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Originally published Saturday, November 24, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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German court says slaying suspect to remain jailed

A German court approved the continued detention of a suspect in the slaying of a University of Washington student's roommate in Italy pending...

The Associated Press

BERLIN — A German court approved the continued detention of a suspect in the slaying of a University of Washington student's roommate in Italy pending his extradition, a prosecutor said Friday.

The Koblenz state court ruled that Rudy Hermann Guede is a possible flight risk, given the severity of the charges he faces, so it ordered him held on Thursday.

In its ruling, the court said the Italian authorities suspect Guede "and another perpetrator of raping a British citizen in Perugia, Italy, and then killing her with many stabs to the throat." It did not go into further details.

Guede, an Italian citizen originally from Ivory Coast who has denied involvement in the crime, was stopped for riding on a train without a ticket and arrested Tuesday in the western German city of Mainz.

Italian authorities had issued an international arrest warrant for him in connection with the sexual assault and fatal stabbing of 21-year-old Meredith Kercher, a British student who shared a house in Perugia with UW student Amanda Knox, of Seattle.

Knox and her Italian boyfriend are jailed in connection with the slaying. They have denied any wrongdoing.

The autopsy found that Kercher likely died slowly from a stab wound to her neck and Italian prosecutors said she was killed resisting a sexual assault. She was found Nov. 2 in her blood-spattered bedroom.

Italian authorities said Thursday that DNA samples confirmed that Guede had sex with the victim on the night of the slaying.

Italian media, without citing sources, reported that Guede told German authorities he was in the house where Kercher and Knox lived but felt ill, so he went to use the bathroom.

While in the bathroom, he said he heard Kercher scream and saw an Italian man running away, then took Kercher in his arms to try to help her but panicked and left the house, the Italian news reports said.

Koblenz prosecutor Karl-Rudolf Winkler said he could confirm only that Guede had made a statement to German officials.

"He gave an explanation regarding the allegations, but I can only say that he denied taking part in the crime," he said. "I can't give further details."

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Italian authorities have said they found Knox's DNA on the handle of a knife believed to have been the murder weapon and Kercher's on the blade. The knife came from the kitchen of a house where Knox's Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, lived in Perugia.

A third suspect who had been jailed in Perugia, Diya "Patrick" Lumumba, a 38-year-old Congolese who owns a bar in the town, was released earlier this week. He also has denied any wrongdoing.

The search for Guede began after bloody fingerprints were found on Kercher's pillow and on toilet paper in the house. The prints did not match Knox's or Sollecito's.

Italian police traced Guede to Germany through a friend who established Internet contact with him Monday night and chatted with him for hours, Italian investigators said.

Winkler said the German court was still waiting on documents from Italian authorities and it was not clear how long the extradition process may take.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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