Local News

Judge: Peterson must keep monitor bracelet on ankle

Posted August 10, 2012

— A Superior Court judge ordered Friday that Durham novelist and one-time mayoral candidate Mike Peterson must continue wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet while awaiting a new trial in the death of his wife.

Peterson was convicted of first-degree murder in the Dec. 9, 2001, death of his wife. Kathleen Peterson was found dead in a pool of blood at the bottom of a staircase in the couple's upscale Durham home.

Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson ruled last December that a key prosecution witness in Peterson's 2003 murder trial gave false and misleading testimony, and he ordered Peterson released on $300,000 bond pending a retrial.

The state has appealed Hudson's ruling.

Since his release, Peterson has been under house arrest in Durham and is required to wear an ankle bracelet to keep track of his whereabouts.

He filed a motion last month asking for the conditions of his bond to be relaxed so he could ditch the bracelet and move about more freely. He says he suffers from sciatica, which makes wearing the bracelet painful.

"Keeping this on this particular person – I don't know if it's appropriate for every defendant out there or any defendant out there – but on this particular person, is inappropriate because it's cruel," defense attorney Kerry Sutton argued.

Christi Long, pre-trial services supervisor for Durham County, said that the monitor had been moved from one leg to the other after Peterson complained of pain. She noted that he had previous problems with his legs unrelated to the monitor.

Sutton also said that Peterson isn't a flight risk because his bond is secured by his son's home and other family property.

"He is not in any way going to risk the home of his grandchildren and live a life of flight the rest of his days," she said.

Mike Peterson's ankle bracelet Peterson loses bid to ditch ankle monitor

Judge Michael O'Foghludha ruled, however, that there was no evidence that the monitoring bracelet caused a July 11 trip by Peterson to a local emergency room, where he was treated for leg pain.

Peterson said after the hearing that he was disappointed by the ruling, but he and Sutton said they would put together more medical documentation and seek another court hearing.

Durham County Assistant District Attorney Roger Echols said that Peterson already has been given a low bond for a murder case, and the other bond conditions need to remain in place to ensure public safety and that he doesn't flee the area.

Kathleen Peterson's two sisters asked O'Foghludha to return their former brother-in-law to jail if he couldn't wear the ankle monitor.

"He's a proven danger to my family," Lori Campell said, adding that she feels unsafe because Peterson blames his in-laws for his legal troubles. "Michael's reasons for fleeing are increasing, not decreasing. If anything, he should be more closely monitored."

Candace Zamperini said Peterson threatened her in a French documentary made about the case several years ago. She became so upset that she started yelling at Peterson from the witness stand, and O'Foghludha had to tell her to lower her voice.

"You think that ankle bracelet is enough when he tries to intimidate me by film?" Zamperini said in court. "I'd like to feel safe."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • clickhere Aug 10, 2012

    waste of time and money, he should be in jail. no new trial, no breaks for the guilty.

  • rebelbelle Aug 10, 2012

    If that ankle bracelet is TOO painful, he can opt to return to prison

  • priorities Aug 10, 2012

    Wearing an electronic monitoring device for more than 3 years is likely to be considered excessive punishment at the end of the day. He has been convicted of nothing. For the person who fell down the stairs and lived to tell about it.......good for you. Many others have not.
    Walking down those stairs must have made you a psychic and I have a very good understanding of how the justice system works and how it doesn't work in Durham.
    He likely doesn't have a medical reason to have that bracelet removed.
    He did however expose massive corruption in Durham......when his wife fell he didn't stand a chance. Learn your history.
    Also, Orlando Hudson didn't make this determination. The other cases are relevant b/c it exposes just a couple of other cases where the nuts "just knew he did it". Losing your life when you are innocent is unspeakable.
    charmcclainlovesdogs2-- I wear my medals proudly! I gave my leg, spleen and half my liver to protect your right to be rude!

  • priorities Aug 10, 2012

    Trial court judges are given less latitude under the Excessive Bail Clause. Bail is the amount of money, property, or bond that a defendant must pledge to the court as security for his or her appearance at trial. If the defendant meets bail or is able to pay the amount set by the court, the defendant is entitled to recover the pledged amount at the conclusion of the criminal proceedings. However, if the defendant fails to appear as scheduled during the prosecution, then he or she forfeits the amount pledged and still faces further criminal penalties if convicted of the offense or offenses charged. When fixing the amount of bail for a particular defendant, the court takes into consideration several factors: (1) the seriousness of the offense; (2) the Weight of Evidence against the accused; (3) the nature and extent of any ties, such as family or employment, that the accused has to the community where he or she will be prosecuted; (4) the accused's ability to pay a given amount;

  • 2BHonest Aug 10, 2012

    Seriously? How many more tax dollars is this man going to be allowed to waste. Electronic monitoring devices are NOT painful unless they are too tight. This is ridiculous and needs to stop immediately.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Aug 10, 2012

    You disgrace this country!


  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Aug 10, 2012

    He could be writing a book on his life in prison instead of wasting the tax payers money of NC. He is going back to prison. Oh taste the freedom for it will not be long before he is back behind bars.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Aug 10, 2012

    You should take a class on writing.


    As long as you get what I am writing, I don't need to. But it would not hurt if you wanted to take a course or two, instead in dictating what I should be doing. Have a blessed weekend. By all means be very safe.

  • xyzzy Aug 10, 2012

    Priorities, your argument on bail is misinformed. When Peterson was first arrested, a magistrate found there was probable cause. That's still in effect, and it wasn't vacated by the grant of a new trial. Yes, someone is innocent until proved guilty, but we still put people in jail (or bond them out, under certain conditions) pending their trial. That's how the system works. After the Peterson verdict was set aside, the situation reverted to what it was the day before the trial began: there is probable cause to detain Peterson pending trial.

    One could argue with equal merit that Peterson ought to be in jail awaiting retrial. No one is entitled to bond; it is granted at the discretion of the court. Nor has any court ever held that imposition of restrictions during bond is punishment under the law.

    I don't care whether McDonald or Shepard was or was not guilty. That's a red herring. I've walked on the staircase in question, and I believe he did it.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Aug 10, 2012

    obviously have the actual evidence needed to convict so you might want to let the police know that

    Well it so happen that I have. Would you really like to know? Then go to the evidence room and start reading it. lol