Court declines Peterson case; new trial expected

The Associated Press

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RALEIGH — The North Carolina Supreme Court has declined a request from prosecutors to review a lower court ruling granting a Durham novelist a new trial in his wife’s death.

Michael Peterson was convicted in 2003 of first-degree murder in the death of Kathleen Peterson, who was found at the bottom of a staircase in the couple’s Durham mansion in 2001. The court’s denial was issued Friday without explanation, setting the stage for a retrial next year.

Peterson served nine years in prison before a judge ordered his release in 2011 after the firing of Duane Deaver, a discredited State Bureau of Investigation agent who provided key blood analysis testimony at Peterson’s trial.

Peterson has remained free while the state has wrangled with his defense attorneys over whether to try him again.