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BSU professor recounts how his work helped free Amanda Knox

American Amanda Knox and her British roommate Meredith Kercher lived together in Italy while studying abroad. On Nov. 1, 2007, Kercher was found dead in their home.

Italian authorities quickly decided Knox and her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were the killers based on evidence that caused controversy across the world.

The center piece of evidence for prosecutors was a knife found in the home of Knox's boyfriend, on it was reportedly the DNA of Meredith Kercher.

The case caught the attention of Boise State professor and DNA evidence expert Dr. Greg Hampikian, who was working in England at the time on a similar case.

Someone at crime lab in London at the time suggested he check into the Amanda Knox case, so he got in touch with the Knox defense team. After reviewing the DNA evidence against Knox he found something that raised a red flag.

"It was appalling what I saw. They were using DNA that didn't meet any of the standards that I would expect for a laboratory to be using at that period of time," said Hampikian.

So Hampikian did independent testing on the evidence and determined it was highly possible the DNA evidence from the knife was contaminated.

"This one had all the hallmarks of possible contamination and had none of the validation that said this is a good result," said Hampikian.

Amanda Knox was found guilty of murder on Dec. 4, 2009. Italian law though guaranteed a second trial as part of the formal appeal process.

The research done by Hampikian was relayed to an Italian lab that was appointed by the judge in the retrial of Knox, and that team replicated Hampikian's work.

"Sometimes experts will disagree, but here you had experts that were appointed by an Italian judge that came up with the same review as I did," said Hampikian.

That evidence convinced the judge in the appeal trial that Knox and Sollecito were innocent, and on Oct. 3, 2011, they were found innocent by the court.

The case is compelling, but Hampikian has a disclaimer for those who plan to watch the new documentary.

"I will caution people to know that what is on television is a story that needs to be told for entertainment. The facts are generally out there if you will do some due diligence on the web," he said.

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