Additional DNA test OK’d on knife in third Amanda Knox trial
Amanda Knox’s second appellate-court trial in the slaying of her roommate Meredith Kercher opened Monday. Knox is in the U.S. and does not intend to return to Italy for the trial.
The Associated Press
FLORENCE, Italy — The Florence appellate court hearing Amanda Knox’s third trial in her roommate’s murder agreed Monday to run additional DNA tests on the presumed weapon but rejected more than a dozen other defense requests for new testimony or evidence.
On the trial’s opening day, presiding Judge Alessandro Nencini said the court agreed to test one DNA trace not previously examined on the knife that prosecutors allege killed British student Meredith Kercher; the trace had previously been deemed too small to test.
Italy’s highest court in March ordered a new trial for Knox and her Italian co-defendant, ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, after overturning their acquittals in Kercher’s November 2007 killing.
Knox, 26, and a student at the University of Washington, has not returned to Italy for the current trial, nor is she compelled by law to do so. Sollecito, 29, likewise did not attend.
Kercher’s body was found in a pool of blood, her throat slashed, in the house she shared with Knox in Perugia, a central Italian town. Suspicion fell on Knox and Sollecito, who had been dating for less than a week, because of their conflicting stories and what some viewed as strange behavior by Knox.
A third man, Rudy Guede, was convicted in the slaying and is serving a 16-year term. A court found that Guede had not acted alone.
On Monday, Knox defense lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova warned of a risk of an “infinite trial,” since the charge of murder has no statute of limitations. Sollecito’s lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno, asked the court to accept only “reliable evidence,” saying the intense media attention on the case had tainted witness testimony during the previous trials.
The Florence court agreed to only three requests.
Besides a new DNA test on the knife found in Sollecito’s kitchen, the court agreed to a request to again hear testimony from a jailed mobster, Luciano Aviello, who had accused his brother in the murder in a jailhouse discussion with Sollecito. Aviello, whose criminal convictions include defamation, is to testify Friday.
The court also accepted into evidence defense photos showing Sollecito’s fingernails bitten down at the time of his arrest, which the defense argues is proof he didn’t participate in what prosecutors allege was a drug-fueled sex game that turned murderous. The idea is that Sollecito would have been unable to unclasp the victim’s bra that had trace evidence of his DNA.
Knox served four years of a 26-year sentence, including three years on a slander conviction for falsely accusing a Perugia bar owner in the murder, before leaving Italy a free woman after her 2011 acquittal. Sollecito also served four years of his 25-year sentence.