PERUGIA, Italy — Former UW student Amanda Knox won another battle in her quest to overturn a conviction for murdering her British roommate in Italy when an appeals court rejected a prosecutor's request Wednesday for more DNA testing.
PERUGIA, Italy — Former UW student Amanda Knox won another battle in her quest to overturn a conviction for murdering her British roommate in Italy when an appeals court rejected a prosecutor’s request Wednesday for more DNA testing.
Also, two news agencies — ABC News and The Telegraph in London — quote one Italian prosecutor saying she could see the possibility of Knox, of Seattle, being freed.
The decision rejecting the prosecutors request of additional DNA testing is good for Knox because it means that an independent review of DNA evidence — previously ordered by the appeals court and hugely favorable to Knox — will stand. It deals a blow to the prosecutors who had sought to counter the results of that review, which harshly criticized how genetic evidence was used in the case.
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The ruling by Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellmann also clears the way for closing arguments, which are set to begin Sept. 23 with the prosecution going first, followed by civil plaintiffs and the defense. Further retesting would have inevitably extended the 10-month long trial, now set to end late September or early October.
In its Wednesday editions, the British newspaper The Telegraph has one of the Italian prosecutors acknowledging the possibility that Knox and her co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito could win on appeal.
“There is an ill wind blowing in this case,” Prosecutor Manuela Comodi said. “The judge and his assistant are clearly against us. I can see both Knox and Sollecito being freed which will be a shame as they are both involved.”
ABC News interviewed Comodi after Wednesday’s court hearing.
“We did our job,” Comodi told ABC News. “I am convinced by what I have said. I am fully convinced of their guilt and I would find it very serious if they were set free.”
“Today’s decision could lead one to think that there is more of a possibility that they be set freed,” she said.
Knox’s father, Curt Knox, said his daughter started seeing “the light at the end of the tunnel.”
However, Knox’s lawyer Luciano Ghirga warned that the court’s rejection of new DNA testing was not equal to a positive outcome of the whole appeals trial.
Knox was convicted in December 2009 of sexually assaulting and murdering her British roommate Meredith Kercher while they were studying in Perugia and sentenced to 26 years; Sollecito, an Italian who was Knox’s boyfriend at the time, also was convicted and sentenced to 25 years.
Both have always maintained their innocence and are appealing the lower court’s verdict.
Without a clear motive or convincing witnesses, the DNA evidence is crucial, and much of the appeals outcome hinges on it.
In the first trial, prosecutors maintained that Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of a kitchen knife believed to be the murder weapon, and that Kercher’s DNA was found on the blade. They said Sollecito’s DNA was on the clasp of Kercher’s bra as part of a mixed trace that also included the victim’s genetic profile.
Those findings were always disputed by the defense and the appeals court agreed to nominate two independent experts to review the evidence. In a 145-page report, the experts found that much of that evidence was unreliable and possibly contaminated, that police had made glaring errors in evidence collecting and the below-standard testing raised doubts over the attribution of DNA traces.
The review was at the center of several fiercely debated hearings in the Perugia courtroom, with police and prosecutors defending the original investigation.