Suspect in Italian sex slaying caught; UW student remains jailed

ROME — German police on Tuesday arrested a fugitive wanted in the sex slaying of a British college student in Italy, nabbing an African man whose fingerprints had been found at the bloody scene of the sordid crime that has gripped Italians.

Hours later, another man was freed from jail, where he had been held after being accused in the stabbing by yet another suspect, the victim’s 20-year-old American roommate.

Police arrested Rudy Hermann Guede, 20, in the western German city of Mainz. Guede, a native of Ivory Coast, was stopped for riding a Frankfurt-bound train without a ticket, investigators said.

Guede was sought in the sexual assault and fatal stabbing of 21-year-old Meredith Kercher in the house she shared with University of Washington student Amanda Marie Knox in Perugia. Knox and her Italian boyfriend remain jailed in connection with the Nov. 2 slaying. Both have denied any wrongdoing.

Guede, who once played on a local basketball team in Perugia, had been taken in by an affluent Italian family living in a villa near the hills in the Perugia area.

Diya “Patrick” Lumumba, 38, a Congolese man who owns a pub in Perugia, was released Tuesday for lack of evidence. He had been jailed after Knox told investigators Lumumba had a crush on Kercher and had killed her while Knox was in another room, covering her ears so she wouldn’t hear the victim’s screams.

But no physical evidence has emerged tying Lumumba to the crime and witnesses have placed him at his bar the night of the murder.

Authorities have said they found Knox’s DNA on the handle of a knife believed to have been the murder weapon and Kercher’s on the blade. The knife came from the kitchen of a house where Knox’s Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, lived in Perugia.

The search for Guede was launched after bloody fingerprints were found on Kercher’s pillow and on toilet paper in the house. The prints did not match Knox, Sollecito or Lumumba.

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