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Jury Selection Moves Slowly In Peterson Trial

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DURHAM, N.C. — Slow is probably the best word to describe jury selection in the Mike Peterson murder case.

Judge Orlando Hudson listened to more excuses Wednesday morning, when he dismissed nine more potential jurors.

Wednesday afternoon, with the final jury pool set at 86, the prosecution started interviewing jury-pool members on an individual basis. Each interview took more than an hour.

Peterson is on trial for the murder of his wife, Kathleen, in 2001.

Potential jurors will be brought in one by one. The pool has been divided into 11 panels for questioning.

One woman was dismissed because she told attorneys she'd already formed an opinion about Elizabeth Ratliff's death.

Ratliff is the Peterson friend who died nearly 20 years ago. Her death, and circumstances surrounding it, are similar to Kathleen Peterson's. Mike Peterson was the last person seen with both women.

A German prosecutor said authorities probably will reopen an inquiry into Ratliff's 1985 death. The announcement is based on an autopsy report released last week that said Ratliff was beaten to death.

Ratliff was found dead at the bottom of a staircase in her home. German authorities originally had ruled her death an accident.

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