In December 2001, Durham police charged Mike Peterson with the murder of his wife Kathleen. The Nortel executive was found dead in the couple's mansion. Despite the barrage of media attention surrounding the case, Peterson wants local people on the jury.
"I'm completely confident they can be fair and impartial," Peterson said.
Over the next few weeks, District Attorney Jim Hardin wants to conduct a survey to gauge whether an impartial jury can be found. The survey would ask jurors now serving if they have heard about the case and if they have an opinion about it.
"Quite frankly, these are two acceptable questions," Hardin said.
However, David Rudolf, Peterson's lawyer, called the survey silly and flawed.
"From our perspective, it's whether or not people have the intelligence and the integrity to listen to the evidence," he said.
Defense attorneys suggested the district attorney really wants to move the trial out of Durham.
"If the DA doesn't want to try a case in his own venue, I think it's pretty extraordinary and pretty shocking as a matter of fact," Peterson said.
Hardin insists that the trial will be held in Durham, but he said depending on the outcome of the survey, he may ask that jurors come from somewhere else.
Lawyers expect to go through 200 people before sitting a jury. The trial is scheduled to start May 5.
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