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Unsealed Documents In Mike Peterson Trial Reveal More Info About Durham Novelist

Posted October 31, 2003

— Documents related to the Mike Peterson trial were unsealed this week and the information provides more insight into the Durham novelist's personality.

Peterson was convicted of killing his wife, Kathleen, at their home on Dec. 9, 2001.

According to the documents, Peterson claimed police were treating him unfairly from the very beginning. Just days after his wife's death, Peterson told his stepdaughter, Caitlin Atwater, the Durham Police Department had it out for him. She told police, 'he warned us that things "might get very ugly." He said police would "try and make their story look as outlandish as possible."

Peterson also told Atwater about a condom found in the couple's bedroom. He said it was another attempt to make him look bad and that police might use it to say the couple "had a perverted sex life and were having orgies in the house."

Documents show Peterson's son, Todd, later explained the condom belonged to one of his friends who had sex with a girl in the Petersons' bed.

Mike Peterson's sex life was made public during the three-month trial. Kathleen Peterson's family found out about his bisexuality shortly after her murder. Bill Peterson, Peterson's brother, told them it was a "family secret" and said it was something Mike had known for most of his life.

Bill Peterson also claimed Kathleen Peterson knew about her husband's sexual preferences and was fine with it. Atwater told police she did not believe it.

Also, during the trial, prosecutors hinted at Peterson's quick temper. In one of the confidential statements released this week, Kathleen Peterson's sister, Lori Campell, said Peterson had "grabbed" Kathleen "very hard and hurt her arm." She said afterwards Peterson bought his wife an expensive handbag to make up for it.

Defense attorney David Rudolf has asked for a hearing to declare Mike Peterson indigent. Rudolf said Peterson is too poor to pay for an appeal. Judge Orlando Hudson has not decided if that hearing will happen or not.

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