Mike Peterson is charged with the death of his wife, Kathleen, at their Durham home on Dec. 9, 2001. SBI agent James Gregory, a hair analyst, said hairs that were found clenched in Kathleen Peterson's hands were forcibly removed. He said some of those hairs were broken and cut.
Prosecutor Freda Black later showed Gregory a blowpoke, a combination of a fireplace blower and poker. Prosecutors believed Mike Peterson may have used a blowpoke to kill his wife.
"Would an item like this be able to do that type of damage to a person's hair?" Black asked Gregory.
"Yes, ma'am," Gregory responded.
"Could banging someone's hair against a stair -- a wooden stair -- do that?" Black asked.
"It could be possible," Gregory said.
Later, defense attorney David Rudolf pointed out that if Kathleen Peterson had fallen hard enough, she could have cut or broken her hair on any kind of hard surface. Gregory agreed with Rudolf's assessment. Defense attorneys contend Kathleen Peterson died from an accidental fall down a stairway.
Earlier in Wednesday's testimony, SBI agent Mark Boodee said in court Wednesday DNA tests confirmed that blood found around the house and on Mike Peterson's clothes belonged to Kathleen Peterson.
Boodee also told jurors that Mike Peterson and possibly two other people drank from a Diet Coke can that was found at the house the night of Kathleen Peterson's death.
Last week, a crime scene technician opened a container to show the jury some evidence, but it was empty, or at least it appeared to be empty. On Wednesday, one of the witnesses showed the jury how the item was there, but it had just dissolved into small pieces during testing.
Jurors will not have to return until 9:30 a.m. next Wednesday due to scheduling conflict with potential witnesses. However, Judge Orlando Hudson and other attorneys may return to court on Monday and Tuesday for hearings to decide what kind of evidence will be admissible for the trial.
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