North Carolina State's Evidence

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Michael Peterson
Murder Trial

Michael Peterson


No Accident

State's Evidence

A Very
Unusual Fall

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How Many Stairs?


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Than Fiction:
Trial Commentary

Peterson Case


Complaining about the State's weak case, Jean-Xavier writes, "The prosecution had only the blood on the walls, the bisexuality and the German coincidence. That was all they had."

Lestrade's own film proves his statement to be false.

Assuming Jean-Xavier is interested in justice and not just another "Oscar" nomination, he must have somehow forgotten about the main item of evidence. During a strategy session captured by Lestrade's camera, defense attorney Rudolf concedes that the autopsy is the most damning proof of Peterson's guilt -- so it's surprising the devastating medical document slipped Jean-Xavier's mind.

"I mean here's the truth," Rudolf tells his defense team, "the two or three points the jury's gonna trip the most on is, how the fuck do you get these many lacerations -- in these locations -- from falling down the stairs?"

Michael's bisexuality didn't alarm David Rudolf, nor was it on the juror's list of concerns. And yet, Jean-Xavier continues to list it as the first and foremost preoccupation of nearly everyone involved.

Although central to Jean-Xavier's narrative, in the real world there were at least 38 things more troubling than Mr. Peterson's gay hookers: the 38 injuries detailed in Mrs. Peterson's autopsy.

Peterson diagram

"If in fact someone struck Mrs. Peterson, as the police seem to believe, it is far more likely to have been an intruder, than Michael Peterson."
-- David Rudolf, pre-trial

Michael Peterson only has himself to blame for the blood, the bisexuality and the German coincidence.


Peter "Duane" Deaver determined the source for some pieces of blood spatter originated in the open space of the stairwell -- not at the steps or walls. His findings established that the blunt force trauma to Kathleen Peterson's head didn't happen while falling down.

But the spatter patterns don't prove Michael was the person inflicting the punishing blows. Rudolf could have argued that a mysterious "intruder" attacked Kathleen Peterson, as he'd suggested in pre-trial press reports, except Michael insisted there WAS no intruder -- his wife accidentally fell. Although he says he didn't witness his wife's death, he maintains it has to have been an accident.

Two items of Agent Deaver's evidence DO point directly to the novelist: the blood spatter found up inside the leg of his shorts which suggests he was standing over Kathleen Peterson during an impact, and Michael's tennis shoe print stamped in blood on the back of his dead wife's sweatpants.


Evidence of Michael's gay prostitutes and pornography came in mainly to refute the defense's contention that Michael and Kathleen Peterson were perfect "soulmates" in a fairytale marriage. Michael's lies to the jury prompted the introduction of facts to refute his fictions.


Testimony about Elizabeth Ratliff's murder was only allowed in to establish "absence of accident." If Peterson hadn't instantly insisted and stubbornly maintained his wife had died from a stairway accident -- just as he had when Liz Ratliff was murdered -- there would've been no "German coincidence."

Ratliff stairs
the Ratliff staircase

A Very Unusual Fall