Saturday, January 22, 2011

Knox Appeal: Date Set for DNA Results

The appeals of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito reconvened today, ending just hours ago. The long awaited ruling on key DNA evidence used to convict Knox and her former boyfriend Sollecito of murder was the subject of the day. Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellmen made the official order today to have the DNA evidence reexamined.

The independent experts previously appointed by the appeals court—Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti from Rome’s Sapienza University (both shown in pic above)—were formally sworn in at today’s hearing. They will begin their review on 9 February at a university lab, conclude their examinations by 9 May, and report their findings to the court on 21 May 2011. The two independent experts can either make new analyses on the DNA traces that were found, or, if that isn't possible, review the analyses that had been carried out by previous forensic experts and assess whether they are reliable. Experts appointed by both the prosecution and the defense will be present during the review.

The two pieces of evidence that will be reevaluated are the knife and the bra clasp. Mr. Conti was the more vocal of the two court appointed experts, asking if he could disassemble the knife during their tests. The defense had no problem with the request, but the prosecution opposed the action. Judge Hellman ruled that they should start by working on the knife and if they feel it is absolutely necessary at some later point to disassemble it they should come back into court and make another request and it will be ruled on at that time.

The prosecution maintains the DNA review will once and for all prove that errors were not made; whereas defense lawyers maintain that the DNA evidence in the case is either “inconclusive” or was “contaminated” during the lengthy investigation. The next hearing is scheduled for March 12th.

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