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Law

Judge Orders New Trial for Michael Peterson

A judge has ruled that Durham novelist Michael Peterson will get a new trial in his wife's 2001 death. Judge Orlando Hudson ruled Wednesday that former State Bureau of Investigation agent Duane Deaver misled the court about the bloodstain evidence at the 2003 trial in which Peterson was convicted of murder in the death of Kathleen Peterson, who was found at the bottom of a bloody staircase. The SBI fired Deaver in January after an independent audit found he misreported, mishandled or exaggerated forensic evidence in 34 criminal cases. Over the last week, defense lawyer David Rudolf presented witnesses to cast doubt on Deaver's credibility, including three of his former SBI colleagues. In his closing argument Wednesday, Rudolf said Deaver's lies violated Peterson's right to a fair trial.

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