Video: DNA found in Italy murder

updated 11/19/2007 9:10:31 AM ET 2007-11-19T14:10:31

Italian police have found DNA traces of a slain British student and of her American roommate — jailed as a suspect in the case — on a knife that may have been the murder weapon, lawyers said.

Police seized the kitchen knife in the house of Raffaele Sollecito, 24, the Italian boyfriend of American Amanda Marie Knox. Both have been arrested, along with Congolese musician and bar owner Diya "Patrick" Lumumba, 38, on suspicion of killing 21-year-old Meredith Kercher.

Sollecito's lawyers and family said in a written statement Thursday evening that traces of the DNA of both Knox and Kercher were found on the knife in Sollecito's house. Sollecito's DNA was not found on the knife, the statement said.

Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera said that Kercher's DNA was found on the tip of the knife, while Knox's was on the handle. Corriere della Sera and other reports said the knife had a 6.7-inch blade, and that investigators believed it to be the murder weapon.

Knox's lawyer was not available for comment Friday.

Kercher's body was found Nov. 2 in the apartment she shared with Knox near the center of Perugia, a small Medieval city in central Italy that has two major universities and draws thousands of foreign students every year.

The circumstances surrounding the killing remain unclear, and police were carrying out forensic tests on Sollecito's house on Friday, reports said.

Police said Kercher died fighting off a sexual attack, and that she was stabbed in the neck.

The three suspects have been detained since Nov. 6. No charges have been filed, but an Italian judge who ordered the three to remain in jail last week said that there were "serious indications of guilt."

The three have all denied involvement. Knox, 20, from Seattle, has changed her version of events several times, at one point accusing the Congolese suspect. She has always maintained her innocence.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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