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Rudy Hermann Guede Will Get Out of Jail Before Amanda Knox for Meredith Kercher's Murder

(AP Photo/Stefano Medici)
(AP Photo/Italian Police)
(AP Photo/Stefano Medici, File)
(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
PERUGIA, Italy (CBS/AP) Rudy Hermann Guede, one of three people - including Amanda Knox - convicted of killing British student Meredith Kercher, had his sentence cut in half Tuesday by an Italian appeals court.

Photo: Meredith Kercher.

Guede will now only have to serve 16 years. That's far less time than American student Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, who were also convicted of the murder. They were given 26 and 25 years respectively, although their appeals have not yet been heard.

On Tuesday, the eight-member jury emerged from more than four hours of deliberations, lawyers said, and upheld the conviction of Guede for murder and sexual violence.

Photo: Rudy Hermann Guede.

Guede, who is from Ivory Coast, denies killing Kercher and last year was sentenced to 30 years in a fast track trial he had requested.

On Nov. 2, 2007, Kercher, a Leeds University student studying abroad, was found in a pool of blood with her throat slit, in the bedroom of an apartment in the central Italian town of Perugia. Prosecutors believe she was killed the night before in a drug-fueled sex game involving Guede, Knox and Sollecito.

Photo: Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.
Guede, who was arrested in Germany shortly after the killing, has admitted being at the scene of the crime the night of the murder, but said he did not kill Kercher.

Guede was in court Tuesday when the verdict was read and told reporters afterward: "I am not happy because I am innocent."

Photo: Amanda Knox.

Kercher family lawyer Francesco Maresca said he was satisfied that Guede was found guilty but was "surprised" that the sentence was cut by almost half.

He said the ruling recognized some extenuating circumstances for Guede but it will be necessary to wait for the court's explanation, expected within 90 days, to know more details. Both the prosecution and the defense could appeal the verdict to Italy's top criminal court.

Guede's lawyers had requested that the verdict be overturned and he be acquitted.

According to the ANSA news agency, defense attorney Valter Biscotti likened Guede to Sam Sheppard, the U.S. doctor who was first convicted and later acquitted of killing his wife in 1954 and whose case inspired the movie and television series "The Fugitive."

Prosecutor Pietro Catalani asked the court on Tuesday to uphold the guilty verdict.

48 Hours | Mystery examined the case and aftermath of the verdict Saturday Dec. 5, 2009.

December 4, 2009 - Amanda Knox Verdict: Italian Jury Will Announce Decision at 6 P.M. Eastern
December 3, 2009 - Amanda Knox Pleads With Jury: I'm No "Assassin"
December 1, 2009 - Lawsuits Fly in Amanda Knox Murder Trial
November 24, 2009 - Amanda Knox: Sex-Game Murder Charge is "Pure Fantasy;" Italian Prosecutors Want Life Sentence
November 20, 2009 - Amanda Knox Trial: Convicted Killer Fingers Knox for Meredith Kercher Murder
June 19, 2009 - Knox's Mom Says Daughter, Victim Got Along
June 15, 2009 - "Always A Crescendo:" Amanda Knox Talks About Murder Investigation On Stand
June 12, 2009 - Knox's Alibi: Sex, Drugs And Sleep
June 12, 2009 - Amanda Knox Finally Tells Her Side Of The Story
June 8, 2009 - Amanda Knox Set To Testify In Italian Murder Trial
June 5, 2009 - Victim's Family To Testify In Amanda Knox In Italian Murder Trial