U.S. student ‘not at home’ night roommate died


American college student Amanda Knox, 21,  testifies Friday at her murder trial in Perugia, Italy.
American student Amanda Knox was on the stand Saturday for a second day, this time facing questions from the public prosecutor in her trial on charges of murdering her housemate about two years ago.

Knox, 21, is charged in the death of British student Meredith Kercher, who was her housemate in this university town north of Rome. Kercher, 20, died in what prosecutors say was a “drug-fueled sex game” after suffering a sexual assault. She was found half-naked, with a stab wound to her neck, in her bed November 2, 2007. Knox testified Friday that she was not at the girls’ villa the night Kercher died, which authorities believe was the evening of November 1. She said she was at the house of her then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, now 25. Watch Knox take the stand » Sollecito is also on trial with Knox. Both are charged with murder and sexual assault. Knox testified Friday that the couple had dinner, watched a movie, smoked marijuana, made love and went to bed on the night of November 1. She said she returned to the girls’ villa the next morning to take a shower. That’s when she said she noticed “strange things” such as the front door left open, dried blood in the bathroom sink and on a bath mat, unflushed feces in the toilet, and a locked door to Kercher’s room. Watch Knox in court » When Knox returned to Sollecito’s house, she said, he suggested they call police in case the house had been burgled. Police who went to the house then found Kercher’s body. As she did Friday, Knox spoke in fluent Italian on the stand Saturday. She wore a short-sleeve patterned shirt and her hair was in a ponytail.

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Questions Friday came from Knox’s defense attorney and the attorney for local bar owner Patrick Lumumba, who is suing Knox for defamation of character. Knox worked at his bar and initially claimed he was complicit in the murder, leading to his brief arrest in 2007. Lumumba was released for lack of evidence. He claims he lost business because of the accusation. All cameras were barred from the courtroom Saturday because the public prosecutor said he wanted to avoid “sensationalism.” Cameras were allowed at the beginning of the session Friday but then ordered out. Kercher’s body was found half-naked in her bed November 2, 2007. Prosecutors have said Kercher, 21, died in a “drug-fueled sex game” with Knox and Sollecito, now 25. An investigating judge found that Kercher died fighting off a sexual assault.

A third person, Ivory Coast native Rudy Hermann Guede, was convicted of murder in a fast-track trial in October and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He is appealing the verdict. Defense attorneys are expected to argue that sloppy police work tainted the physical evidence.

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