Kathleen Peterson Cause of Death: Weapons Reflect Killers’ Personalities!


Michael Iver Peterson was born in Tennessee in 1943 and worked as a novelist as well as a journalist. Kathleen Hunt Atwater, his second wife, died on December 9, 2001, in their Forest Hills mansion in North Carolina.

Kathleen was discovered dead at the bottom of the service stair. Peterson was convicted of first-degree murder in 2003, but after eight years, he was given a second trial after the judge concluded that a key prosecution witness provided deceptive testimony.

He entered an Alford Plea in 2017 to the lesser charge of manslaughter. The judge sentenced him to 86 months in jail, with credit for time already served. He was released since he had already served more than the maximum term. The documentary “The Staircase” by French filmmaker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade is based on Kathleen’s story.

The Murder Weapon

In 2014, I examined the case with an emphasis on the murder weapon; the prosecution said Peterson murdered Kathleen with a blow poke, a custom-made fireplace poker that was missing from the residence at the time of the investigation.

Kathleen had fallen down the stairs, according to Peterson’s defense, but I disagree. Michael Iver Peterson killed his wife Kathleen with his own hands, not a specific murder weapon.

Kathleen had multiple head lacerations consistent with a flat object, that flat item being a stair-step against which her head smacked several times, not because she fell down the stairs, but because Michael Peterson slammed her head against those stairs.

kathleen peterson cause of death

Michael Iver Peterson had seized his wife Kathleen by the frontal hairs with his right hand and slammed the back of her head against a step of the service wooden stair, repeatedly, till she died.

During the assault, he seized her contemporary by her hairs with his right hand and her throat with his left hand; on that occasion, his thumb fractured the superior cornu of Kathleen’s left thyroid cartilage.

According to the postmortem report, the number, severity, locations, and orientation of these injuries are inconsistent with a fall down the stairs; rather, they are indicative of several impacts as a consequence of beating.

  • Kathleen’s brow
  • Blunt force trauma to the head
  • Multiple deep, complicated lacerations and avulsions to the posterior scalp (at least 7);
  • Multiple contusions suggestive of lacerations;
  • Several minor abrasions and contusions on the face;
  • Acute ischemia neuronal necrosis in its early stages;
  • There are no cerebral abnormalities.
  • Neck One fracture with accompanying bleeding of the thyroid cartilage’s left superior cornu in the neck;
  • There were no more neck fractures.
  • There were no long bone fractures or rib fractures in the body.
  • HANDS Back, posterior arm, wrist, and hand contusions;
  • Take note of the hair in the left hand — hair in the right hand.

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My Version of the Murder Is as Follows

Several clipped hairs were discovered by crime scene investigators on both Kathleen’s hands, on the bottom steps of the staircase, and on the Diet Coke can recovered on the patio, which Michael Peterson drank from.

These cut hairs were from Kathleen’s frontal area and were chopped off by Michael Peterson’s right hand and Kathleen’s hands as she tried to free her hairs from his hand; as a result, they found hairs on her hands as well.

If these hairs came from the back of her head, investigators should have recovered smashed hairs rather than chopped hairs. Check the exhibits to see if they collected hairs from their roots to support this reconstruction.

A large amount of blood seen within Michael Peterson’s pants has a straightforward explanation: Michael Peterson molested Kathleen twice, the second time sitting on her upper legs near her waist.

Kathleen’s waist was drained of blood after the first onslaught, but she unexpectedly recovered and stood up. At that point, Peterson struck her again, smashing her head against the stairs again, and his pants soaked the blood from Kathleen’s garments since he was sitting astride on her waist to keep her from moving.

Kathleen’s head had no fractures since she had been thrown against a wooden surface. Kathleen experienced contusions on her posterior arms and back as a result of hitting her posterior arms and back when her head smacked against the stairwell.

She had defensive contusions on her wrists and hands from fighting Peterson, and she had no contusions on her ribs, legs, feet, or knees from not falling down the steps.

That Clarifies

This reconstruction clarifies all the contusions on Kathleen’s body; the distribution of the bloodstains found in the area of the murder; the presence of low and medium velocity blood spatters on the scene; the crucial absence of any cast-off on the ceiling or on the walls; the absence of defensive wounds with a pattern of a weapon.

the lack of collateral damage with any weapon pattern in the tiny area where she was killed; the inability to recover a weapon, as well as the lack of fractures on Kathleen’s face.

kathleen peterson cause of death

A hit from behind that is capable of causing a scalp laceration generally results in fractures of the victim’s nasal or cheekbones due to the press against the wall or against the steps that follow the rebound of the blow to the head, especially in a tight space.

Michael Peterson’s bloodied hands were responsible for the blood found on the walkway leading to the residence.

Weapons Reflect Killers’ Personalities

Michael Peterson is a kind of contemporary Popeye, with his face, smocking the pipe, and muscular figure, and, like Popeye, he utilized a personal weapon, his hands, at least twice to kill.

According to images in the documentary “The Staircase,” Michael Peterson was tremendously proud of his muscles and frequently displayed them while wearing only a tank top.

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