Local News

Sister Remembers Seeing Blowpoke Months Before Kathleen Peterson's Death

Posted September 25, 2003
Updated December 9, 2006

— The day after defense attorneys introduced a blowpoke into evidence in the Mike Peterson trial, Kathleen Peterson's sister says she remembers seeing a blowpoke at her sister's house months before her death.

Lori Campell told jurors a blowpoke had been in the house by the kitchen fireplace in July 2001, months before her sister died.

Campell said she remembered it being on the right side of the fireplace because her 5-year-old son, Eddie, kept picking it up.

"I had to say, 'Stop playing with it. You are going to break something,'" she said.

During cross-examination, Rudolf wondered why Campell never told police about remembering the blowpoke.

District attorney Jim Hardin said Mike Peterson beat his wife to death with a blowpoke. He told jurors the blowpoke had mysteriously disappeared, but on Tuesday, the defense pulled one out in court.

Rudolf told jurors the Peterson's blowpoke had been sitting in the garage covered in cobwebs. He suggested it had possibly been sitting there for years.

Which side do you think will benefit from the discovery of a blowpoke at the Peterson house? The prosecution The defense

Later, another prosecution witness testified that something like a blowpoke could have been used to kill Kathleen Peterson. Biomechanics expert Dr. James McElhaney explained the length, direction, location, and number of cuts on Kathleen Petersons' head pointed to a beating, not an accident.

"The lack of skull fracture and brain injury tells me that this was a relatively light object striking the head," he said.

In cross-examination, Rudolf pulled out the blowpoke he said was in the Peterson garage and showed McElhaney that there were no dents or bends in the tool.

"Your expert opinion would be that defendant's exhibit 280A was certainly not used to beat Kathleen Peterson to death seven times over the head, right?" Rudolf asked.

"That's right," McElhaney said.

McElhaney is expected to continue his testimony Thursday, followed by another biomechanics expert who was a consultant for the FBI.

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