Peterson asks Supreme Court to deny state's petition
Former SBI Agent Duane Deaver's testimony was the heart of the state's case against Michael Peterson, and now the state is trying to minimize his testimony, according to Peterson's response to the state's request for the North Carolina Supreme Court to review the case.
"Throughout the course of its petition and, indeed, throughout the history of this litigation, the state has sought to minimize, excuse and ignore one central and overarching truth: Michael Peterson was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to imprisonment for life based upon false, perjured, and fabricated testimony and evidence presented by a special agent of the State Bureau of Investigation," the response states.
Peterson was a successful novelist married to Kathleen Peterson, an executive at Nortel, and the couple lived together in a mansion in Forest Hills when Peterson called 911 during the early morning hours on Dec. 9, 2001. He said found his wife unconscious at the bottom of a staircase in their home. He told the dispatcher in a second call that she was not breathing.
When paramedics arrived, they found her dead with significant bleeding from scalp wounds.
The state contended Peterson killed his wife by hitting her several times on the head with a fireplace tool. Peterson contended his 48-year-old wife tripped while going up the back staircase to their bedroom and fell backward hitting her head. When she tried to stand up, she slipped in her own blood and fell and hit her head again.
In October 2003, after a lengthy and high-profile trial in which Deaver was one of the key witnesses for the state, the jury found Peterson guilty of first-degree murder, and he was sentenced to life in prison.
However, after a hearing in December 2011 about newly discovered evidence that focused on the testimony of Deaver, Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson vacated Peterson's conviction and ordered a new trial. The North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed Hudson's order.
Earlier this month, the state asked the North Carolina Supreme Court to review the Court of Appeal's decision, saying the information about Deaver's background, in which he claimed he had more education and experience than he actually had, was not newly discovered evidence and therefore the court should not have ordered a new trial.
Peterson, through his attorney James P. Cooney III of Charlotte, argued in a document filed Monday that the Supreme Court should deny the state's petition for review.
"Having embraced Agent Deaver and his testimony to secure a conviction, the state is properly chargeable with the consequences of his misleading testimony," Peterson's response said.
The evidence, discovered after Peterson's conviction, showed "that Agent Deaver had not been to 500 crimes scenes and had not participated in providing blood spatter analysis through reports in 200 cases," the response states.
"Agent Deaver had never been trained in crime scene reconstruction, had never been certified as a bloodstain pattern analyst by any peer review organization, and other than two initial training courses in the late 1980s, failed to continue his training."
Peterson argued that the state contended it did not know about Deaver's misrepresentations, yet it argued that the defense team should have discovered that same information on its own.
"Put bluntly, the state's position is that a law enforcement agent of the state may lie and conceal and it is the defendant's burden to discover this," the response states.
The North Carolina Supreme Court can decide to review the case or not review the case. As it stands now, Peterson is out of custody on bond awaiting trial for first-degree murder. He must wear a satellite monitoring device on his ankle, and he must remain in Durham, Wake and Orange counties from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and must remain at his place of residence from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.