PERUGIA, Italy April 23, 2009 -- The Italian murder trial of American college student Amanda Knox enters its fifth month today with an eerie, at times grisly, video of the murder scene as the camera panned around the apartment and settled on the bloody corpse of Knox's roommate.
Knox looked away when her slain roommate came into view while her co-defendent and former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito continued to watch intently.
The head of forensics for the Perugia police, Claudio Cantagalli, testified that he videotaped the crime scene just hours after Meredith Kercher's body was discovered on Nov. 2, 2007.
The video shown in court today goes through each room of the little cottage that Knox shared with Kercher, 21, and two Italian women, zooming in on places where blood or fingerprints were found.
Knox, 21, and Sollecito, 25, watched the video along with the jurors and court spectators. The courtroom silence was broken only occasionally by comments by Cantagalli as it moved from the entrance door leading into the house, the kitchen and living area to the bedroom where investigators found a the broken window and what looked like an attempted robbery.
From there the video moved to the room where Kercher's body was found covered by a duvet with her bare foot sticking out. Blood stains on the wall and floor could also be seen. The video rolls as the coroner walks over and lifts the quilt to reveal Kercher's face with her eyes still open.
Knox, seated in court between her lawyers, watched the video attentively, but she looked away anytime the video showed Kercher's covered body. Sollecito did not look away.
The disturbing video was shown as the trial, which opened on Jan. 16, began concentrating on what is perhaps the most important evidence -- the finding of fingerprints, footprints, blood and DNA.
Both Knox and Sollecito deny any involvement in the murder. A third person, Ivory Coast citizen Rudy Guede, was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in the crime.
The first forensic expert called today was Alberto Intini, director of the national forensic police, who outlined the forensic work carried out on the crime scene and said that the "best resources and manpower in every required field" were involved in the investigation.
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Intini repeatedly stressed that he did not believe the crime scene was contaminated by investigators in any way on their various visits to the scene.
Pressed a number of times by the defendants' defense lawyers who argue that DNA contamination took place at the crime scene, Intini said "it is possible in the abstract that there could have been contamination, but until this is proved, it does not exist."
Defense lawyers have suggested that repeated visits by investigators to the house and improper evidence collection coupled with investigators moving continuously between the rooms in the house could have meant they inadvertently transported the DNA from one room to another.
"DNA does not fly around like pollen. It is found inside a cell," Intini said. And to prove how expertly the investigators worked, he explained that no "fingerprint, footprint, genetic profile or any non-identifiable marks were found during the lab work which could be traced to any of the investigators on the scene."
He did, however, allow that forensic experts "always work taking all the possible care to reduce the contamination of a crime scene, but totally eliminating the possibility is practically impossible."
In explaining the criteria the experts used to gather the evidence, Intini noted that the U.S. and Italy have strict rules on how forensic work is conducted in the laboratory, but there are no written protocols in Italy regarding the manner in which forensic evidence is gathered at the crime scene.
Gioia Brocci, of the Perugia forensic police, described in detail how she photographed the crime scene starting from the outside of the house, where no traces were seen of someone attempting to climb up the outer wall to get in through the broken window.
She photographed every room inside the house in detail and was also in charge of taking all the blood and other forensic evidence in the small bathroom that Knox and Kercher shared.
Brocci testified that traces of blood were found on the light switch and the bathroom rug as well as the wall behind the toilet. Multiple drops of blood mixed with water were found in the sink and the bidet of the same bathroom.
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Under cross examination Brocci said she used the same piece of absorbent paper to wipe up the different blood stains on the sink. And then used another piece of paper for the stains on the bidet. She said it was clear to her at that time that the blood was from the same source.
The two forensic experts who testified in the afternoon described the fingerprints found in each room of the house. More than 100 fingerprints were found in the house, but only 52 were found usable for the investigation. Of these, only one was belonged to Knox.
Both witnesses were asked by the judge and defense lawyers if it was strange that only one print of Knox's was found, and they both replied that it was not. There were many prints that could not be clearly identified because they were smudged.
The prosecution has claimed in the past that it was strange that only one single print of Knox's was found in the house where she lived, and it suggested that the crime scene had been cleaned up.
The two fingerprint experts also said that no prints attributable to Knox or Sollecito were found in Kercher's bedroom. The prints that were found there belonged to Guede, Kercher and Kercher's boyfriend Giacomo Silenzi.
Speaking to reporters at the end of the hearing Knox's father, Curt Knox, said "Nothing has come out of this hearing to indicate that Amanda was part of this crime." He said that he had seen his daughter in prison on Tuesday and that "Amanda is eager to testify" and dispel the accusations against her.
Prior to the testimony of the forensic experts this morning, the court ruled that the house on Via della Pergola 7 in Perugia where the murder took place, which has been sealed for investigative purposes since the murder, can now be officially unsealed and handed back to its owner for her use.
The owner, a female pensioner who lives in Rome, told her lawyers she will immediately change the locks on the doors, put bars on the windows and will probably try to rent the property again. The seals will be officially removed by the police in the next few days. The house has been broken into twice in recent months by unknown intruders.
The prosecution has called more than a dozen police forensic experts to testify over the next few hearings. Today's hearing is expected to be the last this month. The court will reconvene on Friday, May 8, for the continuation of the trial.
Zachary Nowak contributed to this report