Lawyer: No link of slaying to U.S. suspect

Dec. 2, 2009 at 8:11 AM
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PERUGIA, Italy, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- A defense lawyer for a U.S. student accused in Italy of killing her roommate said the prosecution didn't present sufficient evidence of the woman's guilt.

Attorney Carlo della Vedova told a jury seated in Perugia, Italy, his client, Seattle native Amanda Knox, was a victim as well because of the police investigation into her roommate's death and false media reports concerning the crime, CNN reported Wednesday.

Italian prosecutors maintain Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede killed British exchange student Meredith Kercher in 2007 when she refused to participate in a drug-fueled sex game.

But, the defense attorney said during closing arguments Tuesday, prosecutors shifted their theory of a motive to a hatred between the roommates, CNN reported. Defense lawyers disagree, claiming the two women were friends.

The defense has argued that Guede, convicted in a separate trial and appealing his conviction, was the lone killer, saying there is no evidence tying the three defendants together or proving they planned Kercher's death.

Della Vedova also said there was a lack of evidence linking Knox to the crime scene. Recalling forensic testimony from the trial, he said of all the DNA samples taken from the room, none was found to be from Knox.

He told jury members they must be "morally certain of their decision," CNN reported.

"If you have the minimum of doubts, you must absolve this young girl," he said.

Knox and Sollecito have been in jail for more than two years since their arrests on charges of murder and sexual violence. Prosecutors are seeking sentences of life in prison if the two are convicted.

The defense's closing arguments were to resume Wednesday. The jury is expected to begin deliberation Friday.

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