Meredith Kercher trial: Amanda Knox's DNA found on alleged murder weapon but not that of victim, says expert
Result bolsters Knox defence which claims the knife was not the weapon used to kill student
Wednesday 06 November 2013
In the third Italian murder trial of US student Amanda Knox, a court-appointed expert testified on Wednesday that the alleged murder weapon shows a new DNA trace that belongs to Knox and not the victim.
That testimony bolsters the defence, which claims the kitchen knife was not the weapon used in the bloody 2007 slaying of Knox's British roommate, 21-year-old Meredith Kercher.
Another piece of DNA on the knife blade initially attributed to Kercher was disputed on appeal.
Expert Andrea Berti testified on Wednesday that the minute new DNA trace from the knife's handle showed ''considerable affinity" with Knox's DNA, while not matching those of Kercher, Knox's co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito or Rudy Guede, an Ivorian man who has been convicted separately in the brutal slaying.
Knox defence lawyer Luca Maori told the Associated Press after the hearing that expert testimony backs their argument that Knox had used the knife found in Sollecito's kitchen solely for preparing food. He also noted that the new DNA trace was from the knife handle where another DNA piece linked to Knox had been located.
''It means that Amanda took the knife exclusively for cooking matters, to keep in the kitchen and to use it," Maori said.
Maori said the trace's very existence also indicated the knife had not been washed.
''It is something very important," he said. ''It is absurd to use it for a murder and put it back in the drawer."
The DNA evidence on the knife found in a drawer at Sollecito's flat has been among the most hotly contested evidence in the original trial and now in two appeals.
Knox and Sollecito were convicted in 2009 of murdering Kercher, and sentenced to 26 and 25 years in jail, respectively. The conviction was overturned on appeal in 2011, freeing Knox to return to the United States where she remains for the latest appeal.
Italy's highest court, however, ordered a fresh appeals trial, blasting the acquittal as full of contradictions. It specifically cited the Perugia appeals court's failure to test the tiny trace on the blade, especially in light of advanced technology, as one of the errors that led it to vacate the acquittals.
Prosecutors contend the knife was the murder weapon because it matched Kercher's wounds, and presented evidence in the first trial that it contained Kercher's DNA on the blade and Knox's on the handle.
However, a court-ordered review during the first appeal in Perugia, where the murder happened, discredited the DNA evidence. It said there were glaring errors in evidence-collecting and that below-standard testing and possible contamination raised doubts over the DNA traces linked to Kercher on the blade, as well as Sollecito's DNA on Kercher's bra clasp.
Sollecito addressed the court on Wednesday, as allowed by the Italian judicial system, acknowledging that he hadn't taken seriously enough the accusations at the beginning because he was too caught up with his new romance with Knox to grasp what was happening.
''Me and Amanda were living the dawn of a carefree romance and we wanted to be completely isolated in our love nest," Sollecito said.
He struggled with his composure as he pleaded with the court to acquit him.
"I hope I'll have the chance to live a life, a life, because at the moment I don't have a real life," he said. ''That's what I'm asking you."
The DNA trace is the last new evidence to be entered in the latest trial. Prosecutors begin their summing up later this month, followed by the defense in December. A verdict is expected in January.
- 1 Autistic adults could take pure MDMA to 'reduce social anxiety'
- 2 Stolen Instagram photo sells for $90,000
- 3 Before you complain about your GP, this is what you need to know about actually doing the job
- 4 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: not a Mexican demon being summoned — it's gravity
- 5 Paracetamol Challenge: Mother of girl killed by overdose pleads with teenagers not to take part
Iran launches anti-Isis cartoon competition 'to expose true nature of Islamic State'
'Don't blame all men for rape' campaign backfires spectacularly
Fifa corruption arrests: How Chuck Blazer rinsed money from the beautiful game
Fifa corruption live: Uefa to consider pulling teams from Fifa tournaments if Blatter stays
Ukip MP Douglas Carswell says he felt his safety was 'seriously at risk' after he was surrounded by anti-austerity protesters
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
£20000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in the centre of Glasgow,...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Joinery Shop Foreman is required to join a p...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Bench Joiner is required to join a privately...