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Judge Denies Peterson Jury's Request To See Transcript Of DA's Opening Statements

Posted October 7, 2003
Updated December 9, 2006

— The jurors in the Mike Peterson trial left the courthouse Tuesday without reaching a verdict. Earlier in the day, jurors asked to see a transcript of District Attorney Jim Hardin's opening statements from July, but Judge Orlando Hudson denied their request.

Hudson told jurors that Hardin's opening statements were not evidence and therefore, the jury would have to rely on their memory instead.

Mike Peterson is accused of beating his wife, Kathleen, to death and he is charged with first-degree murder. The Durham novelist says she died from an accidental fall.

During the trial, jurors listened to testimony from 66 witnesses and they saw more than 500 exhibits. Jurors told the judge they want to review about 200 of them during deliberations.

Jurors have also asked to hear the 911 tape again and they want a second look at the police videotape of the Peterson mansion the night Kathleen Peterson died.

Defense attorney Ken Lockner said the verdict watch could go for sometime. He said the shorter court days set by Hudson for this trial stretch the wait, but it could also impact the outcome.

"They may reach the wrong verdict. If they're under time pressure, like 'Gosh, it's going to be 3 o'clock. We need to get a verdict, so let's vote,'" he said.

Even though the jury box was empty, the courtroom was full of people waiting. Peterson spent the day talking with his family and reading a book.

Defense attorney David Rudolf spent most of the day in the courtroom, while upstairs, district attorney Jim Hardin and assistant district attorney Freda Black continued to sift through the files from the Peterson case.

Jurors will continue their deliberations at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.


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