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Mike Peterson Spends Life Behind Bars In 8-Foot-By-9-Foot Jail Cell

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NASH COUNTY, N.C. — One week ago, a jury found Mike Peterson guilty of first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Kathleen. Before that, he was a free man. Now, he is known as inmate No. 0816932 at Nash Correctional Institution in Nash County.

"He's an inmate and we are going to treat him like all the other inmates," prison administrator Bonnie Boyette said.

The facility has 10-foot-high chain link fences, security cameras and guard towers. Other inmates admit there is a curiosity factor about Peterson.

"Everybody kind of wanted to talk to him. See how he feels. What's going on?" inmate Eric Schwendenmann said.

Peterson now lives in a single 8-foot-by-9-foot cell. He sleeps and showers with 650 other convicted criminals. The novelist can spend his day in the common area watching television or in the library.

Within the next week, he will be assigned a prison job, but he will not be bringing in the high dollars he did writing books. He will be earning between 40 cents and $1 per day.

Schwendenmann said life will not be easy for Peterson.

"If he doesn't take care of himself, there's a good chance that everyone knows he's got money and if he don't stand up for himself, someone's going to get everything he's got," he said.

Many of the prisoners at the facility knew about Peterson long before his arrival. They said they even heard about his brief stay at Central Prison.

Peterson is allowed one phone call a week. He can also have up to three visitors at a time on either Saturday or Sunday.

Peterson is not the only high-profile prisoner at that facility. Former Carolina Panther Rae Carruth is also there, serving a 20-year sentence. Like Peterson, Carruth was represented by defense attorney David Rudolf.


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