January 22, 2011 / 5:20 PM / 9 years ago

Italy court orders new DNA test in Kercher's murder

Amanda Knox, the U.S. student convicted of killing her British flatmate in Italy in 2007, looks on during a trial session in Perugia January 22, 2011. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico

PERUGIA, Italy (Reuters) - An Italian court asked two independent experts Saturday to re-examine DNA evidence in the trial for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher.

Kercher’s American flatmate, Amanda Knox, and her former Italian boyfriend are appealing against prison sentences of 26 and 25 years, respectively, for their role in the killing.

The judges who handed out the sentence in December 2009 ruled that the murder was the result of a sexual assault which spiralled out of control.

The appeals court said last year it would allow new evidence in the trial and Saturday appointed two forensic experts to review DNA tests on the knife allegedly used in the murder and on a bra clip belonging to Kercher.

Kercher, 21, was found half-naked and with her throat slit in the flat she shared with Knox in the university city of Perugia on November 2, 2007. The case has attracted huge media attention in Italy and abroad.

The experts will have 90 days to review the DNA evidence and will report their findings to the court on May 21. “This is an important step to establish the truth,” said Knox’s lawyer Luciano Ghirga, who had asked for the DNA tests to be re-examined.

The defence lawyers maintain that the DNA evidence in the case is either inconclusive or was “contaminated” during the lengthy investigation.

Knox, 23, and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 26, deny any role in the murder.

Reporting by Reuters Television; Editing by Maria Golovnina

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