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Originally published Wednesday, October 22, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Attorneys say evidence "insufficient" to indict Amanda Knox

Lawyers for University of Washington student Amanda Knox said they asked a judge on Tuesday not to order her to stand trial in the slaying of a British student, claiming the evidence was insufficient and contradictory.

The Associated Press

ROME — Lawyers for University of Washington student Amanda Knox said they asked a judge on Tuesday not to order her to stand trial in the slaying of a British student, claiming the evidence was insufficient and contradictory.

Attorneys representing Knox, of Seattle, made their case before a judge who has to decide whether she should be indicted on murder charges in the slaying of her roommate, Meredith Kercher.

Two other suspects, Knox's ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, and Ivorian citizen Rudy Hermann Guede, also have been accused in the November slaying in Perugia, Italy. All three deny wrongdoing.

A ruling on the indictment requests for Knox and Sollecito is expected next week, while Guede is undergoing a fast-track trial at his request. Prosecutors have asked the court to sentence him to life in prison.

"The evidence is not sufficient and partly contradictory," Knox lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova said by telephone from Perugia. "We have requested that Knox not be indicted."

Prosecutors allege that Kercher died in a satanic rite, with Knox first touching Kercher with the point of a knife, then slitting her throat, while Sollecito held her by the shoulders from behind and Guede tried to sexually assault her.

Kercher, a visiting student from Leeds University in England, was found half-naked on the floor of her blood-splattered bedroom in the apartment she shared with Knox.

Prosecutors say Knox's DNA was found on the handle of a knife they claim may have been used in the slaying, while Kercher's DNA was found on the blade. The knife came from the kitchen of Sollecito's Perugia apartment.

Dalla Vedova said that according to defense experts, the DNA traces are "less than reliable" and may not be blood. He also said the blade of the knife was too big for the wound on Kercher's neck.

Dalla Vedova said the 21-year-old Knox attended Tuesday's hearing.

"She is worried, but also confident," he said, adding that the proceedings will resume Friday, when defense lawyers for the other suspects are expected to make their case.

Knox's attorneys also distanced themselves from allegations by a Seattle lawyer representing a group of Knox supporters who contends that Knox has been treated unfairly by Italy's courts and media.

Lawyer Luciano Ghirga, who is defending Knox along with Dalla Vedova, said that he did not know the American attorney, Anne Bremner, and that she doesn't represent his client.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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