Bloody Footprint May Belong to Knox' s Former Boyfriend

Prosecutors cite footprints as Amanda Knox trial hits 5th month.

April 23, 2009, 2:08 PM

PERUGIA, Italy May 9, 2009— -- During testimony in court Friday Lorenzo Rinaldi, director of the print identity department of the Italian Police, said that a bloody footprint found on the rug in the bathroom across from the room where murdered British exchange student Meredith Kercher's body was found was compatible with that of Raffaele Sollecito.

Rinaldi also testified that two latent bare footprints highlighted by luminol, a chemical used to detect blood, are compatible with Amanda Knox's foot. Another bare footprint highlighted by luminol, found in the hallway, was positively identified as belonging to Sollecito.

Knox, 21, of Seattle, and Sollecito, 25, are on trial for the Nov. 1, 2007, murder of Knox's roommate, Kercher. Both women were studying in Italy and shared a cottage with two Italian women.

A third person, Rudi Guede, 22, has already been convicted of taking part in the murder, which prosecutors claim occurred when Kercher refused to take part in a sex game.

Sollecito and Knox maintain that the night that Kercher was murdered they were together at Sollecito's house where Knox allegedly spent the night. But if the footprint places Sollecito at the crime scene on the night of the murder it conflicts with their alibi.

When cross-examined by Sollecito's lawyer, Rinaldi said he was not an expert but that from what he knew, "luminol reacts not only to blood but also to other substances that contain iron, such as fruit juices, chlorophyll, or rust."

In a convincing presentation Rinaldi used a series of comparative photos with precise measurements projected on a screen in the courtroom to show how the bare footprints found in the house matched prints taken from the defendants' bare feet in prison.

Rinaldi also identified a series of bloody shoeprints found in the victim's room and other places in the house, as belonging to Guede.

Guede's bloody shoeprint was also positively identified on a pillow found under the victim's body. Witnesses in the trial on Friday testified that a bloody palm print of Guede was found on that same pillow.

Police also found the trace of a smaller shoe print on the pillow compatible with shoe sizes 6–8. The print did not, however, match any of the shoes belonging to Knox or Kercher that were found in the house. Knox wears a size 7, Rinaldi said.

When the hearing resumed after a break, Sollecito made a statement to the court, as defendants are allowed to do in Italy. Sollecito told the judges and jurors that the "the footprints are absolutely not mine."

Amanda Knox's father, Curt, who was present in court on Saturday, told reporters after the hearing that he thought "it could have been more favorable." He also said that the court was still listening to prosecution witnesses so they are only hearing one side of the story.

"I think when Sollecito's experts come in and our experts come in we will get a different story," he said.

The defense will have a chance to present its experts' analysis of today's evidence later in the trial.

The hearing continues with the cross-examination of Rinaldi, whose testimony will be followed by another expert on print identification.

Reporter Enzo Beretta contributed to this story.

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