The appeal trial to a case that gripped Italy opened Monday, with crushing testimony against Amanda Knox. Knox, the American college student convicted of murdering her roommate while studying abroad in Italy, is appealing her 26-year sentence handed down in 2009. After a series of small victories for her defense team, including the reexamination of crucial DNA evidence, the testimony of Rudy Geude, a man also convicted in the death of Meredith Kercher, left Knox “shocked and anguished” in court Monday.
Mario Alessi, a prisoner serving a life sentence for murdering a child, testified last week that Geude told Alessi that Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, who was given 25 years for the crime, were innocent. Three other witnesses were called Saturday to corroborate the testimony. One witness claimed his brother had killed Kercher. The appeal trial seemed to be tilting in Knox’s favor.
But Guede, who was sentenced to 16 years for his role in the crime, took the stand for the prosecution Monday and denied Alessi’s claims. After he left the courtroom, Knox said, “He knows we weren’t there. ... I’m shocked and anguished by these statements.”
The case attracted a huge amount of media attention, with the trial being made into a Lifetime movie, “Murder on Trial in Italy,” starring Hayden Panettiere. Knox became a tabloid sensation, called both “Foxy Knoxy” and “the angel-faced killer with ice-cold eyes” by the media.