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SBI troubles prompt Mike Peterson to seek new trial

Posted February 15, 2011
Updated February 16, 2011

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— Convicted killer Mike Peterson on Monday filed a motion for a new trial, blaming testimony from a recently discredited state analyst for his conviction.

Prosecutors had said the Durham novelist beat his wife to death while defense attorneys claim Kathleen Peterson died from an accidental fall down a staircase.

He is serving a life sentence at Nash Correctional Institution in Nashville.

The State Bureau of Investigation last month fired Duane Deaver, the agent whose testimony of blood spatters in the Peterson home was key evidence for prosecutors to convict Peterson.

An independent review last year concluded that SBI analysts frequently misstated or falsely reported blood evidence in about 200 criminal cases during a 16-year period ending in 2003. Some of the most egregious violations found in the investigation were linked to Deaver.

"Duane Deaver fabricated evidence, falsely described his observations at the Peterson house in December 2001 and provided false, misleading and scientifically unreliable testimony regarding the analysis of the bloodstains found in the stairway, the hallway next to the stairway and on Michael Peterson’s shorts and sneakers," Peterson attorney David Rudolf wrote in the 36-page motion. "All of this conduct deprived Michael Peterson of due process of law and requires that Michael Peterson receive a new trial."

It's unclear whether the motion will lead to a new trial.

Peterson has exhausted his appeals on the state level, and his case is pending in federal court. Attorneys also have sought countless times to get a new trial, introducing new evidence, including a tire iron found in a neighbor's yard and owl feathers found in Kathleen Peterson's hair from a possible owl attack.

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  • jervin6 Feb 16, 2011

    continued.....owl attack when supposed she got attacked leaving the pool area where he states they both were and he remained until finding her at the bottom of the stairs. Something still seems wrong to me.

  • jervin6 Feb 16, 2011

    Granted the SBI’s conclusion that someone had tried to clean up the blood clearly makes Peterson look guilty, but no amount of SBI incompetence can discredit the fact that the amount of blood evidence, its location, and wounds are not consistent with a fall down the stairs. Common sense tells anyone, a person cannot fall down 18 steps of hard wood stairs and ONLY injure their head with multiple deep complicated lacerations and one minor scrape to an elbow. The autopsy report does not indicate her skull was fractured, which I find interesting if she fell down the stairs or was beaten in a fit of rage, nor did she have any other broken bones including ribs, again inconsistent with falling down stairs. I do not think she fell down the stairs, but was she beaten? Clearly something cut her head in an unusual pattern and as farfetched as it sounds their owl theory does seem plausible when looking at photos of her scalp. My question would be why Peterson didn’t see or hear the owl att

  • whocares Feb 16, 2011

    This guy is guilty pure and simple. He has already tried to get a new trial and struck out. This is just an attempt for him to get back into the spotlight. I for one don't want one penny of my tax money to go for a trial of this murderer.

  • JAT Feb 16, 2011

    no, mrcros - it's sad that YOU feel that way about things. That you're willing to let criminals get out just because you don't like the SBI. I doubt their testimony was even vital in most of the cases they supposedly "botched".

  • OSX Feb 16, 2011

    The state crime lab... God only knows how much this is going to cost the poor old tax payer. Surely they are going to charge these people with perjury ain't they?

  • mrcrosbys Feb 16, 2011

    mrcro - so even though there's been no suggestion that anything having to do with the Peterson case was tampered with, you think he should be retried just beause the SBI was involved? It doesn't matter what other evidence the jury was shown - none of it matters to you. That's really sad if that's how you feel.
    JAT

    Isn't it sad that there is such a lack of integrity at the SBI that citizens of the state of NC feel that way??? I agree, it is sad

  • Hammerhead Feb 16, 2011

    ncguy sounds like a broken record. It's a conditioned response.
    I think Peterson is guilty, but blaming the lawsuits on some sort of liberal agenda is pure ideological paranoia.

  • JAT Feb 16, 2011

    "the prosecution's case was all "theory" against Mike." So was the defense's case - because they couldn't dream up a plausible scenario where what happened would still happen without Peterson being involved. I don't need SBI evidence - throw it all out. I would still convict.

  • JAT Feb 16, 2011

    mrcro - so even though there's been no suggestion that anything having to do with the Peterson case was tampered with, you think he should be retried just beause the SBI was involved? It doesn't matter what other evidence the jury was shown - none of it matters to you. That's really sad if that's how you feel.

  • mrcrosbys Feb 16, 2011

    mrcro - if the SBI planted all that blood evidence in the stairs and on Kathleen, why didn't Peterson say that? He never has and never will because he knows how it got there. Even in his own documentary, he never said anything was planted.
    JAT

    Again, and this time I will put it in really simple terms so you can understand. I am not saying what happened, I just do not trust anything the SBI has ever had anything to do with. If the SBI was on the property after the crime, the entire area could have been contaminated by them. Enough said.

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