DNA review call in Kercher retrial

Undated handout photo of Meredith KercherMeredith Kercher was found dead in the flat she shared in Perugia with Ms Knox

Defence lawyers have demanded forensic evidence be re-examined in the retrial of two suspects over the 2007 murder of Briton Meredith Kercher in Italy.

American Amanda Knox and her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were found guilty but acquitted on appeal in 2011.

But that ruling was overturned in March by Italy’s highest court, amid strong criticism of the way the appeals court had dismissed important DNA evidence.

The suspects have always insisted they are innocent. Neither was in court.

The second appeals hearing is being held at a court in the central Italian city of Florence.

Raffaele Sollecito

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Raffaele Sollecito: “I’m fighting and striving to see the light”

The appellate court is expected to re-examine forensic evidence to determine whether Ms Knox and her ex-boyfriend helped kill the 21-year-old British student, while the two women shared an apartment in Perugia.

At the first session on Monday defence lawyers called for new tests to be carried out on DNA on the alleged murder weapon and semen stains from the crime scene.

Lawyers for Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito told the court the tests were necessary to clear the defendants.

“We need a key step forward on the DNA evidence. We insist the traces on the knife be re-examined,” Ms Knox’s lawyer Luciano Girgha told judge Alessandro Nencini.

“We want the truth,” he said.

Speaking outside the court, lawyer Francesco Maresca, who is representing Miss Kercher’s family, said: “We are convinced of the guilt of Amanda and Raffaele, of their presence on the scene of the crime.”

The final hearing of this new appeals trial is expected in November, paving the way for a verdict as early as December.

‘Everything at stake’

Ms Knox, 26, has exercised her right to stay away from the court, and remains at home in the US city of Seattle.

Earlier this month, she said she expected to win another acquittal, but that “common sense” told her not to return to Italy.

“I was already imprisoned as an innocent person in Italy,” she told America’s NBC television. “I just can’t relive that.”

Amanda Knox during an NBC interview, 20 September 2013Amanda Knox has said “everything” is at stake for her

“I thought about what it would be like to live my entire life in prison and to lose everything, to lose what I’ve been able to come back to and rebuild.

“I think about it all the time. It’s so scary. Everything is at stake.”

However, if her previous conviction is confirmed, Italy would be expected to request her extradition.

Mr Sollecito, 29, has been living in the Dominican Republic, but it has been reported that he intends to return to Italy to attend parts of the retrial.

Meredith Kercher, from Coulsdon, south London, was found dead in a flat she shared in Perugia with Ms Knox, a fellow exchange student.

Prosecutors said Miss Kercher, who had been repeatedly stabbed, died in a drug-fuelled sexual assault. She was 21.

Both Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito maintain their innocence.

Ms Knox insists that on the night of Miss Kercher’s death she was at Mr Sollecito’s flat, smoking marijuana and watching a film.

Another man – Rudy Guede from Ivory Coast – was convicted in a separate trial and sentenced to 16 years for the killing.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24332584#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

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