No disrespect, but maybe the dog ate the evidence.
What evidence? The evidence, now argued, that an intruder might have broken into the home of Mike and Kathleen Peterson’s home 15 years ago and murdered Kathleen on the mansion’s back stairs.
Said intruder apparently burgling ... well, nothing (but a fireplace blow poke, perhaps?).
There wasn’t solid evidence of an intruder in 2001, and there isn’t now.
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Still, as is their right and perhaps their duty, Peterson’s new lawyers are putting forward this hypothesis.
Attorneys Mike Klinkosum and Mary Jude Darrow have offered a range of ideas or concerns in recent court motions relating to a reprise of the Peterson case (coming several years after his conviction was overturned).
Another example: the possibility of evidence somewhere in law enforcement emails or documents from nearly 20 years ago, according to Peterson’s taxpayer-paid attorneys, that led someone to feel so threatened by Peterson’s outspoken newspaper columns that he/she came to the Cedar Street home to confront and then murder the writer.
If this theory is true, the mystery person decided instead to viciously and mercilessly go after Kathleen, gouging the top of her head multiple times, apparently while her husband sat by the pool in his shorts in the December night.
The assailant apparently didn’t look out on the patio. The person also hasn’t made a move to harm Peterson during the time the writer has been free.
Prosecution forensic testimony during the trial (not from discredited blood analyst Duane Deaver) suggested that Kathleen, after suffering her wounds, likely lived for two hours or more before she expired.
The technical term used to explain that was ischemia.
Defense attorneys didn’t address why Peterson, in the wee hours of the morning, seems not to have looked for his wife during that time she lay dying or dead on the floor near the kitchen.
The defense team also doesn’t focus on the damning blood spatter evidence discovered on the inside of Peterson’s shorts. Spatter, which can occur when blood is set in fast motion through the air somehow.
The recent motions also don’t counter previously uncontroverted evidence of injury to the victim’s small hyoid bone, more often than not attributed to direct pressure on the neck, as in an attempt to strangle or silence someone.
Former Peterson attorney David Rudolf was married, for worse, to the accidental fall theory.
Jury members said in a press conference that they basically never even debated the possibility that Kathleen somehow fell and self-generated the grievous head wounds that would leave countless dots of blood spattered on the walls.
Klinkosum also references a break-in way back then, along with some possible break-ins of the family cars. Credit to him, though, for not pushing the theory that an owl killed Kathleen Peterson.
One approach Mike Peterson’s attorneys do have powerful reason to pursue: the tattered, possibly contaminated condition of some of the evidence “preserved” from the case. It’s irresponsible and seemingly indefensible, based on what we’ve heard or seen to date.
Should that be enough to dismiss the murder case? I think there may be some merit in that view. We’ll learn more at a hearing on the dismissal motion scheduled for May 23.
Late last week, I reached out to Kathleen’s surviving sisters. One, Candace Zamperini, responded to some of the latest news via email.
“There were many heartbreaking moments that seared my mind and my heart during the trial, “ Zamperini wrote me. “Mr. Rudolph (sic) grabbed the sweatpants my sister, Kathleen, was wearing the night she was beaten to death.
“He man-handled them, shoved them into the juries (sic) face – and finally tossed them carelessly onto a table near the court reporter – I felt ill and nauseous seeing the cavalier handling of Kathleen’s ‘shroud.’”
Zamperini continued: “In the courtroom much evidence was vividly, publicly, thrown around by the defense. The attitude was that the evidence had been examined forensically and now could be man-handled – and it was by the defense.”
She said her sister was “over-killed.” And, “MP was there.”
Kathleen Peterson’s sibling also wrote: “I’m praying there will be a second trial.”
The first one that sent Peterson to prison seems like yesterday.