Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Alleged Prison Confession Casts Doubts

Last week the Italian court released a 427-page report detailing the reasons for Knox and Sollecito’s convictions. This week, however, an allegation from a prison-mate of Rudy Guede’s says that Knox and Sollecito are innocent, because Guede told him so. On Friday the lawyers for Sollecito deposited video-taped testimony from a fellow convict of Rudy Guede, Mario Alessi, in which he says Guede confided to him in prison that Knox and Sollecito were not at the house when Kercher was killed, but rather another man was present. Mario Alessi is a convicted child murderer who is serving a life sentence in Italy for kidnapping and killing 17-month old, Tommaso Onofri, in 2006. Alessi is currently serving time in the isolation wing of the Viterbo maximum security prison in Italy, where they keep the convicted sex offenders.

Last month, in a videotaped statement sent to Sollecito’s defense lawyer (Giulia Bongiorno), Alessi claimed that Guede told him and two other prisoners that Knox and Sollecito were never at the crime scene. Alessi also said that Guede wasn’t alone, but that a male friend of his was there with him. This “other friend,” who Guede refused to identify, was the one who slit Meredith’s throat, according to Alessi. What made him come forward with these allegations? Alessi says that “He came forward for the children.” This is coming from a man who when first questioned by police—about the murdered toddler—went on Italian television and declared his innocence saying, “You shall not touch children!” One month later Alessi was leading police to the shallow, riverside grave where he had buried the child. So why should we believe a man who confessed on tape to beating a toddler to death with a shovel, because the child “was crying?” Moreover, why would Guede cover for this so called “friend” if the friend is the one that did the killing? AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, why was no evidence of this friend found at the crime scene? (Remember, they found numerous signs of Guede's presence).

Rudy Guede heard about Alessi’s allegations two days ago while in prison and released a statement saying that he “never talked with Alessi about Meredith Kercher’s murder.” In previous testimony Guede heavily implicated Knox and Sollecito: “Those two [Knox and Sollecito] must be condemned, because they are murderers.” Guede’s lawyers, Walter Biscotti and Nicodemo Gentile, met with him in prison in Viterbo yesterday, where he released a statement. Guede “denied in the most absolute way” the allegations of Alessi. Guede’s lawyers informed the media that they were in possession of several wiretapped moments of Guede in prison and have never heard him speak of the murder. Guede and Alessi were not noted as friends in prison. “How can we think that he would confide in Alessi?” Guede’s lawyers asked. The lawyers announced legal action against Alessi for the false allegations in the report. Kercher family lawyer, Francesco Maresca, released a statement on the matter, calling Alessi “a lier.”

Meanwhile, Sollecito’s lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno—who is also a politician—holds a seat in the Italian Parliament. Her timing in releasing the Alessi tape comes just a couple of days after the 427-page court report on the Knox and Sollecito convictions; despite the fact that she's been holding it for about a month. Investigations of the statements made by Alessi will be carried out in the coming days. Indeed the report was filed yesterday by Bongiorno with the Public Prosecutor of the Republic of Perugia.