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Police Suspected Kathleen Peterson May Have Been Sexually Assaulted

Posted July 18, 2003

— Days after Kathleen Peterson's death, authorities took out a warrant to conduct a rape kit on her body. Defense attorneys claim that was offensive to Mike Peterson and other family members while prosecutors say police were just doing their job.

Mike Peterson is charged in the death of his wife, Kathleen. Just a few days after Peterson's death, police took out a warrant to perform a rape kit on her body. The defense team suggested the move was offensive.

"They called Mr. Peterson to tell him that you all were now wanting to take a rape kit from his wife," defense attorney David Rudolf said.

District Attorney Jim Hardin explained police were being thorough in their investigation. Hardin had Lt. Connie Bullock, of the Durham Police Department, read a statement from a police report.

"This investigation revealed what appears to be an used condom in the victim's bedroom and towels that appeared to have semen stains on them. We believed that with this finding, a sexual act took place," Bullock said.

Later, Rudolf pointed out the condom may have been inconsequential.

"That condom was sent off to a laboratory, was it not?" Rudolf asked.

"I believe it was," Bullock replied.

"And there was no semen found on that condom. Was there?" Rudolf said.

"I don't know the results of the lab report," Bullock said.

The mention of sexual assault suspicions moved Caitlin Atwater, Kathleen Peterson's daughter, to tears in court.

Lab reports showed that there was no semen on the condom. The test results of the towels were not released Thursday.

An estate planner also testified on Thursday that Kathleen Peterson died without a will. He told the jury about possible ways her estate may have been divided.

On Friday, one of the crime scene investigators who collected evidence at the Peterson mansion is expected to take the stand.

An estate lawyer took the stand shortly before the lunch break. He is expected to testify that Kathleen Peterson died without a will.


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