Local News

Jurors Begin Deliberations In Peterson Trial

Posted October 7, 2003
Updated December 9, 2006

— The jury has started deliberations in the Mike Peterson trial. However, two of the original jurors in the trial were replaced Monday by alternates.

Judge Orlando Hudson excused Juror No. 5 Joanne Hairston after someone recently called defense attorney David Rudolf's office and said she made negative comments about Mike Peterson before the trial started. In court, Hairston did not even ask why she was dismissed. She was later replaced by a white male nurse.

Earlier in the day, Hudson decided to dismiss Juror No. 2 Williford Hamm in the Mike Peterson trial. On Wednesday night, police say Hamm was intoxicated and verbally abusing officers at a Durham garage. Hamm was not arrested, but he was detained and spent the night in the drunk tank at the Durham County Jail. No charges were filed.

"The court believes his actions in September call into question his impartiality as a juror in this case," Hudson said.

WRAL did contact Hamm for his comments on what happened Monday. He said he did not want to say anything publicly until after the trial ends.

With Hamm's dismissal, an alternate juror, a 37-year-old white woman who works at Duke Clinical Research Institute as a manager in computer services, will take his place. She was also selected as the jury's foreperson.

With Monday's developments, there have been three jurors dismissed from the trial. Dottie Waters, the wife of former Atlantic Coast Conference basketball coach Bucky Waters, was dismissed after it was discovered that she knew one of the prosecution's rebuttal witnesses.

In three months, jurors heard testimony from 66 witnesses and saw more than 500 exhibits. On Monday, they asked to review 200 of those exhibits.

Jurors told the judge they wanted to hear the 911 tape Mike Peterson made the night of his wife's death again. They also wanted a second look at the police tape shot at the Peterson mansion the night Kathleen Peterson died.

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