Michael Peterson, The Staircase, one of Netflix’s most captivating and divisive true crime documentaries, centers on. From the time of his wife’s passing in December 2001 until his release in 2017, the documentary follows Michael Peterson. Michael’s wife was discovered at the bottom of a staircase in the couple’s home, lying in a pool of blood.
Michael was the only person in the building with Kathleen when she died, so investigators zeroed in on him as the main suspect right away. The jury determined that there was enough evidence to convict Michael of first-degree murder and sentence him to life in prison.
Where is Michael Peterson Now?
Michael received a reprieve when prosecutors misconduct compelled the judge to order a fresh trial for him in 2011. Peter entered an Alford plea to the lower charge of manslaughter before the start of the second trial and was released because he had previously spent time for murder.
Peterson stays out of the spotlight by leading a simple life in Durham, North Carolina. Without the dishonesty of SBI analyst Duane Deaver, Michael Peterson most likely would still be behind bars. Blood splatter expert Duane Deaver had claimed that the evidence suggested murder.
He was found guilty in 2010 of failing to provide vital evidence to other defense attorneys. The court mandated a retrial for Peterson as a result of the significance of Duane’s testimony.
Before the trial was scheduled to start in 2017, Michael decided to withdraw. He opted to enter an Alford Plea for manslaughter instead. He acknowledged that the prosecution had sufficient evidence to get a manslaughter conviction by entering the plea.
After his release, Peterson relocated to Durham, North Carolina. It was long past time he had some much-needed quiet after having his life torn apart and scrutinized by the media for almost two decades.
But he was still troubled by the case that had consumed so much of his life. He self-published two books in 2019 called Behind the Staircase and Beyond the Staircase that gives his perspective on the events.
His pre-incarceration wealth is no longer present. He didn’t get Kathleen’s life insurance policy, so his stepdaughter Caitlin sued Michael for wrongful death and won a $25 million payout.
Since he wouldn’t be permitted to keep the royalties from his book for himself, Michael donates them to charity. Additionally, he believes that by agreeing to pay, he would be confessing to Kathleen’s murder.
Michael consequently leads a simple life in Durham, North Carolina. He leads a quiet life and occasionally appears in the media to talk about that fateful staircase.
Patricia, Peterson’s ex-wife, died of a heart attack while they were still living together.
After getting married to Patricia Sue in 1968, Michael Peterson had two sons, Todd and Clayton. The couple became divorced, which made Michael’s union with Kathleen Atwater possible.
Sue stood with Peterson throughout his trial, detention, and release. In 2019, the couple moved in together. According to Clayton, “They were friends.” “They looked out for one another.”
Patricia and Michael split up following her fatal heart attack in July 2021.
In the most recent account of Kathleen Peterson’s murder and Michael Peterson’s efforts to establish his innocence, Colin Firth portrays Michael Peterson. Before portraying Michael in HBO’s The Staircase, Firth told Deadline that he had never met the man. He clarified:
“Although these are fictional characters, we all know where they came from. We are all aware that the names of these characters are those of real people, but it has been very carefully chosen to convey the story in a particular manner. I had the impression that I wanted to maintain as much of the script’s and its writer’s inspiration, motivation, and spirit of the source material as feasible.
Even though he admitted to manslaughter, Michael maintains his innocence.
Michael continues to insist that he did not kill Kathleen Peterson after entering a guilty plea. Michael was the last person to see Elizabeth Ratliff in 1985 before she was found dead at the foot of a stairway, which was one of the trial’s most perplexing disclosures.
Authorities concluded that Elizabeth had a brain hemorrhage before she fell down the steps. Ratliff’s remains were unearthed in Texas, and the North Carolina medical examiner examined them once more in 2003.
He concluded that she had been murdered with blunt force trauma. The verdict, which portrayed Michael as a killer with a penchant for throwing his victims downstairs, undoubtedly helped lead to his guilt.
Michael adamantly denies murdering Kathleen or Elizabeth. He revealed to Dr. Phil in 2019 that Elizabeth had a stroke before falling down the stairs.
Since his release, Michael has stayed away from homes with stairs, which is possibly a wise decision. David Rudolf, the defense lawyer, discussed Michael’s current living circumstances with Oxygen:
I’m unsure of his motivation for doing so, although he lives in Durham. He lives on the ground floor, which was a fairly crucial aspect of his accommodations.
HBO Max will play a new season of The Staircase on our TVs. Michael Peterson will be portrayed by Colin Firth, and Margaret Ratliff, one of Michael’s adopted kids, will be portrayed by Sophie Turner. The Staircase’s premiere date has not yet been specified by HBO.