Thursday, August 16, 2018

"Back the Down Staircase": bizarre murder case in NC of a bisexual ex-Marine novelist on Dateline

The NBC 2-hour Dateline on Aug. 11, “Down the Back Staircase” presented the bizarre case or Michael Peterson , an ex-marine and novelist, who was tried for his wife’s murder when she fell down the stairs in their Durham, NC home in December 2001.

Peterson had demonstrated bisexuality, which was thought to be involved, setting up a possible love triangle   However it is extremely rare to have gay murder cases in the Datelines and 2020 series.
Peterson even admits homosexuality while serving with bravery in Vietnam, in the days it was “don’t”.  But his service was driven by the draft, and the military often did look the other way in combat.

After conviction, there was a bizarre theory that Kathleen had been struck by an owl at the window and fallen, and some strands of owl feather may have been found.  This is possible by unusual.

But the conviction was overturned because one of the investigative witnesses was found to have a compromised reputation.  Then Peterson took an Alford plea, a pseudo-admission of guilt in order to avoid another trial and limit of sentence to time served.
But it sounds as though real proof beyond a reasonable doubt on retrial would have been unlikely.

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