The Staircase (2022) s01e04 Episode Script

Common Sense

So Sophie, here we are at the courthouse where the trial took place 14 years ago.
But for a better reason.
A much better reason.
First time here, right? Yes But I've seen it on TV.
Let's speak in English for the interview.
I know you've been reluctant to speak on camera about your relationship with Michael until now.
So thank you.
Of course.
How long have you been together? Twelve years.
Right after the trial ended.
How did you meet? Well Can we start with something else? Let's start with today.
Do you think today is proof that the justice system works? It's hard to say.
What is justice? I've said from day one that it can only be one thing.
This is Sonya Pfeiffer for ABC 11 News.
It's been a long and winding journey, but we're here.
Day one of the Michael Peterson trial.
A year and a A trial's simply two sides competing to tell a better story.
We're gonna contend to you that after a vicious argument with his wife, Michael Peterson murdered Kathleen in cold blood, beating her in the head with this.
And where is this elusive murder weapon? They can't find it because it doesn't exist.
The fact of the matter is, Kathleen had some wine, some champagne, and some Valium and fell.
And 12 jurors declare one of the stories the winner.
And that story becomes justice.
And what sort of sexual activities would you perform for men that you might have been prepared to perform with Michael Peterson? I mean, pretty much anything under the sun.
I mean, pretty much anything under the sun.
Is it fair to say the men you serviced were bisexual as opposed to being homosexual? I'd go so far as to say that they were mostly straight married guys with some minor homosexual tendencies.
Can you identify state's exhibit 72 for me, please? Yes, that is my blow poke.
You blow through it.
And you gave one of these blow pokes to every member of your family? Yes.
For Christmas of 1984.
Including Kathleen? Yes.
She was not only my older sister, but she was my best friend.
You did state to police the only relationship you saw between Michael and Kathleen was a "truly loving, respectful marriage.
" Right? That was an old version of me.
The new informed me, the me sitting here in this courtroom, can confidently say that I have no idea who the hell Michael Peterson was then or is now.
Does that clear it up for you? Justice is a construct little more than a game, a game that shapes the outcome of a man's life.
As for what's happening today, this feels bigger than justice.
I would say it's fate.
You've got cast-off outside the header and on the west wall of the hallway.
How could that happen? The assailant was standing on the outside of the stairwell, swingin' the weapon and creating this blood cast-off pattern.
So to be clear, in your opinion, this had to have been a beating? That's correct.
The impact spatter on the inside of the defendant's shorts simply does not occur unless he's standing over her as he strikes.
And that's consistent with crime scenes you've overseen in the past? This is extremely consistent.
And why should we trust you? Well, sir, I've written over 200 bloodstain reports and overseen 500 scenes.
That guy looks like a penis.
No further questions, Your Honor.
You may be dismissed.
- Let's take a 10-minute recess.
- Jesus.
It looks bad on TV, dude.
What do I keep telling you? Do not watch that shit.
Yeah, but the commentators are saying Hey, listen to what I am saying.
I am sitting here where it's real.
We gotta get going.
Things are going great.
Okay? When Radisch takes the stand, things are gonna go our way.
Yeah, look, I just really feel like I should be there.
Clay, hold on.
Hold on one second.
I'm headed back to Reno.
I'll see you in a week and a half.
Todd! Todd.
So, tomorrow is huge.
They're going big, showing these autopsy photos.
So we really need everyone there.
United front.
I can't go.
I'm sorry.
I can't.
Okay, I hear that.
I do.
And no one's going to force you.
Of course, you're going to force me.
That's what this meeting is about.
I mean, would anyone really notice if she wasn't there? I mean, maybe 10, 15 years ago, no.
But, you know, now there's cameras everywhere.
Everyone sees everything.
So, if you're absent and Caitlin is there, optics aren't great.
I mean, Clayton's been asking to come home.
- You know, maybe he should.
- No, no, no.
No, not for this.
Just keep pushing him off.
Well, maybe Martha could take one of Kathleen's Valium, you know.
- Or just a half.
- No.
No! I'm not going to go.
I'm not going.
I'm not going to sit there and watch.
I'm not going to do it.
I'm sorry, I'm not.
I'm not going.
I'm not going.
State your name and profession for the court, please.
My name is Dr.
Deborah L.
I'm a forensic pathologist and the associate chief medical examiner for the state of North Carolina.
And you performed the autopsy on Kathleen Peterson? That is correct.
If it pleases the court, I'd like to display exhibit 79a and 79b, in a large format for easy viewing.
These images are graphic.
I think I'm going to have a panic attack.
He's not looking at the photos.
He's crying.
Can't we object? - David, stop her.
- Not now.
Radisch, you ruled Kathleen's death a homicide.
I did.
From blunt force trauma to the head.
You think the fractured cartilage in Kathleen's thyroid indicates that a strangulation attempt is merely possible? It's more than possible.
It's probable.
But your report said it was only, what, suggestive of a strangulation attempt? I would say it was highly, highly likely an attempt at strangulation was made.
But can you say that with a reasonable degree of medical certainty? Yes.
Yes, I can.
Then would you say with a reasonable degree of medical certainty that Kathleen Peterson was killed by blunt force trauma to the head? Yes.
- Okay.
May I approach? - Yes.
I just want to put these binders up here.
- Ms.
- Dr.
Forgive me, Dr.
I want you to tell me if these appear to be a collection of all the autopsies involving blunt force trauma to the head in North Carolina from 1991 to 2003.
She may respond however she'd like.
I don't think I can give you an accurate answer to that.
- Not today.
- Alright.
Well, we went back at least a decade and pulled the case files for every beating death in the state of North Carolina.
Two hundred fifty-seven, to be precise, and found that in every case, whether the object was hollow or hard or thin or heavy, every single time, the beating resulted in either a skull fracture or massive injury to the brain.
In many cases, it was both.
Are you aware of this? No.
Because like I said, I haven't had a chance to review these.
Well, let's just assume for right now that it's true, which it is.
Kathleen Peterson didn't have any skull fracture, did she? She didn't, but she did have a multitude of facial injuries and broken cartilage.
These are yes-or-no questions, Doctor.
Was there skull fracturing? No, there wasn't.
She also didn't have any broken bones.
- No.
- Or contusions on the brain.
No, she did not.
Or edema, did she? No.
Given that some combination of these was found in literally every one of these cases, is it possible in order to reach the conclusion that Kathleen Peterson's death was a homicide, that you were coached by the DA? Objection.
Nothing further, Your Honor.
You may be dismissed.
Did I ever tell you about the first time I heard classical music? My parents and I were driving back from a Little League game and I was upset about something.
I guess we must have lost.
And we were listening to Armed Forces Radio, which was, you know, it was the only station we could get growing up near Dad's base.
And as we were pulling up to the house, a sweet little place, this came on.
Mahler's Fifth.
First Movement.
My dad went to turn it off, and I grabbed his hand.
I said, "Stop.
" It was the most fabulous thing I'd ever heard.
Now, Dad didn't listen.
He just flipped it off, went inside.
He never liked to be too far from his bourbon.
But my dear mother, she turned the radio back on, and she stayed in the car with me.
And we listened.
And the music washed over me.
Just, it overwhelmed me.
And I was hooked.
Just so much emotion, so much drama, so much truth.
All without saying a single word.
David won't let me talk, so I take it out on you.
I don't know how you're gonna get all my rambling into one film.
Our editor is suggesting we make it longer, actually.
TV series.
Maybe six or eight episodes.
Really? This is the part.
The facts of the case suggest truth is indeed stranger than fiction.
A second woman, Elizabeth Ratliff, mother to Martha and Margaret Ratliff, was found dead at the bottom of the stairs 20 years ago in Germany.
The coffin will leave its Texan home and begin a 1,200-mile journey across middle America to North Carolina, where an autopsy will be performed by medical examiner Deborah L.
Do you believe in objectivity? No.
The only way to get close to objectivity is by recognizing how subjective we are.
We see the world based on our past experiences.
And I think the only way to get close to objectivity is to realize it doesn't exist.
Doesn't look good, Mike.
Both at the bottom of the stairs, both have seven lacerations.
They look nothing alike.
And they're saying that the brain was clean.
No signs of an aneurysm.
In what fucking universe can they assign the same person that did Kathleen's autopsy to do Liz's? It's a conflict of interest.
Why didn't you stop this? You went too hard at her, Dave.
Radisch? I'm sorry, was I supposed to take it easy on her? What does this mean? Like, really mean? Like, no spin, no bullshit.
What can Hardin do with this? They're going to call more witnesses.
People from Germany who were there, - who remember it.
- Remember what? It was 25 years ago, and nothing happened.
The Germans said there was an aneurysm.
You know, there wasn't even any blood.
Well, there was some blood, Michael.
So, what's the strategy? We keep appealing to common sense.
This is a strange coincidence, nothing more.
There is no such thing as a staircase killer who emerges every 20 years to hurl his victims down the steps.
Caitlin, are you going to be the best dancer you can be? I can try.
- Yeah.
We need help.
- I'm getting this.
- I'll show you.
- Okay.
One, two - I always - No! We'll try again, we'll try again, we'll try again.
What are you doing here? Well, so the DA's whole case revolves around proving that Dad beat Mom, Kathleen, with the blow poke.
So what I'm doing is I'm looking through all these videos to prove that it's been missing for a while.
And has it? Mostly.
It doesn't seem to be there.
Is this project related to the second autopsy finding? It's my fault, you know, I could have said no.
Right? Caitlin.
Hi! - Hello.
- Merry Christmas.
That's all you're getting.
It looks delicious.
All right, Merry Christmas.
You didn't remember to pick up my suit, did you? I have that town hall debate.
It's at the VA.
In your closet.
The plumber is coming to fix the pipes but we need to do something about the bats or else it'll happen again.
We will.
We will.
- How's the neck? - Much better.
Except when it hurts.
As he continues to make gains in Afghanistan with the help of British forces, Bush continues to assure the world that this war is a war on terrorism, not on Afghanistan itself.
Al Qaeda is to blame.
I feel like you're mad at me.
I'm upset, yeah, because you were late.
Well, I'm sorry.
I was, studying.
I mean late again.
You're always late.
Well, I just said I was sorry.
Well you're always sorry, but nothing ever seems to change.
What's going on here? Where is this coming from? Not everyone gets a second chance - in life, Clayton.
- Okay.
- But you did.
- Yeah.
And you seem determined to screw it right up.
Look, I did my time, alright? I don't give a shit about spring break, Clayton! Jesus.
I'm still pissed about what happened in July.
- Okay? - Wait.
For real? Yeah, for real! It was a big deal.
And you really don't seem to understand that.
If Becky is completely over it, why do you get to hold some kind of a grudge about it? - That's total bullshit! - Okay.
- You know what? - You're treating me like I'm some kind of a fucking child.
You're right.
You're a totally responsible, fully formed adult.
So yeah, let's just listen to the radio in silence while I drive you to school.
You know what, Kathleen, you go around acting like you're so morally superior to everyone.
You've never copped to the fact that you started fucking my dad when he was still married to my mom.
What? Who told you that? We all know.
We just don't rub your face in it.
You're a fucking hypocrite.
You mind your temper, Clayton.
North Carolina's medical examiner has released new information on Elizabeth Ratliff.
And in a shocking turn of events, the autopsy reveals a second staircase murder.
The prosecution announced this morning they'll be flying in a key witness from Germany, Agnes Schafer, nanny to Martha and Margaret, Ratliff's biological daughters.
I got there at 7:30 in the morning like always.
And it was the first thing I saw, Liz just lying there like a doll.
Was there blood? Yes.
The floor.
The walls.
The stairs.
Blood everywhere.
What did you do next? Well, my first concern was for Martha-Baby and Little Gee-Gee.
I loved these little girls so much.
I went upstairs and got them.
- And then what? - I made sure they were okay.
And then I went to the toilet and vomited.
Ease up.
And after that? I went and got Michael next door.
He came in, took a look around, and said that Liz had a brain aneurysm and that she must have fallen down the stairs from that.
And had anyone with any medical authority arrived who could verify this guess of his? No.
Michael sort of proclaimed it.
And then it was true.
That's when I started getting a feeling.
What sort of feeling? That Michael had done something horrible.
Schafer, in your statement to German police, you never mentioned the blood or the vomit or any suspicions at all against Michael Peterson.
Why is that? I'm not sure I understand.
Well, if you didn't mention anything at the time and there are no photographs to corroborate, I'm just wondering how you could be sure any of this happened at all.
Well, that's easy.
When I saw the reports about Kathleen, Liz's death started coming back to me in flashbacks.
Right, and I'm sorry.
You've been having flashbacks? Yes.
They come in short scenes, they're very vivid.
Just to be clear, you're referring to these mental images as flashbacks and not actual memories.
Isn't it also true that you remained employed by Michael Peterson for the period of a year following the event? Isn't that a questionable thing to do if you thought he was a murderer? But that's why I did it.
I wanted to keep an eye on them.
Michael was very strict with the boys.
- Alright, let's stay on topic.
- I am.
I stayed because I didn't want the same for the girls.
- Objection, Your Honor.
- I failed.
I should have protected you, Martha-Baby.
I should have protected you from him.
Your Honor, move to strike.
Get to the car.
Peterson, did you beat your baby daughter in Germany? Mr.
Peterson, just one question.
Tell us.
- Martha! - Jesus Christ, Martha.
Are you okay? - Come on! What the fuck, Martha! - Martha.
Martha, knock it off.
Todd! I'm trying, okay.
Open the door, dammit.
- What was Agnes talking about? - Open up! What was she going to say? How do I know? She's a broken woman who wants her 15 minutes.
She told me the truth.
She said that she loved us.
For Christ's sake.
Now is not the time.
Martha! Just answer the question.
I'm telling you, she's full of crap.
Then why do I feel like this? Michael! - Martha.
- Because they want you to.
Now open the goddamn door.
- Michael! - Dad.
- Only one question.
- Now! Mr.
Peterson, one question.
Peterson, one question.
Damn it, Martha! Come on.
Hurry, Todd.
Peterson! Now about subjectivity, how can we relate to stories that threaten our own? Some of us go toward the threat.
We search and question and dig.
And some of us rationalize.
Try to force the stories to fit together.
Some of us simply don't engage and bury the thread deep inside.
And some of us seem not to be threatened at all.
So we open Mike's defense with the jury walk-through.
Now this provides the context for all the experts, all the science, and says we, the defense, are going to invite them in.
Why wouldn't we? Alright.
The staircase is an open book, and so are we because we have nothing to hide.
David, I'm not sure it's a good idea.
Hey, look who I found creeping outside.
- Oh my god! - How you doing, Clay? Clay.
- Clay! - Hey! Hey, guys.
Hey, Mom.
Hey, Clay.
What's up, man? Yeah, nothing much.
How long are you in town for? I took a couple weeks off.
I thought maybe I could get the Trans-Am up and running again.
I wanted to help, so I came home.
I hope that's okay? I'm glad you're here.
- Your Honor, how are you? - Great.
- Are we ready to bring in the jurors? - I believe we are.
Darren, please bring in the jurors.
Alright, let's go, people.
Here you go.
What would you say is a storyteller's job? What do you mean? This way.
I mean, should he present the truth as he sees it? Or is persuasion also part of his job? Maybe she can do both.
But, you know, in my experience, people don't like to be persuaded.
So the storyteller must accept that she can control what the story says but not how it is read.
You can only show what looks to you like the truth, knowing that it may look to someone else like a lie.
I swung my weapon at you.
And here you can see the cast-off pattern.
We found no cast-off in the staircase at the Peterson house.
And what do you make of the blood spatter that you did find, Dr.
Lee? That it is plentiful and chaotic, like someone coughing, shaking her head, moving around.
Not an organized attack.
Hey, Rain Man.
So in your opinion, Dr.
Lee, would you say Knock it off.
Kathleen's death was an accident? In my opinion, yes.
The scene is more consistent with a fall.
There was simply way too much blood for beating.
I mean, You oppose SBI agent Duane Deaver's findings? But didn't you recently complement his skills as a blood spatter analyst? I don't recall.
Do you recall giving him a copy of your book? Oh yes.
May I approach, Your Honor? - You may.
- Thank you.
Please read this inscription right here.
"To Agent Deaver, one of the best.
Keep up the good work.
Sincerely, Dr.
Henry Lee.
" Thank you.
You wouldn't write that if you didn't feel that way, would you? Well, I give everyone courtesy.
That's Chinese culture.
What was I supposed to write, "Dear Duane.
Don't quit your day job"? Dr.
Lee, you can't definitively rule out a beating in the death of Kathleen Peterson, can you? No.
But no one can.
Thank you.
That's all.
It's an outrage.
Pure and simple.
So I think we take some funds, form an exploratory committee, and see if we can find out what went wrong.
See, that's exactly the sort of answer I want to change.
Maybe discussing potentially evaluating actually doing something.
- Now.
- I want to talk about the lie.
Sir, you need to submit questions.
You said you received a Purple Heart in Vietnam.
- Sir.
- Now, hold on a minute.
That's a sacred thing.
And you know what? You didn't.
- Sir, if you can just take a seat? - Can I be heard? That's not something you make a mistake about.
- No, sir.
- If you would like to submit a question You lied! He lied! He lied! If you could just calm down, please, sir? And to top it all off, we have an imaginary murder weapon.
So, at the risk of tempting fate, I think Tom would agree that we are about ready to close.
- Yes? - I want to testify.
Look, Mike, we've been over this.
They, they don't know me.
Who doesn't know you, Mike? No, the jury.
Now it's my life on the line here.
And I want to tell my story.
You know, tell them how much I loved Kathleen.
You know, I deserve to be heard here, don't I? - Yeah.
Dad's right.
- Clayton.
- No, he deserves to talk.
- Come on.
Come on.
- He's the one on trial.
- Listen! Listen.
I hear what you're saying, Mike.
I do.
Just listen to me for a second.
I know how nerves can flare up at the eleventh hour.
But we cannot let them take the wheel.
Your case is strong.
We just have to stay calm.
See it through to the end.
Come on, motherfucker! Come on! Come on! Yes! Fuck me! I found it.
I found it.
I found it.
I found it.
I found it.
I found it! I found the fucking blow poke! Clayton, don't fuck with us right now.
- Seriously, don't fuck with us.
- I am "us.
" Why would I fuck with us? I found it right there just like that.
You found it right there because you fucking planted it right there.
What? I didn't plant it! Jesus! What the fuck is wrong with you? This is a good thing.
It's not like there's blood on it.
Of course, there's no fucking blood on it.
You know what? This is so classic you.
You come home out of nowhere and you come and you fuck up our shit.
Would you both just shut up! Just shut up.
I mean, I don't believe it.
How many times did they search this place? I should call Dave, right? Dad? She must have put it there.
Look, Mike, the thing's intact.
There's no blood.
This could be good, provided you're telling the truth.
Well, of course, I am.
Jesus! Alright, so we hold all the cards here, right? This works for us.
The DA says the blow poke's the murder weapon.
We prove him wrong.
It's right here.
It's fucking clean.
What else are they wrong about? Right? Now, if you can answer these next ones just as truthfully as you can.
Alright? Because if we put you on the stand to say how you found the blow poke, Hardin will zero in on any uncertainty, any, evasion.
Of course.
You got it.
So I understand you have a DUI on your record, is that right? Two DUIs? Good.
Always be honest.
Don't let him catch you lying.
April 1994, you were a sophomore in college.
Got in a little trouble, is that right? Yep.
Went on spring break.
And, how much prison time ultimately did you end up spending for planting those pipe bombs in Duke? Well, they didn't go off.
To be fair, they weren't designed to.
They were just like a diversion so I could get to the laminating machine.
Wait, the laminating machine? - Here we go.
- Yeah.
To make fake IDs to get beers for me and my buddies.
But it was four years.
All told, four years in Fed for the bombs.
It wouldn't have been that long except they found more here in my room.
More bombs? Do we really need an audience? Well, you're going to have one in court.
My son is finishing his second master's in May.
Computer engineering.
That's great.
Turning over a new leaf.
But, while we are still on the old one, I need to ask you about July 4th, 2001.
I was drunk, I guess.
And me and Becky had a fight.
She called the cops.
Because? You hit her, correct? We had a fight and I shoved her once.
Not hit.
She called the cops, but she forgave me.
- We're engaged now.
- Hang on.
Tom, how can they even bring that in? Look, they get a whiff of domestic violence, this could be a real issue for us, given what Agnes has alleged.
Victims often become the abusers.
Right? They'll ask, did your father ever hit you? - What? - Ever hit Kathleen? No, my dad never hit anyone.
I would have seen.
Okay, but maybe there are things that happened in this house that you don't know about.
You're aware that the state has pornographic photos and videos from your dad's computer.
Did you know anything about that prior to the trial? About any of what? Can you be more specific? His sexuality.
Well, he's a pretty sexual person.
I was always jealous of him and Kathleen's sex life.
Oh my God.
Jesus Christ, Clayton.
What, Todd? Nothing but the truth.
Specifically, were you aware of his interest in men? I mean, we never talked about it.
Because a son's role is not to question his father, right? But I walked in on him jacking off once to something kind of gay.
- What? - Petersons are fucking crazy.
What do you mean, the Petersons? I mean, you and Todd and Dad.
Like, why can't you guys just be normal? Margie, can you keep your little sister in check? No, she's right.
I'm sick of defending you guys, too.
Really? Really.
You're going to say that in front of our mother? Our mother, that took you in off the street.
Well, all you do is hit her up for money.
You guys make everything worse.
You rack up debt.
You embarrass us.
- How are we supposed to - Hey! I run a successful website.
You sound like a psychopath! I beg your pardon, Michael.
It's the children.
You'd be in some fucked-up German brothel right now, okay? - Hey! - I said, be quiet! That's enough! Clay's not testifying.
- But, Dad.
- Forget it! If anyone is going to testify about this fucking blow poke, it's going to be me! And I am going to testify.
For the good of my case, for the good of this family.
And before we all fucking kill each other.
Should have just stayed in Baltimore.
No use trying, David.
My mind's made up.
Well, maybe you're right.
Can we talk it through? They are going to ask you about the Purple Heart to establish a pattern of lying.
Well, it's true, I lied about that.
About being injured in Vietnam.
And you told everyone, including Kathleen, that for your bravery, you earned a Purple Heart? Why, Mike? Because, I was injured, just not in the war.
It was afterward.
A car accident when I was stationed in Japan.
But I do have a Silver Star.
And a Bronze Star, with valor, because once a marine in my command was blown up by a grenade.
John Cuddy.
We were close.
I tracked his mutilated body back to the foxhole.
He died in my arms.
So did Kathleen.
You learn CPR in the military, don't you? Yes.
Well, when you first called 911, you said Kathleen was still breathing.
Then you called back a couple minutes later, said she wasn't.
In between, did you perform CPR? No.
- No.
I was in shock.
- Shock? Vietnam vet.
Bunch of different colored stars and obviously saw combat.
You went into shock? It wasn't like war.
It wasn't like anything.
It was just her in pain, leaving me, and me begging her not to go, and she wouldn't listen.
It was the worst moment of my life.
I believe you, Mike.
But how does a jury know it's not just another Purple Heart? Not just another lie.
I want to leave it up to you, I do.
I mean, it's your life.
But I can get the blow poke in without putting you or Clay on the stand, and your case won't suffer for it.
But if I don't tell them, how will they know? Let me know what you decide.
It's fine, Clay.
A coup for the defense today at the tail end of the Peterson trial as the alleged murder weapon has surfaced.
Rudolf has produced the so-called missing blow poke, arguing that Durham PD did not search thoroughly enough for it and failed to ever ask the defense whether it had been found.
Does this appear to be the blow poke that Mr.
Hardin mentioned in his opening statement as being mysteriously missing? Yes, it does.
Thank you.
No further questions, Your Honor.
You may be dismissed.
Does that witness conclude your case, Mr.
Rudolf? Yes, it does, Your Honor.
The defense rests.
Though it's not yet clear whether this ninth-inning discovery has given the jury more questions or answers, it certainly has changed the game.
Sneaky shits.
Ultimately, you know what, it doesn't change the autopsy.
My mother was beaten to death, whether it be with a blow poke or something else, and Michael Peterson did it.
Amen, sweetheart.
Caitlin Peterson, where was the weapon found? Okay.
How does this bit sound? Do you really think Kathleen knew Michael was bisexual? Does that make common sense to you? Do you think it was okay with her that he was writing those emails to Brad? I'm not even going to mention the rest of what we found on his computer because it is obscene.
I'm sorry.
Obscene? Obscene.
Is that the best we got for this guy? No, he beat his wife like a dog! I want to nail his ass to the wall.
Not to mention the rest of what we found on Mr.
Peterson's computer, because it is filth.
Pure-T filth.
This is hardcore porn.
This ain't people involved in relationships.
This is just any-which-way.
And it is not how so-called soul mates conduct themselves.
Your job is not to decide whether Michael is innocent.
Your job is to decide whether the prosecution has sufficiently proven guilt.
Which they have not.
Their case is riddled with holes, unanswered questions, doubt after reasonable doubt.
The missing murder weapon isn't missing.
And it was never used in a murder.
There is no credible motive.
And you don't just decide to kill your wife for no reason.
I think about that old expression, what if these walls could talk? Ladies and gentlemen, the people contend to you that these walls are talking.
Kathleen Peterson is talking to us through the blood on these walls.
She is screaming out for truth and for justice.
The defense has told us Kathleen Peterson died in an accident.
But Kathleen is telling us she died of murder.
Kathleen was my life.
I've whispered her name in my heart a thousand times.
I would never have done anything to hurt her.
And we will prove it in court.
December 21st, 2001, Michael Peterson turned himself in to the police.
Only five years earlier, the future looked bright for Michael and Kathleen, getting married at their Forest Hills mansion with family.
To Kathleen, our sister.
And to Michael, our new brother.
Kathleen's sisters now find themselves standing with the prosecution, hoping for the jury to deliver some justice for their sister.
Well, it's going to be a beautiful sunny day today.
And we can expect much more of the same over the next couple of days.
You might want to do something.
Todd? Margaret? Kids? Ms.
Forewoman, would you please pass the bailiff the verdict? Thank you.
Now, if you think you're going to have difficulty accepting the jury's verdict, we're going to give you an opportunity to leave right now.
Alright, Ms.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you have returned the following verdict in the case of State of North Carolina versus Michael Iver Peterson.
And that's all she wrote.
Want to grab another? We got that nice pinot from Bill.
I should really call it a day.
I still have to check that email.
Well, I don't know who you are, but my wife never says no to a second bottle.
She sounds fun.
She is.
You're still up.
What's up? Kathleen? I always knew, I think, somewhere underneath.
I mean, who knows, maybe I even liked it.
What are you talking about? Why didn't you tell me? You could have told me.
It could have been our secret.
I think Yeah, I think I could have lived with that.
Kathleen, come on.
What are you talking about? I'm talking I'm talking about the porn and the escorts and the men, the men, the men! Whatever you think you saw, you're drunk.
I'm a writer.
Alright? It's called research.
Research? Oh my God.
Stop lying, Michael.
God, the lying! The arrogance, the selfishness.
I mean, Jesus! You have managed me and humiliated me, and I swore to myself that I would never be this woman again, this fucking victim.
Kathleen, come on.
Come on.
This is ridiculous.
Let's just Oh no, you don't, pal.
Not this time.
No, no, you don't get to Michael Peterson your way out of this.
- Listen to me.
- No.
No, you listen to me! I am your wife.
And I'm leaving you.
No, you're not.
You're tired and you're drunk.
I am not drunk! Stop saying that.
I am not drunk.
I am leaving! I am done playing house with you! Lower your voice.
Lower your voice, Kathleen.
You are nothing but a fucking fraud.
You are nothing but a thief and a con man.
And you have nothing.
You are nothing.
Do you hear me, Michael? I have given my whole life to a pathetic closet case nothing! I said shut up! Stop! Oh my God.
Oh God.
Fuck! Oh my God.
Oh fuck.
Fuck! Fuck.
Oh God.
Okay? Here you go.
No, honey.
Honey, it's okay.
Here you go.
You're okay.
You see? You're alright.
No, no, no.
You're alright.
It's okay.
It's okay.
You tripped.
Oh God.
Honey, you're alright.
Kathleen? Kathleen.
Foreperson, on behalf of the jury, do you affirm this verdict? Yes.
Peterson, would you please stand where you are? Is there anything that you would like to say before the court imposes sentencing? I would only It's okay.
It's okay.
It's okay.
It's okay.
Alright, Ms.
Clerk, the defendant is imprisoned to the state of North Carolina Department of Corrections for the remainder of his natural life without the benefit of parole.
Bailiff, would you please take the prisoner into custody? Hold here.
You'll be taken outside in a minute.
Not now, Jean.
- Are you alright? - No, I'm not.
I'm scared.
Okay, Sophie.
Let's try this again.
What is your relationship with Michael Peterson? It's okay.
Peterson, would you please stand where you are? Alright, Ms.
The defendant is imprisoned to the state of North Carolina Department of Corrections for the remainder of his natural life without the benefit of parole.
You can't get enough of this shit.
Bailiff, would you please take the prisoner into custody.
Dear Michael, you don't know me, but I know you.
I've followed your story with bated breath, hoping for the exoneration you so deserve.
I know you're innocent and that you and your family have been failed by a broken justice system.
I know because I've seen it, moment by moment, frame by frame.
You need to accept that it's over.
The queen herself! Hi.
How was your trip? I'm exhausted.
And rest assured, while you wait for freedom, you story will be told.
Sit down.
I will tell it for you.
Sincerely yours, Sophie.
Let me show you what I've cut together.
Kathleen and I were watching a movie, "America's Sweethearts.
" I think it was probably around 11 o'clock.

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