Michael Peterson's former stepdaughter wants her $25 million

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Friday, October 20, 2017
New complaint in Michael Peterson case
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Michael Peterson

DURHAM, North Carolina (WTVD) -- The former step-daughter of Durham author Michael Peterson hasn't seen a dime of the $25 million wrongful death lawsuit payout she is owed, according to a newly filed complaint.

Caitlin Atwater Clark was awarded the judgment in 2007, four years after Michael Peterson was found guilty of the murder of Atwater Clark's mother Kathleen.

"As of the date of filing of this complaint, the defendant has not paid any money in satisfaction of the Judgment against him," a newly-filed court document reads.

Atwater Clark says with interest, she is now owed $30 million. She has also filed a motion to gain possession of all trial evidence.

"Should the defendant attempt to collaterally attack the Wrongful Death Judgment, the plaintiff needs and desires to be in possession of the documents, photographs, video and other physical evidence which were entered into the record during the trial for Defendant's Murder conviction," the motion says. "No persons other than the plaintiff have a stronger, more legitimate, and more compelling motive and purpose for possessing and controlling the above-referenced trial evidence..."

The grueling 3-month trial in 2003 attracted national attention. Peterson was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

After various appeals, Peterson was granted a new trial in December 2011 when the judge ruled a key prosecution witness, former State Crime Lab blood analyst Duane Deaver, lied during the first trial.

Before the new trial went to court, Peterson entered an Alford plea on voluntary manslaughter charges and walked free on February 24, 2017. Peterson claimed the evidence against him was made up and witnesses lied. But he said he took the deal because he felt the system was rigged against him. Peterson said his son told him "the odds are against you. You'll never win. Pick up your chips and go home."

The wrongful death settlement was reportedly payable only if Peterson's conviction stood, but Clark's attorney said Thursday the change in the criminal conviction has no effect on the civil judgment against him and Clark believes she is still owed millions.