Mike Peterson's original attorney returning for retrial
Posted December 1, 2016
Durham, N.C. — A few weeks after losing his bid to end the 15-year-old murder case against him, Mike Peterson has made a change to his defense team.
David Rudolf, the Charlotte attorney who represented Peterson in his 2003 trial, filed paperwork Thursday to represent the 73-year-old Durham novelist and one-time mayoral candidate at his retrial next May.
Peterson was found guilty after one of the longest trials in North Carolina history of killing Kathleen Peterson on Dec. 9, 2001, but the conviction was overturned in 2011 when Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson ruled that a key prosecution witness had lied on the stand.
Rudolf said he will take the case pro bono.
The move bumped Mary Jude Darrow, who had been appointed by the court to represent Peterson, off the defense team.
Darrow had argued that the charges against Peterson should be thrown out because mishandled evidence in the case deprived him of the chance to have it tested now for DNA or other details that might clear Peterson's name.
Hudson said during a Nov. 14 hearing that the condition of the evidence didn't rise to the level of violating Peterson's constitutional right to a fair trial, and he denied Darrow's motion.