Court agrees to new trial for Durham novelist accused of killing wife

RALEIGH, WAKE COUNTY - A North Carolina appeals court agrees that a Durham novelist should be given a new trial in the 2001 death of his wife.

Michael Peterson was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Kathleen Peterson, who was found at the bottom of a staircase in the couple's Durham home.

The 68-year-old Peterson has maintained his wife died in an accidental fall after drinking alcohol and taking Valium.

In 2011, a judge ordered a new trial after ruling that a State Bureau of Investigation agent gave false and misleading testimony.

The state Attorney General's Office asked the appeals court to reinstate the murder conviction.

But the appeals court on Tuesday upheld the judge's ruling, saying the newly discovered met all the requirements for granting Peterson a new trial.

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