Local News

Seventh Juror Seated For Mike Peterson Trial

Posted May 28, 2003
Updated December 9, 2006

— Another juror was selected for the Mike Peterson murder trial.

A 55-year-old nurse from Duke University was the seventh juror selected to serve in the trial. During three hours of questioning, she told defense attorneys that an uncle and the wife of a cousin were murdered. Her brother is also a retired state trooper.

The juror described herself as a Christian, and, under questioning from defense attorney David Rudolf said she would not want to view homosexual pornography but would do so if required.

Rudolf also indicated Wednesday that he was close to accepting an eighth juror, a 37-year-old woman who works for the state Department of Correction in Butner. She also worked as a correction officer on death row for two years.

Rudolf said he would decide Thursday whether to accept the woman as a juror after she reviews a list of potential witness to see if she knows any of them.

He also used his first peremptory strike to dismiss one juror, a retired University of North Carolina archivist.

So far, two men and five women -- five black, two white -- have been selected to serve on the jury.

Peterson, a novelist and former mayoral candidate, has been charged with the death of his wife, Kathleen. Kathleen Peterson was found at the bottom of a staircase in the couple's Durham home in December 2001.

The prosecution and defense attorneys are trying to select 12 jurors and four alternates before testimony begins in the trial.

Many critics have complained about the length of time the trial is taking. It has been four weeks and only seven jurors have been seated. Court clerk Angie Kelly has spent 16 years in the courthouse and believes the Peterson trial could set a record.

"The last one I did was about eight weeks, but I think this one is going to be longer," she said.

As the trial continues to move at a slow pace, it may get even slower. The court may take a weeklong break in June because Judge Orlando Hudson is scheduled to attend a national judges conference.

Rudolf said he is not in favor of the break.

"What I'm concerned about is there being a long period of time between jurors hearing one piece of evidence and hearing another piece of evidence," he said.

Rudolf said he thinks opening statements could come the week of June 9, but he would not rule out the week of June 16.

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