Local News

Site of notorious Durham murder up for sale

Posted July 8, 2020 4:56 p.m. EDT

— The Durham mansion where Mike Peterson killed his wife almost two decades ago, spawning a lengthy and costly trial, years of appeals, a plea deal and a popular Netflix series, went up for sale this week.

The Redfin online real estate site listed the 9,400-square-foot home at 1810 Cedar St. for $1.9 million on Tuesday.

Kathleen Peterson was found in a pool of blood at the bottom of a staircase inside the home on Dec. 9, 2001. Although Peterson argued that his wife died after falling down the stairs, he was found guilty following a three-month trial in 2003 of beating her to death and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The case became the subject of a documentary by a French film crew and remained in the public eye through Peterson's repeated appeals, a $25 million judgment in a wrongful death lawsuit awarded to Kathleen Peterson's daughter, occasional interviews from prison and alternative theories of Kathleen Peterson's death, such as an owl attack, offered by Mike Peterson supporters.

Peterson was finally granted a new trial in December 2011 after a judge ruled that a key prosecution witness had lied on the stand during the original trial. After years of back and forth between prosecutors and Peterson's defense, he entered an Alford plea in February 2017 to a charge of voluntary manslaughter.

Under an Alford plea, which courts treat as guilty pleas, a defendant can maintain his or her innocence while acknowledging prosecutors have enough evidence for a conviction. Peterson was allowed to walk free after the plea, having served more time in prison after his initial conviction than he was sentenced to the second time around.

Netflix updated and repackaged the documentary on the Peterson case as "The Staircase" two years ago, bringing more notoriety to Cedar Street mansion.

Redfin's only mention of the home's history is a note that it was "featured in [a] Netflix documentary as well as a major feature film." The site describes the home as being built in 1940, with five bedrooms, six bathrooms, a swimming pool, a game room, a library and two gated entrances on 3.4 acres.

The home was sold in 2004 to a Durham couple who renovated it and sold it four years later to Biond Fury, a self-described metaphysician, music and film producer and publisher from New York. Redfin says the home has recently been renovated again.

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