Court rejects defense bid in Knox trial

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Associated Press

Posted on October 9, 2009 at 3:20 PM

ROME (AP) — An Italian court hearing the murder trial of an American student and her former Italian boyfriend on Friday rejected last-ditch defense bids for new tests on evidence, including a knife that prosecutors say could be the murder weapon, lawyers said.

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have denied killing Knox's British roommate, Meredith Kercher, in 2007 while the defendants were students in the university town of Perugia.

One of Knox's attorneys, Luciano Ghirga, said that the court, after turning down the defense requests, set the next session for Nov. 20, when prosecutors will begin final arguments, scheduled to last two days.

Ghirga didn't comment on the court's refusal, but another lawyer, Francesco Maresca, who is representing Kercher's family, said the court ruled there was no need for more tests.

Witness testimony ended last month.

Italian news reports said the defense had also requested more tests to confirm the exact time of Kercher's death.

No court sessions will be held until Nov. 20 to allow both sides to prepare their final arguments, Maresca said.

Kercher's body was found in her bedroom in Perugia on Nov. 2, 2007. She was 21 years old.

Prosecutors say Kercher was killed the night before during a sex game with Knox, Sollecito and a third man, Rudy Hermann Guede, who was convicted of the murder in a separate trial last year and sentenced to 30 years.

According to the prosecutors, Sollecito, now 25, held Kercher by the shoulders while Knox, now 21, touched her with a knife. They say Guede tried to sexually assault Kercher and then Knox fatally stabbed her in the throat.

The defense contends DNA on the knife could be contaminated.

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