Local News

Prosecutors Try To Link Mike Peterson To Elizabeth Ratliff's Death

Posted August 21, 2003
Updated December 9, 2006

— In a special hearing held outside of the jury's presence Monday, prosecutors tried to link Mike Peterson to the deaths of his wife and his friend.

In day 29 of the trial, prosecutors tried to explain why Elizabeth Ratliff's death is relevant to the death of Kathleen Peterson. Ratliff was Mike Peterson's friend who died in 1985 in Germany. Like Kathleen Peterson, Ratliff was found dead at the bottom of a stairwell with deep cuts to the back of her head.

Cheryl Appel-Schumacher, Ratliff's friend, broke down as she described what she saw inside the Ratliff house.

"There was blood on the walls coming down the side of the staircase and there was blood on the wall opposite the foyer area," she said.

Appel-Schumacher then explained how Mike Peterson took charge of the scene and consoled grieving friends.

"Michael was telling everyone that this accident had happened and she had fallen down the steps," she said.

Margaret Blair, Elizabeth Ratliff's sister, is also expected to testify later in the week. Judge Orlando Hudson will then determine whether information regarding Elizabeth Ratliff's death will be admissible in the trial.

Earlier in the day, a SBI agent told jurors Monday

bloodstain analysis

shows Kathleen Peterson was beaten to death in the stairwell. Peter Duane Deaver's report also places Mike Peterson at the scene during the attack based on bloodstains found inside his shorts.

Deaver also told jurors without a doubt that the bloodstains in the stairwell were not consistent with the actions of a fall. Deaver then moved from his conclusion to how he arrived at his findings. He described for jurors the experiments he conducted on the stains and what he was looking for.

Deaver will be back on the stand Tuesday. The special hearing will continue on Wednesday.

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