Warning: This article contains spoilers about The Staircase. In the film, made long before the popular Hulu series, the Colonial masks as the supposed Republic of Gilead residence belonging to Commander Fred (Robert Duvall) and his wife, Serena Joy (Faye Dunaway), where handmaid Kate (Natasha Richardson) is placed. "I didn't know if Michael Peterson's presentation of himself was going to be helpful to me in terms of finding out what lies underneath, and I found it kept moving," Firth explained to The Wrap. The prosecution suggested that Michael killed his wife after they got in a fight supposedly initiated by Kathleen's discovery of more than 2,000 explicit images of men on Michael's computer in addition to emails in conversation with a young male escort he was planning on reuniting with after meeting a few months prior. 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Usually when you're convicted of murder, you're sentenced to something like life, or close to it, in prison and that's essentially that. On Oct. 10, 2003, the jury found Michael guilty of Kathleen's murder and sentenced him to life without the possibility of parole. Now aged 74, Michael Peterson is still living in North Carolina - but no longer in the 3.4-acre property in which is wife died. Still estranged from her step-siblings, she currently lives with her husband and twin children in Virginia. ViaThe Independent, The Associated Press reported Michael moved into a two-bed condo in 2018. Since his release from prison on bond in 2011 and his official release in 2017, Peterson has returned to his passion for. "He is innocent of any involvement in Kathleen's death," she insisted to The News & Recordin 2014. According to a June report by The Sun, Peterson continues to live in Durham and has self-published two books about his life during the murder trial and his life following his release from prison. During a CrimeCon speech, Peterson's attorney, David Rudolf, shot down reports his client made bank from the Netflix series. Likes science fiction, true crime, coming-of-age stories, teen dramas, and some other things as well. Now, he resides in a 1,200-square-foot, two bedroom condo and. Her name was Elizabeth Ratliff, and she was a family friend of Peterson and his first wife Patricia, who was also living in Germany at the time. Black died in 2018, at age 57 of end-stage liver disease. Taking a cue from O.J. "I've always believed he did not do this, and I always will.". And what about all the other characters that were so important to the story? Disclaimer: Please remember this is a private home. They dated until 2017. Despite her words and the fact that Peterson will be considered a convicted felon for the rest of his life, he apparently plans on trying to live out the rest of his years at home in North Carolina. He is, however, still connected with his own firm, Rudolf Widenhouse. Her partnership with de Lestrade is still going strong, with Brunet having edited his two TV series after The Staircase, true crime drama Latitia, and the political thriller Jeux dInfluence. "That we dont cheat or invent evidence, that we actually care about truth and representing people as well as they can be represented. At the time of her mother's death, Caitlin Atwater supported her stepfather and after his arrest told the press of his innocence. He enjoys a secluded life with the occasional media appearance to again discuss that fateful staircase. The defense, however, disputed that Kathleen was accepting of Michael's bisexuality and that the blow poke (a hollow tube instead of a solid metal stick) he allegedly used to strike her suffered no damage, nor had any remnants of blood on it. He currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland, where he works as an engineer. Michael Peterson had been forced to sell his assets, including the family home, to pay legal fees, leaving him broke. Returning to the Scene of the Crime. Now 79 years old, he lives alone in a ground-floor apartment in Durham, North Carolina, and has since sold the house he shared with Kathleen. In light of new developments surrounding the case, de Lestrade made a new installment to The Staircase saga in 2012, entitled The Last Chance.In this new installment, Peterson's legal team appeal to the courts for a new trial after it comes out that bloodstain analyst Duane Deaver, who was a key witness for the prosecution, had given false and . Sign up forOxygen Insiderfor all the best true crime content. They lived together in Durham up until Pattys death from a heart attack in 2021. 21. The film, which examines the ethics of documentary filmmaking, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. "They were companions," he told The News & Record. Petersons overall nonchalant demeanor and regular giggling over aspects of the case are certainly perplexing. His defense. Duane Deaver, a blood splatter expert, had testified that the evidence pointed towards murder. Her secluded life and career, Who are Gradey Dicks parents? Despite the couple eventually marrying, Rudolf insists their relationship had no bearing on her coverage nor granted her any special privileges. While the multi-part true-crime docuseries "The Staircase" might not be the gold standard of the genre like it once was at the time of its 2004 debut, it's become the go-to source for the strange case of Michael Peterson, a North Carolina novelist who may or may not have murdered his second wife, Nortel executive Kathleen Peterson. Above (L-R): Tim Guinee, Sophie Turner, Colin Firth, Olivia DeJonge, Patrick Schwarzenegger appear as the Peterson family in "The Staircase" on HBO Max. Despite claiming his wife had fallen down the stairs, Michael Peterson was charged with her murder and convicted to life imprisonment in 2003 after one of the longest trials in North Carolinas history. Investigators swiftly homed in on Michael as a prime suspect as he was alone in the premises with Kathleen when she passed away. After breaking up with Sophie (Juliette Binoche) and refusing to move to Paris, Michael went to live with his ex-wife Patty (Trini Alvarado). We all know that these characters have names of living people, but its very carefully calibrated to tell the story in a certain way. The reason, according to him, was money. After Michael and Pattys divorce, they went to live with Michael and Kathleen, whom they called mom, in the United States. As shown in the miniseries, Assistant District Attorney Freda Black (Parker Posey) quit law and started working as a cleaner in the decade following Michaels conviction. Peterson now lives in a 1,200 square foot condo, shell always see him responsible for her sisters death, Peterson will be considered a convicted felon. But, as Peterson was being investigated for the staircase death of his wife in the early 2000s, Ratliffs body was exhumed in Texas in 2003. The same film crew began following Peterson yet again to make the multi-part docuseries for Netflix that will air on June 8 and follow the events that transpired with his 2017 plea deal and the aftermath. In 2001, Kathleen died on the staircase of the Peterson home in Durham, North Carolina. From the comments Ive gotten from a lot of people, it [The Staircase] achieved that purpose; it opens eyes to what criminal defense lawyers do.. In an interview with Vanity Fair, she said that Lestrades The Staircase cost her many job opportunities in the documentary world, including at Netflix. At first, their two sons lived in Germany with their mother but eventually went to live in Durham, North Carolina with their father. "We originally had been to Harrison Ford," the HBO show's creator Antonio Campos told Entertainment Weekly. He admitted it made him question if there is actually no "fixed core to characters." He Lives in a House Without a Staircase. At the center of the story is Kathleen and Michaels sprawling Colonial home, located in Durhams tony Forest Hills neighborhood. Today, Michael Peterson, 78, is still alive and remains a free man. Hopewell Junction, NY 12533-5516 Parris Island, SC 29905-1070 Pleasant Valley, NY 12569-7731 In 2002, Caitlin filed a civil wrongful death lawsuit against Michael. The novelist spent the past almost eight years in prison after a jury found him guilty of murdering his wife, but in 2011, he was released and since then hes been living a quiet life in Durham, North Carolina, the same city he once lived with his second wife at the time of her death. Peterson was convicted of first-degree murder in connection with Kathleens death, and spent nearly a decade behind bars. Michael and Patricia later divorced, and not long after, he moved in with telecoms exec Kathleen Atwater before eventually tying the knot in 1997. Despite the fact Michael was the one to call 911 the night Kathleen allegedly fell down the stairs, Michael soon . The two lived together until Patty's deathfrom a massive heart attack in July 2021. They separated in the 1980s and divorced in the early 1990s. Since his release, Michael has avoided staying in houses with staircases, which is perhaps a good idea. Played by Vincent Vermignon, de Lestrade was already an Academy Award winner when he got involved with Michael Petersons case. Michael wound up being granted a new trial in 2011 after the State Crime Labs blood-spatter analyst Duane Deaver, who worked on his case, was fired for repeatedly shoddy investigative work. Luckily for them, Firth has received rave reviews. Peterson was released while awaiting a new trial but ultimately decided not to take any chances (even with that oh-so-veritable owl theory in his arsenal) and in 2017 entered an Alford plea, whereby asserting his innocence but admitting the evidence would likely lead to a guilty verdict. Created by Antonio Campos, the eight-episode long miniseries stars Colin Firth and Toni Collette as novelist Michael Peterson and his second wife, Nortel executive, Kathleen Peterson. However, the same type of plea, contrary to the assertion Peterson has made in his books about his experience following his release, is not synonymous with his conviction being overturned. Kathleen Peterson, seen above, died on December 1, 2009. Pattys death, however, is surrounded by its fair share of mystery and controversy. In July 2020, Michael and Kathleen Peterson's five-story mansion where Kathleen lost her life was put up for sale. Colin Firth will play Michael Peterson, and Sophie Turner will play Margaret Ratliff, one of Michaels adopted daughters. Much like his client, Rudolf took issue with Campos version of events, especially with scenes that implied Michael kept information from him and that his professional relationship with Pfeiffer was unethical. His life had been dissected and picked apart by the media for almost two decades, and it was high time he got some much-needed privacy. The case that dominated such a large part of his life still haunted him, however. In 2017, Michael submitted an Alford plea to voluntary manslaughter. I don't speak French. And in addition to the unanswered questions around her death, there were also unanswered questions on the guilt or innocence of her husband, Michael Peterson. Who Was Mallory Beach in 'Murdaugh Murders'? Juliette Binoche will star as Sophie Brunet, the editor of The Staircase documentary. . Stalk It: Michael Petersons former house, featured in The Staircase, is located at 1810 Cedar Street in Durham, North Carolina. That being said, it's unclear how Peterson is now making a living or if he has some kind of income. Defense Attorney David Rudolf knows that the public is divided on whether. He tried to fight it, but his firing was upheld in court in 2014. Soon after Georges death in an overseas operation, in 1983, Elizabeth lost her life in circumstances so similar to Katherines death that her body was exhumed during Michaels trial in search of evidence of foul play. It's the story of novelist Michael Peterson and the trial that followed his arrest for the murder of his second wife, Kathleen Peterson. Todd was the first person to see Michael after Kathleen died, as shown in the first episode of HBO Max's new series. Speaking to the French publication L'Express, de Lestrade shared: "This is one of the incredible things that happened during those 15 years. After breaking up with Sophie ( Juliette Binoche) and refusing to move to Paris, Michael went to live with his ex-wife Patty ( Trini Alvarado ). Still, she agreed to meet with Juliette Binoche and told Vanity Fair that her relationship with the actress was an unexpected happy ending to my painful story.". While there have been several retellings of the chilling case, like Netflix's take on it in 2018, HBO Max's rendition strives to reveal untold sides and different angles of the harrowing story, with Colin Firth as the lead. The Staircase. On the flip-side, Petersons former sister-in-law, Candace Zamperini, said during the hearing in 2017 that shell always see him responsible for her sisters death. In a livestream that has since been uploaded to YouTube, he accuses Michael of murdering not only Kathleen, but also his mother, Patricia, and family friend Elizabeth. MICHAEL Peterson was convicted of killing his second wife, Kathleen, in 2003. He was released in 2011 on bond ahead of a retrial but in February 2017, Peterson submitted an Alford plea to the reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter, meaning he admitted the evidence against him would likely lead to a finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt but the did not have to admit he committed the crime. The most confounding aspect of The Staircase is tough to pinpoint. The conclusion painted Michael as a murderer with a propensity for pushing his victims down staircases and no doubt contributed to his conviction. In July 2020, the infamous five-story Cedar street mansion where Kathleen died was put up for sale. Prosecutor Says, Scott Peterson Will Be Re-Sentenced to Life in Prison After Death Sentence Was Overturned in 2020, Man Who Killed Meredith Kercher, Amanda Knox's Roommate in Italy, Is Freed from Prison, the limited series is very much a true story, the jury found Michael guilty of Kathleen's murder. Since his 2017 Alford plea, Michael Peterson has managed to keep to himself while continuing to remain in the spotlight. Because of all of the twists and turns that developed in the case, from the death itself having multiple theories, to the news of another woman from petersons past dying in a similar fashion, The Staircase originally premiered on TV in 2004 with eight episodes detailing the case and trial. Michael had written a number of stories that were really critical of the Durham Police Department or the Mayors Office. A retrial was later ordered after the judge vacated the jury's verdict in 2011, finding that the blood splatter analysts gave a false and misleading testimony in the first trial, resulting in an unsound conviction. Most eerie of all, though, is the fact that a segment took place on the infamous back staircase! Kathleen, the familys breadwinner, had deferred much of her income to purchase Nortel Networks stock and though its value once totaled almost $2.5 million, the 2001 crash whittled it down to about $50,000 by the time of her death.