Michael Peterson to plead guilty to manslaughter in wife's death

Durham novelist Michael Peterson has agreed to plead guilty to manslaughter in the 2001 death of his wife Kathleen.

His retrial on a murder charge was set for May 8.

In a statement to ABC11, Peterson's attorney David Rudolf said "We have reached an agreement with the Durham County District Attorney's office that will resolve all charges against Michael Peterson. A hearing on the agreement has been scheduled for February 24, 2017 at 11 am."

Peterson, who was also a former newspaper columnist and candidate for mayor of Durham, was convicted of first-degree murder in 2003 and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

However in 2011, he was ordered released pending a new trial by Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson. Hudson found that SBI blood analyst Duane Deaver gave false and misleading testimony at Peterson's first trial.

The North Carolina Supreme Court later upheld that decision.

Kathleen Peterson was found at the bottom of a bloody staircase in the couple's mansion. Peterson has maintained his wife died in an accidental fall after drinking alcohol and taking Valium.

Peterson is currently out of jail.
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