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Life term sought for American

ROME — Italian prosecutors on Saturday accused an American student of fatally stabbing her British housemate in a Satanic rite and asked a court to put a suspected African accomplice in prison for life, defense lawyers said.

The American, Amanda Knox, 21, proclaimed her innocence at the closed-door hearing in the Umbrian university town of Perugia and accused police of hitting her and calling her a liar during interrogation, defense lawyers said.

At his lawyers' request, a fast-track trial is being conducted for Rudy Hermann Guede, the Ivorian accused in the case. He has acknowledged being in the bedroom where Meredith Kercher's body, stabbed in the neck and lying in a pool of blood, was found in November 2007 in the house she rented with Knox.

Fast-track trials sometimes result in lighter penalties. But prosecutors asked the court to convict Guede and mete out Italy's stiffest punishment — life imprisonment. Italy has no death penalty.

The court deciding Guede's fate is also hearing arguments on whether Knox and her former boyfriend, Italian student Raffaele Sollecito, should stand trial for the slaying. A ruling is expected by the end of October.

All three suspects have denied wrongdoing.

One of Knox's lawyers, Carlo della Vedova, told reporters that prosecutors had laid out "a presumed scenario" with no hard evidence to justify putting his client on trial.

Knox and Sollecito, 24, have been jailed since shortly after the slaying. The pair have given conflicting statements.

Life term sought for American 10/18/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 4:42pm]
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