Local News

Judge denies Mike Peterson's request for new trial

Posted March 10, 2009

— Convicted killer Mike Peterson won't get another day in court after all.

Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson on Tuesday denied Peterson's motion for a new trial based on allegations that prosecutors withheld evidence in his 2003 murder trial.

Peterson, 65, is serving a life sentence for the Dec. 9, 2001, death of his wife, Kathleen Peterson. She was found dead in a pool of blood at the bottom of a staircase in the couple's home.

He has maintained she died in an accidental fall.

Richmond, Va., attorney Jason Anthony filed a motion on Peterson's behalf in November, alleging prosecutors never disclosed evidence that a tire iron had been found in a neighbor's yard after Kathleen Peterson's death. Peterson's former defense attorneys could have used that evidence to argue that an intruder had killed Kathleen Peterson, Anthony said.

Investigators never found a murder weapon, and prosecutors argued during the trial that Peterson killed his wife with an instrument similar to a fireplace blow poke.

The state Attorney General's Office, which is handling the case because of the allegations of misconduct by Durham County prosecutors, said in its response to the motion that the tire iron was irrelevant to the case.

Peterson's defense team could have presented an “unknown intruder” defense without the tire iron, the state said. Also, tests conducted on the tire iron failed to link it to Kathleen Peterson's death.

Prosecutors have maintained that legal rules in effect at the time of the trial didn't require them to turn over information about the tire iron to the defense, and the Attorney General's Office charged that Peterson wants to try another theory in the case because his first one did not convince a jury.

Anthony said he plans to continuing pressing for a new trial for Peterson, declining to be more specific.

"It’s a case we’ve invested tremendous resources in, and we are moving upwards," he said.


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  • seankelly15 Mar 10, 2009

    ranquick - "My guess he will take it to a higher court now". Do you mean the State Supreme Court? He has already done that. Federal Court? The District Court refused to hear the case and returned it to the State Courts. And so on and so on.... Let me ask you the question that the courts have asked; what did the trial judge do wrong that could be considered a reversible error? Did Peterson receive adequate representation in court? Did the prosecutor do something that violates the evidentially process? Did a witness lie on the stand? Was a witness deemed insane? Was a witness paid for their testimony? Was Peterson incorrectly charged? You see, the courts have to rule on something other than it was 'unfair' the he was convicted - or he has suffered enough - or there wasn't enough evidence to convict?

  • 007KnightRider Mar 10, 2009

    Good!! He should have thought about that before he killed his wife.

  • Centurian Mar 10, 2009

    No new trial? Well OWL be darned!

  • tiblet Mar 10, 2009

    explain the blood spatter inside the leg of his shorts...

  • groovyguru Mar 10, 2009

    Maybe the owl dropped the tire iron.

  • bkahuna Mar 10, 2009

    Good! He was proven to be guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt!

  • batcave Mar 10, 2009

    mike peterson does deserve a new trial he has suffered enough .they really had no evidence.

    How so? And if he didn't murder her than who did? Because we know from blood spatter that it wasn't a fall. case closed

  • whocares Mar 10, 2009

    How many more possibilities is Mike going to think up. The real story has already been decided and he is exactly where he should be. As far as an unidentified intruder, I guess the Owl couldn't give him his name while he was flying by with the tire iron in his beak.

  • Foxtrot Delta Tango Mar 10, 2009

    "The happy owl is now in Maine attacking cross country skiers-see the strange news section-lol" - devilblue

    Funniest thing I've read all day.

  • superman Mar 10, 2009

    I wonder where he is getting money to pay the lawyer-- hope he was smart enought to get it up front. I thought Peterson was broke.