Lawyers for an American suspect said they asked a judge Tuesday not to order their client to stand trial in the slaying of a British student, claiming the evidence was insufficient and contradictory.
Attorneys representing Amanda Knox of Seattle made their case before a judge who has to decide whether the American student should be indicted on murder charges in the slaying of her roommate, Meredith Kercher.
Two other suspects, Knox's ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and Ivorian citizen Rudy Hermann Guede, have also been accused in the November 2007 slaying in Perugia, central Italy. All three deny wrongdoing.
A ruling on the indictment requests for Knox and Sollecito is expected next week, while Guede is undergoing a fast-track trial at his request. Prosecutors have asked the court to sentence him to life in prison.
"The evidence is not sufficient and partly contradictory," Knox lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova said by telephone from Perugia. "We have requested that Knox not be indicted."
Satanic rite alleged
Prosecutors allege that Kercher died in a Satanic rite, with Knox first touching Kercher with the point of a knife, then slitting her throat, while Sollecito held her by the shoulders from behind and Guede tried to sexually assault her.
Kercher, a visiting student from Leeds University in England, was found half-naked on the floor of her blood-splattered bedroom, in the apartment she shared with Knox.
Prosecutors say Knox's DNA was found on the handle of a knife they claim may have been used in the slaying, while Kercher's DNA was found on the blade. The knife came from the kitchen of Sollecito's Perugia apartment.
Dalla Vedova said, according to defense experts, the DNA traces are "less than reliable" and may not be blood. He also said the blade was too big for the wound on Kercher's neck.
Dalla Vedova said the 21-year-old Knox attended the hearing Tuesday.
"She is worried, but also confident," he said, adding the proceedings will resume Friday, when defense lawyers for the other suspects are expected to make their case.
Knox's defense team also dismissed allegations by a Seattle lawyer representing a group of Knox supporters who contends the American has been treated unfairly by Italy's courts and media.
Lawyer Luciano Ghirga, who is defending Knox along with Dalla Vedova, said he did not know the American attorney, Anne Bremner, and added her allegations had no substance.