Meredith Kercher's Killer Walks Free

Rudy Guede, who maintains his innocence, served just 13 years
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2021 10:40 AM CST
Meredith Kercher's Killer Walks Free
Rudy Guede, left, is greeted by an unidentified person as he leaves the penitentiary in Viterbo, Italy, for a 36-hour temporary release on June 25, 2016.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

The only person with a lasting conviction in the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher is free. If you don't know the name Rudy Guede, blame the fiasco that was the murder conviction of Amanda Knox. Whereas Knox and former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted in Kercher's murder in Italy in 2009, acquitted in 2011, re-convicted in 2014, then firmly exonerated in 2015, there was much less drama to the case of Guede, an acquaintance of the tenants of the ground-floor apartment below the one Knox and Kercher shared in Perugia. Guede was tried separately from the couple as one of three people responsible for Kercher's death.

Guede, whose bloody fingerprints and DNA were found in the apartment where Kercher was sexually assaulted and stabbed, was convicted of murder and sexual assault in 2008. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison before that sentence was reduced to 16 years on appeal. The sentence was further reduced to 13 years owing to good behavior. Not all of it was spent behind prison walls: Guede was granted day release from Viterbo prison north of Rome in 2017 while working on a university degree, which he later completed. By December 2020, he was allowed to "complete his sentence doing community service, meaning he did not have to return to prison at night," reports the Guardian.

He should've been officially released on Jan. 4, the outlet notes. But after he requested to be freed early, a judge moved up the date to Tuesday, the New York Times reports. Francesco Maresca, the lawyer who previously represented Kercher's family (including her father, who died in 2020) tells the Telegraph that it's not unusual for a sentence to be reduced due to good behavior, but "I think there could be a moral reflection on whether such a low sentence was sufficient for a murder of this kind." Now free, the 35-year-old Guede "just wants to be forgotten," a criminology professor involved in his rehabilitation tells that outlet. (Guede maintains his innocence and pointed the finger at Knox in a 2016 interview.)

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