The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Entertainment

September 12, 2012

AP Exclusive: Knox boyfriend maintains innocence



SEATTLE (AP) — Raffaele Sollecito, whose budding love affair with American exchange student Amanda Knox helped land him in an Italian prison for four years, maintains the couple's innocence in a new book but acknowledges that their sometimes bizarre behavior after her roommate's killing gave police reason for suspicion.

The pair was imprisoned for the November 2007 death of Meredith Kercher at Knox's apartment in Perugia, north of Rome. An appeals court overturned their conviction and freed them last fall, issuing a 143-page opinion that blasted the utter lack of evidence against them. Rudy Guede, a petty criminal who was convicted separately, remains imprisoned and is serving a 16-year-sentence.

Sollecito's book, "Honor Bound," is due out Sept. 18. The Associated Press purchased a copy Tuesday.

In it, he describes how the early days of their relationship became a nightmare: the horror of Kercher's slaying; the misunderstandings that swept them up in the case; their tabloid portrayals as two suspects unrecognizable to themselves.

Knox became "Foxy Knoxy" and received the brunt of the attention as she shopped for underwear after the killing and turned cartwheels in front of investigators. While police investigated the crime scene, Sollecito caressed her and they kissed, unaware of the television news cameras across the street.

Later at the police station she climbed in his lap and draped her arms over him, making Sollecito uneasy, he said.

Police found their behavior "odd" and he acknowledged they had no "real alibi the night of Nov. 1 except each other."

Knox is also writing a book, due out next spring. Her deal, with HarperCollins, is reportedly worth $4 million.

The couple were arrested several days after Kercher's death and later convicted in proceedings that made headlines around the world. Prosecutors portrayed the case as a drug-fueled sexual assault, and Knox and Sollecito were sentenced to 26 years and 25 years, respectively.

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