Experts: Flawed DNA evidence used against Amanda Knox

CHICAGO - Italian police investigating the death of Meredith Kercher made multiple errors in handling DNA evidence that was used to convict Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, according to a presentation by two scientists at a conference for trial attorneys in Chicago.

The presentation by experts Greg Hampikian and Tom Zupancic focused on errors made in collecting DNA at the crime scene that compromised the investigation and may have caused police to reach erroneous conclusions or allowed the evidence to be manipulated.

Both scientists, who frequently advocate for Knox and Sollecito, said none of the DNA evidence presented in the Amanda Knox case may be valid since it was mishandled from the beginning.

Hampikian used an Italian police video showing collection of DNA from Kercher's bra clasp to show examples of mistakes they made at the crime scene.

He also presented the results of an experiment in his lab showing how easily DNA can be transferred from object to object when gloves are not changed each time a new piece of evidence is handled. Italian technicians admitted to not changing gloves during collection of key evidence, allowing the evidence to be compromised.

Zupancic gave a presentation showing how failure to use correct DNA processing techniques can invalidate the outcome of investigations.

"American attorneys ... were stunned to hear how the Italian forensic analysts and prosecutors connected to the Knox-Sollecito case manipulated and withheld evidence in this case," he said. "Such behavior would never have been tolerated in the American system. It shows an inherent contempt for fairness, the concept of justice and is a serious breach of acceptable judicial practices."

But he also went on to say that such irregularities can also happen in the United States when strict adherence to proper collection procedures is ignored or violated.

The John Marshall Law School in Chicago hosted the forensic DNA conference.