Meredith Kercher Murder Case: Kitchen Knife Handle Has DNA from Amanda Knox

by Gopalan on  May 24, 2009 at 1:20 PM Medico Legal News
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 Meredith Kercher Murder Case: Kitchen Knife Handle Has DNA from Amanda Knox
As the Meredith Kercher murder trial gathered pace in Perugia, Italy, prosecution witness Patrizia, Stefanoni, a reputed forensic scientist, took the stand Friday to tell the court of possibly incriminating DNA evidence against US student Amanda Knox.

Knox's DNA was found on the handle of a kitchen knife which also had Miss Kercher's DNA on its point. The knife was recovered from the flat of co-accused Sollecito.

DNA from Knox and Meredith was also found in blood stains found in the bidet of the bathroom, sink and on a box of cotton wool buds. Dr Stefanoni said the bloodstains were "slightly pink as if the result of being washed".

The court heard how DNA from Sollecito was found on a metal clasp that had been cut away from Meredith's bra and which was found at the scene.

DNA from Knox and Meredith was also found in a blood stain found in the bedroom of flatmate Laura Romanelli - where the prosecution claims a window was smashed to make the murder look like a bungled break in.

Dr Stefanoni is one of Italy's leading forensic experts and was part of the disaster investigations team sent to the scene of the 2004 Asian tsunami to identify victims.

Lawyers representing Knox and Sollecito insist the DNA evidence is tainted as it was poorly handled and have also pointed out how the bra fragment was only picked up six weeks after the murder during a second search of the scene.

Kercher, a Leeds University student from Coulsdon, Surrey came to Perugia to learn Italian and to pursue her European Studies degree.

Just two months into the medieval city, on Nov.2, 2007, Kercher was found semi-naked, with her throat slashed in a hillside cottage she shared with Ms Knox and two Italian women. Her body bore more than 40 injuries.

In the days following the murder prosecutors arrested Miss Knox, 21, also a student, her former boyfriend and Italian  Raffaele Sollecito, 24, and Rudy Guede, 21, a drifter and immigrant from the Ivory Coast. Sollecito is an IT student from a wealthy southern Italian family.

The prosecution maintains that Kercher died during what began as a sex game, with Sollecito pinning her down while Miss Knox touched her with the point of a knife and Guede sexually assaulted her. Knox then allegedly stabbed the young British woman in the throat. 

"When I closed my eyes, I could only see red," Guede wrote in an account for the police after his arrest. "I have never seen so much blood. All of that blood on her beautiful face."

Ms Knox told police that she had covered her ears in the kitchen to block out Ms Kercher's screams. A year later the African was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 30 years in jail.

But Judge Paolo Micheli  ruled that there was enough evidence to send Knox and Sollecito to trial on charges of murder and aggravated sexual assault. 

Sollecito and Knox have also been accused of simulating  a break-in by smashing a window and theft of cash and credit cards. In addition Patrick Diya Lumumba, a Congolese barman whom Ms Knox at first accused of the murder, is seeking damages.

Separately Guede has also begun his appeal,  claiming Ms Knox had killed Ms Kercher in a row over stolen cash.

The prosecution is due to finish its case at the end of the month and Knox is expected to give evidence sometime in June along with Meredith's mother Arline and her sister Stephanie.

Under the complicated Italian legal system hearings are only taking place on Fridays and Saturdays. Consequently the trial,  which started in January, is not expected to finish until October at the earliest, Telegraph reported.

Source: Medindia

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