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DNA evidence key to student murder

  • Story Highlights
  • DNA results in case of murdered British student in Italy due for release this week
  • Tests conducted on sneakers and computer of suspect, Raffaele Sollecito
  • Another suspect, Rudy Hermann Guede, awaiting extradition in Italy
  • Meredith Kercher, 21, killed at her villa in Perugia earlier this month
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ROME, Italy (CNN) -- Italian investigators are awaiting the results of crucial DNA tests on evidence related to the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, as the latest suspect arrested in the case awaits his extradition to Italy.

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Rudy Hermann Guede was arrested in the German city of Mainz.

A source in the Perugia prosecutor's office told CNN the results would likely be released on Thursday evening.

The tests are being conducted on sneakers and a computer belonging to suspect Raffaele Sollecito, 23, who was in custody along with his girlfriend, Kercher's roommate, Amanda Knox, 20.

Both are considered prime suspects in the killing of Kercher, 21, whose half-naked body was found with a stab wound to the neck earlier this month at her villa in Perugia, north of Rome. Kercher was an exchange student at the city's university.

German police are holding another suspect, Rudy Hermann Guede, 20, who was arrested Tuesday near Mainz and is awaiting extradition to Italy.

Congolese bar owner Patrick Lumumba, 38 -- who was arrested in Perugia along with Knox and Sollecito -- was released Tuesday after two weeks in custody.

Forensics investigators are examining Sollecito's sneakers to determine if they are the ones that created a bloody footprint found at the crime scene, Sollecito's lawyer, Luca Maori, told CNN. They are also examining Sollecito's computer.

Sollecito has said he was at home the night that Kercher was killed.

Maori said defense lawyers have examined a clone of Sollecito's hard drive that shows he was in his house and using the computer from 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 1 to 1:33 a.m. on Nov. 2. The timing is crucial because police have said Kercher died between 10 p.m. and midnight on Nov. 1.

Maori said he is certain there is no blood on his client's shoes that would connect him to the crime scene.

With Guede in Germany awaiting extradition -- a process that could take as long as two months -- police were searching his home in Perugia.

Italian media reported that among the items police took were Guede's sneakers, which also will be checked to see if they match the footprint found in Kercher's room.

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A source in the Perugia prosecutor's office said police are re-examining surveillance camera footage taken the night of the murder showing a man in a laundromat washing his clothes and sneakers. The source said it was difficult to determine the man's identity.

Guede was identified after police found a bloody fingerprint on a pillow at the crime scene. DNA tests have also linked Guede to a toilet at the villa Kercher shared with Knox and two Italians. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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