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Doubts raised on evidence in Amanda Knox case

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Summary of story from BBC News, June 29, 2011

Italian experts are raising doubts over DNA evidence that helped convict US student Amanda Knox of  the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Tests have been carried out as part of Knox’s appeal (see WVoN story) which have revealed the DNA traces found on a knife may not be those of 21-year-old Kercher. Experts have also said that other DNA traces could be contaminated.

Kercher, of Surrey, UK, was found dead in Perugia, Italy, in 2007. Her throat had been cut after what prosecutors claimed was a sex game taken to the extreme.

Knox, 23, and her Italian ex-boyfriend Rafaelle Sollecito, 26, are appealing against their convictions.

Knox is serving a 26-year sentence for Kercher’s murder while Sollecito was sentenced to 25 years.

The original trial said the knife, which was found in Sollecito’s house, had traces of Knox’s DNA on the handle and of Kercher’s DNA on the blade.

Prosecutors also maintained that Sollecito’s DNA was found on Miss Kercher’s bra clasp.

Those findings were disputed by the defence, and the appeals court granted an independent review.

Regarding the blade, the experts said: “We believe that the technical tests are not reliable.”

They said that DNA traces found on Kercher’s bra clasp – which prosecutors in the first trial linked to Sollecito – could have come from atmospheric contamination and pointed to mistakes in the tests.

The two experts are due to present their review in court next month.

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