Mike Peterson's Supporters Say They'll Stay By His Side
Posted May 22, 2003
Updated December 9, 2006
DURHAM, N.C. — The defense spent three hours questioning a potential juror in the Mike Peterson murder trial Thursday -- but didn't seat anyone.
So far, only three people have made the cut.
Peterson's defense team is filled with high-profile names. But he's also getting some help from close to home.
The front row of courtroom 5-1 is always crowded. The people filling the seats aren't curiosity seekers; they're Peterson supporters.
"There's nothing more important in my life at this time than to make sure he (Mike Peterson) comes through this OK," said Bill Peterson, the defendant's brother.
It's a mix of family and friends who sit within earshot of the defense table. On any given day, most of them are hard at work.
"Well, I'm a member of the defense team," said Bill Peterson.
But, he's not getting paid. In fact, Bill Peterson put his own Nevada law practice on hold while his brother is tried for murder.
Every day, he's there -- entering data into his computer.
"I'm assisting (defense attorney David) Rudolf and the jury consultant here," Bill Peterson said.
Kerry Sutton also is part of the extended defense team. She does research on prospective jurors.
"I'm not on the payroll now," she said. "If noting, I'm a loyal person."
Sutton was Peterson's original attorney, a position she took a lot of heat for in the beginning.
"I had some trouble with people in the courthouse at first," she said, "questioning my judgement because I'm Mike Peterson's friend."
Despite the criticism and the fact she's not getting paid, Sutton still helps out with Peterson's defense.
"I want to see this case through," she said.
Jury selection has been long and tedious. But Peterson's support group grows. Core members say that's important.
"He has his up days and his down days," Bill Peterson said. "And when he has those down days, it's awfully nice to have that support."
Most of Peterson's supporters have been in the courtroom since the first day of jury selection. They say they plan to be there every day until the very end.