Forensic Files A Novel Idea (1996–2011) Online
In December 2001, Emergency Dispatch in Durham, North Carolina received a frantic call from a man who said his wife fell down the stairs; she was unconscious but still breathing. When paramedics arrived, they could do little more than pronounce the woman dead. The number and volume of bloodstains at the scene was greater than usual. Forensic scientists had to find out why. Originally aired as Season 11, Episode 22.
|Episode credited cast:|
|Peter Thomas||-||Narrator (voice)|
|Rest of cast listed alphabetically:|
|Caitlin Atwater||-||Herself (archive footage)|
|Freda Black||-||Herself - Prosecutor|
|Duane Deaver||-||Himself - Blood Stain Analyst|
|Diane Fanning||-||Herself - Author|
|Ron Guerette||-||Himself (archive footage)|
|Bill Haggard||-||Himself - Forensic Meteorologist|
|Jim Hardin||-||Himself (archive footage)|
|Arthur Holland||-||Himself - Homicide Investigator|
|Tom Maher||-||Himself (archive footage)|
|Becky Peterson||-||Herself (archive footage)|
|Bill Peterson||-||Himself (archive footage)|
|Clayton Peterson||-||Himself (archive footage)|
|Kathleen Peterson||-||Herself (archive footage)|
|Michael Peterson||-||Himself (archive footage)|
On December 16, 2011, Peterson was released from the Durham County jail on $300,000 bail and placed under house arrest with a tracking anklet. His release on bond followed a judicial order for a new trial after Judge Hudson found that SBI blood analyst Duane Deaver had given "materially misleading" and "deliberately false" testimony about bloodstain evidence, and had exaggerated his training, experience, and expertise. Former North Carolina Attorney General Rufus Edmisten said that any evidence gathered after Deaver arrived at the scene might be deemed inadmissible in a new trial.
Deaver was fired from the SBI in January 2011, after an independent audit of the agency found he had falsely represented evidence in 34 cases, including withholding negative results in the case of Greg Taylor, a North Carolina man who spent 17 years in prison on a murder conviction based on Deaver's testimony. A bloodstain-analysis team that Deaver had trained was suspended and disbanded. In the 2003 Peterson trial, Deaver testified that he had been mentored by SBI bloodstain specialist David Spittle, had worked 500 bloodstain cases, written 200 reports, and testified in 60 cases. During the retrial hearing, SBI Assistant Director Eric Hooks testified that Deaver had written only 47 reports. SBI agent David Spittle testified that he could not recall mentoring Deaver who, since completing a two-day training course in the 1980s, had testified in only four cases, the Peterson case being the third. The SBI cited the bloodstain analysis given in the fourth case as the reason for firing Deaver.
In July 2014, Peterson's bond restrictions were eased. On February 24, 2017, Peterson entered an Alford Plea to the voluntary manslaughter of Kathleen Peterson. The judge sentenced him to a maximum of 86 months in prison, with credit for time previously served. Because Peterson had already served more time than the sentence, he did not face additional prison time. His plea was an Alford plea, meaning he did not admit guilt, but acknowledged the state had sufficient evidence to convict.
This story is the subject of the recent Netflix original docuseries "The Staircase"