Michael Peterson, a Durham novelist, will plead guilty on Friday to manslaughter charges connected to the 2001 death of his wife Kathleen.
Peterson was convicted of first-degree murder in 2003 and sentenced to life in prison. He maintained his innocence at his sentencing hearing at the time and said he absolutely, positively . . . had nothing to do with” his wife’s death, according to ABC 11.
He served 8 years in prison until a judge ruled one of the prosecution’s key witnesses conducted faulty tests and mislead the jury and ordered a new trial. He was released from prison while prosecutors determined whether to refile charges.
Despite continued pleas of innocence, Peterson plans to enter an Alford plea on Friday to manslaughter charges that does not admit guilt, but concedes the prosecution likely has sufficient evidence to convict him. He told the Associated Press he was taking the deal because he did not get a fair shake at the first trial.
In 2001, Peterson’s wife was found dead at the bottom of the stairs of the family’s large mansion.
“Taking the Alford plea is the most difficult thing I’ve done in my life – ever,” Peterson told reporters. “And I’ve thought back on it – (is there) any other decision that remotely rivals it? No.”
[image via screengrab]