“Out in town drinking with the murderer from Perugia”

“My name is Rudy, I was born in South Africa but spent my childhood in Atlanta (USA). I am working in Italy for Armani”

Newspaper LA NUEVA ESPAÑA 2011-10-05
Source: http://www.lne.es/sucesos/2011/10/05/copas-asesino-perugia/1138272.html

Rudy Guede, convicted for the murder of an English girl, went out with the Spanish {students} from Erasmus the night before the crime.

A journalist from LA NUEVA ESPAÑA experienced in 2007 a night out drinking with Rudy Guede, the only convicted for the murder in Perugia (Italy) of Meredith Kercher after the acquittal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. The encounter happened just 24 hours before the brutal murder of the English student took place.

NACHO AZPARREN: “My name is Rudy, I was born in South Africa but spent my childhood in Atlanta (USA). I am working in Italy for Armani”. Of these first phrases I heard from Rudy’s mouth in October 2007, only the name corresponded to the truth. The rest was made up. Rudy was born in Ivory Coast, he had never lived in USA, nor did he work for Armani. Our first encounter, in Perugia (Italy), took place around 10 days before the murder, which occurred the 1.st. of November 2007, the Ivorian who is now convicted of that crime, went out with a group of Spanish people which I was part of.

The surprising decision of the Appellate Court of Perugia, absolving Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito from the crime, leaves Rudy Guede the only person convicted of the murder. In the end of 2007, two months before the murder, Guede started a friendship with the group of Spanish students from Erasmus which had just arrived to Perugia. Guede lived in “Corso Garibaldi”, a place a bit more distant from the Town Center where the most of us lived. He lived in an old house in the style that was often rented to foreign students: An uncomfortable building which only advantage was the proximity with the 2 universities in town (Degli Studi and Per Stranieri). Guede was a neighbor of 2 girls from Valladolid (Spain), Marta and Carolina, who shared a place with 2 other Italians: Nicoletta and Sara.

My first contact with Rudy Guede took place in the middle of October, some 10 days before the incident. In the celebration of the birthday of one of the neighbors of Guede I was presented to the Ivorian. For all of us Rudy was just a funny African American, an extroverted guy who liked basketball and partying.

The confidence the neighbors of Corso Garibaldi had with Rudy was unlimited. The house of the Ivorian and the neighbors was interjoined by a place for washing clothes. “Rudy was just one of us. We washed together and he helped us when some electric device was not working” explains Carolina, his neighbor. “I remember when he showed me how to use the washing machine. Since I didn’t speak any Italian he only told me “White with white!”, she adds.

The Spanish girls shared the expenses of electricity with Guede. The level of confidence between the neighbors permitted Carolina to see the apartment of Guede. “He had a very small apartment, full of computers. It was a surprise for me because there was no internet in the house. He also told me he worked for Armani in something related to IT, as his father had done”, she tells. The lifestyle of the Ivorian was peculiar. He would be away for days to Milan, supposedly to attend the work with Armani. The alleged job tasks of the Ivorian was to prepare the computers for presentations and fairs. “Once he showed us photos embracing Girgio Armani. But something didn’t quite fit”, Carolina points out.

The supposed American origin of Guede was the next detail about him that we began doubting. Sara, another of the Spanish students in Perugia, was the first to suspect his US story. The girl whose mother was born in Philadelphia, told us within a few minutes that his accent did not appear American at all.

The most important contact Guede had with the Spanish group was the night of Halloween, one day before the murder of Meredith Kercher. The sympathy we had for him from previous encounters made us invite him to go out with us that night. In the first encounters, Guede had avoided to give us his cellphone number. He only wrote down the phone number of Carlos, who served as a link to him on Halloween.

“The same day that we were going to celebrate the party, Rudy called to join up”, Carlos commented. The two of them had become friends through the basketball. Guede was a regular player in the street matches that took place in front of Palazzo Galenga, one of the most celebrated universities of Italy.

“He told me he had played basketball in the University of Atlanta. I thought he was telling us that to impress us, but there were many holes in his story”, Carlos comments. That night he seemed relaxed and normal. I was with him all night and did not see anything unusual in him. The day after the murder I also crossed his path in the Domus discotheque we visited, and on that occasion he seemed very serious and locked up, completely different from his normal behavior.

We found out about the murder through the Perugia Police. The newspapers were telling about the brutal murder of the English Erasmus student, but none of us related that to our experiences with Guede. “Come to the questura immediately”. Carlos and Carolina was in Switzerland when they received the call from the agents. When they arrived to Perugia I accompanied them to the police station. The reason for the inquiry had been the call from Guede to Carlos on the night of Halloween.

Guede was detained in Germany, and later charged and convicted to 16 years of prison for the murder of Meredith Kercher. None of us would have suspected any of that.