Mental State of Amanda Knox Co-Defendant Raffaele Sollecito Worries Lawyer

Sentenced to 25 years, Raffaele Sollecito keeps asking to be let out of prison.

ByABC News
December 10, 2009, 9:56 AM

ROME, Italy Dec. 10, 2009— -- Amanda Knox's codefendant Raffaele Sollecito is having trouble accepting his murder conviction and 25 year prison sentence, and keeps being asked to be let out of prison, his lawyer says.

Sollecito, 25, also defended his ex-girlfriend who he called "sweet Amanda," saying she was incapable of murdering her roommate Meredith Kercher two years ago.

"I don't even dare think of such a thing. It's absurd and impossible. She is a very sweet girl," Sollecito's lawyer Luca Maori quoted him as saying.

Knox, 22, was also convicted of Kercher's murder and sentenced to 26 years in prison.

Rome's daily newspaper Il Messaggero interviewed Sollecito through Maori who visited the convicted murderer in Terni prison in central Italy where he is being held. Sollecito is confined in a section of the prison reserved for inmates who have committed sexual crimes.

Both Maori and Sollecito's sister have expressed concern for his mental state and have said he is "very psychologically tried."

Speaking to the Italian news agency Ansa, Maori said Sollecito continues to suffer from "space-time perception" and an inability to understand fully what has happened to him to the point of repeatedly asking to be released.

In the Il Messaggero interview, Sollecito conceded he is having difficulty accepting what has happened to him.

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"When they read the sentence I didn't understand what was happening and even now it seems impossible to me and I can't understand why I have been sentenced," he said.

Like Knox, Sollecito continues to declare he had no part in Kercher's sexual assault and murder.

Maori said Sollecito is getting the maximum support from prison health officials and is never left alone, even during the holidays.

Sollecito and Knox both intend to appeal their convictions, but in the interview with Il Messaggero, Maori quoted Sollecito saying he was afraid of what might happen next.

"I should be trusting, but it is very difficult. My world has collapsed around me with that sentence. It collapsed around me and Amanda," he said.

As part of their defense, Sollecito and Knox said they were not at the Perugia cottage the night that Kercher was murdered. Instead, they said they were together at Sollecito's place where they smoked pot and made love.

Sollecito, who dated Knox for only a few weeks before they were arrested, said he is not in love with Knox but she remains important to him.

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito Wrote Letters in Prison

"I am not in love with Amanda, but I feel very close to her because I consider her my 'disadventure' companion," he said.

During the 11 month trial, Knox had a "pleasant effect" on him, Sollecito said. "She is a person who is very dear to me even if we were together for a very short time. She too is living a nightmare and a terrible situation," he told the newspaper.

During their two year incarceration, Sollecito and Knox wrote letters to each other. At one point, Knox sent Sollecito a letter saying she couldn't love him because she loved someone else.

"I can't give you what you want. I can't give you my heart completely," she wrote to Sollecito last February. She added, "I hope this letter doesn't hurt you because all of your letters give me a sense of peace. Thank you. I'm here to hold your hand."

Sollecito told Il Messaggero that the "media battle" probably hurt him the most during the trial. Sollecito was asked about the photos in newspapers shortly after Kercher's death when he and Knox were spotted buying underwear and Sollecito was quoted saying they were for a "hot night." It was cited by critics that showed the couple felt no remorse about Kercher's death.

"We went to buy underwear because all of Amanda's things were sequestered [by the police]. Everything that was said about it is wrong. My comment was just a comment in jest. Referring to the underwear and to Amanda, it was just a flip comment," he told Il Massaggero.