(CBS/AP) PERUGIA, Italy - Italian prosecutors sought to persuade an appeals court to uphold the murder conviction of Amanda Knox, saying during closing arguments Friday that "all clues converge toward the only possible result" of finding the young American woman and her co-defendant guilty.
Prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola urged the jury to keep in mind the family of the victim, British student Meredith Kercher, who was Knox's roommate at the time of the slaying. His fellow prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, urged the jurors to ignore the media hype and what he said was a pro-defendant slant surrounding the case.
A verdict in the appeals trial of Knox and her co-defendant and one-time boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito is expected at the end of September or early next month.
Knox and Sollecito were convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering Kercher on the night of Nov. 1, 2007 in the house Knox and Kercher shared while exchange students in Perugia.
Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison; Sollecito to 25. Both deny wrongdoing and have appealed the verdict, which was issued by a lower court in December 2009.
Costagliola, at the start of closing arguments expected to last two days and involve two more prosecutors, summed up what he said were the clues that point to the defendants. He also challenged the results of an independent review of DNA evidence that cast doubt on much of the genetic evidence used to convict Knox.
In the first trial, prosecutors maintained that Knox's DNA was found on the handle of a kitchen knife believed to be the murder weapon, and that Kercher's DNA was found on the blade. They said Sollecito's DNA was on the clasp of Kercher's bra as part of a mix of evidence that also included the victim's genetic profile.
The independent review challenged both findings. It said police had made glaring errors in evidence collecting and that below-standard testing raised doubts over the attribution of DNA traces, both on the blade and on the bra clasp, which was collected from the crime scene several weeks after the murder.
The review boosted Knox's chances of being acquitted and freed after four years behind bars, and gave hope to her family.
Next week, a lawyer representing the Kercher family and then the defense lawyers will make their closing arguments. Knox herself is expected to address the court in a final appeal to proclaim her innocence.