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No emotion by Italy student slay suspect

An American student charged with the murder of her British roommate showed no distress and was cuddling with her boyfriend hours after the slaying, a friend of the victim testified.

world Updated: Feb 13, 2009 17:17 IST

An American student charged with the murder of her British roommate showed no distress and was cuddling with her boyfriend hours after the slaying, a friend of the victim testified on Friday.

Robyn Carmel Butterworth told the packed courtroom in this Umbrian university town that she was among several students waiting to talk to officers in Perugia's police station shortly after Meredith Kercher's bloodied body was found.

Students Amanda Knox, from Seattle, and Raffaele Sollecito, an Italian who was her boyfriend at the time of the November 2007 slaying, are being tried on charges of murder and sexual violence. Both Knox and Sollecito have denied any wrongdoing. They have been jailed since a few days after the slaying.

"`I found Amanda's behavior very strange and I found it quite difficult to be around her," Butterworth, who was called to the stand by the prosecution, told the court. "She had no emotion. Everybody was upset and she didn't seem to show any emotions." Describing the group of friends at the police station, Butterworth added that: "'We were all crying. I didn't see her crying."

The witness said Knox and Sollecito were fooling around as they waited to see police.

"I remember Amanda sticking her tongue out at Raffaele," the British witness said, with her testimony in English being translated into Italian by a translator. "They were talking and joking, kissing and cuddling."

Kercher was found with a stab wound in the neck in a pool of blood under a comforter in her bedroom.

Butterworth also testified that Kercher had told her that she found it a "bit awkward" to be Knox's roommate. The witness said her friend had complained that Knox didn't always keep the bathroom clean. The victim also had confided that she was "uncomfortable" that Knox kept a bag of condoms and a vibrator in the bathroom they shared.

A third resident in Perugia, Ivory Coast national Rudy Hermann Guede, was convicted last year of the same charges and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Guede, who had also denied wrongdoing, had requested and received a fast-track trial.

Prosecutors allege that Kercher was the reluctant object of a sex game by the three suspects that ended violently.