Police were unable to lift any fingerprints from the knife found at the scene of a double murder following the Super Bowl in Atlanta last January, a case in which Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis has been charged.
Two men were stabbed to death in an early morning fight down the street from a nightclub in which Lewis had been celebrating with friends.
A small folding knife was found at the scene, and police later discovered that a weapon of the same make and model allegedly had been purchased by an associate of Lewis while the player was at an autograph-signing event at a suburban Atlanta sporting goods store days before the killings.
The knife was consistent with the stab wounds found in the victims, Richard Lollar, 24, and Jacinth Baker, 21, both of Decatur, Ga., according to the medical examiner's report. But technicians have been unable to lift usable fingerprints from the knife because of the texture of its handle, according to two sources familiar with the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
It could not be learned last night if the knife bore bloodstains. Traces of blood, however, were recovered from the rented limousine Lewis and his party used that night, the sources said.
Another knife purchased at the sporting goods store has not been recovered.
Lewis has denied any involvement in the fight or murders of the two men, saying he was acting as a peacemaker during the brawl. Prosecutors, however, allege that Lewis was an active participant in the fights that led to the deaths, and they have charged him with assault and murder.
Lewis is scheduled to be tried May 15 along with Reginald Oakley, 31, of Baltimore, and Joseph Sweeting, 34, of Miami, who were with him that morning.
A witness who was not part of Lewis' group or the victims' group has told police the football player appeared drunk prior to the fight. The man said Lewis appeared to require the assistance of two female companions as he left the club. The witness, who has also spoken with defense attorneys, said he did not see Lewis in the area where the deaths occurred, one source said.