PERUGIA, Italy Nov. 18, 2009— -- Just days before lawyers will begin summations in the Amanda Knox murder case, the one person already convicted of the crime appeared in an Italian courtroom today and said he saw Knox leaving the cottage as her British roomate lay dying of a knife wound to the throat.
He ended his statement by turning to the lawyer representing Kercher's family and said, "I want the Kercher family to know that I did not kill and did not rape their daughter. It was not me that took her life away."
Guede's appeal is not part of Knox's trial, but in Italy the jury is not sequestered and the Italian press has had lurid coverage of the year-long trial. It comes at a key moment in the procedings. Summations in the case begin Friday.
Prosecutor Pietro Maria Catalani dismissed Guede's account as "not credible" and asked that the conviction be upheld.
Knox's legal team were scathing in their rejection of Guede's account. "Today does not affect Amanda's trial because no one believes Rudy Guede. Guede is not reliable – he is a liar," Carlo Dalla Vedova, one of Knox's lawyers, told ABC News. "Even the prosecutor said this today. He [Guede] has changed his stories."
Guede, 25, has at different times said the Knox, 22, of Seattle, was and was not at the house the night of the murder. At one point, he also implied that Knox's co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito was at the murder scene.
"All Guede can do at this point is just confess and remove two innocent people from this situation," Dalla Vedova said. Lawyers for Knox and Sollecito have suggested that Guede killed Kercher, 21, by himself.
Guede's appeal was held in the same Perugia courtroom where the trial of Knox and ex-boyfriend Sollecito is held. Guede was seated in what is usually Knox's chair flanked by his lawyers.
After the judge read a summary of the case, Guede asked to be allowed to make a spontaneous statement, a courtroom statement by the defendant that is allowed by Italian law.
Guede, a native of the Ivory Coast, spoke of hearing Knox and seeing Knox at the house that Kercher and Knox shared with two Italian women.
Guede Claims He Heard Knox and Kercher Arguing Before Murder
He told the court that he had seen Kercher on Halloween, the night before her death, and that they met again on Nov. 1 and they went to her house together.
While he was getting something to drink, Kercher went into her room and Guede said she began railing against Knox because money was missing from her drawer. "My money, my money," she kept saying, Guede testified.
Together they checked the other rooms and everything was in order, but Kercher kept complaining. "She said that Amanda brought boys back to the house and that she couldn't stand her anymore," he said.
Guede said he and Kercher started making out and petting, but stopped. Ten minutes later Guede says he went to the bathroom, and while there the doorbell rang and he heard Kercher arguing with Knox.
"We have to talk," Kercher told Knox, according to Guede. He figured it was an argument among roomates, so he turned up his iPod until he heard "a very loud scream."