Idaho scientist helped free Amanda Knox

Oct 4, 2011

Boise, ID – A Boise State University professor can take some of the credit for American Amanda Knox going free from an Italian jail Monday.

Amanda Knox was studying in Italy four years ago when she and her boyfriend were convicted of murdering her roommate Meredith Kercher. Boise State biology and criminal justice professor Greg Hampikian became familiar with the Knox case while researching a new DNA technique being used by the Italian police.

He heads up the Idaho Innocence Project which uses science to reexamine death row cases. Hampikian became convinced that the evidence showed Knox was innocent. He says the DNA pointed to someone the Italian police had in their data base.

“All of the evidence taken from the crime scene belonged to either Meredith Kercher or this guy Rudy Guide. There’s no reason to invoke these other two people,” Hampikian said.

Hampikian spoke to Knox’ defense attorneys. They asked him to write a report on his findings. That report led to other scientists declaring Knox was innocent. When her appeal came up, the Italian judge ordered the evidence be reexamined. The Italian experts agreed the evidence did not point to Knox and her boyfriend. Monday a jury set them free.

“It started with a kind of very small effort at the Idaho Innocence Project. Certainly the DNA part was mine, but we all worked really really hard for two and a half years. It’s amazingly gratifying to see it end this way,” Hampikian said.

Hampikian was at CNN Monday providing commentary on the case. He says when the verdict came down he said "hallelujah." He says he was glad his mic was not on at the time.