Kathleen Peterson

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Kathleen Peterson
BornKathleen M. Hunt
(1953-02-21)February 21, 1953
Greensboro, North Carolina, U.S.
💀Died (aged 48)
Durham, North Carolina (aged 48)
🏳️ Nationality
💼 Occupation
👩 Spouse(s)Fred Atwater (1977–1985; divorced)
Michael Peterson (1997–2001; her death)
👶 ChildrenCaitlin Atwater

Kathleen Hunt Atwater Peterson (February 21, 1953 – December 9, 2001) is known as the subject of the documentary series The Staircase, which addresses the circumstances surrounding her death.

Michael Peterson[edit]

In 1997 she married writer Michael Peterson. On Sunday, December 9, 2001, she was found dead at the bottom of a staircase in her Durham mansion.[1][2] Michael had called 9-1-1, stating that she had fallen down the stairs. He was convicted of her murder in 2003 and sentenced to life in prison,[1][3] but on December 15, 2011, was granted a new trial following the discrediting of a prosecution witness.[4][5]

See also[edit]

  • Soupçons, also known as The Staircase, French tv mini-series on the Peterson trial.


  1. 1.0 1.1 William L. Holmes, Associated Press, "Novelist convicted of beating wife to death", The Item, October 11, 2003, p. 3A.
  2. Emery P. Dalesio, Associated Press, "N.C. novelist's murder trial starts today", Spartanburg Herald-Journal, July 1, 2003, p. B8.
  3. "Peterson speaks to WRAL News", WRAL-TV, July 24, 2009 (video).
  4. Dennis Murphy, "'Reversal of Fortune', Part 1", Dateline NBC, NBC News, June 3, 2013 (video).
  5. Maureen Ryan, Variety Media, "'The Staircase' should be your next 'Making A Murderer' obsession", Philadelphia Inquirer, January 30, 2016.

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