Kathleen Hunt Atwater Peterson was found dead at the bottom of her staircase in her Durham mansion on December 9, 2001. Her husband, Michael Peterson, had called 911 saying she’d fallen down, but was soon convicted of her murder. Eight years after he was sentenced to life in prison, he was granted a new trial following the discrediting of a prosecution witness.
Now, with its new docuseries, An American Murder Mystery: The Staircase, ID is exploring the perplexing death of the beloved engineer and philanthropist, and the chilling details behind her horrific crime scene.
“We’re pulling up to the house and I’m just expecting to be able to walk in the house but the whole property is surrounded with yellow crime scene tape,” Candace Hunt Zamperini, Kathleen’s youngest sister, says in the show teaser.
“The police officer said ‘this is a crime scene’ and I’m just like ‘what makes you think it’s a crime?’ He’s like ‘well there’s a lot of blood.’”
Candace claimed she was so confused by the event that she didn’t grasp what the police officer was saying to her, despite the fact that he repeated it eight to ten times.
“There is a lot of blood,” he allegedly told her. “You need to prepare yourself.”
After investigators completed their work, the scene was released and the family was allowed inside.
“We walk in the house, and when we get to the staircase and we look, there’s blood washed up on the walls, like gallons,” recalled Candace of the grisly crime scene. “It is eight to ten feet high on the walls, it’s thick on the floor, it’s up on the stairs, there’s just blood everywhere.”
An American Murder Mystery: The Staircase airs Sunday, April 8 at 10/9c.
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