DURHAM, N.C. — The prosecution and defense attorneys agreed to seat a 37-year-old black female corrections officer who has spent two years working on death row as the eighth juror in the Mike Peterson trial.
So far, two men and six women -- two white, six black -- have been selected. Peterson is charged with the death of his wife, Kathleen, at their Durham home in December 2001.
The prosecution and defense still need to seat four more jurors and four alternates before testimony starts.
As jury selection continues, lawyers in the case continue to discuss the death of Mike Peterson's friend, Elizabeth Ratliff.
Ratliff died in Germany in 1985, and her body was also found at the bottom of a staircase. Prosecutors say her death was similar to that of Kathleen Peterson's death. Prosecutors had planned to introduce Ratliff's death into evidence, but Judge Orlando Hudson has said that he would not rule on the admissibility of the evidence until after testimony begins.
On Thursday, David Rudolf, Peterson's main defense attorney, said he would like to discuss Ratliff in his opening statements, but he does not want the court to view that as waivering his right to object to the prosecution's attempt to use Ratliff's death as evidence during the trial.
The prosecution plans to take a four-day trip to Germany on the week of June 16 to further investigate Ratliff's death.
The prosecution is looking at more potential jurors to see if they are capable to serve in the case, one of whom is a 37-year-old nurse whose father is Mike Peterson's dentist.