Essay: Michael Peterson Mock Trial Opening Statements

Your honor, the case we have at hand of Michael Peterson has to a great extend attracted publicity by the fact that nobody believes that a staircase can be a cause of murder. The allusion of the fact that Mrs. Peterson’s death is not an accident but a crime perpetrated by Mr. Peterson has clouded the minds of many. The entire case and the burden of proof that rests with the prosecution has made it look like the liability fully lies with Mr. Peterson. However, it has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt so that justice prevails.

My name is Jackson Price, a district attorney appearing for the defense of Mr. Peterson and his family.

My Client Mr. Peterson narrates the flow of events as of December 19th, 2001, when his wife died after falling on a staircase in their forest residence where they lived peacefully. On the fateful night, as was their routine, they both drunk a couple of beers after dinner and went to the pool as that was the best place to relax as they listened to the sound of the fountain that was therein. As they were relaxing in the pool (Mr. and Mrs. Peterson and their dog), Mrs. Peterson decided to pick something from the living room upstairs but delayed coming back.

Mr. Peterson decided to check what the issue was or why it had taken his wife so long to come back. However, surprisingly he found his wife Kathleen lying at the edge of the stairs in a pool of blood from what looked like a fall from the top staircase since she had hit her head several times. Nevertheless, she was still breathing, and Mr. Peterson called for help, which arrived too late since when the ambulance arrived, Kathleen was already dead.

The pain he suffered notwithstanding, the police believed that the accident that Kathleen had suffered was not real but a crime perpetrated by Mr. Peterson. This has left my client devastated and wondering whether rights and freedoms as provided for in the constitution are meant to protect the United States’ citizens or harm them.

The evidence will show that my client is innocent since, on this fateful day, he is the one who called for help after his wife had the fatal accident.

The evidence will also show that the bruises Mrs. Peterson suffered were not caused by any beatings that might have been alleged to be perpetrated by my client, but rather from the falling on the staircase, which is proof from forensic experts.

The evidence will also show that my client has no record of being violent, information collected from people who know him well; that is, his family, and close relatives.

Nevertheless, you’ll hear from the prosecution that my client’s livelihood is not clear. After he married Kathleen, he moved to Vietnam, where he was involved in peacekeeping, and Kathleen moved to Germany, where she was a teacher. Thus the prosecution would be trying to bring out the aspect that he and Kathleen were not close enough. The prosecution will also try to claim that my client is a liar because when he left the marine, he says he was injured, of which he does not have any markings of injury of which I consider an intrusion of his privacy. The prosecution will also allege that my client is bisexual since, on his computer, there were found emails and pornographic male photos.

However, in a nutshell, I would like to confirm that my client is innocent since there is no circumstantial evidence that ties him to the killing of Kathleen, not even the exhumed body of Elizabeth Ratliff, his friend’s wife who died 17 years ago. All I can say is that my client is only suffering the fate of being a loving husband and being the first person to report his wife’s fateful accident. Thus, the government should help him mourn the death of his wife and not be on his neck, claiming that he is responsible for her death.