PERUGIA, Italy, Nov. 26, 2007 -- Lawyers for a suspect in the murder of a British exchange student are seeking a new autopsy of the victim.
Meredith Kercher, 20, was found dead in her Perugia, Italy, apartment Nov. 2, after police say she was sexually assaulted and stabbed.
The three suspects in custody include University of Washington student Amanda Knox; Raffaele Sollecito, Knox's Italian boyfriend; and an Ivory Coast man named Rudy Hermann Guede who was arrested in Germany last week and is awaiting extradition to Italy.
Guede's lawyers are seeking a new autopsy, saying they hope for a better analysis of exactly when Kercher died.
Her body was flown to Britain Nov. 11, but it hasn't been buried. A decision on the autopsy request could be made as early as Tuesday.
Francesco Maresca, the Kercher family lawyer, said in Perugia today that he hoped the autopsy will not be needed and that the family could lay her to rest in Britain. "We hope that further tests on the body are not going to be needed," Maresca said, according to The Associated Press.
Guede is eager to be brought back to Italy so he can tell investigators what he saw, according to his lawyer, Lawrence Biscotti. Guede heard Kercher's final words, Biscotti says, and says that these would be at the heart of his defense.
"Rudy is determined to return to Italy as soon as possible to proclaim his innocence and demonstrate that he had nothing to do with the crime," Biscotti told ABC News.
Forensic evidence places Guede at the scene of the brutal murder. Fabio Giobbi, the director of the SCO, or forensic office of the Italian police, told ABC News last week that DNA found on the body of Kercher and in her bathroom after she was killed matched the DNA of Guede.
Guede was arrested in Germany on an international warrant because a bloody handprint matching his was on the cushion found under Kercher's body.
Biscotti concedes his client has admitted to having sex with the victim, as first reported by German newspapers last week. Biscotti says Guede says he went to the bathroom with a stomach ailment shortly after the sexual encounter. He heard the doorbell ring, but paid little attention, and then listened to three songs on his iPod that took, according to his lawyer's accounts, at least 12 minutes. Then he heard a scream and left the bathroom.
"I came out of the bathroom," he is quoted in Italian papers as saying, "and I saw a boy who was shorter than me, with brown hair, his back to me, with a knife in his hand. I asked, 'what are your doing?'"
"He hurt me on the palm of the hand," his account continues, "he whispered to me [in Italian]: 'they will blame you because you are black.' Then I heard the noise of a car driving away. Only then did I realize that Meredith was on the ground, with her neck full of blood. I went closer to her, I hear her mumble something, two letters, 'AF' it sounded like, I wrote them on the wall with the blood, and ran away."
Police say Guede ran all the way to Germany where he was arrested after police found him riding a train without a ticket.
This weekend, a former suspect in the case came forward and told British press about a possible motive in the killing.
Diya "Patrick" Lumumba, 38, a Congolese longtime resident and pub owner in Perugia, was picked up by police Nov. 6; he was released for lack of evidence two weeks later.
In exclusive interviews with the British papers Sunday, Lumumba said he would never be able to forgive Knox for accusing him of such a terrible crime and said he thought she might have done so because he wanted to fire her. Knox worked part time as a waitress in Lumumba's pub.
"Amanda was angry I was firing her and wanted revenge," Lumumba told the Sunday Mirror. "She told them it was me. I think she did it because I'd sacked her. By the end, she hated me."
"I don't even think she is evil," added Lumumba, "to be evil you have to have a soul. Amanda's empty, dead, inside. She's the ultimate actress, able to switch her emotions on and off in an instant."
In the interviews Lumumba depicted Knox as a jealous, insecure person. He says that she flirted with customers instead of working and that is why he fired her.
"I don't believe a word she says. Everything that comes out of her mouth is a lie. But those lies have stained me forever," the Daily Mail quotes Lumumba as saying.
She was also jealous of Kercher, Lumumba says. "Meredith was a natural charmer," Lumumba told the Sunday Mirror, "a beautiful girl who made friends easily and effortlessly received attention wherever she went."
Sollecito, Knox's boyfriend who is still being held, also provided grist for the media mill this weekend. He wrote a letter to his father recently that his lawyers recounted to Italian papers.
In the letter, written from prison, Sollecito describes the "Amanda I knew" as a person who "takes life lightly and doesn't distinguish reality from dreams," reported the papers. "All she thinks about is pleasure, at all times. But to even begin to imagine that she is an assassin is impossible," writes Sollecito.
Sollecito blamed himself for smoking hashish and professes his innocence. "I was not in that room when poor Meredith was killed" and he says that he now knows "what it means to walk in hell."
In the midst of the flurry of leaked documents, lawyers' pronouncements and interviews to news outlets, Knox's lawyers have remained noticeably silent and her parents have kept away from the limelight. There has been no comment from her lawyers for the better half of two weeks.
Both Knox's and Sollecito's lawyers have asked for a review of their clients' position and for their release from prison. A three-judge court in Perugia will review their case Friday.