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Judge grants Peterson another day in court

Posted December 3, 2008

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— A Superior Court judge decided Wednesday to hold a hearing on claims by convicted killer Mike Peterson that prosecutors withheld evidence in his 2003 murder trial.

Attorney Jason Anthony said Judge Orlando Hudson agreed to hear evidence on the matter, but he said no court date has been set.

Anthony, who practices in Richmond, Va., filed a motion last month seeking a new trial for Peterson, who was convicted of first-degree murder in the Dec. 9, 2001, death of his wife, Kathleen Peterson.

Kathleen Peterson was found dead in a pool of blood at the bottom of a staircase in the couple’s Forest Hills mansion. Mike Peterson has maintained his wife died in an accidental fall.

Mike Peterson, 65, is serving a life sentence at Nash Correctional Institution. Last November, the state Supreme Court upheld his conviction.

Anthony alleged in the motion that prosecutors withheld evidence of a tire iron during the murder trial, impairing the efforts of defense attorneys to argue that an intruder had killed Kathleen Peterson.

Durham County District Attorney David Saacks, who helped prosecute Mike Peterson, said he was unaware of Hudson's decision.

The day after Kathleen Peterson’s death, a man who lived a few blocks away found a tire iron in his yard. Police and prosecutors didn't follow up on the discovery until part way through the trial, Anthony said, and they didn't share any information about the tire iron with Mike Peterson's former attorneys.

Saacks previously said the tire iron wasn't connected to the case and that rules of discovery in effect at the time of the trial didn't require prosecutors to turn over information it to the defense.

A murder weapon was never found in the case. Prosecutors argued during the trial that Mike Peterson killed his wife with a fireplace blow poke.

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  • war4heels Dec 4, 2008

    Tarheels: I personally know Jim Hardin and know people who worked in his office and that was honestly the best District Attorney this county has ever seen, Nifong was Nifong a screw up who wanted his 15 minutes of fame because Hardin's Peterson trial made national headlines, put two and two together

  • WRALSPORTSFANSUXS Dec 4, 2008

    Just another loser trying to work the system. What stinks is sometimes people like this actually wiggle out of jail.

    Have you ever heard a person in jail say they didn't do it? LOL

  • 2MuchPork4Just1Fork Dec 4, 2008

    Jeff_W - Great point! I think the answer is: The tire iron is a red herring.

  • raleighwakenative Dec 4, 2008

    I thought an owl did it

  • 7Degrees Dec 4, 2008

    But what he is right? A fire place poker and tire iron are shaped the same and would leave the same kind of injury. Was there blood on the tire iron? Was it from their car? As usual, WRAL gives just enough information to make you mad!

  • superman Dec 4, 2008

    I forgot to report that the day after the death that I found a dead tree limb in my front yard. Surely when people find something in their yard it is always evidence from what happened down the street.

  • whocares Dec 4, 2008

    They should put him in the same prison as Jeffrey McDonald and then they both could wine about being innocent of killing their spouses. Peterson has to be the dumbest person on the planet if he is trying to get a new trial because of a tire iron in a neighbor's yard. It still makes him guilty becuse there was never any mention of an intruder anywhere in the case from Peterson, and I am sure the defense would have used it if there was. I just hope that all the hard work that Jim Harden and his staff did (minus Nifong who did nothing) will keep him behind bars where he belongs.

  • tiblet Dec 4, 2008

    if he gets off b/c of some kind of technicality that will be tragic.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Dec 4, 2008

    It's simple, the owl did it with the tire iron and dropped the tire iron down the street as it was flying away.

    Seriously, Peterson was Nifonged.

    Yes, Nifong wasn't the DA that tried the Peterson case.

    But as easily as the Durham Police and the Durham DA's office went along with what Nifong was doing, my bet is that Nifong's behavior was typical of previous Durham DA behavior and Nifong was the one that got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

  • Eduardo1 Dec 4, 2008

    I feel if he has a chance of innocence, then he should be given the chance. We have seen many cases over the past few years where innocent men have been freed because of DA's screw ups.. This is not a costly trial, just a hearing. It really does not cost the public anything, because the Judge gets paid anyway.

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