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Originally published Friday, September 26, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Italy: Amanda Knox and ex-boyfriend in court

PERUGIA, Italy — University of Washington student Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend were together in a courtroom today in this university town, but exchanged no words as they followed proceedings to decide whether they should stand trial for the 2007 slaying of a young British woman.

PERUGIA, Italy — University of Washington student Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend were together in a courtroom today in this university town, but exchanged no words as they followed proceedings to decide whether they should stand trial for the 2007 slaying of a young British woman.

Knox, 21, of Seattle, and Raffaele Sollecito have been jailed separately since shortly after the Nov. 1 slaying of Knox's flatmate, Meredith Kercher. Kercher's body, stabbed in the neck, was found in a pool of blood in her bedroom.

The third suspect, Rudy Hermann Guede, of the Ivory Coast, also attended the hearing.

All three have denied any wrongdoing.

Because Sollecito had skipped the opening hearing last week, Friday's session was the first time he and his ex-girlfriend have been in the same room since they were jailed.

The hearings are closed to the media and public. A decision on whether the three suspects will be charged is expected in a few weeks, after more hearings.

Lawyers for the defendants gave some description of Friday's nine-hour long hearing.

Defendants are not allowed to talk to each other during the hearings.

One of Knox's lawyers, Luciano Ghirga, told reporters that she flashed Sollecito a "cordial, sober" smile.

"It was a kind of 'pleasure to see you' smile, nothing more," Ghirga said.

Guede's lawyer, Valter Biscotti, told reporters that all three suspects asked during the hearing for permission to address the court.

"They made very brief statements, along the lines of, 'Everything you heard today is false,'" Biscotti said.

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The court heard testimony from an Albanian man who had told prosecutors that he saw all three suspects together the night before the slaying in front of the rented house Knox, Kercher and other students shared.

The hearings also serve as a fast-track trial for Guede — a move requested by his lawyers.

In Italy, defendants have the right to skip hearings or trials.

Prison guards led the three suspects into the courtroom one by one. Only Guede was handcuffed.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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