Witnesses offer differing accounts in Amanda Knox appeal

CNN

Two inmates testified Saturday that Amanda Knox, the American student convicted of murder in Italy, was not actually involved in the killing of her roommate. But they offered two different accounts on who the actual killers were.

Three other inmates testified as well.

Knox was sentenced last year to 26 years in prison for the death of Meredith Kercher at a house 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.

Two hours of legal wrangling between attorneys passed before the judge decided to allow inmates Mario Alessi and Luciano Aviello to testify. Alessi is serving a life sentence for kidnapping and killing an 18-month-old boy.

Alessi testified that Rudy Guede, who has also been convicted in Kercher's murder and is serving a 16-year sentence, told him that neither Knox nor her Italian boyfriend at the time, Raffaele Sollecito, were involved in the killing.

Later in the day, Aviello, who has ties to the Naples Mafia, testified that it was his brother who was the killer, together with an Albanian man.

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.

"We need to finish her otherwise she will tell on us," Alessi quoted the friend as telling Guede. The friend then proceeded to inflict another wound on her, Alessi testified.

Alessi said Guede remained by himself with Kercher for a while, but eventually left her injured.

Prosecutors and the lawyer for Kercher's family questioned the validity of Alessi's testimony.

Through his lawyers, Guede denied Alessi's version of events.

During his testimony, Aviello gave a different account.

Aviello said that on the night of the killing, his brother came home with scratches and other wounds. As Aviello tended to the wounds, his brother confessed to him that he had killed Kercher, he said.

According to Aviello, his brother said that he and an Albanian man entered the residence to steal a painting, and in the act ended up killing the girl. Aviello said he hasn't seen his brother in three years.

"Inside me I know that a miscarriage of justice has taken place," Aviello said of Knox and Sollecito's conviction.

Prosecutors questioned his credibility and Aviello admitted that he has been convicted of defamation seven times.

The appeals process will continue June 27, when Guede is expected to testify.

In an additional twist Saturday, another inmate who the defense put on the stand to verify Alessi's version of events, testified that he, in fact, did not know anything about who carried out the killings. Even though his cell was adjacent to Alessi's and Guede's, the inmate was Romanian and didn't know what they discussed, he said.