Shocking new evidence in Amanda Knox murder case may lead to her release

Stephen Robert Morse Tow-Knight Fellow in Entrepreneurial Journalism , The City University of New York
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PERUGIA, Italy  —  Newly revealed evidence, never before seen by Italian courts, supports American student Amanda Knox’s chances of being exonerated and released from jail when the appeal of her December 2009 murder conviction concludes later this month.

The Italian newsweekly “Oggi” has released a report detailing how police didn’t perform DNA analysis on a blood-stained sweatshirt found at the scene of British student Meredith Kercher’s 2007 murder until some 46 days after the British exchange student’s death.

Walter Patumi, a forensic expert hired by Knox’s defense team, told Oggi that while an Italian squad of “scientific police” were supposed to be investigating the crime scene, this key piece of evidence sat at the bottom of a basket of dirty laundry and was only identified after much of the crime scene evidence had already been moved.

“I can’t tell you how embarrassed the police were when I showed them [the sweatshirt],” Patumi told Italian GQ this week. Fueled by Patumi’s explosive revelation, some in the Italian media are now suggesting police may have planted the garment there.

This key piece of evidence has never been mentioned during court proceedings, and its emergence will likely further sway Italian public opinion in Knox’s favor. In recent weeks, the case against her has all but evaporated as judges in the case refused prosecutors’ motion to hear additional testimony from forensic experts. Previously, court-appointed independent experts contradicted prosecution claims about DNA evidence, and criticized procedures used by the local authorities during the initial investigation.

Ironically, a sweater worn by Knox after the murder — one which police claimed she had burned because her blood was on it — was found intact on Amanda’s bed in April 2008, six months after Kercher’s murder.

Madison Paxton, 24, Amanda’s best friend from her days at the University of Washington, is in Perugia for the appeal. She told The Daily Caller: “It’s disgusting to me that a magazine has done more to uncover the truth and reexamine the evidence than those responsible for keeping innocent people in prison.”

Also bolstering Knox’s case is a police wiretap recording which Oggi first published on September 7. In the recording, Rudy Guede, an African immigrant who was also convicted in Kercher’s murder, tells a friend during a Skype phone call that a man whom he didn’t recognize killed Kercher after entering the apartment she shared with Knox.

In the phone call, Guede claimed that he was in the bathroom after engaging in sexual activity with Kercher when she was attacked, and that he was injured in an altercation with her assailant. Guede made no mention in the call of having seen Knox at the murder scene.

Closing arguments for Knox’s appeals trial begin on September 23.