Local News

Peterson Defense Motion Says Test Shows Wife Not Killed

Posted February 11, 2003 10:12 a.m. EST

— Defense lawyers for Michael Peterson said experts have concluded that Kathleen Peterson's death could not have resulted from a severe beating.

The attorneys for the Durham writer filed motions Monday in Durham Superior Court that dispute a state medical examiner's conclusion that Kathleen Peterson was beaten in December 2001.

The defense team's motion made public for the first time the findings of forensic neuropathologist Jan Leestma, forensic pathologist Werner Spitz and biochemical engineer Faris Bandak.

Spitz said Kathleen Peterson died of head injuries from striking the floor and/or wall. Spitz said Kathleen Peterson was not beaten with an object as alleged.

The written motion said Leestma said there was no evidence to support allegations that she was beaten with a blunt object.

The lawyer for Mike Peterson is also increasing his criticism of Durham District Attorney Jim Hardin.

David Rudolf filed a motion asking the court to keep its May 5 trial date.

The motion states the District Attorney's office has done everything in its power to delay the Peterson trial.

Rudolf also said the reasons Hardin gave for possible delays -- including his possible deployment in a war with Iraq -- should not keep the trial from starting in May.