Local News

Two More Jurors Selected For Mike Peterson Trial

Posted Updated
Switch to classic wral.com

DURHAM, N.C. — On Friday, lawyers added two more people to the jury box for the Mike Peterson trial.

During the morning session, a 55-year-old black female accountant was selected as the fourth juror selected for the trial. Late Friday afternoon, a 39-year-old black female who works at Central Carolina Bank and Wal-Mart, was seated on the jury.

Peterson is charged with the death of his wife, Kathleen. She was found dead at the bottom of a staircase at the couple's home in Dec. 9, 2001.

Defense attorneys are telling potential jurors that Kathleen was drinking wine and champagne that night and had been taking Valium. They allege that Kathleen was wearing flip-flops up the staircase when she slipped, fell backward and hit her head. When she got up again, she slipped on her own blood, fell again, hit her head and bled to death.

David Rudolf, Peterson's main defense attorney, is hammering home the point that the prosecution has no murder weapon. He is telling potential jurors that Durham police contaminated the scene. He also describes how both Mike Peterson and his son cradled Kathleen's body, and that is why they were covered in blood.

"I think it's important the jurors know what's coming," he said.

For each potential juror, Rudolf describes the crime scene in graphic detail and calls the pictures showing it disturbing.

"I want to make sure they're going to look at the pictures, have an emotional reaction and shut down," Rudolf said.

He also went into detail about some pornograhic pictures of men having sex. He told the jurors the pictures were used for research by Peterson.

The prosecution and defense attorneys are still trying to seat eight more jurors and four alternates. Rudolf said he plans to accept another juror, a 19-year-old girl, but he is just waiting to hear from her employer about how the trial would affect her job.

Jury selection continues on Tuesday. Opening statements in the trial are not expected to begin until the second week of June.