RACE ROW: Rudy Guede, left, has been jailed for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, middle. Patrick Lumumba, right, was accused of the murder and later freed
As AMANDA Knox enjoys her freedom in America after being released from an Italian jail over the murder of Meredith Kercher, Rudy Guede goes through the familiar daily routine that is the life of a prison inmate.
Guede remains the only person imprisoned for the murder of the young British student in what remains a bizarre and puzzling murder. He maintains his innocence and with the release of Knox and her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, there are some who must wonder, how safe is Guede’s conviction?
From the start the prosecutor’s case was always that this was a murder carried out, not by a single person, but involved at least two killers. Meredith Kercher, 21, had been stabbed 47 times and the prosecution claimed that the few defence wounds on her body was evidence that her arms were held, while someone stabbed her. There was also evidence of two knives having been used.
Guede claimed that he had struggled with an Italian man who he claims is the real killer of Kercher. However inconsistencies with his story and the fact that one of his palm prints, stained with the dead woman’s blood, was found on a pillow under the disrobed body, sealed his fate.
The evidence against Guede would look on the face of it to be compelling. But so too did the original ‘evidence’ against Knox and Sollecito. There are clearly many questions that the Italian police and prosecutors have to answer about how they handled this case. Some of the allegations levelled against police are very serious.
FREED: Amanda Knox
Knox claims that police beat her and then there is the issue of how they gathered and treated forensic DNA evidence. This was the point that led to the acquittal of Knox and Sollecito.
Guede’s trial was held in closed session, with no media present. He was convicted of murder and sexual assault, but acquitted of theft and was sentenced to 30 years in jail. Guede's two appeals upheld his conviction, but reduced his sentence to 16 years.
Born in Côte d'Ivoire, Guede was adopted as a teenager by a wealthy Italian family. But when that relationship became strained, he left the family home.
Just before Kercher's murder, he was arrested in Milan after breaking into a nursery school to sleep there.
When police found him he was reportedly holding an 11-inch knife.
It’s difficult not to see a link with race and the whole Kercher case. Early on in the police investigations local bar owner Patrick Lumumba, was acussed by Knox of being the killer and he spent two weeks in prison before a customer came forward to say that Lumumba was with him at the time of the killing.
Knox claimed police forced her to implicate Lumumba. Cops not surprisingly say this is untrue and have taken out a defamation claim against Knox.
FAMILY: Meredith Kercher's sister Stephanie, left, and mum Airline
However, just last week, Knox’s father was reported in the press saying police hit his daughter and that was the reason she named the Congolese bar owner as the killer.
Lumumba sued Knox for defamation and was awarded 40,000 Euros. The case was upheld by the appeals court and Knox was sentenced to three years imprisonment, and fined 22,000 Euros.
He also pursued compensation from the Italian authorities for unjust imprisonment and the loss of his business and, in December 2009, a court awarded 8,000 Euros in damages. Lumumba says he is taking his claim for compensation from the Italian authorities to the European Court of Human Rights.
It is inevitable that some will accuse the Italian police of having a racist agenda against black men, and stories about ill treatment of Africans by law enforcers are unfortunately too common place in the country. The speed at which Lumumba was arrested and remanded in custody without a shread of evidence against him must make anyone wonder if a white person would have been treated in the same way.
Tamara Shayne Kagel writing an article Ten things I learned from Foxy Knoxy for Jewish Journal.com, had this to say: ‘If all else fails, blame it on a black man. Knox got so confused during her interview with police, she told them her boss Patrick Lumumba must have done it. Although this black man had an airtight alibi, Knox luckily admitted to knowing another black Italian man, Rudy Guede and he has been convicted of the murder.’
While Kagel was writing with tongue largely in cheek, there will probably be more than a few observers who think that there may be more than a pinch of reality in what she said.