Italian court rejects call for more DNA tests in Knox trial

7th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

An Italian court Wednesday rejected a prosecutor's call for new DNA testing as witness hearings ended in the appeal trial of Amanda Knox over the murder of British student Meredith Kercher.

The court in the medieval Italian town of Perugia said that, with no new evidence required, the prosecutor's summing-up could take place on September 23. The verdict is expected next month.

The news is a boost to the defence team and came after independent experts cast doubts on the original DNA analysis on a bra clasp and a kitchen knife that helped convict US student Knox and her then Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito.

A fresh round of tests could have extended the appeal by months and dampened Knox's team's hope that her four-year incarceration could be about to end.

Kercher, 21, was found half-naked with her throat slashed in a pool of blood in her bedroom in the house that she shared with Knox on November 2, 2007.

The investigation instantly became a media sensation, with British tabloids focusing on Knox's lifestyle in Perugia. There have since been several books about the case and even a television film.

Prosecutors at the original trial said the murder was the result of a drug-fuelled sexual assault by Sollecito, Knox and a third person, Rudy Guede, who has been convicted separately and is serving a 16-year sentence.

Sollecito and Knox are serving 25 and 26 years in prison, respectively.

Questioned during the appeal about the analysis of Kercher's bra clasp believed in the original trial to contain Sollecito's DNA, one of the independent experts, Carla Vecchiotti said she found it contained too many traces to be reliable.

While the trial judge did not announce a verdict date, the Italian press reported that it would be handed down in early October.

© 2011 AFP

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