Local News

Attorneys Prepare For Closing Arguments; Juror May Be Excused In Mike Peterson Trial

Posted October 2, 2003
Updated December 9, 2006

— There is another jury problem in the Mike Peterson trial. A day after a juror was dismissed for knowing a rebuttal witness for the prosecution, another juror spent the night in the Durham County jail after being intoxicated and verbally abusing police.

During jury selection, lawyers on both sides knew about Williford Hamm's past. The 58-year-old told attorneys that he had five DWIs, but he claimed he was sober now. However, police say he was drinking Tuesday night.

District attorney Jim Hardin said police reports say Hamm got into a fight with mechanics over his pickup truck that was at a Durham gas station. According to reports, Hamm became belligerent and threatened to get a shotgun and shoot someone.

Officers say Hamm then argued with them, mentioning to them that he was a juror in the Mike Peterson trial. Hardin said Hamm was not arrested, but he was detained. No charges were filed.

At this point,defense attorney Tom Maher thinks he should remain on the jury.

"If, in fact, that's something that's been blown out of proportion and it's not a big deal, then there's nothing to prevent him from being a fair and impartial juror," he said.

In court Wednesday, attorneys said they would proceed with closing arguments Thursday. Judge Orlando Hudson and attorneys from both sides decided that they would hear from Hamm about the incident Monday morning.

Defense attonry David Rudolf will tell jurors why they should vote not guilty. Attorney Woody Webb says Rudolf will probably capitalize on the prosecution's shortcomings.

"He'll be waving around some blowpokes and he'll say the prosecution tied itself to a blowpoke," Webb said.

Webb said Hardin will get to the core of his case: Kathleen Peterson's injuries and the bloody stairwell.

"I think he'll bring the clothes out and the pictures out. He'll bring out all the demonstrative evidence he possibly can to show the brutality and violence of the crime," he said.

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