Rome – A defense lawyer for Amanda Knox, the U.S. college student serving a 26-year prison sentence for the murder of her British roommate, expressed optimism Saturday that a drug charge conviction of a prosecution witness might help the American in her appeal in Italy.
The defense always maintained that Antonio Curatolo, a homeless man in the university town of Perugia, wasn’t a credible witness, Luciano Ghirga told the Associated Press in Rome.
Perugia court offices were closed Saturday, and officials could not be reached to confirm Italian news reports that Curatolo had been convicted earlier in the week for dealing drugs. It wasn’t immediately known what his sentence was or if he had been jailed.
In the first trial against Knox, Curatolo testified that he saw Knox and fellow murder trial defendant Raffaele Sollecito chatting near the apartment house the night Meredith Kercher was slain in 2007. Sollecito, an Italian who was Knox’s boyfriend at the time, was also convicted of the slaying and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Both defendants are appealing their convictions.
Marine shoots, kills Afghan policeman
Kabul, Afghanistan – A U.S. Marine shot and killed an Afghan policeman who pointed a weapon at him Saturday, Western military officials said. The incident took place at an outpost in the Sangin district of Helmand province, one of the most troubled enclaves in Afghanistan.
Marines from Camp Pendleton in Southern California took over command of the violent district from British forces last fall, as part of a drive to expel Taliban fighters from their traditional heartland in Afghanistan’s south.
Western military officials said the shooting took place after a dispute between the two men during “static security operations,” a phrase that generally means they were at their base and not in the field.
Western military officials said the investigation was continuing.
TV station pulls Colombian soap
Caracas, Venezuela – A Venezuelan television station has stopped airing a Colombian soap opera after government regulators demanded its removal saying the program was offensive and denigrating to Venezuela as a country.
The soap opera “Chepe Fortuna” features an unscrupulous secretary named “Venezuela” who has a dog called “Little Hugo,” an apparent reference to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
“What disrespect for Venezuela!” Chavez said in a speech to lawmakers Saturday. “That soap is so horrible!”
The private TV channel Televen did not air the program on Friday after regulators demanded the show be dropped from the lineup.
“At least Televen agreed,” Chavez said.