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Jurors Look At Clothes Mike Peterson Wore On Night Of Wife's Death

Posted July 11, 2003

— For the first time during the trial, the jury got a look at the clothes Mike Peterson was wearing the night his wife, Kathleen, died. They also heard more about Todd Peterson, Mike Peterson's son.

Former Durham police officer Jay McVay showed the jury how the front of Peterson's khaki shorts were covered with large stains and how blood was spattered across the backside. They also saw pictures of the clothes Peterson's son, Todd, was wearing.

"There was a little blood on his jeans," McVay told jurors.

In the past, defense attorneys said Peterson and his son were covered in blood because they both cradled Kathleen's body. However on Friday, they did not even ask about the clothes.

The prosecution also wanted to make sure jurors knew something else.

"Do you know whether or not -- if he had anything on his feet?" Black asked McVay.

At that time, he had nothing on his feet. No shoes. No sandals. Nothing," McVay replied.

In opening statements, District Attorney Jim Hardin told the jury Peterson's shoeprint was found on the back of Kathleen's calf.

Officers also told jurors about Todd Peterson's behavior the night of Kathleen's death.

"I didn't think his attitude was appropriate, but I didn't know why that was," said Officer Terry Wilkins, of the Durham Police Department.

The defense maintained Todd Peterson, who had just come home from a party, was simply upset after seeing EMS crews and fire personnel at the home.

Police testifed they tried to keep Peterson, his son and all their friends apart so they could not talk about what happened. However, officers told jurors they had a hard time doing that.

"I saw Todd Peterson trying to relay messages through the window because there was a patio off to the study. I caught him doing that two times," McVay said. "Todd Peterson and Ben were whispering a lot like they didn't want us to hear what they were saying."

Earlier in the day, Wilkins described what he found in the kitchen of the Peterson mansion the night Kathleen Peterson died. He told jurors there were two wine glasses, a wine bottle and a pack of cigarettes.

Assistant district attorney Freda Black asked if there was anything in the sink, Wilkins said there were reddish-brown stains.

During cross-examination, defense attorney David Rudolf appeared to try and educate Wilkins on crime scene procedure in front of the jury. He pulled out police manuals and quizzed him on terminology and protocol.

Rudolf also used Wilkins to try and discredit previous testimony and chip away at the professionalism of fellow officers.

Police also told jurors that they did not rope off the scene until nearly an hour after they arrived. More police officers and evidence technicians are expected to testify next week.


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