Durham novelist asks for court-appointed lawyer as he seeks new trial in wife's death

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DURHAM, North Carolina — The Durham novelist asking for a new trial in the death of his wife nearly 13 years ago is asking for a court-appointed lawyer.

Multiple media outlets reported that Michael Peterson said Thursday he cannot afford an attorney for a possible retrial.

Peterson was convicted in 2003 of killing his wife, Kathleen. She was found dead at the base of a stairwell in their Durham home in 2001.

Durham Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson in 2011 overturned the verdict against Peterson after his lawyers questioned the qualifications of one of the prosecution witnesses. The North Carolina Court of Appeals agreed with Hudson's decision last year and the North Carolina Supreme Court refused to consider the case.

Durham prosecutors are considering whether to re-try Peterson or negotiate a plea deal.

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