Rudy Guede, the only person definitively convicted of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, could be released in the coming days after serving 13 years of a 16-year sentence.
Guede’s sentence is due to end on January 4, but he has asked magistrates to reduce it by another 45 days.
Fabrizio Ballarini, Guede’s lawyer, said on Monday that the supervisory judge was assessing the request and if it was accepted Guede would be immediately released.
“We don’t know when the decision will come, it could be tomorrow morning, at the end of this week or at the beginning of next year,” he added.
Kercher, a 21-year-old student from Coulsdon, Surrey, was murdered at her home in the university town of Perugia in November 2007. Her body was found in her bedroom, partly undressed with multiple stab wounds. She had also been sexually assaulted.
Guede was first sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2008 after a fast-track trial, but that was reduced on appeal to 16 years.
The convictions of two other suspects, Amanda Knox, an American student who shared the house with Kercher, and her former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, have been overturned.
Guede, 35, was first released from Viterbo prison in 2017 to complete a master’s degree, and before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic he was working at the library at the city’s criminology center. After the center was closed due to the pandemic, Guede started working as a volunteer for the Catholic charity Caritas. In December 2020, he was taken to social services to complete his sentence by doing community service, which saved him from having to return to prison at night.
“This is only granted to inmates with a positive prison program and he qualified to be able to apply,” Ballarini said.
Knox and Sollecito spent four years in prison after being initially convicted of Kercher’s murder. They were acquitted in 2011 before being convicted again in 2014 by an appeals court in Florence, which ruled that the multiple injuries inflicted on Kercher’s body proved that Guede could not have acted alone. Italy’s highest court overturned the ruling in a final ruling in 2015, due to what it called “astonishing faults” in the investigation that led to Knox and Sollecito’s convictions.