Knox appeal: DNA experts to request more time

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Amanda Knox, the American woman convicted for the murder of a British student in Italy, was set to attend an appeal hearing on Saturday in which DNA experts reviewing the evidence were to ask for more time.

"The experts asked the forensic police to hand over information essential to their report on the DNA. They still haven't received it and will therefore request a 40 days extension," Carlo della Vedova, Knox's lawyer, told AFP.

"It's not the first time we've asked for the police to hand over this information," della Vedova added.

Knox was sentenced in December 2009 to 26 years in prison for the grisly murder of Meredith Kercher with whom she shared a house in Perugia, in a drug-fuelled sex game that turned violent.

Raffaele Sollecito, Knox's boyfriend at the time, was sentenced to 25 years for his part in the murder. Both are now appealing their convictions.

As part of the appeal, fresh DNA tests were ordered on the presumed murder weapon and a bra clip found at the scene. Two independent forensic experts from Rome's Sapienza University were given 90 days to review the evidence.

The lovers were originally convicted in large part because of traces of Knox's DNA found on the knife and Sollecito's found on a bra clip -- but the experts have been unable to verify the findings.

"They weren't able to find any DNA on the knife blade at all, and it wasn't possible to repeat the test on the bra clip. It had been kept in a wet bag and had completely disintegrated," della Vedova said ahead of the hearing.

The lawyer for the 23-year-old American said the experts had been asked to verify the presence of DNA, and if this proved impossible, ascertain whether the original tests had been carried out correctly by Italy's forensic police.

"As they've not been able to carry out their first assignment, they are attempting to verify whether the original tests are valid or could have been contaminated," he said.

"But they need the raw data they have asked for from the police to do so. We first asked for it in 2009 and it's still not been handed over," he said.

Knox has repeatedly protested her innocence and her case has attracted wide-scale media attention. Her father Curt is expected to attend Saturday's hearing.

© 2011 AFP

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