Image: Murder suspect Amanda Knox
Daniele La Monaca  /  Reuters
Amanda Knox attends the resumption of her trial for murder after a summer recess.
updated 9/14/2009 9:51:16 AM ET 2009-09-14T13:51:16

An Italian court on Monday rejected defense lawyers' requests to throw out the murder indictments of an American student and her former boyfriend on trial for the slaying of her British roommate.

Lawyers for Amanda Knox and co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito, accused in the 2007 slaying of Meredith Kercher, had challenged key DNA findings in the case and asked the court to toss out the indictments. The indictments are partly based on DNA evidence.

Knox and Sollecito, who were both in court as the trial resumed after a summer break, deny wrongdoing.

Defense lawyers say some documentation supporting the attribution of DNA samples that prosecutors say link the defendants to the case were not made available to the defense in a timely manner.

But Presiding Judge Giancarlo Massei rejected the defense request and ruled that proceedings should go on. He argued that defense consultants were present when the DNA tests were carried out by forensic experts and said relevant documents had been made available a month and a half ago, suggesting that defense teams had enough time to review the DNA findings.

According to the prosecutors, Knox's DNA was found on the handle of a knife that might have been used in the slaying, while Kercher's DNA was found on the blade. The knife was found at Sollecito's apartment.

Knox's lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova also argued Monday the DNA traces allegedly belonging to Kercher on the knife's blade were "too low" to be attributed with certainty. Slideshow: A murder in Italy

Italian prosecutors say forensics and DNA experts have followed correct procedures while submitting the results of DNA tests to the court.

Both defendants were escorted in court Monday by police guards. Knox smiled to lawyers and family members as she walked in.

Prosecutors allege that Kercher was killed during a sex game and that Knox fatally stabbed her in the throat.

A third person, Rudy Hermann Guede of the Ivory Coast, was convicted in a separate trial last year and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He denies wrongdoing and has appealed his conviction.

More on: Amanda Knox

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Video: Back in court

  1. Closed captioning of: Back in court

    >> that clip.

    >>> let us begin this half-hour with the italian murder trial of the american college student amanda knox . it resumes this morning following a summer break . nbc 's keith miller is in italy with the latest. keith, good morning to you.

    >> reporter: well, the defense started off after this long break with a call for a mistrial over missing dna documents. the judge rejected that, just another twist in this complicated -- amanda knox spent her sumner a sweltering prison cell . but as she entered court today, the 21-year-old from seattle had only smiles for family and friends . but her dad in italy to attend the trial says prison life is taking its toll.

    >> steel bars and the 90-degree heat. it is pretty much like an oven out there.

    >> reporter: resuming after a two-month recess, the defense will continue to present their case that knox and her former boyfriend are not guilty of murder. the prosecution claims the two students, along with another man, sexually assaulted and murdered knox 's roommate, meredith kirscher, an exchange student from england. the trial now in its ninth month could be extended until next year. the judge according to court sources is considering calling in a special forensic investigator because the crime scene evidence presented by the prosecution and defense is wildly contradictory.

    >> they have to take the extra 60 days to get the right answer knowing that it should be an acquittal. it's very unfortunate, but we'd like to bring her home as quickly as possible.

    >> reporter: the length of the court case has some lawyers wondering if knox can get a fair trial .

    >> people will forget. people get sick. judges could be substituted. same with prosecutors. really, it is a very, very bad thing because it could have effects that go beyond, you know, lo's right and who's wrong.

    >> reporter: complicating the case is the 350 pages of documents relating to dna evidence that the prosecution withheld from the defense. the judge has appeared exasperated at the proceedings. knox maintains her composure, despite having to live for the past 20 months as a convict who's not been convicted.

    >> that was nbc 's keith miller reporting.

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