Kathleen Peterson was an American philanthropist and businesswoman who died in 2001 under strange circumstances.
Let’s review what we know about the case, including who killed her and who she was.

Kathleen Peterson cause of death

Because Peterson was the only one at the house when Kathleen died, he became the major suspect and was charged with her murder shortly after. He entered a not guilty plea. Kathleen died of lacerations to the scalp caused by a homicidal assault, according to the medical examiner, Deborah Radisch.

Who was Kathleen Peterson?

Kathleen Peterson, an American businesswoman and philanthropist, died in 2001 under mysterious circumstances.

She was the first woman to be accepted into the elite Duke University’s engineering department after growing up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

She went on to work for high-profile pharmaceutical and IT firms as an executive.
In 1996, she married writer Michael Peterson.

Did her husband Michael Peterson kill her?

In 2003, Michael Peterson was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, promising his daughters, “I love you… it’ll be alright.”

Kathleen had been discovered dead at the bottom of their Durham (North Carolina) mansion’s dark staircase.

He claimed she fell while he smoked a cigar outdoors after an evening of drinking, but the prosecution said he beat her to death for the insurance money.

He was released on time served after entering an Alford plea for voluntary manslaughter in 2017.

Peterson has written two books since his release from prison: Behind the Staircase and Beyond the Staircase, both of which were published in 2019 and give a behind-the-scenes story of his trial, imprisonment, and life after prison.

What is the Staircase documentary about and when does it premiere?

The documentary The Staircase explores the narrative of Michael’s 16-year legal battle.
It will begin by airing three new follow-up episodes to a 2004 documentary series.

The show has been compared to Netflix’s smash hit Making A Murderer.
On May 5, 2022, The Staircase will premiere.

It will, however, be available exclusively on HBO Max.


Netflix also produced a 10-episode documentary about the case in 2018.

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