Local News

Motions In Peterson Case Focuses On Son's Whereabouts

Posted October 4, 2002 5:07 a.m. EDT

— Novelist Michael Peterson was back in court Friday for a hearing in the case of his wife's death, but much of the focus was not on Peterson. Instead, it was on his son, Todd Peterson.

On the night Kathleen Peterson died, Todd Peterson said he was at a party with a female friend. Her lawyer, Tom Loflin, took the stand and testifed about the woman's interview with police.

"They were interested in his whereabouts. In other words, was the party really an alibi for him," Loflin said. "One thing they were interested in was did Todd Peterson leave the party and go back to his father's house and in some way, shape, form or fashion, participate in the murder of Kathleen Peterson."

Defense attorney David Rudolf said her answer was "no more than five minutes." Rudolf said the District Attorney's Office is holding back these kinds of witness statements and other evidence that may help his client.

"The police and prosecutor have a duty here under the Constitution," Rudolf said.

Kathleen Peterson was found at the bottom of a staircase in the couple's mansion in December 2001. Autopsy reports show she died of blunt force trauma to the back of the head.

Prosecutors have maintained they are handing over evidence as they compile it.

"I believe that we are doing what we should be doing, according to the statute and this court's orders," district attorney Jim Hardin said.

Rudolf asked the judge to sign two orders directing the SBI and the Durham Police Department to finish up their lab testing in a timely fashion.

Peterson is set to go on trial in May.