meredith's purse. His shoeprints, set in Meredith’s blood, were found in the bedroom and in the hallway leading out the front door. As mentioned above, his handprint, in Meredith’s blood, was found on a pillowcase underneath her body. Most importantly, Guede’s DNA was found inside Meredith’s body.

Guede also had a history of break-ins similar to that seen at the cottage. One week prior to the murder, Guede was caught breaking into a nursery school by the school's owner, Maria Del Prato, when she arrived unexpectedly during off hours with two repairmen. Del Prato along with the repairmen kept Guede at the nursery and called the police.

When police searched Guede's backpack they found a laptop and cell phone that had recently been stolen from a Perugian law office. The break-in at the law office was very similar to the break-in at the cottage as Guede entered through an elevated window broken with a rock in both occasions. In the nursery school break-in, Guede was found in the possession of a large knife said to be stolen from the school’s kitchen. He was also in possession of a woman’s gold watch which tied him to another break-in occurring four days earlier. Guede’s break-in at the nursery no doubt made him a suspect in a previous burglary of the nursery in which cash had been stolen.

In the month prior to Meredith Kercher’s murder, Guede had gone on a crime spree. His activities were no secret to the police yet they never managed to properly investigate Guede and never took him into custody. Why? The sad reality is, if the police had done their job properly Meredith Kercher would still be alive today and Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito would have never been wrongfully convicted.

Despite police negligence, why did the court ignore Guede’s behavior during the first trial? All evidence at the crime scene pointed to him and he had a history of similar break-ins yet the prosecution was hell-bent on fitting Amanda and Raffaele into the scenario. Why was it so difficult for the police to admit they made a mistake? So many questions that needed answers but unfortunately those answers would never come. With all that is known about Guede, there was little surprise that tension was high when he entered the court room on June 27 2011, in the presence of Amanda and Raffaele.

Guede had nothing to gain or lose (with regard to his prison sentence) by testifying at Amanda and Raffaele's appeal, but he did have an opportunity to do what's right; he had the opportunity to actually tell the truth. Guede will never be able to correct the damage he has caused but he could have shown that he had an ounce of humanity left in his soul by stopping the destruction of two additional lives by informing the court that his accusations against Amanda and Raffaele were nothing more than lies. Even though Guede risked no additional prison time by telling the truth, given his character, it was highly unlikely that we would ever confess to the truth.

When Guede entered the courtroom he seemed to make an effort to avoid any eye contact with Amanda and Raffaele. As soon as Guede had stated his name and sat down, Amanda immediately stood up while her attorney announced to the court that Amanda wanted to make a statement. Amanda had the right to face her accuser and question them according to Italian law. Judge Hellmann, for reasons not explained, denied her that right, and said she could speak after Guede had finished with his testimony and was no longer in the courtroom.

As expected, Guede's testimony reiterated his latest story about Amanda and Raffaele that he had written in a letter in 2010. The letter was produced to the court by Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini. After the judge had reviewed the letter and handed it to Guede, Mignini asked Guede to read it out loud to the court. After a short pause, Guede said no. When Mignini asked him why, Guede claimed to be unable to read his own handwriting.

In a strange courtroom display, his letter was then read aloud by Mignini. Judge Zanetti found this odd prompting him to ask Guede if he understood the words written in the letter, as it contained many words that only a lawyer would think to use. Zanetti asked Guede about his education level, and if he knew the definition of the words in question. Guede said he knew them all, and that he had completed middle school, and would not go any farther into the debate. This odd moment left many feeling that Guede was being guided on what to say regarding Amanda and Raffaele. Did this guidance have anything to do with Guede’s lenient prison term? As we have come to realize, many questions in Perugia never receive answers.

As Mignini read the words allegedly penned by Guede, the court heard Guede's accusation that Amanda and Raffaele murdered Meredith Kercher. Old news or not, hearing these words while Guede was in the same courtroom was shocking to Amanda and Raffaele none the less. Amanda gave an emotional declaration to the court once Guede had been shuffled out:

“Please the Court, I simply want to declare that the only time that Rudy Guede, Raffaele and I were together in the same space is in a courtroom. We never had any kind of contact. I am shocked and anguished by his declarations, truly, because he knows it, that we weren't there. He knows that we weren't involved and I don't know what happened that night. I just wish I could tell him ‘Look, mistakes can be fixed by first telling the truth.’ That's all. Thank you.”

Raffaele also passionately addressed the court showing disgust that he was unable to face his accuser.

“Rudy said in his chat to Giacomo Benedetti that Amanda wasn’t there, and as a male he saw just a shadow. Then he accused us just because we were already blamed!”

“For almost four years I’m fighting against the shadows, and he comes here, and doesn’t even speak. What should I defend myself from, if he doesn’t speak?”

Although Guede’s testimony was dramatized by the media it actually went exactly as expected. No one imagined that Guede would come clean and tell the truth. He did answer my question as to whether or not he had a conscience; the answer is clearly no.

Even though the media improved drastically as the appeal progressed, it had to be expected that details of Guede’s testimony would be simply too irresistible for even the most disciplined reporters to not exaggerate. Unfortunately this led to another round of sensationalized headlines and misrepresentation of the facts, suggesting to the public that Guede provided shocking new information. It's okay, the headlines carried no weight and quickly faded away leaving Guede’s testimony to have no lasting effect on the trial.

When it was all said and done, there was no real way to gauge whether or not the defense needed to call the inmates in to testify. They did achieve their goal of highlighting how the witnesses were wrongly handled by the prosecution during the first trial but it took two full court hearings in a circus like environment to achieve that goal. Either way, there was certainly nothing negative to come from it other than possibly causing unneeded distraction for the jurors.
Rudy Guede
Additional Resources
Professional Analysis
Injustice in Perugia
The Appeal
The Victim
Meredith's Killer
Wrongfully Convicted
About Us/Contact Us