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Amanda Knox verdict leaves list of questions

Meredith Kercher

Meredith Kercher

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Updated: November 16, 2011 9:08AM

PERUGIA, Italy — From the beginning, it was a case of contradictions, and the questions did not end with the verdict that freed Amanda Knox.

The acquittal of the American and her ex-boyfriend in the murder of her British roommate left open the core mystery of whether anyone — other than the lone man still behind bars — took part in the brutal killing.

But it also begged questions that stretch back to the early days of the investigation into the 2007 death of Meredith Kercher.

Why did Knox initially tell prosecutors she was in the apartment that night and had to cover her ears to drown out her friend’s screams as she was brutally attacked by a man Knox falsely accused?

There was also a purported burglary at the apartment that night — staged, prosecutors alleged, by the killers to derail the investigation. Who staged it and why?

And then there was the alibi of Knox’s ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, whose conviction was also overturned Monday. He claimed he was at home working on his computer the night of Nov. 1, 2007, yet police testified there was no sign he had used it that evening.

Monday’s verdict, reversing Knox and Sollecito’s 2009 murder convictions, didn’t answer any of those questions. And it’s unlikely the appeals court’s written explanation of its decision — due within 90 days — will shed much light, likely rendering the sensational case a mystery for years to come.

On the core question of who killed Kercher, there may yet be further legal wrangling.

A third defendant, Rudy Hermann Guede of the Ivory Coast, was convicted in a separate trial of sexually assaulting and stabbing Kercher, and his 16-year prison sentence — reduced on appeal from an initial 30 years — was upheld by Italy’s highest court in 2010.

Guede, a small-time drug dealer who fled Italy after the killing and was extradited from Germany to face the charges, acknowledged he was in Kercher’s room the night she died but said he didn’t kill her. Guede said he believed Knox and Sollecito did, but offered no evidence to back up his claim.

The high court ruling upholding his sentence said Guede didn’t act alone, though it didn’t name Knox or Sollecito as his accomplices.

“The courts agree he wasn’t acting alone,” the victim’s brother, Lyle Kercher, told a news conference Tuesday. “If those two are not the guilty parties, then who are the guilty people?”

Guede’s lawyer Valter Biscotti said he would seek to reopen the case for his client in light of the acquittals of Knox and Sollecito. He refused any further comment. AP

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