Local News

Peterson On Trial: With Testmony Over, Jurors To Review Evidence Tuesday

Posted September 30, 2003

— Jurors in the Mike Peterson trial will have a lot to consider at the end of the day Tuesday. Now that the last witnesses have been called, the jury will have the chance to review the evidence presented in the case -- all 500 pieces of it.

Jurors will have the opportunity to look at all the evidence presented during the 54 days of testimony. During that time, they have listened to 66 witnesses and seen more than 500 pieces of evidence.

Experts believe just a few pieces of evidence are likely to capture their attention.

"Certainly, the photos of the injuries to Elizabeth Ratliff and Kathleen Peterson will be the photos they want to look back at," said Orange County district attorney Carl Fox.

During the trial there have been some bombshells and witnesses who bombed. Both sides must tie all the evidence together for the jury.

Fox said closing arguments will be crucial for the prosecution, whose case has suffered some serious blows.

"You've got to wonder where the prosecution goes from here," Fox said. "I think there's going to have to be some serious explaining to tie this together in a package they can accept."

After months of poking holes in the prosecution's case, the defense must send jurors into deliberations with a sense of doubt.

"We tried to call the appropriate witnesses to answer what the state's witnesses asserted and it's going to be up to the jury to see how we fared," defense attorney David Rudolf said.

Rudolf said his closing argument could last 3 or 4 hours. Prosecutor Jim Hardin's closing is likely to be shorter. Closing arguments could begin in the next few days.

The judge and the attorneys meet Tuesday for a charge conference where the district attorney could ask that jurors be allowed to consider second-degree murder. If that happens, the defense will fight it.

Also Tuesday, with the jury out of the courtroom, lawyers on both sides will go over the judge's instructions to the jury.

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