Investigation Discovery Published ‘The Missing Pieces: The Staircase’ on YouTube: The True Crime Story of Michael & Kathleen Peterson (June 18, 2018)


In 2001, Kathleen Peterson’s body was found at the foot of a staircase in her home. The Missing Pieces looks at the nagging questions surrounding her death, dissecting a frantic 911 call, a potentially killer owl, and a blood-soaked stairwell. -The Staircase, Investigation Discovery

Related Links:
The Missing Pieces: The Staircase | Investigation Discovery (YouTube)
Military Widow Elizabeth Ratliff Found Deceased at the Bottom of Stairs in Germany; Michael Peterson Last Person to See Alive, Adopted Ratliff’s 2 Daughters (Nov. 25, 1985)
Kathleen Hunt Found Deceased at Bottom of Stairs in NC Home; Spouse Michael Peterson Pleaded Guilty to Manslaughter to Avoid Second Trial (Dec. 9, 2001)
Marine Corps Veteran Michael Peterson Convicted of the Murder of Wife Kathleen; Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (October 10, 2003)
Marine Vet Michael Peterson Pleaded Guilty to Manslaughter of Wife Kathleen to Avoid 2nd Trial; Agreed to Alford Plea, Released with Time Served (Feb. 24, 2017)
Investigation Discovery Premiered ‘An American Murder Mystery: The Staircase’ (April 8, 2018)
Netflix Premiered ‘The Staircase’: A Docuseries Examining Marine Veteran Michael Peterson’s Durham, North Carolina Murder Trial (2018)

Netflix Premiered ‘The Staircase’: A Docuseries Examining Marine Veteran Michael Peterson’s Durham, North Carolina Murder Trial (2018)


On December 9th, 2001, Kathleen Peterson was found dead at the bottom of a staircase. Did he do it? -The Staircase | Netflix

Season 1:

1. Crime or Accident? Following his wife’s suspicious death, Michael Peterson speaks about his version of the events while lawyers and expert witnesses prepare for trial.
2. Secrets and Lies: As Michael’s hidden life comes out into the open, defense experts debate if it will have a significant impact on the coming trial.
3. A Striking Coincidence: The defense team is shaken when a suspicious event from the past comes to light. Later, the team visits Michael’s first wife in Germany.
4. A Proseuction Trickery: As the trial looms and media attention heats up, an autopsy report’s wording ruffles the feathers of the defense team.
5. A Weak Case: The prosecution presents its case while the defense strives to cast a reasonable doubt within the minds of the jury.
6. The Prosecution’s Revenge: A witness brings surprising levity to the stand, the judge rules on an important matter, and Michael’s alleged temper comes under scrutiny.
7. The Blow Poke Returns: Kathleen’s sisters pore over Michael’s writings. Jurors visit the staircase at Michael’s home. A vital piece of evidence reappears.
8. The Verdict: Is Michael Peterson guilty or not guilty? The jury delivers its verdict regarding the mysterious death of his wife, Kathleen.
9. Reopening the Case: Eight years later, the possibility that a key witness for the prosecution may have misled the jury could prompt the need for a new trial.
10. The Last Chance: After more experts testify about the questionable conclusions and claims of Duane Deaver, the judge rules on whether a new trial is necessary.
11. Looking for Closure: Following two and a half years of house arrest, Michael must decide whether to push for a plea or risk his freedom with a new trial.
12. Between Anger and Despair: Their faith in the justice system forever shaken, Michael and his family discuss what they can hope to achieve by continuing the fight.
13. Flawed Justice: Michael speaks to a reporter about the reasons behind his plea. Later, Kathleen’s sister delivers a statement of defiance in court.

Source: The Staircase, Netflix

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Investigation Discovery Premiered ‘An American Murder Mystery: The Staircase’ (April 8, 2018)


‘Reversal of Fortune’ | An American Murder Mystery: The Staircase

Michael Peterson appears to have it all – a doting wife, a loving family and a successful literary career – but, that all changes on December 9, 2001, when Michael’s wife, Kathleen, is found dead in a pool of blood at the bottom of a staircase in their home in Durham, North Carolina. Michael claims it was a tragic accident. Investigators, however, fear something far more sinister is at play and direct their attention to him. Did Michael Peterson murder his wife? Investigation Discovery (ID) delves into one of the most fascinating cases in criminal history in AN AMERICAN MURDER MYSTERY: THE STAIRCASE. Premiering Sunday, April 8 at 10/9c, the three-part special event provides a unique and comprehensive look at the death of Kathleen Peterson, exploring the shocking theories, critical evidence and surprising secrets that thrust this case into the national spotlight.

Read more here.

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. Download the ID Go app and binge away. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.


With the knowledge of the criminal evidence against him, Aphrodite Jones speaks with convicted murderer, Michael Peterson, about the murder of his wife and his bisexual affair. -True Crime with Aphrodite Jones

Related Links:

MJFA Links:
Military Widow Elizabeth Ratliff Found Deceased at the Bottom of Stairs in Germany; Michael Peterson Last Person to See Alive, Adopted Ratliff’s 2 Daughters (Nov. 25, 1985)
Kathleen Hunt Found Deceased at Bottom of Stairs in NC Home; Spouse Michael Peterson Pleaded Guilty to Manslaughter to Avoid Second Trial (Dec. 9, 2001)
Marine Corps Veteran Michael Peterson Convicted of the Murder of Wife Kathleen; Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (October 10, 2003)
Marine Vet Michael Peterson Pleaded Guilty to Manslaughter of Wife Kathleen to Avoid 2nd Trial; Agreed to Alford Plea, Released with Time Served (Feb. 24, 2017)
Netflix Premiered ‘The Staircase’: A Docuseries Examining Marine Veteran Michael Peterson’s Durham, North Carolina Murder Trial (2018)

Kathleen Hunt Found Deceased at Bottom of Stairs in NC Home; Spouse Michael Peterson Pleaded Guilty to Manslaughter to Avoid Second Trial (Dec. 9, 2001)

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Kathleen Hunt Peterson (December 9, 2001)

Kathleen Hunt Peterson was found deceased by her husband Michael Peterson at the bottom of the stairs in her Durham, North Carolina home. When investigators arrived at the home, they were suspicious because the scene did not appear to match Michael’s theory of what had occurred. Kathleen’s head had been bludgeoned with a blunt instrument. Once the prosecutors learned that Michael also found military widow Elizabeth Ratliff deceased at the bottom of her stairs in Germany, they felt this was not a coincidence. Michael Peterson and his wife at the time adopted Ratliff’s two daughters. Years later Peterson divorced his wife and eventually married Kathleen Hunt (Peterson). Sixteen years after Ratliff died, Kathleen was dead and it was in the same manner as Elizabeth Ratliff. Investigators decided that they needed to take a look at the Ratliff case again and exhumed her body. Peterson was never charged with the death of Elizabeth Ratliff and her two daughters stand behind their adopted father.

After an extensive investigation, Michael Peterson was charged with the first degree murder of his wife Kathleen Peterson. In 2003, Peterson was convicted of the first degree murder of Kathleen and sentenced to life in prison with no parole. Although a few years later in 2011 Michael Peterson was able to get a retrial on appeal. In the second trial, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2017, using an Alford Plea, and was freed from prison with time served after 8 years. Investigation Discovery (ID) featured a series called “An American Murder Mystery: The Staircase” that showcased the case details of both Elizabeth Ratliff and Kathleen Peterson. Michael Peterson maintains his innocence and his attorney’s theorized that an owl most likely caused the injuries on Kathleen’s head. Netflix is also featuring a series titled “The Staircase” and it is premiering on June 8, 2018. The ID docu-series left the viewer seriously questioning the actions of the courts after Peterson was released.


With the knowledge of the criminal evidence against him, Aphrodite Jones speaks with convicted murderer, Michael Peterson, about the murder of his wife and his bisexual affair. -True Crime with Aphrodite Jones

Related Links:
Novelist Accused In Wife’s Death
Finances continue to dominate novelist’s murder trial
Plea in wife’s staircase death lets man maintain innocence
Michael Peterson: Author charged in wife’s murder
Mike Peterson Found Guilty Of First-Degree Murder, Taken To Central Prison
Peterson Trial: Verdict: Guilty – Durham novelist sentenced to life term in wife’s death
N.C. appeals court grants new trial for Michael Peterson
A New Trial for Michael Peterson
Novelist Michael Peterson gets new trial
Wait continues for Peterson retrial; assistant DA would prosecute and Hudson again would preside
Mike Peterson seeks dismissal of murder charge in wife’s killing
Durham novelist Michael Peterson back in court for motions hearing
Michael Peterson asks gay porn evidence be kept out of retrial
Author in case covered by ‘Dateline’ wants gay porn kept out of new trial
Michael Peterson Will Plead Guilty to Manslaughter, But He Still Claims He Didn’t Do It
Attorney: NC novelist reaches plea deal in 2001 murder case
Writer accepts plea deal that allows him to maintain innocence in wife’s death
Mike Peterson walks free as 15-year murder case ends with plea deal
Plea in wife’s staircase death lets man maintain innocence
Wealthy novelist walks FREE despite being convicted of his wife’s manslaughter at a retrial because he has already spent eight years behind bars
After Fifteen Years, the Michael Peterson Case Concludes But Provides Little Closure
How Did Kathleen Peterson Die? Watch an Exclusive Clip from An American Murder Mystery: The Staircase
Closure in the death of Kathleen Peterson 16 years too late – Tom Gasparoli
The Final Answer to a 16-Year Murder Mystery: Did Noted Novelist Kill His Wife in Their Mansion?
Some People Blame Kathleen Peterson’s Death on Husband Mike Peterson, Others Blame It on an Owl
An American Murder Mystery: The Staircase Steps Up Kathleen Peterson Coverage
‘An American Murder Mystery: The Staircase’ Sneak Peek: Neighbor Says an Owl Killed Kathleen Peterson
Investigation Discovery Explores Death of Kathleen Peterson in An American Murder Mystery: The Staircase
Who was Kathleen Peterson, did her husband Michael Peterson kill her and what is the Staircase doc about?
Murder Most Fowl: Did An Owl Commit the Michael Peterson “Staircase Murder”?
‘Gallons’ Of Blood & Unsolved Murder: Inside Kathleen Hunt’s Grisly Crime Scene
Investigation Discovery’s ‘Staircase’ looks at the Michael Peterson case
‘An American Murder Mystery:’ Neighbor Says an Owl Killed Kathleen Peterson
The Staircase: A True Crime Documentary That Surprises Even After It Ends
Beyond Reasonable Doubt?: The story of Michael and Kathleen Peterson
The Staircase/Michael Peterson Owl Theory, Alford Pleas & A Stranglers Podcast Review
Novelist, whose conviction in wife’s death was overturned, says he’s innocent despite manslaughter plea
Bizarre Murder Theory: Was Kathleen Hunt Peterson Killed by Owls?
Did famous novelist Michael Peterson batter his ‘beloved’ wife to death with a poker in their luxury mansion?
‘The Staircase’ Revisits a Man Convicted of Murder
The Michael Peterson “Staircase Murder”: 5 Facts You Need to Know Now
Orlando Hudson, Jim Hardin open up on BBC’s Peterson case podcast
Where Is Michael Peterson In 2018? His Wife’s Death Has Fascinated True Crime Fans For Years
Where Are Michael Peterson’s Kids In 2018? ‘The Staircase’ Trial Caused A Rift In The Family
Coincidental Deaths? | CBS
Reversal of Fortune’, Part 1 | Dateline NBC
‘The Staircase’: Money, Sex and Secrets | ABC
Reversal of Fortune | An American Murder Mystery: The Staircase | ID
Lightning Strikes Twice | An American Murder Mystery: The Staircase | ID
I Whispered Her Name | An American Murder Mystery: The Staircase | ID
An American Murder Mystery: The Staircase | Investigation Discovery

MJFA Links:
Military Widow Elizabeth Ratliff Found Deceased at the Bottom of Stairs in Germany; Michael Peterson Last Person to See Alive, Adopted Ratliff’s 2 Daughters (Nov. 25, 1985)
Marine Corps Veteran Michael Peterson Convicted of the Murder of Wife Kathleen; Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (October 10, 2003)
Marine Vet Michael Peterson Pleaded Guilty to Manslaughter of Wife Kathleen to Avoid 2nd Trial; Agreed to Alford Plea, Released with Time Served (Feb. 24, 2017)
Investigation Discovery Premiered ‘An American Murder Mystery: The Staircase’ (April 8, 2018)
Netflix Premiered ‘The Staircase’: A Docuseries Examining Marine Veteran Michael Peterson’s Durham, North Carolina Murder Trial (2018)


Investigators are stunned to discover that sixteen years ago, Michael Peterson’s good friend Liz Ratliff also died at the bottom of a staircase, lying in a pool of blood. The trial begins and experts battle over the interpretation of blood spatter. -An American Murder Mystery: The Staircase

Military Widow Elizabeth Ratliff Found Deceased at the Bottom of Stairs in Germany; Michael Peterson Last Person to See Alive, Adopted Ratliff’s 2 Daughters (Nov. 25, 1985)

peterson002

Elizabeth Ratliff (November 25, 1985)

Elizabeth Ratliff was found deceased at the bottom of the stairs in her home in Germany on November 25, 1985 in an apparent accident. Elizabeth was a military widow who was raising two daughters on her own after her husband, an Army soldier, died in a training accident. Elizabeth was a teacher at an Air Force base in Germany where she met Marine veteran Michael Peterson‘s wife, also a teacher. They all quickly formed a friendship and Elizabeth and her two daughters spent a lot of time with the Petersons. It is believed that Peterson was the last person to see Elizabeth alive and after Elizabeth died, Michael Peterson and his wife adopted her two daughters. Initially Elizabeth’s death was deemed an accidental death but when Michael Peterson’s new wife Kathleen Hunt Peterson was found dead at the bottom of her stairs in their home in Durham, North Carolina, investigators gave Elizabeth’s death a second look. The district attorney ordered the exhumation of Elizabeth Ratliff in Texas in an effort to re-examine her body to determine cause of death. The medical examiner conducted an investigation in North Carolina and ruled that the cause of death was a homicidal assault despite the initial finding of cerebral hemorrhage due to an accident. Michael Peterson was never charged with the homicide of Elizabeth Ratliff. As a side note, the two deceased women not only died in a similar fashion but they looked eerily alike.


With the knowledge of the criminal evidence against him, Aphrodite Jones speaks with convicted murderer, Michael Peterson, about the murder of his wife and his bisexual affair. -True Crime with Aphrodite Jones

Related Links:

MJFA Links:
Kathleen Hunt Found Deceased at Bottom of Stairs in NC Home; Spouse Michael Peterson Pleaded Guilty to Manslaughter to Avoid Second Trial (Dec. 9, 2001)
Marine Corps Veteran Michael Peterson Convicted of the Murder of Wife Kathleen; Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (October 10, 2003)
Marine Vet Michael Peterson Pleaded Guilty to Manslaughter of Wife Kathleen to Avoid 2nd Trial; Agreed to Alford Plea, Released with Time Served (Feb. 24, 2017)
Investigation Discovery Premiered ‘An American Murder Mystery: The Staircase’ (April 8, 2018)
Netflix Premiered ‘The Staircase’: A Docuseries Examining Marine Veteran Michael Peterson’s Durham, North Carolina Murder Trial (2018)


Investigators are stunned to discover that sixteen years ago, Michael Peterson’s good friend Liz Ratliff also died at the bottom of a staircase, lying in a pool of blood. The trial begins and experts battle over the interpretation of blood spatter. -An American Murder Mystery: The Staircase