Two More Jurors Picked To Serve In Mike Peterson Trial
Posted May 21, 2003 5:43 a.m. EDT
Updated December 9, 2006 10:03 p.m. EST
DURHAM, N.C. — The jury is starting to get bigger in the Mike Peterson murder trial as two more people were added on Tuesday, but one of the jurors has been in and out of the court system.
The defense team only took 30 minutes to question juror No. 2, a black male in his late 50s, before he was approved. The juror is an unemployed carpenter who has five DWI charges or convictions, at least three assault charges and has been shot four times. The juror told the prosecution last week that if he sat in the jury box, then someone would get the short end of the stick.
Brian Aus says as a defense attorney, he is not surprised the defense wants someone like that in the jury box.
"You've got David Rudolf and the Peterson defense going, 'Well, this guy's been through the system. He knows the injustices where the cops didn't do it right,'" he said.
The juror also claimed he has a memory problem from years of drinking and may not remember all of the testimony. The juror has also spent some time in prison for one of his assault charges.
"The attorneys probably had the opportunity to view him and probably concluded he doesn't have a memory problem or at least one that will affect his ability to listen to this case," Aus said.
When the juror found out that he would be seated in the trial, he simply looked down and shook his head.
The prosecution and defense attorney also named a third person to serve on the jury. The woman is a homemaker and the wife of a retired ACC basketball coach.
Also on Wednesday, Margaret Ratliff appeared in court to support her guardian, Mike Peterson, who is charged with the death of his wife, Kathleen. Ratliff, a Tulane University student, is the daughter of Elizabeth Ratliff, a friend of Peterson's who died in Germany in 1985. Ratliff's body was exhumed last month and a new autopsy report suggests that she was murdered. Prosecutors have said that her death is similiar to that of Kathleen Peterson's death.
In other developments, the prosecution and defense attorneys told the judge that opening statements would not start until the second week of June.