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Hampikian, Idaho Innocence Project at Center of Amanda Knox Appeal

By: Kathleen Tuck   Published 2:09 pm / May 11, 2011

A high-profile international murder case is getting a second look by authorities in Italy after a team of experts, including Boise State’s Greg Hampikian (left) and the Idaho Innocence Project (IIP), disputed the DNA evidence against Amanda Knox and her codefendant Raffaele Sollecito.

Knox, the American student tried and convicted of killing her roommate while studying abroad in Perugia, Italy, in 2007 currently is appealing her conviction with assistance from Hampikian and the IIP. Hampikian, a forensic DNA expert and professor of biology and criminal justice, played a key role in the analysis of DNA that is at the center of the appeal.

His take on the DNA evidence: It points to Rudy Guede, not Knox. Guede, whose DNA was found on the victim’s body, was convicted of the murder in a separate trial.

“The one piece of evidence that tied Amanda Knox to this case is a kitchen knife with such a low level of the victim’s DNA on it – and no trace of blood – that it probably represents casual or unintended transfer,” Hampikian said. “You have to look at all the evidence, and it clearly points to Rudy Guede.  He is the only one identified by DNA recovered right after the murder, from the victim’s body and her possessions. Amanda Knox’s DNA is nowhere in the room where the murder occurred.”

Local, national and international media attention of the coming appeal has featured Hampikian and the IIP. ABC’s 20/20 is scheduled to air its feature on the Knox case at 8 p.m. this Friday, May 13, and an in-depth story by CNN that aired Sunday night will be rebroadcast at 10 p.m. Saturday, May 14 (Mountain). Also, CBS’s 48 Hours has interviewed Hampikian for an upcoming episode.

Hampikian founded the IIP at Boise State in 2005 and leads it as the volunteer executive director. He also teaches a number of courses in biology and criminal justice and has an active research laboratory at Boise State. Since its inception, the IIP has helped exonerate eight wrongly convicted people around the nation; in four of those cases the new DNA evidence identified the actual perpetrators.

A fundraiser for IIP is being held Thursday evening, May 12, at the Boise Contemporary Theatre. Titled “Stories and Songs of Justice,” the benefit will be hosted by Boise-based musician Curtis Stigers. The event begins at 8 p.m.

Click here for more information about the fundraising event and the IIP.