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Congolese bar owner under suspicion of British student's slaying

An American student blamed a Congolese bar owner for knifing her British roommate to death, saying. A judge ordered the American, the Congolese and another suspect to remain in jail in connection with the slaying.

In her ruling, however, the judge noted that Amanda Marie Knox, of Seattle, was confused about the events since she had smoked hashish before the slaying. And the judge also said the murder weapon was a knife that belonged to the third suspect, Knox's Italian boyfriend.

Knox, 20, Raffaele Sollecito, 23, and Diya "Patrick" Lumumba, 38, have been detained in connection with the sexual assault and killing of Meredith Kercher, 21, who was found dead Nov. 2. They are under investigation for murder and sexual assault, and have all denied involvement in the killing, according to their lawyers.

Judge Claudia Matteini ordered the three, who have not been charged, to be kept in jail. Matteini said there were "serious indications of guilt" that warranted keeping the three in jail for up to a year while the investigation continues.

The 19-page ruling says that Knox, in her meetings with prosecutors, had accused Lumumba of killing Kercher.

Knox had "confused memories, since she had taken hashish in the afternoon," the ruling read. But Knox told prosecutors that "Patrick slipped off with Meredith ... on whom he had a crush ... in the bedroom, where they had sex."

"She (Knox) added that she could not remember if (Meredith) had been previously threatened but that it was Patrick who killed her," the ruling read. "She made clear that in those moments ... she heard Meredith scream so much that she, being scared, covered her ears."

A lawyer for Knox, Luciano Ghirga, said Friday he had warned Knox against making unfounded accusations. He said she had given "three versions and ... it is difficult to evaluate which one is true."

"We told her that it would be worse than assassination to accuse an innocent person. We explained to her what slander means in Italy and we'll see," Ghirga said.

Under Italian law, suspects can be kept behind bars without being charged if a judge rules there is enough evidence to jail them and there is a chance they might flee, repeat the crime or tamper with evidence. Prosecutors may later seek to indict the suspects and put them on trial.

The judge said in her ruling that, if released, the suspects could try to flee Italy.

"They could easily have left the territory of the state to escape the investigation," the judge wrote, noting that Lumumba is from Congo, Knox is American and Sollecito could have enlisted his girlfriend's help to flee.

Kercher's body was found in the apartment she shared with Knox, and police said she died fighting off a sexual attack. The coroner said Kercher was stabbed in the neck.

Matteini said it was not yet clear who might have dealt the fatal blow, but said Sollecito's footprints were found in Kercher's room, and identified the murder weapon as a knife with an 8.5-centimeter-long (3.3-inch-long) blade that the Italian usually had with him.

In her reconstruction of the incident, the judge said Knox, who worked for Lumumba at his Perugia bar, let the two men into the apartment with her keys.

"Then something went wrong," Matteini wrote. "The two (men) demanded some kind of sexual act, which (Kercher) refused to do. She was then threatened with a knife, which Sollecito always carried with him, and with which Meredith was stabbed in the neck."

One of Sollecito's attorneys, Luca Maori, said he planned to appeal the decision.

"We didn't expect it," he said. While saying he had not yet read the ruling, he said the defense team was "perplexed" by the judge's decision.

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