DNA testing is supposed to be hard, incontrovertible forensic evidence- so it was thought to be by some in the Amanda Knox and Meredith Kercher case. Forensic sample collection should have been scrupulous and followed protocol- the head of the team carrying out the forensic investigation has stood by his team and defended any criticism launched against his team, saying that they abided by international forensic investigation protocols.
The Meredith Kercher case has been going on for 3 years now. Rudy Guede was found guilty of her murder but there were supposedly others involved. Guede got a 30 year sentence which was later shorted to 16 years. DNA forensic evidence and subsequent DNA tests incriminated Kercher’s friend- Amanda Knox as well as Knox’s boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito.
The Kercher family have had their hopes somewhat dashed when all DNA forensic evidence and the way the team handled the case was placed into question. Two court appointed experts had totally condemned the DNA evidence used in the case.
DNA Testing on the Knife and the Bra
The two most important pieces of fevidence that underwent forensic DNA testing– a bra clasp, supposedly ripped from Meredith and a knife. The knife measured around 30cm in length and experts found a DNA profile on the handle which they claimed belonged to Knox. The knife was not actually found in the apartment in which Kercher was killed but in Knox’s boyfriend’s flat. The traces of DNA found on the knife were not large enough for even the most advanced forensic analysis to provide any conclusive findings. The experts dismissed the possibility of linking the DNA found to any one person. The blade measurement moreover, did not even match the wounds found on Kercher’s body. The actually murder weapon has never been found.
Amanda Knox was Kercher’s roommate- this means that is was likely that her DNA would be on several items in the room which she shared with Kercher.
Unfortunately footage taken during investigations at the crime scene showed the forensic team oblivious to protocol in such situations. The bra clasp was not found on first investigation of the crime scene and not even were the some bloody garments which were left in the laundry basked for several weeks until a second visit by forensic experts to the place revealed these items.
The experts are seen in the footage keeping the same pair of gloves to pick up different pieces of evidence; thereby transferring DNA from one item to another and leading to contamination. Also, the number of people that had been seen entering the crime scene likely also contaminated DNA evidence. Forensic evidence sample collection and DNA Testing has been dismissed as court evidence. Amanda Knox and Sollecito walk free. Rudy Guede remains to serve his sentence for murder.
More murder cases
Forensic DNA testing has come to the rescue of Fredrick Peacock who was convicted of rape thirty years ago, before the advent of DNA testing. Peacock is just one of several hundreds of Americans who have been exonerated from convictions of crime thanks to DNA tests.