"On Trial for an Unusual Life"
-- Lestrade article, TheAge.com
"It's either a very unusual fall, or a very unusual beating."
-- Bill Peterson, attorney
Even Michael Peterson's brother, Bill, concedes the evidence shows something truly awful happened to Kathleen Peterson in the very early morning hours of December 9, 2001. Enormous amounts of her blood were smeared and spattered across the floors and up the walls to the ceiling.
Calling authorities at 2:30 in the morning, Michael intended for everyone to believe his wife had been drinking heavily and then recklessly tripped on her own sandals. Kathleen Peterson's "flip-flops" were found oddly placed in the hall near several bloody towels.
Hours later, 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.
Obviously, multiple bone-deep lacerations to the back of the head cannot have come from a single fall forward. That's why David Rudolf and his defense experts were forced to concede that IF Kathleen Peterson fell down, she fell backward, hit her head, then got up and fell back down again -- got up and fell back, got up and fell back -- and each fall produced one or two lacerations.
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."
It is, of course, yet another mystery why a business executive with a 10 AM meeting would still be up at 2:30 AM drinking and throwing herself down the stairs. Be that as it may, medical records exposed the lies about Mrs. Peterson's intoxicated condition. Her system had only trace amounts of Valium and a blood alcohol level below the state's legal limit to drive -- so she certainly wasn't too drunk to walk.
Whether or not Michael planted the flip-flops for effect, Kathleen Peterson was NOT wearing them when paramedics first arrived at 1810 Cedar. Both Michael and his wife were barefoot.