Local News

Mike Peterson gets new attorney for second murder trial

Posted October 23, 2014

 Mike Peterson

— When he is tried a second time for the murder of his wife 13 years ago, novelist and one-time Durham mayoral candidate Mike Peterson will have at his side an attorney familiar with representing defendants in domestic homicide cases.

Peterson, 70, will be represented by court-appointed attorney Mike Klinkosum, who also was the attorney for Jason Young. Young was convicted in 2012 of killing his wife, Michelle, in their Wake County home in November 2006, but the state Court of Appeals threw out the verdict six months ago and ordered a new trial.

Klinkosum replaces longtime Peterson attorney David Rudolph at the defense table. Rudolph has been working pro bono on the case since Peterson was granted a new trial almost three years ago, but he said last month that he can no longer afford to do so and needs to be paid.

Peterson has been declared indigent and said he cannot afford an attorney.

In 2003, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murdering his wife, Kathleen, at their Durham mansion in December 2001. Her body was found in a pool of blood at the foot of a staircase, and he has maintained that she died in an accidental fall.

A Superior Court judge ordered a new trial in December 2011 after determining that a key prosecution witness gave false and misleading testimony during the trial.

Since then, Peterson has been out of prison waiting for a resolution to his case. Durham prosecutors say a new trial could happen as early as next year.

Sources close to the case said Peterson rejected an offer made by prosecutors that would guarantee he wouldn't serve any more time behind bars if he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the case.

District Attorney Roger Echols won't comment on any plea negotiations, saying only that his office is moving forward with the prosecution of the case.


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  • Pensive01 Oct 24, 2014

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    The "key" prosecution witness the judge was referring to was not a medical examiner, but a certain former SBI analyst whose name you should be well aware of. I'll also point out that it's not libel if what the media is saying is factual, said facts being brought to light by the independent audit of the SBI that uncovered them.

  • disgusted2010 Oct 24, 2014

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    Correct, that is what the judge "found." His finding was after listening to lawyers who were biased and without hearing from the witness who was libeled in a major smear campaign by several local news media outlets.

    The next step in helping Peterson, the media's darling, was the attack on the NC medical examiner who is the only thing stand in letting this multiple murder free to practice his trade on the street.

    SO, the media IS culpable as a willing partner in this travesty of justice.

  • babylaceycarpenter Oct 24, 2014

    Is he free to walk around and do as he pleases? Is he on house arrest? Is he wearing a GPS location device?

  • Pensive01 Oct 23, 2014

    View quoted thread

    In the article was the following sentence which reads, "A Superior Court judge ordered a new trial in December 2011 after determining that a key prosecution witness gave false and misleading testimony during the trial". As the media was not a witness for the prosecution, nor was anyone with the name "Media" for that matter, I'd say that it looks to me like you're quite wrong on exactly why a new trial is going to be held.

  • AshLeigh Marie Oct 23, 2014
    user avatar

    A murderer is FREE?? Ronnie Long is INNOCENT and he is still in prison! 39 YEARS!

  • disgusted2010 Oct 23, 2014

    The liberal media should be made to pay for his attorney as they are responsible for his being out.