Knox Trial Focuses On DNA Evidence - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Knox Trial Focuses On DNA Evidence

PERUGIA, Italy (AP) - Prosecutors at Amanda Knox's appeals trial battled it out Saturday with independent forensic experts who say some of the key DNA evidence used to convict the American student of murdering her British roommate was unreliable and possibly contaminated.

Prosecutor Manuela Comodi sought to undermine the expert's conclusions and show that the forensic evidence used to convict Knox could stand. The experts — who were appointed by the court to review the evidence and the procedures used to obtain it — maintain that the original investigation was marked by some glaring errors. They have mentioned more than 50, including the wearing of dirty gloves in collecting evidence.

Knox was convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering Meredith Kercher in 2007 the apartment the two shared in Perugia and sentenced to 26 years in prison. Knox's co-defendant and ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito of Italy, was convicted of the same charges and sentenced to 25 years.

Knox, 24, and Sollecito, 27, have denied wrongdoing and have appealed.

It was the trial's last hearing before the summer break, and much of the debate Saturday centered on a kitchen knife the prosecutors believe to be the murder weapon.

In the first trial, prosecutors maintained that Knox's DNA was found on the knife's handle and Kercher's DNA was found on the blade. They also say Sollecito's DNA was found on the clasp of Kercher's bra, mixed with the victim's.

But the independent experts told the appeals court earlier in the week that the collection of evidence fell below international standards. They said the knife was not properly sealed or kept after it was found at Sollecito's house, opening the way to possible contamination.

The experts said that the DNA on the blade could not be attributed with certainty to Kercher. They reviewed the procedures used to test the original DNA material, concluding that the genetic quantity was below the minimum amount necessary for the test to be considered reliable.

"There is a complete genetic profile, but it's not reliable," testified Carla Vecchiotti, one of the court-appointed experts. "We don't know if Meredith's DNA was on it or not." >>>CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

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