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Suspect in Slaying of British Coed Seen Dancing at Disco Hours After Murder

Rudy Hermann Guede, the Ivory Coast immigrant suspected of sexually assaulting and killing Meredith Kercher in Perugia, went dancing at a dance club after her murder until 4:30 in the morning.

Witnesses have testified to police that they saw Guede at the Domus disco from 2 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 2.

Kercher was sexually assaulted and murdered on the evening of Nov. 1 at the whitewashed hillside cottage that she shared with Amanda Knox, an American student, and two female Italian students.

Guede, who has admitted that he had sex with Kercher but claims he is not the "real killer," is being held in Germany awaiting extradition to Italy on suspicion of the murder.

He referred to the fact that he went dancing after Kercher was killed in Internet chat with friends, intercepted by police before his capture in Germany last week.

In testimony to German police and his Italian defense lawyers, Guede said he met Kercher shortly after 8:30 p.m. at the cottage on the night of the murder for consensual sex, but that "an Italian man" he did not know followed them in and killed her while he was in the bathroom.

In his latest account to his lawyers, reported in Italian newspapers today, Guede -- the only one of three suspects to admit unconditionally that he was at the house on the evening of the murder -- said he and Kercher had "flirted," but that she had said they could not have sex because he did not have a condom. He then went to the toilet because he had eaten a "spicy kebab" which had given him stomach pains.

He said that he failed to hear an intruder come into the house because he had iPod earphones in his ears playing at full volume. He had listened to three songs while in the bathroom -- lasting about 12 minutes -- and only at the end of the third song had he heard Kercher scream, he reportedly told police.

Guede allegedly says he emerged to find a man "with brown hair and shorter than me" holding a knife. They briefly fought, and Guede suffered a cut to the palm of his right hand "as I was trying to protect myself." The assailant had uttered "racist" insults as he left, including "A black man found is a black man condemned."

Guede reportedly said that his efforts to save Kercher failed, but he heard her dying words, which were either the initials "A.F." or the sound "af."

La Stampa said that the latter version could be an attempt to point the finger of blame at Raffaele Sollecito, Knox's Italian boyfriend. Both are in prison on suspicion of involvement in her death. The paper said however that even if Guede was telling the truth and had not killed Kercher, it was still "very strange behavior" to go dancing at a disco and leave her to bleed to death instead of calling the police or emergency services.

La Repubblica said police pathologists had found the "deeeply imprinted" marks of three fingers and a thumb in Kercher's throat, confirming the theory that an attempt was made to strangle her before she was killed with a knife. Her jaw bone was fractured. A witness told police that a "colored man" running from the direction of the cottage at about 10:30 p.m. barged so violently into her boyfriend that he nearly knocked him over.

Francesco Sollecito, Raffaele Sollecito's father, a urologist from Bari in southern Italy, said that he would give police "expert evidence" tomorrow to prove that none of the knives owned by his son was compatible with the murder weapon. He said his son -- who has asked to speak to investigators this week for the first time since his arrest -- had been "consistent" in his assertions that he was not at the cottage on the night of the murder, but at his own flat.

"The only thing he does not remember exactly is whether Amanda was with him the whole night or whether she went out and came back," Dr. Sollecito told Italian TV. He said Raffaele was confused because he had smoked cannabis that evening. "I did not know he did this, but I do know he never used hard drugs," Dr. Sollecito said. Knox has claimed that Sollecito told her he had used "cocaine and acid."

Claudia Matteini, the investigating judge in charge of the case, held a closed hearing today to decide whether a further post-mortem examination on Kercher's body was necessary to determine the time of death more precisely. The Kercher family was represented at the hearing by Francesco Maresca, their Italian lawyer. Kercher's funeral in Britain has been delayed pending the decision.

Guede's lawyers have disgreed over whether he had sex with Kercher, even though Guede admitted that he had, both in his initial statements and in Internet conversations intercepted by police. Investigators say his DNA was found "inside" Kercher's body and on her tampon, and that his fingerprints were on her blood-stained pillow.

However, Nicodemo Gentile, one of his lawyers, said that the defense would provide an alternative theory of how Guede's DNA came to be on Kercher's body. He claimed there had been "great affection between them," though that has been denied by Kercher's friends and fellow students in Perugia.

Gentile said that, according to Guede, Kercher had managed to say more than "AF" or "af" as she lay dying, "and this will form the heart of our defense." He said Guede had been in a state of "extreme confusion and psychological trauma" and had fled "instinctively." Guede is expected to be extradited to Italy in mid-December.

According to Guede's account, Knox was not in the house, though in at least one of her many confused and contradictory statements she has admitted that she was. Police say mobile phone records show that Guede and Knox talked to each other "several times" before the murder and after it.

In interviews over the weekend, Diya "Patrick" Lumumba, the Congolese bar owner and musician whom Knox initially accused of the murder and who has since been released from prison, said she had acted out of "revenge" because he had fired her from his bar, where she worked on two evenings a week. He said that he had offered the job to Kercher instead, and Knox had been jealous. "She wanted to be the queen bee. . .she hated anyone stealing her limelight," he said.