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Kercher killer convicted; co-accused face trial

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Man sentenced to 30 years jail for murder of British student Meredith Kercher
  • Judge orders two others, one American, one Italian to stand trial for alleged roles
  • Kercher was found dead in Italian villa last November
  • Prosecutors say the three killed her after sexual assault
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PERUGIA, Italy (CNN) -- A judge Tuesday convicted Rudy Guede, a native of the Ivory Coast, in last year's murder of a British woman in Italy and sentenced him to 30 years in prison.

Briton Meredith Kercher was found dead in her Perugia apartment last November.

Briton Meredith Kercher was found dead in her Perugia apartment last November.

Judge Paolo Micheli also ruled that adequate evidence exists to try an American woman, Amanda Knox, and her former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, in the killing of Meredith Kercher, said defense attorneys and Francisco Maresca, the lawyer for the victim's family.

Their trial will begin December 4. Guede, Knox and Sollecito have all denied wrongdoing. Guede's attorney said he will appeal the conviction and sentence.

Kercher, a 21-year-old exchange student at the University of Perugia, was found nearly a year ago, dead in her bed, with a knife wound to her neck. Official reports said Kercher may have been sexually assaulted before she died and that she bled to death.

Members of Kercher's family spoke to reporters following the court proceeding. John Kercher Jr., one of the woman's brothers, said it was "overwhelming" to be in the same room as Guede when the judge convicted and sentenced him.

But Lyle Kercher, a second brother, said that "pleased" wasn't the right word for the family's feelings, noting that his sister was murdered. "Satisfied" was more appropriate given the circumstances, he said.

At his lawyers' request, Guede, hoping for a lesser sentence, received a separate fast-track trial from Knox and Sollecito.

Lawyers for Sollecito, 24, and Knox, 21, asked that their clients -- who have been in jail since shortly after the murder -- be allowed to stay under house arrest if indicted.

However, Sollecito's attorney, Luca Maori, and Knox's attorney, Carlo Dalla Vedova, said the judge had not ruled on their request. They expect an answer in coming days, they said.

Prosecutors allege Guede committed sexual violence against Kercher with the help of Knox and Sollecito. They have said the three then strangled and stabbed the British student and took money, credit cards and cell phones in an attempt to make it look like the crime occurred during a robbery.

Guede has admitted being in the villa when Kercher was killed, but has said an unknown assailant killed her while he was out of the room.

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Police say a bloody footprint from a shoe next to Kercher's body came from Sollecito. They also say investigators found traces of blood belonging to both Knox and Kercher mixed together in a bathroom adjacent to the room where Kercher died.

Both Knox and Sollecito have given what prosecutors have said are confusing and contradictory accounts of what happened the night Kercher was killed.

CNN's Hada Messia contributed to this report.

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