October 29, 2008

Convicted Coed Killer Claims Innocence

An Ivory Coast immigrant convicted of raping and slaying a British coed in Italy last year says he's innocent and will work to clear his name.

Rudy Guede, 21, insisted he did not take part in the slaying of student Meredith Kercher last year in Perugia, Italy, as he was being sentenced to 30 years for her murder, ANSA, the Italian news agency, reported Wednesday.

"I'm disappointed, very disappointed, especially for the sexual violence that I was accused of and which I did not commit," Guede told defense lawyers visiting him in prison a day after the Tuesday ruling, ANSA said. "But I'm not defeated, we can still work (to clear my name)."

Prosecutors say Guede and Kercher's roommate, American student Amanda Knox, teamed with Knox's Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito to sexually assault and murder Kercher during a perverse sex game. Guede opted to be tried separately from Knox and Sollecito in a fast-track procedure without a jury.

"This is a really important step towards justice for Meredith," Kercher's sister Stephanie told reporters.