Local News

Convicted Killer Mike Peterson Writing Again

Posted November 19, 2007

Kathleen and Mike Peterson

— Durham novelist Mike Peterson, who is serving a life sentence for killing his wife nearly six years ago, is the uncredited co-author of a new book now on sale.

In a letter sent to WRAL News on Monday, co-author, ret. Lt. Col. Arthur Boyd said he began working on the Korean War book, entitled "Operation Broken Reed," with Peterson in 2002 while Peterson was under indictment for the death of his wife, Kathleen Peterson.

Emergency workers found her dead at the bottom of a staircase in the couple's Durham mansion. An autopsy showed she was beaten to death.

Peterson's Chapel Hill defense attorney, Thomas Maher, said Monday that he was aware of the collaboration.

In his letter, Boyd said Peterson helped him complete the 300-page book from his jail cell at Nash Correctional Institution, where he is serving a life sentence but that Peterson requested his name be omitted as a co-writer of the book.

Boyd said he visited Peterson at his home during the murder investigation and that Peterson showed him the staircase "where the blood-spattered walls revealed a gruesome death."

He added that he does not think Peterson killed his wife, saying "Mike remains a dedicated father, a Marine loyal to the Corps and a distinguished prolific writer."

Peterson is the author of several fictional war novels, including "A Time of War," "A Bitter Peace" and "Immortal Dragon."

Boyd said the original publisher withdrew its offer for publication rights in March 2003 because it did not want to be involved with anyone accused of murder.

Peterson has maintained his wife fell down the stairs after consuming alcohol. The North Carolina Supreme Court rejected his appeal earlier this month.

In February, he settled a wrongful death civil suit with his stepdaughter, Caitlin Atwater, for $25 million, even though he filed for bankruptcy protection last year.

Atwater's attorney, Jay Trehy, said the suit was brought against Peterson with the intent that he would never be able to profit from Atwater's mother's death.

He has said that Peterson probably would not be able to pay the civil judgment but that it showed Kathleen Peterson's life had value.


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  • Steve Crisp Nov 20, 2007

    Several years ago, a woman around the corner from me tripped and fell, striking her head against the curb. Her husband picked her up and carried her into the house where he called 911. The place was a bloodbath. Blood spatters all over the place including the adjacent cars at the point where she fell.

    The police were determined to charge him with murder until witnesses told them that she fell and hubby was in the house when it happened.

    It was an accident, but had it occured without witnesses, the husband would be rotting in prison right now.

    Accidents DO happen and the strange can fall within the realm of probablility. Unforutunately, police and DAs often don't recognize that; their public reputations get in the way.

  • .Milky Nov 20, 2007

    Things that fit up my tail.

    The Mike Peterson Prison Memoir.

  • superman Nov 20, 2007

    He had two women and both of them died from a fall down the stairs? So how many times this have to happen to the same guy for you to figure -- something is wrong with that picture?

  • swisher1 Nov 20, 2007

    yes, I think we should just let this one go by.......the man is in prison - and can't hurt anyone else, I don't suppose. Let's not give this any more "air" time than we need to!

  • tiblet Nov 20, 2007


    Notice his projected release date is "life"...shouldn't it be "death"?

    Wonder how many clients Rudolph has these days?

  • seaturtles246 Nov 20, 2007

    "if I DID IT" Part II

  • FE Nov 20, 2007

    Don't forget there were blood splatters (inside, going outward) located high within the legs of the khaki shorts. There is only ONE way those got there (bash/splatter/bash/splatter).

    Also, wasn't Peterson at one time in the race for mayor of Durham? Speak of "consider the possibilities"?!?

  • wolfpackjac Nov 20, 2007

    There's always some idiots out there that ignore the facts and want to play devil's advocate. They'll be the ones to buy his book too. I will not be one of them.

  • willis2 Nov 20, 2007

    Does Caitlin A get the money? I think she still has a judgement against MP.

  • dogsrule12cheek Nov 20, 2007

    He is still a killer no matter what he does.