“Will DNA damn knox?”

“Biological evidence on a knife, a bra clasp, a stained Q-Tip box, and in five other locations throughout the house were the focus of testimony Friday and Saturday as the prosecution began to wrap up its case against Amanda Knox, who is accused of murdering roommate Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy. Forensic biologist Patrizia Stefanoni testified for nine grueling hours on Friday and took the stand again Saturday to explain how this crucial evidence ties both Knox and her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito to the crime.”

“Debate continues over Knox’s guilt”

  • Footprints: Police experts argued to the jury that two luminol-enhanced footprints presumably made in Kercher’s blood in the hallway outside her bedroom were Knox’s. The defense argued they could have been made in fruit juice, rust or cleaning agents and noted that no specific test for blood was conducted.Forensic biologists maintained the luminol-enhanced substance was Kercher’s blood. In addition, footprint experts argued before the jury that a bloody footprint on the bath mat in the bathroom was Sollecito’s.
  • Mixed blood: Forensic police biologists testified about five spots where they had detected samples of “mixed blood” genetic material — spots of blood of both Knox and Kercher’s — in the bidet, on the sink, on the drain tap, on the Q-tip box in the bathroom and in a spot where prosecutors argued Knox and Sollecito staged a break-in.Defense attorneys argued that this genetic material couldn’t be certified as blood and that even if it were, it wasn’t abnormal since Knox lived in the house and could have left blood around at any time.  The attorney for the Kercher family, Francesco Maresca, said after the sentence that he believed this mixed blood evidence was “the most damning” piece of evidence against Knox.
  • Bra clasp: The victim’s bra clasp with a significant sample of Sollecito’s DNA was found in the room where Kercher died. It had been cut off the victim with a knife.  Defense attorneys argued it was contaminated since it had been noticed and catalogued right after the homicide, but only picked up by police 46 days later and in a slightly different place than it had originally been photographed. Prosecutors argued that the crime scene had been sealed and that there was no other DNA of Sollecito’s found in the house, except on the butt of a cigarette in the kitchen, so it likely was not contamination.
  • Lies and alibis: Prosecutors argued that in the days immediately following the murder, Knox and Sollecito gave a number of differing stories and alibis.  At one point, in intercepted prison conversations with his family about the knife found with Kercher’s DNA, Sollecito suggested he may have accidentally cut Kercher’s finger with a knife once while cooking fish. Knox said on the stand that she took a shower in the bathroom even though she had seen some spots of blood, which had not particularly alarmed her. Sollecito, however, told police in a recorded 911 call (in Italy, it’s 118) played to jurors that there was “a pool of blood” in the bathroom. Prosecutors argued that Sollecito called 911 only after he and Knox had been surprised on the scene by another police unit that had shown up to investigate the theft of Kercher’s cell phones, which had been found that morning ringing in the yard of a nearby villa. Defense attorneys argued it was Sollecito who called police to report that something was amiss”

    Judge: Amanda Knox took part in murder but wasn’t crime’s mastermind

    “The document produced by the presiding judges based on the deliberations of the jury. Two judges take part in the deliberations and verdict. Italian law requires such an option to be produced after every criminal trial. Obtained in Perugia by, the opinion largely supports the prosecution’s case, particularly on the forensics (…)”

    ” The court cited as reliable elements of proof not just the alleged murder weapon (a knife with Knox’s DNA on the handle and a trace amount of Kercher’s on the blade) and the bra clasp with Sollecito’s DNA, but also the luminol-enhanced footprints attributed to Knox and Sollecito. The judge paid particular attention to the multiple traces of mixed blood (Kercher’s) and DNA (Knox’s) in the apartment’s small bathroom, noting that also the door and lightswitch in the bathroom had been touched with someone with bloody hands or clothes. Traces of Kercher’s blood and Knox’s DNA were found together in several spots, the judge wrote, specifically, the on a cotton swap box, the sink and the bidet. “Mixed biological traces belonging to Meredith and Amanda in the washbasin and bidet and seemed to indicate the cleaning of hands of feet,” the opinion read, going on to suggest that Knox’s skin tissues had rubbed off as she tried to scrub off Meredith’s blood in the bathroom.” 

    Newsweek: How the evidence stacks up

    Evidence: Conflicting alibis
    Who it hurts: Unknown
    Knox maintains that she spent the night of Nov. 1, 2007, at Sollecito’s house. Sollecito did not take the stand during this trial, and his lawyer told NEWSWEEK that it was, at least in part, because he could not corroborate Knox’s alibi.

    Evidence: Mixed blood
    Who it hurts: Knox
    The only forensic evidence against Knox is the presence in her house of five spots where the blood and DNA of the roommates”

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