PERUGIA, Italy – An Italian court on Monday rejected defense lawyers' requests to throw out the murder indictments of an American student and her former boyfriend on trial for the slaying of her British roommate.
Lawyers for Amanda Knox and co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito, accused in the 2007 slaying of Meredith Kercher, had challenged key DNA findings in the case and asked the court to toss out the indictments. The indictments are partly based on DNA evidence.
Knox and Sollecito, who were both in court as the trial resumed after a summer break, deny wrongdoing.
Defense lawyers say some documentation supporting the attribution of DNA samples that prosecutors say link the defendants to the case were not made available to the defense in a timely manner.
But Presiding Judge Giancarlo Massei rejected the defense request and ruled that proceedings should go on. He argued that defense consultants were present when the DNA tests were carried out by forensic experts and said relevant documents had been made available a month and a half ago, suggesting that defense teams had enough time to review the DNA findings.
According to the prosecutors, Knox's DNA was found on the handle of a knife that might have been used in the slaying, while Kercher's DNA was found on the blade. The knife was found at Sollecito's apartment.
Knox's lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova also argued Monday the DNA traces allegedly belonging to Kercher on the knife's blade were "too low" to be attributed with certainty.
Italian prosecutors say forensics and DNA experts have followed correct procedures while submitting the results of DNA tests to the court.
Both defendants were escorted in court Monday by police guards. Knox smiled to lawyers and family members as she walked in.
Prosecutors allege that Kercher was killed during a sex game and that Knox fatally stabbed her in the throat.
A third person, Rudy Hermann Guede of the Ivory Coast, was convicted in a separate trial last year and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He denies wrongdoing and has appealed his conviction.