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Inmate says Knox is innocent

A convicted child murderer testified Saturday at the appeals trial of Amanda Knox, saying that a fellow inmate had told him the American student had nothing to do with the killing of her roommate in Italy.

Mario Alessi was called by defense lawyers as a witness.

Knox was convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering British student Meredith Kercher in the house the two shared in Perugia, and sentenced to 26 years in prison. Her co-defendant and ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito of Italy, was also convicted and sentenced to 25 years.

Rudy Hermann Guede, an Ivorian, was convicted in a separate proceeding. Alessi is being held in the same prison as Guede. He testified that the Ivorian told him that Knox and Sollecito are innocent.

Guede has denied speaking to Alessi about the case, and he will be heard at the next hearing June 27 to counter Alessi's claim.

According to Alessi, Guede said he and a friend went over to the house with the intent of having three-way sex with Kercher, who was 21. When she refused, the scene turned violent. Alessi said Guede told him he had gone to the bathroom and upon coming back he had seen his friend holding Kercher to the ground.

Eventually, "a knife appeared, almost out of nowhere," Alessi said, quoting Guede as saying that it was pointed at Kercher's throat. As she was fighting, she got her throat slit, Alessi claimed.

Guede did not reveal the identity of his alleged accomplice, according to the witness.

Another witness, Luciano Aviello, told a completely different story, saying that his brother and an accomplice had killed Kercher.

Aviello said his brother, currently a fugitive from justice, was on a "job" robbing a house with an Albanian friend. They got the wrong address and found themselves in the house where Kercher and Knox lived, finding the Briton alone. He said they started sexually attacking her and then killed her.

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