Judge Rejects New DNA Review in Amanda Knox Appeal

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Giampiero Sposito / Reuters

In a blow to Amanda Knox’s 2009 murder conviction, prosecutors in her appeals case have been denied a request for new review of DNA evidence.

Knox, now 24, was an American college student from Seattle on a semester abroad in Perugia, Italy in 2007, when her roommate Meredith Kercher’s body was found in the house that the two women shared.  Although they have repeatedly maintained their innocence, Knox and her (now ex-) boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted of the murder, and a third defendant, local drug dealer Rudy Guede, was found guilty in a separate trial.  Knox and Sollecito are now appealing their convictions and sentences of 26 and 25 years in prison, respectively.

A key piece of evidence for the prosecution in Knox’s original trial was the 12-inch kitchen knife found in Sollecito’s apartment, which contained DNA traces matching both Knox and Kercher.  However, numerous independent experts have suggested during Knox’s appeal that the knife may have been contaminated and is thus unreliable evidence.  Well-known forensic expert Carlo Torre testified that the DNA from the knife could not have come from blood.

(MORE: Amanda Knox’s Appeal: A Case of Too Little DNA?)

After such doubt was cast on the credibility of the forensic evidence, Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellman rejected the prosecution’s plea for a second examination of the genetic material.  Also denied were motions to hear a new witness and for the introduction of records about the original DNA-testing machine utilized in the case.

Knox’s defense opposed these motions, so the judge’s ruling is something of a victory for her side.  Her father Curt told the Telegraph that “Amanda is happy and hopeful that she won’t be spending too much more time in prison.”  Prosecutor Manuela Comodi complained, “The judge and his assistant are clearly against us.  I can see both Knox and Sollecito being freed which will be a shame as they are both involved.”

The case has been adjourned until September 23, when final arguments will commence.  A verdict could be reached by September 29 at the earliest.

MORE: The Tough Women of the Amanda Knox Case

Allison Berry is a contributor at TIME.  You can continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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