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Originally published Sunday, November 25, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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UW student not a murderer, Italian boyfriend says

The UW student jailed in Italy in the slaying of her British roommate is out of touch with reality but is not a murderer, her boyfriend and fellow suspect said.

The Associated Press

ROME — The University of Washington student jailed in Italy in the slaying of her British roommate is out of touch with reality but is not a murderer, her boyfriend and fellow suspect said.

Amanda Knox, 20, of Seattle, and Italian Raffaele Sollecito were jailed Nov. 6. The two are suspected of involvement in the slaying of 21-year-old Meredith Kercher, found dead in her Perugia apartment Nov. 2.

"She lives life as if it is a dream, she's out of touch with reality, she is not able to tell dream from reality," Sollecito said of Knox in statements to his father that were published Saturday in leading Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

Sollecito's lawyer, Luca Maori, confirmed the contents of the report, saying that Sollecito had dictated the letter Friday to his lawyers, who then relayed it to the suspect's father. Sollecito is banned from writing letters in prison, Maori said.

"In the period we were together, she was elusive," said Sollecito, a student also living in Perugia.

The two had been together for about two weeks at the time of their arrest, the lawyer said. Sollecito no longer considers himself Knox's boyfriend.

"The Amanda I knew is an Amanda who takes life lightheartedly. Her only thought is a quest for pleasure at any moment," Sollecito said. "But from here to even just imagining that she is a murderer, it becomes impossible."

Kercher died from a stab wound to her neck, according to the autopsy, and prosecutors said she was killed resisting a sexual assault. She was found half-naked on the floor of her blood-splattered bedroom.

Another suspect, 20-year-old Ivory Coast native Rudy Hermann Guede, was picked up Tuesday in Germany on an international arrest warrant issued by Italian authorities. DNA testing has confirmed that Guede had sex with Kercher the night of the murder.

Guede on Saturday met with his Italian lawyers for the first time and maintained his innocence, Italian news reports said.

According to court documents and lawyers, Knox has given contradictory versions about what happened the night that Kercher was killed. She has always denied being involved.

In a jailhouse statement, Knox wrote that police hit her on the head during questioning and that her sometimes-conflicting statements were prompted by stress and exhaustion, Italian media reported this week. Police have declined to comment on the reports.

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Sollecito said in his remarks to his father that the experience has been like "taking a stroll in hell," but that he is confident he will be cleared given his "absolute certainty of having committed no wrongdoing."

"I was not in that room when poor Meredith was killed," he said. Sollecito has said that he was at his own Perugia apartment the night of the murder, working at his computer.

This week, Italian authorities released from jail another suspect, 38-year-old Diya "Patrick" Lumumba, who had been arrested with Knox and Sollecito.

Lumumba, a Congolese who owns a bar and popular student hangout in Perugia, has denied any wrongdoing. No physical evidence has emerged tying Lumumba to the crime scene, and witnesses have placed him at his bar the night of the murder.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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