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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Marine Corps Veteran Laurel Chasmar Shot to Death Outside New Jersey Home by Ex-Boyfriend Hassan Shahid in Apparent Murder-Suicide (2017)

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Laurel Chasmar, US Marine Corps Veteran

Marine Corps veteran Laurel Chasmar, 28, was shot and killed outside her Morris Plains, New Jersey home on August 5, 2017. Laurel was apparently in a relationship at one point with Hassan Shahid, 32, who is accused of her murder. Hassan Shahid of Jersey City was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Morris township after he allegedly killed Laurel. According to reports, Laurel and Hassan worked together at one of the Novartis facilities in New Jersey and dated for a time but it appears Chasmar ended things and then complained to the police that he was harassing her.

Related Links
Man, Woman Found Dead In Possible Murder-Suicide In Morris County, Sources Say
Two dead identified in Morris Plains murder-suicide
Authorities identify pair killed in apparent murder-suicide
Marine gunned down by her ex-boyfriend outside NJ home, officials say
Mayor: Morris Plains murder victim dated, then complained of ‘harassment’ by shooter
Slain Morris Plains woman, a Marine Corps veteran, had made complaints against killer
Marine shot to death by ex-boyfriend tried to flee her killer, mayor says
Slain Morris Plains Woman Complained About Harassment By Shooter: Reports

Camp Pendleton Marine LCpl. Cody Haley Died After a Tree Fell on Him During Routine Physical Training in California, Under Investigation (2017)

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LCpl. Cody Haley, US Marine Corps

The 1st Marine Division announced in a news release Marine Lance Cpl. Cody Haley, 20, was doing routine physical training when he was struck and killed on August 4, 2017 by a falling tree at Camp Pendleton, California. LCpl. Haley was from Hardin, Iowa and deployed with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in 2016. The Marine Corps report the incident is under investigation.

Related Links:
Camp Pendleton Marine killed when tree falls on him
Camp Pendleton Marine dies in tragic accident
Camp Pendleton Marine Killed by Falling Tree
Falling tree kills California-based Marine from Iowa
Camp Pendleton Marine killed in accident on base, officials say
Camp Pendleton Marine killed in accident on base
20-year-old Marine killed in apparent accident at Camp Pendleton
Marine killed by falling tree during training at Camp Pendleton
Mom of killed Iowa Marine: ‘I’ve been his biggest fan since he was in tee-ball’
Marines probing tree fall that killed serviceman during training at Camp Pendleton
Violent Crime, Non Combat Death, and Suicide at Camp Pendleton, California (US Marine Corps)

Letter of Support for Save Our Heroes in Our Shared Quest for Military Justice Reform & Constitutional Rights

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October 1, 2016

U.S. House of Representatives
United States Senate
Washington, DC

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a letter of support for Save Our Heroes. We recognized immediately that Save Our Heroes and victims of crimes both want similar changes in the military justice system. Save Our Heroes is asking for three specific legislative/policy changes to restore fundamental fairness in the military justice system:

1. Remove all Commanders authority from decision-making in the legal system.
2. The number of panel members should be increased to 12 for General Courts Martial.
3. Any conviction at Courts Martial shall require a unanimous verdict.

These requests by Save Our Heroes are similar to the overall changes that victims of crimes in the military have lobbied for, specifically that Commanders be removed from the reporting and decision-making process because of fear of bias, lack of investigative training, and the power to discharge and/or punish with the stroke of a pen. Save Our Heroes is requesting the same changes because ultimately both the victims and accused are looking for a military justice system that mirrors the civilian justice system while respecting the need of the Commanding Officer to ensure discipline is maintained within their command. We want a justice system where crimes are reported to legal authorities and not a Commander who is an authority figure with the power to impact your entire life. We want a justice system where crimes will be investigated thoroughly by unbiased military criminal investigative organizations looking for the truth. We want a justice system that provides the same constitutional rights as those provided in the civilian justice system. Save Our Heroes is specifically asking for changes that are commonplace in the civilian justice system, like a jury of twelve of our peers and a unanimous verdict. Our military deserves no less.

Victims of crimes in the military are asking for a military justice system that provides due process for the accuser and the accused. Crime victims want the ability to go to trial based on an independent prosecutor’s decision to charge because there was sufficient evidence to move forward with a case. Crime victims want those people who level false accusations, and engage in other abuses of the process, to be held accountable. While we recognize that false reports represent a small percentage of total reports (between 2-8 percent based on Bureau of Justice Statistics data), those who do falsely accuse are hurting the real victims of these crimes and should be held accountable through the same impartial military justice system. Both the accusers and the accused are asking for due process, which is best accomplished by a system that mirrors the civilian justice system. Currently, Commanders have control of the process when the accused, accuser, defense attorneys, and prosecutors should have control over the process.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Norris, Military Justice for All
Stephanie Schroeder, US Human Rights Network & UN Board Member
Brian Lewis, Men Recovering from Military Sexual Trauma

Marine Veteran & Civilian Contractor Kenneth Gadson Accused of Raping and Murdering a Japanese Citizen; Admitted to the Crimes But Claims Not Premeditated (May 19, 2016)

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Kenneth Gadson, USMC Veteran

On May 19, 2016, US Marine Corps veteran, Kenneth Gadson, was arrested for the rape and murder of Rina Shimabukuro, 20, a Japanese citizen he chose at random. Gadson was working as a military contractor in Japan and used his wife’s Japanese family name Shinzato. Gadson admitted to the crimes but claims it was not premeditated. Gadson’s attorney requested that jurisdiction of the case be changed to the Tokyo District Court to ensure a fair trial for his client as the crimes sparked outrage in Okinawa resulting in protests and demands that the US military leave Japan.

Related Links:
Former Marine is prime suspect in murder of Okinawa woman
Ex-marine now prime suspect in Japan rape-murder
Okinawa suspect married to local woman; couple have infant
Former U.S. Marine arrested in Okinawa over murder case
U.S. military contractor arrested after Japanese woman’s body found, sparking outrage on Okinawa
Ex-U.S. vet’s arrest in Okinawa woman’s death stirs outrage
Ex-U.S. Marine charged in 20-year-old woman’s rape, murder
U.S. Contractor Kenneth Shinzato Charged in Okinawa Murder
Former Marine charged with murder, rape in Okinawa woman’s death
US military worker on Okinawa is arrested on suspicion of killing Japanese woman, 20, just days before Obama is due to visit Hiroshima
Outrage in Japan as U.S. Marine veteran arrested in connection with death of woman on Okinawa
Massive rally to protest ex-Marine’s arrest in killing of Okinawa woman
Thousands to call for US troops’ exit from Okinawa
Abe Voices Outrage After Former U.S. Marine Is Arrested in Okinawa Killing
Japan ‘outraged’ after US airbase worker arrested in murder case
Okinawa base imposes curfew on US troops after woman’s death
4th of July canceled after ex-marine’s rape & murder of Japanese woman
US military lifts some restrictions on sailors in Japan
The Suitcase Murder Tearing the U.S. and Japan Apart
Trying to find U.S.-Japanese harmony amid the discord of a death in Okinawa
Defense attorney says Okinawa confession made in a daze
Defendant in Okinawa slaying seeks change of venue
US Military Worker Wants His Murder Trial Moved off Okinawa
Shinzato’s murder trial must be held in Okinawa: Supreme Court
Former Kadena worker reveals gruesome details of Okinawan woman’s death
Former U.S. Marine charged with raping, killing Japanese woman says he heard voices in his head and fantasized about kidnapping

Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Iraq)

Map of Iraq

    • 111 US women died in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)
    • 69 female soldiers considered Combat Death (63%)
    • 41 female soldiers considered Non-Combat Death (37%)
    • 1 civilian journalist from the Boston Globe died in a vehicle accident
    • Non-Combat Death: Homicide, Suicide, Unknown, Accidents, Medical
      • Combat: 69 (63%)
      • Homicide/Suicide/Unknown: 23 (21%)
      • Accidents: 12 (11%)
      • Medical: 6 (5%)
    • 36 of 41 Non-Combat Deaths are in Army (88%) 

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2010
2 Jul 10: Spc Morganne McBeth, US Army (homicide, stabbed by another soldier)
8 Mar 10: SSG Lakeshia Bailey, US Army (vehicle rollover, accident)
21 Feb 10: CWO2 Billie Grinder, Tennessee Army National Guard (hard landing, family sued helicopter maker for faulty system that caused crash and settled)
10 Feb 10: Pfc Adriana Alvarez, US Army (gunshot wound, under investigation)

2009
4 Nov 09: SSG Amy (Seyboth) Tirador, US Army (gunshot wound, Army claimed suicide, family believes execution style murder, cold case)

2008
19 Oct 08: LCpl Stacy Dryden, US Marine Corps (fight with fellow soldier, homicide, cold case)
1 Sep 08: SSG Renee Deville, US Army (injured in Iraq, died unexpectedly at Walter Reed Army Medical Center after graduating from NCO course)
14 Aug 08: Pvt Janelle King, US Army (non combat related incident, under investigation)
2 Aug 08: Pfc Jennifer Cole, US Army (gunshot wound to abdomen, negligent homicide)
17 Jul 08: TSgt Jackie Larsen, US Air Force (medical, natural causes)
9 May 08: Spc Mary Jaenichen, US Army (non-combat related injury, under investigation)
22 Feb 08: Spc Keisha Morgan, US Army (death ruled accidental overdose, family suspects rape and murder, cold case)
25 Jan 08: Sgt Tracy Birkman, US Army (non-combat related injury, under investigation)

2007
20 Sep 07: Capt (Dr) Roselle Hoffmaster, US Army (death ruled suicide)
7 Sep 07: Spc Marisol Heredia, US Army (non-combat injuries, medical, severely burned, died in Texas from infection, under investigation)
16 Aug 07: Spc Kamisha J Block, US Army (gunshot wound, homicide, workplace violence)
9 Aug 07: SSG Alicia Birchett, US Army (vehicle ran over her while she was changing tire, under investigation)
7 Feb 07: Capt Jennifer Harris, US Marine Corps (helicopter crash, no sign that it involved hostile fire, under investigation)
28 Jan 07: Spc Carla Stewart, US Army (wounds sustained when convoy vehicle rolled over)
20 Jan 07: CSM Marilyn Gabbard, Iowa Army National Guard (helicopter crash, might have been shot down, under investigation)

2006
12 Dec 06: Major Gloria Davis, US Army (gunshot wound, death ruled suicide)
26 Nov 06: SSG Jeannette Dunn, US Army (non-combat related injury, under investigation)
4 Sep 06: Pfc Hannah McKinney, US Army (struck by vehicle, family believes rape & murder)
8 Apr 06: L/Cpl Juana Arellano, US Marine Corps (wounds received supporting combat operations)
11 Mar 06: Pfc Amy Duerksen, US Army (non-combat gunshot injury)
1 Mar 06: Pfc Tina Priest, US Army (reported rape, died of non-combat gunshot wound to the chest, cold case)
7 Jan 06: 1LT Jaime Lynn (Krausse) Campbell, Alaska Army National Guard (helicopter crash)

2005
19 Jul 05: Pfc LaVena Johnson, US Army (non-combat gunshot injury, death ruled suicide, family claims rape and murder based on autopsy evidence)
4 Mar 05: Spc Adriana Salem, US Army (accident, military vehicle roll over)
1 Mar 05: Spc Lizbeth Robles, US Army (injuries sustained in a military vehicle accident)
16 Feb 05: Spc Katrina Lani (Johnson) Bell, US Army (accident, vehicle rollover)

2004
13 Dec 04: SSG Tina Time, US Army Reserve (supply truck she was driving during a dust storm collided with another military vehicle)
4 Oct 04: SSG Gina Sparks, US Army (died at Fort Polk, Louisiana from injuries sustained from a gunshot wound in Iraq)
6 Jun 04: Pfc Melissa Hobart, US Army (medical, died after collapsing while on guard duty)
7 Mar 04: Capt Gussie Jones, US Army (non-combat related cause, under investigation)
14 Jan 04: SSG Keicia Hines, US Army (Army reports accidentally struck by a vehicle)

2003
8 Nov 03: SSG Linda Jimenez, US Army (medical, fell running to keep up with friends, died of complications at Walter Reed after a blood clot formed, caused stroke)
1 Oct 03: Spc Tamarra Ramos, US Army (medical, non-combat related injuries, cancer)
15 Sep 03: Spc Alyssa Peterson, US Army (gunshot wound, death ruled suicide)
9 Jul 03: SSG Melissa Valles, US Army (noncombat gunshot wound to abdomen)
8 May 03: CIVILIAN Elizabeth Neuffer, Boston Globe Journalist (automobile accident)

Related Links:
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Afghanistan)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Other Areas)
Noonie Fortin: Killed in Iraq or in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom
Is There an Army Cover-Up of Rape and Murder of Women Soldiers?
U.S. Military Keeping Secrets About Female Soldiers’ ‘Suicides’?
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members

Marine Corps Prosecutor Lt. Col. Thomas Jasper Cleared of Inappropriate Touching by Board of Inquiry at Camp Pendleton (2014)

USMC

On March 1, 2014, Marine Corps Times published Marine sex-assault prosecutor accused of touching woman inappropriately but the article has since been deleted. History of the accusation against Marine prosecutor Lt. Col. Thomas Jasper was located on the Protect Our Defenders Blog. On April 1, 2014, the Marine Corps Times published Marine Corps prosecutor cleared of inappropriate touching and this too has been deleted. History that Lt. Col. Jasper was cleared of the inappropriate touching charge was found on Topix Camp Pendleton.

The Marine Corps Times shouldn’t be deleting history especially history that includes an individual was cleared of charges and is in fact considered an innocent man. Hastily reporting that an individual has been accused of misconduct has long lasting effects. The accusation will forever stay with Lt. Col. Thomas Jasper hence the reason for this post. Lt. Col. Jasper was cleared of the inappropriate touching charges and the Marine Corps Times didn’t do him any justice when they printed the accusation or deleted the fact that he was cleared of the charges.

CAAFlog “Thinking Slowly About Sexual Assault in the Military”:

k fischer says:

Now, what I want to know is why aren’t the national or military media runing with this story?  Why were they quick to villify him and report on a mere allegation as if it were gospel?

It’s because he was the Marine sex assault prosecutor.  What better way to advance the narrative that sexual assault in the Military is out of control and an epidemic if the persons who are charged with prosecuting sexual assault are committing sexual assault???

And, if your question was not merely a rhetorical one, then how does it change your views when the issue of (1) accuser privacy in the press vs. the presumed innocent accused’s lack of privacy in the press or (2) using the term “victim” to describe a complaining witness before anyone is ever convicted, hits so close to home?  I’m sure this is the way Brandon Wright feels right now, but he’s just an Airman first class, so it’s no big deal, right?  The Military has a war to win against it’s number one enemy.  Not Al Qaeda or the North Koreans, but the enemy called sexual assault.

Related Links:
Thomas Jasper | United States Marine Corps Judge Advocate
Marine sex-assault prosecutor accused of touching woman inappropriately (Marine Corps Times)
Marine sex-assault prosecutor accused of touching woman inappropriately
Marine Corps prosecutor cleared of inappropriate touching (Marine Corps Times)
“Thinking Slow About Sexual Assault in the Military” | CAAFlog
Marine Corps prosecutor cleared of inappropriate touching
Marine Lt Col Thomas Jasper – Guantanamo Bay Military Commissions
Iraqi captive at Guantánamo gets Marine lawyer who invaded Iraq
Alleged al Qaida commander fires legal team, paralyzing Guantánamo trial

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Army Sgt. Okan Cetinbag Found Dead at Home With Gunshot Wound to Face on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska; Mother Wants Answers (2014)

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Okan Murat Cetinbag, US Army

Sgt. Okan Cetinbag, 24, of Morton Grove, Illinois died on February 11, 2014 from gunshot injuries sustained on February 7th at his home on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska. Sgt. Cetinbag was an infantryman with Company B, 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment. He joined the Army in January 2013, attended basic and airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia and arrived in Alaska in June 2013. He served with the U.S. Marine Corps, including a combat tour in Afghanistan in 2010, before joining the Army. The Army reported they were investigating the case but did not appear to be cooperating with the mother of Sgt. Cetinbag who has been questioning what happened to her son. Media reports indicate that Sgt. Cetinbag was one of four servicemen from JBER found dead this month: SrA Katrina Jackson on February 15; and SSgt. Darian Miller on February 18; and SSgt. Samuel Davis on February 23.

Related Links:
JBER soldier dies due to injuries
Soldier from Chicago area dies on base in Alaska
Army probes death of Alaska-based soldier
Army probes death of soldier at JBER
Army Probes Death Of Alaska-Based Soldier From Chicago Area
Soldier’s fatal injuries at JBER home being investigated
JBER Soldier’s Fatal Home Injuries Under Investigation
US Army Investigating Death of Morton Grove Soldier Sgt. Okan Murat Cetinbag
Army investigating mysterious death of soldier found unconscious at home just minutes after kissing his wife and daughter goodbye for a night out with his colleagues
‘There is a cover-up’: Mother of Army soldier who died after being shot in the face at home he shared with his wife and six other colleagues claims authorities are hiding something
Soldier’s death marks fourth JBER fatality in a month
JBER airman’s passing marks fourth death in February
Mother Says Army Is Covering Up How Her Son Was Killed


Sgt. Okan Cetinbag was shot in the face at his home on an Alaska Army base. There were six colleagues in the house that day, plus Okan’s wife and young daughter. His mother believes they know what happened and are not telling authorities. -WGN News

Honoring Veteran Justin Eldridge, US Marine Corps, Connecticut (2013)

USMC

Marine Corps veteran Justin Eldridge was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in his Waterford, Connecticut home on October 29, 2013. Justin served in the USMC for 8 1/2 years. After a deployment to Afghanistan he battled with both Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. As a result he was medically retired from the USMC in 2008. Justin was married with four children at the time of his death. Justin’s wife Joanna has continued the fight for our soldiers and veterans. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) honored Justin Eldridge on the Senate Floor and co-sponsored a veteran suicide prevention bill in his name. Joanna attended the 2015 State of the Union in January and the bipartisan suicide prevention bill was signed into law in March 2015.

His final message, posted on his Facebook Page at about 9 p.m., “theres only so much bashing someone can take before they react………” -Waterford Patch

Related Links:
Justin Eldridge Obituary
Justin Eldridge’s Battle With PTSD Ended In Tragedy Last Night
For Waterford veteran, battling PTSD was too tough a fight
Man who killed himself in Waterford was ex-Marine
Former Marine’s suicide in Waterford standoff shocks friends
Marine’s Family Decides To Talk Openly About His Suicide
PTSD cases in veterans on the rise
Why One Man’s Death Is A National Tragedy
U.S. Marine’s Suicide Magnifies Veterans Needs, Says Acclaimed Cowboy Singer R.W. Hampton
In Senate Floor Speech, Blumenthal Honors Heroism Of U.S. Marine Justin Eldridge Of Waterford
Senator Blumenthal honors US Marine Justin Eldridge
Widow continues Marine veteran’s fight
Study: Younger vets have higher suicide risk
Blumenthal wins on veteran suicide prevention bill
Blumenthal-backed veterans suicide prevention bill wins approval
Senate approves Blumenthal’s veteran suicide prevention bill
New Generation Of Veterans Has Higher Suicide Risk, Study Finds
Widow of Connecticut Marine to Attend State of the Union Address
Preventing suicide to save veterans’ lives
Bipartisan veterans suicide prevention act signed into law


In a Senator Floor speech today, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal honors the heroism of United States Marine Justin Eldridge of Waterford, tragic victim of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who took his own life two days ago.

‘Bath Salts,’ ‘Spice’ and US Military: Are Service Members Abusing Synthetic Drugs? (2013)

national-geographic

An undercover investigation for National Geographic explores the availability of powerful synthetic drugs, with names like “spice” and “bath salts,” and its popularity among members of the U.S. military. For the next installment of National Geographic’s “Inside: Secret America” series, which takes an in-depth look at how people can easily purchase synthetic drugs, investigative journalist Mariana van Zeller went undercover with a former Marine and a Marine on active duty in San Diego to local smoke shops as they purchased bath salts.

Read more here.