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Originally published September 27, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified September 27, 2008 at 2:45 AM

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Amanda Knox, ex-boyfriend meet in Italian court

An American student and her former Italian boyfriend suspected in the 2007 stabbing death of a young British woman saw each other for the...

PERUGIA, Italy — An American student and her former Italian boyfriend suspected in the 2007 stabbing death of a young British woman saw each other for the first time in months Friday at a hearing to decide whether they will stand trial for the slaying.

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

The third suspect, Rudy Hermann Guede, of the Ivory Coast, also attended the hearing to decide on the prosecutors' request for charges and indictments.

All the suspects have denied wrongdoing.

Because Sollecito had skipped the opening hearing last week, Friday's session was the first time he and Knox have been in the same room since they were jailed. In Italy, defendants have the right to skip hearings or trials.

The hearings are closed to the media and public. A decision is expected in a few weeks, after more hearings.

Lawyers for the defendants described to reporters some details of Friday's nine-hour-long hearing.

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.

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

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.

Guede's lawyer, Valter Biscotti, told reporters that all three suspects asked for permission to address the court. "They made very brief statements, along the lines of 'everything you heard today is false,' " Biscotti said.

The hearings also serve as a fast-track trial for Guede — a move requested by his lawyers. A quick trial limits the number of witnesses and kinds of evidence that can be submitted.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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