The Stair Case (Sundance Channel)

Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by hawkamer, Apr 5, 2005.

  1. hawkamer

    hawkamer Narm...

    904
    0
    Jun 4, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    Wow. That was riveting!

    After the blow poke episode, I was firmly in the "reasonable doubt" camp. The verdict really shocked me.
     
  2. skanter

    skanter New Member

    4,947
    0
    May 27, 2003
    New York City
    It sure was!

    I missed eps 5&6, but unless the prosecution presented some VERY DAMNING evidence, I can't see how the jury convicted Peterson. It was totally stunning -- and depressing. The prosecution's closing seemed to deal with Peterson't bisexuality more than evidence proving he committed the crime.
    No reasonable doubt??? Hardly...
     
  3. hawkamer

    hawkamer Narm...

    904
    0
    Jun 4, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    Agreed.

    There were TONS of reasonable doubt. Episode 5 adds some more reasonable doubt, although Episode 6 sort of evens the score. Also, some aspects of the trial that were left out that, in my opinion, damaged the prosecution even further.

    The feeling I got was that they were out to get this guy. Whether it was the fact the he was bisexual, or if there was a combination of reasons, I'm not sure. Regardless, no revelation seem to shake anyone on the other side. When they found the blow poke, Catlin (Kathleen's daughter) went on Court TV to say "this doesn't change anything." What!? I was screaming at the TV at this point: THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING!!
     
  4. JohnJr

    JohnJr Right to Man

    11,389
    0
    May 23, 2000
    Colorado, USA
    I'll admit to being pretty shocked at the verdict too. The shots of his girls crying pretty much tore me up. Lightning strike, indeed.

    I do think a part of OUR concern/surprise in the case is that we saw the entire case presented to us, in the documentary, from the defense side. I would have preferred to see this case "in court" to have the kind of perspective that would have allowed me to judge his guilt or innocence.

    Some of my favorite moments include the lady prosecutor's face when they pulled out the blowpoke. That was a classic moment, IMHO. However, as it was presented in the documentary, I don't think the lead defense attorney did as good a job as he could in leading the jury/court up to that moment. I didn't hear any ooohs or ahhhs of shock, or really get any feeling at all of surprise, other than the shot of the lady prosecutor's face. I'm not sure how I could have done it better, I'm just sure that it could have been done better.

    I need to google more about the second person in his life that was also found dead on a staircase. I didn't pay too much attention during that episode and still don't have that quite down in my mind. Something like that could explain what put the jury in the frame of mind to convict. It's just to weird a coincidence.

    Old Dr. Henry Lee took a little hit in this case. Apparently the jury believed the State's explanation of the blood splatter over his.

    I turned out liking Peterson a bit more than I had originally. Anyone that can spout off quotes from Milton's Paradise Lost in everyday conversation garners at least a little bit of my respect. :)

    Oh, and as far as the bi-sexual stuff, I guess that could have had more of an impact on the jury than I had originally thought as well. But, if the prosecution was going to go there, couldn't the defense have brought up some sort of "crime of passion" type argument and gotten 2nd Degree, 3rd Degree or whatever options on the verdict slip? Here they had two choices -- guilty or not guilty, of capital murder.

    I guess maybe the defense were going for all or nothing. They got it all.
    -John
     
  5. 7thton

    7thton No raindrop ever falls in the wrong place

    3,018
    93
    Mar 3, 2005
    I, too, was quite shocked that the jury found him guilty. There was a huge amount of reasonable doubt...the blowpoke, the bloodsplatter patterns, the lack of brain bruising or broken fingers, lack of motivation (despite the whole male-hooker thing), lack of a murder weapon, lack of any evidence that Petersen and his wife had any problems or issues....

    Regarding Henry Lee, I just knew that he would do poorly on the stand. He did not seem to be serious enough on the stand. He laughed and made jokes about Petersen's lawyer...made jokes about getting "blood" on Petersen's lawyer during his demo. He laughed his way through the cross examination regarding the book inscription. (Although it was a low blow on the prosecution's part).

    I'm not sure that Petersen didn't do it, but I am sure that there is reasonable doubt that he did.

     
  6. bruab

    bruab Shmegistered Schmoozer TCF Club

    15,326
    2,214
    Nov 16, 2001
    DC Metro
    I anxiously look forward to this weekend when I might get the whole series and will then be able to read this thread. :)
     
  7. Tracy

    Tracy Truly

    3,038
    187
    Mar 12, 2000
    Galena, IL
    As to Michael Peterson's relationship with the woman in Germany, I can explain:

    When Michael and his first wife were living in Germany they were good friends with another couple. The other couple were the parents of Margaret and Martha, who were tiny at the time. The husband died in combat, I believe. A year or so later, the wife died. She was found at the bottom of the stairs in her home. At the time, it was determined that she died of natural causes--a brain aneurysm. This left Martha and Margaret orphans. Michael and his first wife adopted them.

    This was all explained in an early episode that had post-its on a white board.
     
  8. latrobe7

    latrobe7 What, me worry?

    5,805
    66
    May 1, 2005
    Orange...
    I stumbled upon this on Sundance and got a season pass. After watching all of it I was outraged. I truly thought that the prosecutors where scary and on a witch-hunt. How could anyone find this man guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? I immediately went to the Internet to find info about his appeal; surely there must be a groundswell of support for this man and his family. What I found changed my mind. Michael Peterson is where he belongs.

    At first I was surprised by the visceral tone of the sites condemning Michael Peterson and the movie, but I soon found some facts impossible to ignore. I quote and paraphrase what troubled me the most below, and include links to the two most comprehensive sites I found. The sites are as slanted against Michael Peterson as the movie was for him. After thoroughly reviewing them as well as the movie, I believe Michael Peterson is guilty and aside from the two dead women; the people most deserving sympathy are the children, particularly Martha and Margaret Ratliff who've lost their parents twice.

    --"(The film) crew followed the Peterson family for two years, finishing with over 650 hours of footage. Obviously, which 6 hours were kept -- and which 644 hours were cut -- wasn't decided by accident.

    Considering the film's lack of spoken narration, it can't be pure coincidence that viewers almost uniformly come away from it feeling confused about what appears to be insufficient evidence of murder, and angry with what appears to be an outrageous miscarriage of justice"


    --"Jurors in a post-verdict press conference told reporters they discounted the 1985 murder and testimony about Peterson's bisexuality."


    --"Dr. Kenneth Snell saw Kathleen Peterson's body at the scene a few hours after police arrived. Although he indicated 'accident' on a preliminary report, Dr. Snell also decided an autopsy was necessary and advised police to begin looking for something like a crowbar or fireplace poker.

    The next day, after viewing the autopsy and getting a close-up look at the victim's wounds at the morgue, Dr. Snell concluded Mrs. Peterson died 'from an assault -- more specifically a beating.' Snell cited extensive wounds to the body that included numerous bruises to Kathleen's face and the backs of her arms and hands." - I don't recall any mention of these wounds in the movie.


    --"Two items of Agent Deaver's evidence DO point directly to the novelist: the blood spatter found up inside the leg of his shorts which suggests he was standing over Kathleen Peterson during an impact, and Michael's tennis shoe print stamped in blood on the back of his dead wife's sweatpants." Also not in movie...


    --"During the autopsy, medical examiners discounted the possibility of an accidental fall, noting the victim had seven bruises matching seven lacerations on her head, and multiple bruises on her arms -- yet no bruising to her legs or buttocks.

    Michael's attorney said Kathleen Peterson, 'after drinking some wine and some champagne and taking some Valium, tried to walk up a narrow, poorly lit stairway in flip-flops.'

    Mr. Rudolf also contended 'she fell backward on a step at the lower portion of the stairwell and split her scalp open. She tried to get up, slipped on the bloody floor, hit her head again and died of blood loss.'" Medical records show Mrs. Peterson's system had only trace amounts of Valium and a blood alcohol level below the state's legal limit to drive.

    The autopsy shows that along with bruised arms, wrists and hands; Kathleen Peterson had several scrapes and bruises covering her face and a fracture to the cartilage in her throat. Clearly, she didn't injure her face and throat from a fall backward on her head."


    --The defenses own forensic experts concluded Mrs. Peterson's wounds and blood loss tell the story of a slow, painful death that took a lot longer than 10 minutes.

    Defense witness, Dr. Jan Leestma's conservative estimate was that Mrs. Peterson had suffered severe blood loss at least 45 minutes before she stopped breathing.

    Furthermore, the defendant's renowned forensic scientist, Henry Lee -- having explained that blood spatter hit the walls and landed on top of blood spatter that had already dried -- testified that the fatal event in Kathleen Peterson's stairwell took as long as 30 minutes.

    What was Michael doing during all that time?


    --"In none of the versions of Lestrade's successful film does he document Michael's financial failures. One comes away with the impression that Michael is exceedingly wealthy. The Petersons were completely dependent upon Kathleen's salary and benefit package. They were forced to liquidate Kathleen's assets. They had been living on credit for years and by the end of 2001, they had $143,000 in credit card debt." The whole prosecution presentation about finances was left out of the movie. Michael was to receive over 1 million dollars in life insurance. Which he would have had to give his lawyers, I guess, since they where never paid because Michael did not have the money.

    --"Juror, Richard Sarratt, said the case boiled down to a few key facts that David Rudolf never disputed:

    1. There were skull-deep lacerations on the back of Kathleen Peterson's head.

    2. There was blood on Michael Peterson's shorts and on the walls of the narrow back staircase that had dried and was then splattered with a second layer.

    3. The neurons in Kathleen Peterson's brain indicated that she had remained alive for at least 30 minutes after the initial impact.

    4. Michael Peterson was there, standing over his wife as she lay dying."

    --"A few hours after Kathleen Peterson's murder, with her corpse still sitting at the bottom of his staircase, Mike was in the next room surfing the Internet and telephoning lawyers -- all the while, refusing to speak with police."

    When the verdict was finally read, "the 60-year-old defendant had almost no reaction, his family and friends fell apart."

    When Michael called 911 he never mentioned blood. The amount of blood was one of the first things noted by everyone else who arrived on the scene that night.

    These last few things prove nothing; I just find them unusual from an innocent man. Please research for yourself, there is other stuff I couldn't find again quickly for this post, luminol footprints, Clayton's (Michael's son) recollection of the night, bizarre coincidences with the Ratliff case, etc.

    Since this is the first time I've posted here, I have just found out that I cannot submit links, please send me a private message if you would like them.

    If you haven't already seen it, watch "Capturing the Friedmans" for a similar experience of indecision about the guilt or innocence of those in the movie; except I think there really was an injustice done there...
     
  9. etexlady

    etexlady Well-Known Member

    3,109
    129
    Jun 22, 2002
    East Texas
    Great post, latrobe7. You summarized most of the salient points. I watched the case on Court TV. The film left out a lot of testimony, especially that of the prosecution's presentation. Most of the first part of the prosecution's case was a review of the couple's finances and the fact they were living way beyond their means. Kathleen was an executive at Nextel but there were massive layoffs going on at the time and it seemed she thought she would be losing her job soon. A prosecution theory is she was killed for her life insurance and it had to be done while she was still employed. A number of the legal pundits were shocked that David Rudolf agreed to allow the jury to visit the scene and felt that was a major turning point in the trial. The defense had suggested that the victim simply fell down 3-5 stairs bumping the back of her head causing the lacerations. When the jurors saw the scene and the amount of blood that was there it was evident that much more than a fall down 3 steps had occurred. It was odd also that Peterson had maintained the scene, blood and all, while still living in the house. I understand they had the stairwell itself boarded over but one would think the blood would smell after all that time. Perhaps he was ordered not to disturb the scene but who would want to live in those conditions. I agree that Peterson is where he belongs.
     
  10. beldar

    beldar New Member

    1,115
    0
    Feb 27, 2001
    Bellevue,...
    I watched this mostly in one sitting Sunday.

    Granted, I wasn't there, but I also have trouble imagining a jury finding him guilty beyond all reasonable doubt.

    I did a little googling and found one site whose author seemed to have a huge axe to grind against Peterson. I have to wonder what their motive is.

    Remind me never to get charged with murder in NC.
     
  11. Eight47

    Eight47 Member

    150
    1
    Feb 22, 2003
  12. 7thton

    7thton No raindrop ever falls in the wrong place

    3,018
    93
    Mar 3, 2005
    Do you have links to any of the sites you quoted from?

     
  13. latrobe7

    latrobe7 What, me worry?

    5,805
    66
    May 1, 2005
    Orange...
    I have to post...
     
  14. latrobe7

    latrobe7 What, me worry?

    5,805
    66
    May 1, 2005
    Orange...
    three more...
     
  15. latrobe7

    latrobe7 What, me worry?

    5,805
    66
    May 1, 2005
    Orange...
    times before I can...
     
  16. latrobe7

    latrobe7 What, me worry?

    5,805
    66
    May 1, 2005
    Orange...
    post links.
     
  17. latrobe7

    latrobe7 What, me worry?

    5,805
    66
    May 1, 2005
    Orange...
  18. bruab

    bruab Shmegistered Schmoozer TCF Club

    15,326
    2,214
    Nov 16, 2001
    DC Metro
    Just want to say that we're down to the last 2 episodes and are really absorbed. It took a lot of effort to shut off the TiVo to keep from staying up until midnight to see the conclusion.

    So far we're split on guilt/innocence - I'm having trouble with the whole defense theory explaining all those head injuries and all that blood. But the judge should not have let in as much other evidence as he did. Peterson sure seems broken up over her death. If he did it, he's one cold customer.

    Also I thought of the theory that maybe in Germany he actually had had an affair with the girls' biological father and offed the mother when he died precisely so that he could raise the kids. Way out there, I know, but something to consider.
     
  19. etexlady

    etexlady Well-Known Member

    3,109
    129
    Jun 22, 2002
    East Texas
    DNA tests were done and show that neither of the girls are Michael Peterson's offspring.
     
  20. Peter000

    Peter000 Well-Known Member TCF Club

    23,067
    1,359
    Apr 15, 2002
    Red Wing, MN
    I'm now hooked on this documentary. Totally fascinating. I won't say more than that until I see all of them ( I recorded them all when they ran Monday). But it's just great... I'm through about half, and I'm still not sure whether the guy is guilty or not.
     

Share This Page