A North Carolina judge ruled that the 2003 murder conviction of novelist Michael Peterson was obtained with “materially misleading” and “deliberately false” testimony from a State Bureau of Investigation agent who was the most crucial witness in a case that spawned TV movies, books, and a film, reports the Raleigh News & Observer. Judge Orlando Hudson had previously said from the bench that misconduct by agent Duane Deaver required a new trial, and set Peterson free on bond.
Peterson spent eight years in prison in the killing of his wife, Kathleen. Hudson said Peterson’s rights were violated because Deaver “deliberately and intentionally” misled the court and jurors, particularly about his education, experience, and the scientific basis for conclusions he made that Peterson had killed his wife. An attorney for Deaver, who was fired last year ear amid questions about several cases, said, “I 100 percent, categorically dispute and disagree with the findings in the judge's order.”