ROME - A trace of blood belonging to American student Amanda Knox was found in her Perugia apartment that investigators believe dates back to the night her British flatmate was slain, news reports said yesterday.
Investigators found the blood on a bathroom tap and one of Knox's fingerprints on a glass, but the apartment was otherwise cleaned after Meredith Kercher, 21, was killed, according to a summary report by investigating magistrate Giuliano Mignini quoted by the ANSA news agency.
Investigators concluded that the blood was left on the tap sometime between November 1 and 2, when Kercher was killed with a knife wound to the neck. Investigators have concluded that Knox was in the apartment at the time, though Knox herself has not disputed that.
"The visibility of the stain is such to exclude that it could have been left in the days before the crime since it would surely have been cleaned," ANSA quotes Mignini
Knox, 20, a University of Washington student from Seattle, has admitted in one of her several conflicting statements to prosecutors that she was in the apartment the night of the slaying, saying at one point she had to cover her ears to drown out Kercher's screams. She has denied any wrongdoing, however.
Calls to Knox's attorney were not answered yesterday.
Besides Knox, her then-boyfriend Italian Raffaele Sollecito, and Rudy Hermann Guede, an Ivory Coast native, have been detained for the slaying. Guede is awaiting extradition to Italy after his arrest in Germany.
A fourth suspect, Diya "Patrick" Lumumba, a Congolese who runs a bar in Perugia, was released from jail for lack of evidence.
All four suspects deny any role in Kercher's slaying.
Guede has admitted that he was in Kercher's room the night she died, but said he didn't kill her and that an Italian who is trying to frame him did. DNA testing has confirmed that Guede had sex with Kercher the night of her murder.
Prosecutors have said Kercher was killed while resisting a sexual attack. Guede has denied he attacked Kercher sexually.
Francesco Maresca, Kercher's family attorney, said yesterday he believed that investigators had determined that a second autopsy would not be necessary on Kercher, letting her family bury her.
A hearing is scheduled for tomorrow in Perugia to determine if Knox and Sollecito should continue being held. The judge, who originally ordered them held after their November 6 detentions, said there was sufficient evidence to warrant their detention and that they represented flight risks. - Sapa-AP