Key Witness In Peterson Trial Reflects On Testimony
Posted October 13, 2003 6:19 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Among the most discussed evidence in the Mike Peterson murder trial were Peterson's e-mail conversations with "Brad," an admitted male escort. Brent Wolgamott did not want to testify about those e-mails, but he was forced to by the court. Now that the guilty verdict is in, he said he is glad he did.
Wolgamott took the stand in front of a packed courtroom. He told the jury that, as a male escort, he met Mike Peterson on the Internet and agreed to have sex with him for money. Wolgamott fought hard to keep his name and his past out of the trial.
"I'm proud of what I did; I pulled myself up by my own boot straps to get myself an education," he said. "That said, it is not exactly something I wanted to broadcast."
At first, Wolgamott did not think his contact with Peterson would have any impact on the verdict. But now, he thinks it did.
"I might have been more significant than I thought," he said.
The prosecution suggested that Kathleen Peterson may have found the e-mails between her husband and Wolgamott the night she died. The defense said the jury never should have heard that story.
"The defense, in their opening statement, had said what a perfect marriage, an idyllic marriage, this couple had," he said. "I think it certainly gave the prosecution an avenue to bring out these e-mails and put me on the stand."
Wolgamott said he was surprised by the verdict, but added that justice has been served. He contacted the prosecution to tell them.
"I called them just to say congratulations on putting a monster behind bars," he said.
Wolgamott said he did the right thing by testifying, even though it meant exposing so much of his personal life.
"People just kept saying, you know, he's looking for his 15 minutes of fame," Wolgamott said. "I never asked for any of this. It just sort of happened, you know."
Wolgamott said he is ready to put the trial behind him and get back to his studies.
According to Peterson defense attorney David Rudolf, Wolgamott's testimony was damaging. Rudolf said it will play a major role in his appeal, claiming it had nothing to do with what happened to Kathleen Peterson in her stairway.
Meanwhile, a Department of Correction spokeswoman told WRAL that Mike Peterson seems to be in good spirits at Central Prison in Raleigh. He is cooperating with prison officials.
Peterson also started the standard physical and psychological testing to determine where he will serve his life sentence. He was convicted Friday of first-degree murder in his wife's death.