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AG's office might handle Peterson's request for new trial

Posted December 1, 2011

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— Mike Peterson's quest for a new trial in his wife's murder 10 years ago could be delayed after the North Carolina Attorney General's Office agreed to assume responsibility for the case from Durham County prosecutors.

Peterson, 68, was convicted in 2003 of first-degree murder in the Dec. 9, 2001, death of his wife, Kathleen Peterson. She was found dead in a pool of blood at the bottom of a staircase in the couple's upscale Durham home.

Prosecutors were never able to establish a clear motive nor a murder weapon, and Peterson, a novelist and former Durham mayoral candidate, has long denied any involvement in her death.

His request for a new trial involves claims that a former State Bureau of Investigation agent who testified at the original trial lied or misled jurors about blood evidence found in the Peterson home.

A hearing had been scheduled for next Monday, but Durham County District Attorney Tracey Cline last week asked that Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson be removed from the case.

On Thursday, Cline asked for the Attorney General's Office to take over the case, and spokeswoman Noelle Talley said that state prosecutors would handle the case, provided a judge grants a delay so they can prepare.

Peterson's attorney, David Rudolf, said he is opposed to any delay in the case, noting that Cline has had 10 months to prepare for it and it has been scheduled for five months.

"Experts have already made arrangements to fly to North Carolina for this hearing, and other witnesses have been subpoenaed from various parts of North Carolina, including a number of lawyers, and have arranged their schedules accordingly," Rudolf said.

Cline has blamed Hudson publicly for two cases in which murder charges were dismissed, accused Hudson of corruption and bias and has asked the state Judicial Standards Commission to bar him from hearing criminal cases in the county.

Hudson has asked Superior Court Judge Carl Fox, who is holding court in Durham County through the end of December, to handle Cline's motion regarding him, as well as similar motions in two other cases. That hearing is scheduled for Monday.

Rudolf said Hudson is uniquely qualified to hear the appeal, noting that he presided over the nearly three-month trial eight years ago and would best be able to weigh whether the former SBI agent's testimony was valid.

26 Comments

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  • wildcat Dec 2, 2011

    AND LET US NOT HERE FROM HIM EVER AGAIN. barbstillkickin

    He is in the Nash county prison.

  • wildcat Dec 2, 2011

    Poor thing he cannot handle prison life. He should use all that time and write a book since he is such a good author. He is not getting out; no matter how many trials he is is allowed. The end will come and he will still remain locked up for life.

  • barbstillkickin Dec 2, 2011

    CAN WE STOP PAYING OUR TAXES FOR MORE TRIALS FOR THIS KILLER. PLEASE PUT HIM IN SOLITAIRE AND LET US NOT HERE FROM HIM EVER AGAIN. I AM SO TIRED OF US PAYING TAX MONEY WE DO NOT HAVE TO GIVE KILLERS MORE TRIALS.

  • Here2tellya Dec 2, 2011

    If there aren't any new suspects, then why would there be a new trial? It's just another chance for him to pay an attorney enough to possible get him off. I'm not buyin it.

  • GALNC Dec 2, 2011

    Mike - Give it up...you are guilty and caught. The owl didn't do it.

  • seankelly15 Dec 2, 2011

    hunter38 = "Isn't Tracey Cline a "crat" ...hmmmmm perdue, cline, easley, edwards, black, what a pattern the crats leave."

    Leave it to you to make the story political... not sure what 'pattern' you are referring to - I don't see any commonality. And, we both know that the 'pubs' are just as bad.

  • hunter38 Dec 1, 2011

    Isn't Tracey Cline a "crat" ...hmmmmm perdue, cline, easley, edwards, black, what a pattern the crats leave.

  • twc Dec 1, 2011

    Maybe Peterson never read Edgar Allan Poe; it was the Raven who quoted "nevermore." The owl only asks "whoo, whoo"?

  • Milkman Dec 1, 2011

    The people of Durham County and the State of NC would benefit most if the State AG's office took over for Ms. Cline permanently.

  • WRALSUCKS Dec 1, 2011

    It was the owl that did it.

    Honest, Mom!!!

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