ROME — An Italian decide on Tuesday launched the one particular person definitively convicted of the 2007 murder of the 21-year-old British pupil Meredith Kercher, a polarizing case that’s nonetheless hotly debated each inside and outdoors the nation.

Rudy Guede was freed after finishing 13 years of his 16-year sentence with break day for good conduct, in accordance with his lawyer, Fabrizio Ballarini, and court docket paperwork. He has all the time maintained his innocence, the lawyer stated.

Mr. Guede started a work-release program in September 2019, and a yr later, he was positioned on probation, dwelling on his personal and dealing in the course of the day, his lawyer stated. By means of his lawyer, Mr. Guede declined to remark.

The homicide within the picturesque central Italian city of Perugia instantly drew salacious headlines in Italy, Britain and america, fueling parental nightmares about college students overseas. Ms. Kercher, a pupil on the College of Leeds, had been taking programs in Perugia.

Her physique was discovered on Nov. 1, 2007, within the residence she shared with Amanda Knox, a 20-year-old pupil from Seattle. 5 days after the homicide, Ms. Knox and her boyfriend on the time, Raffaele Sollecito, have been arrested and charged with the crime. Prosecutors initially depicted the homicide as drug-fueled intercourse sport gone awry.

Mr. Guede, born within the Ivory Coast and raised in Italy, was arrested in Germany on Nov. 20. Then 20, he was an acquaintance of the tenants on the bottom flooring of the two-story home the place Ms. Kercher and Ms. Knox had lived. The police discovered his bloody fingerprints within the sufferer’s bed room and his DNA on her garments and on her physique.

He was placed on trial individually from Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito, was convicted and was initially sentenced to 30 years in jail. The sentence was lowered to 16 years on appeal. Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito, additionally initially convicted, spent 4 years in jail whereas their case bounced round numerous Italian courts. They have been then cleared of the homicide cost in 2015.

Mr. Guede served most of his sentence in Viterbo, a city about 50 miles north of Rome, and obtained a college diploma whereas in jail, his lawyer stated.

Since he started working exterior jail and dwelling on his personal, he has been strictly managed. He volunteers within the mornings in a soup kitchen and works within the afternoon on the library of a Viterbo-based private institute that provides programs in criminology.

“He’s somebody who’s simply making an attempt to get his life again on monitor,” stated Claudio Mariani, a professor on the Viterbo institute who has been mentoring Mr. Guede for the previous 13 years.

Ms. Knox returned to america in 2011 after her preliminary conviction was overturned by an appeals court docket. In 2019, Europe’s top human rights court ruled that she had been disadvantaged of sufficient authorized assist throughout an interrogation, and questioned the power of the DNA proof that had been used to convict her. It ordered Italy to pay her $21,000 in damages.

She stated in a recent interview that she continues to be struggling to place her wrongful conviction behind her.