Investigators: Could nun and priest be key in Knox appeal?

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by LINDA BYRON / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @LByronK5

KING5.com

Posted on March 11, 2010 at 11:47 PM

SEATTLE - Rudy Guede was the first person to be convicted of killing British student Meredith Kercher in Perugia.

His DNA was found all over the crime scene. But a jury ruled that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito helped Guede because they were thrill seekers under the influence of drugs.

This week, a new development is rocking the Italian press - an alleged jailhouse confession by Guede to another notorious killer, Mario Alessi.

Alessi is serving a life sentence for kidnapping and murdering a toddler. His formal taped statement was submitted to the court in Perugia. In it, Alessi says he met Guede in prison where Guede told him that Knox was not at the house the night Kercher was killed. Alessi says that Guede claims he was there, but another man slit Kercher’s throat and is still on the run.

Knox’s mother, Edda Mellas, told KING 5 News that Alessi’s not alone in claiming that Guede says Knox and Sollecito are innocent.

"I've heard two different reports now that there’s also a priest and a nun that had conversations, not confessions, conversations, where Rudy expressed the fact that he felt bad… that he was feeling some guilt about the fact that he had pointed the finger at these two (Amanda and Raffaele) when they were not there," Mellas said.

Via Web cam, KING 5 talked with a researcher who was in court throughout the long trial in Perugia and is closely watching the case. Giulia Alagna calls Guede’s alleged jailhouse confession "a huge bombshell."

"The news is again switching lights onto Amanda and Raffaele and especially the big question of whether they are innocent or guilty," Alagna said.

Alagna says the lead prosecutor in the case, Giuliano Mignini, told her that he plans to check out Guede’s alleged confession personally.

"Dr. Mignini and Manuela Comodi, the two prosecutors on the case at the moment will go tomorrow to the prison Viterbo, where Rudy is held and will question him about the recent facts that came out," Alagna said.

Guede is now denying he ever made the confession. He sent a letter to the Italian media today calling Alessi "a sick mind" and saying he never confided in him.

Meantime, Amanda’s family is looking to a recently released report to prove her innocence. It’s the jury’s explanations, called "motivations" in the Italian justice system, which explain in excruciating detail, over 427 pages, why they voted to convict.

Edda Mellas says the report is full of holes and gives the defense team plenty of ammunition for Amanda's appeal.

The defense is expected to file its appeal within the next few weeks.

Last December, the jury in Perugia found Knox and Sollecito guilty of murdering Kercher. Knox was sentenced to 26 years. Her Italian ex-boyfriend was given 25 years.

In October 2008, Guede was convicted of the murder and given a 30-year sentence, but an appeals court recently reduced his sentence to 16 years.

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