The Staircase /// 241 /// 242

38 comments

  • Maureen

    Maureen Durham

    Be nice to Durham and those that live here - stop stereotyping! It is a great city and place to live!

    Be nice to Durham and those that live here - stop stereotyping! It is a great city and place to live!

  • SLK

    SLK Nc

    Few things: 1) check out Sophie Brunet — French editor of staircase who was his girlfriend — also looksa Loy like K Peterson and E Radcliffe AND she was his girlfriend until he did he Alford plea then he dumped her 2) Peterson has incredible memory for details (I know from personal reportss from people who know him —- which is VERY helpful in remembering ones lies 3) from reportsnof those who went to the house when they auctioned off items from the home the enormous bookcase along he curved staircase was filled with true crime and murder books 4) medical examiner had multiple other pathologists review and consensus was unanimous that it was murder 5) recall the stats for who the most likely culprit is when a woman get killed

    Few things:
    1) check out Sophie Brunet — French editor of staircase who was his girlfriend — also looksa Loy like K Peterson and E Radcliffe AND she was his girlfriend until he did he Alford plea then he dumped her
    2) Peterson has incredible memory for details (I know from personal reportss from people who know him —- which is VERY helpful in remembering ones lies
    3) from reportsnof those who went to the house when they auctioned off items from the home the enormous bookcase along he curved staircase was filled with true crime and murder books
    4) medical examiner had multiple other pathologists review and consensus was unanimous that it was murder
    5) recall the stats for who the most likely culprit is when a woman get killed

  • Candace

    Candace Rochester, NY

    lol I really can’t believe you guys SERIOUSLY discussed the “owl” theory. Insanity! Before you settle on any theory or even consider one, seriously, keep in mind ALL her injuries. Explain the “fracture with hemorrhage, superior cornu of left thyroid cartilage”. Do any kind of search about where this cartilage is located, what it’s function is & how this injury typically happens. That injury is more than likely due to “homicidal neck compression”. You guys lost me on this one. I think a little more detailed research, you’d see a clearer picture. There’s some logical debate about the exact things that happened but with the injuries she’s sustained, he’s ABSOLUTELY responsible for her death. How? I’m not 100%, aside from strangulation. No step, no owl & no blow poke, can cause the fracture to her thyroid cartilage.

    lol I really can’t believe you guys SERIOUSLY discussed the “owl” theory. Insanity! Before you settle on any theory or even consider one, seriously, keep in mind ALL her injuries. Explain the “fracture with hemorrhage, superior cornu of left thyroid cartilage”. Do any kind of search about where this cartilage is located, what it’s function is & how this injury typically happens. That injury is more than likely due to “homicidal neck compression”. You guys lost me on this one. I think a little more detailed research, you’d see a clearer picture. There’s some logical debate about the exact things that happened but with the injuries she’s sustained, he’s ABSOLUTELY responsible for her death. How? I’m not 100%, aside from strangulation. No step, no owl & no blow poke, can cause the fracture to her thyroid cartilage.

  • Michelle

    Michelle Kansas City, MO

    I watched this originally years ago on a documentary website, then watched it again on Netflix. I came to the same conclusion both times; I believe he killed his wife and the woman in Germany. He is one of the most narcissistic people I have ever seen and comes across as a sociopath to me.

    I watched this originally years ago on a documentary website, then watched it again on Netflix. I came to the same conclusion both times; I believe he killed his wife and the woman in Germany. He is one of the most narcissistic people I have ever seen and comes across as a sociopath to me.

  • True Crime Garage

    True Crime Garage

    My apologies to Durham but I do want to point out that is what the prosecution was counting on - in the first trial. Cheers Nic

    My apologies to Durham but I do want to point out that is what the prosecution was counting on - in the first trial.
    Cheers Nic

  • Rachel

    Rachel Amherst

    I have a theory after watching the documentary and listening to your podcast. What if he attacked his wife outside with a stick from the yard. It would account for the wood sliver and also the feathers (they were already on the branch from an owl that was recently perched there before the branch fell out of the tree.). She then begins to run into the house. He chases her. When she gets to the stairs he pulls her backward. She falls down the stairs and lands close to where they found her. She is disoriented and cant get up. He stands in front of her and grabs her hair and slams her head back against the door jamb/frame. She instinctively reaches up to where his hand is and that is how she gets her own hair in her hand. The blood is excessive due to the fact that she was running away from him and so her heart and blood were pumping faster. She tries a couple times to roll over and climb up the stairs but he is pulling her backward which is why you see the blood smears on the walls at the bottom of the stairs, right at the level you would think they would be at if someone was on their back or stomach trying to grasp on to something so they don't get pulled back in by their attacker. Maybe he is taunting her about how she should have just minded her own business, stayed out of his computer, etc. He then grabs her again and bangs her head into the door frame another time. This would be how the injuries to the back of her head happened, rather than slipping in her own blood while trying to stand up like the defense tried to say. Same injuries, same points of impact, same damage, just not accidentally inflicted. Then when she stops moving, he begins to clean up. First thing he does is open the front door and throw the stick outside that he hit her with and ran into the house chasing her with. Blood drips off or is flinged off as he throws the stick into the dark yard, away from the house, and it lands on the sidewalk and front door. He attempts to clean up as much as he can and stage the scene so that only reasonably explained evidence remains. Whether or not he killed Elizabeth Ratcliffe in Germany, I do believe he drew on that experience to stage what he believed could pass for the scene of an accident, like Elizabeth's death had been ruled. I could elaborate more, but suffice it to say there were several points in the documentary that he showed deception on his face and in his body language. And there was surprise and fear on his face when his daughters agreed to exhume their birth mother's body. Also, he was very calculating and rehearsed when recounting the sequence of events that night. Also, don't even get me started on that 911 call! Hope that all made sense. I am typing this passionately lol

    I have a theory after watching the documentary and listening to your podcast. What if he attacked his wife outside with a stick from the yard. It would account for the wood sliver and also the feathers (they were already on the branch from an owl that was recently perched there before the branch fell out of the tree.). She then begins to run into the house. He chases her. When she gets to the stairs he pulls her backward. She falls down the stairs and lands close to where they found her. She is disoriented and cant get up. He stands in front of her and grabs her hair and slams her head back against the door jamb/frame. She instinctively reaches up to where his hand is and that is how she gets her own hair in her hand. The blood is excessive due to the fact that she was running away from him and so her heart and blood were pumping faster. She tries a couple times to roll over and climb up the stairs but he is pulling her backward which is why you see the blood smears on the walls at the bottom of the stairs, right at the level you would think they would be at if someone was on their back or stomach trying to grasp on to something so they don't get pulled back in by their attacker. Maybe he is taunting her about how she should have just minded her own business, stayed out of his computer, etc. He then grabs her again and bangs her head into the door frame another time. This would be how the injuries to the back of her head happened, rather than slipping in her own blood while trying to stand up like the defense tried to say. Same injuries, same points of impact, same damage, just not accidentally inflicted. Then when she stops moving, he begins to clean up. First thing he does is open the front door and throw the stick outside that he hit her with and ran into the house chasing her with. Blood drips off or is flinged off as he throws the stick into the dark yard, away from the house, and it lands on the sidewalk and front door. He attempts to clean up as much as he can and stage the scene so that only reasonably explained evidence remains. Whether or not he killed Elizabeth Ratcliffe in Germany, I do believe he drew on that experience to stage what he believed could pass for the scene of an accident, like Elizabeth's death had been ruled. I could elaborate more, but suffice it to say there were several points in the documentary that he showed deception on his face and in his body language. And there was surprise and fear on his face when his daughters agreed to exhume their birth mother's body. Also, he was very calculating and rehearsed when recounting the sequence of events that night. Also, don't even get me started on that 911 call! Hope that all made sense. I am typing this passionately lol

  • Camille

    Camille Battle Ground WA

    Did it occur to anyone else that maybe Elizabeth Ratliff's death was Michael's inspiration for killing Kathleen? "Oh I knew that woman who died when she had a stroke and fell down the stairs, so that's a great way to hide my murder of my own wife."

    Did it occur to anyone else that maybe Elizabeth Ratliff's death was Michael's inspiration for killing Kathleen? "Oh I knew that woman who died when she had a stroke and fell down the stairs, so that's a great way to hide my murder of my own wife."

  • Jenn

    Jenn SLC, UT

    I hadn't finished watching all the Netflix episodes but now will thanks to your cover on it. Here's a couple of questions I have that weren't covered or I missed...were there any leg or ankle injuries reported? I would think a drunken fall down any staircase might result in a broken ankle or messed up knee cap as the person is trying to find their footing. Also, was there any debate that if someone is walking UP the stairs and falls, are they more likely to fall face-first, not backwards?...unless being pushed from above, which then makes sense to fall backwards. But we've all been there! The graceful trip running up the stairs. Thanks, guys!

    I hadn't finished watching all the Netflix episodes but now will thanks to your cover on it. Here's a couple of questions I have that weren't covered or I missed...were there any leg or ankle injuries reported? I would think a drunken fall down any staircase might result in a broken ankle or messed up knee cap as the person is trying to find their footing. Also, was there any debate that if someone is walking UP the stairs and falls, are they more likely to fall face-first, not backwards?...unless being pushed from above, which then makes sense to fall backwards. But we've all been there! The graceful trip running up the stairs. Thanks, guys!

  • Julie

    Julie Texas

    Hi I just wanted to chime in about the blow poke. Truthfully it seems silly but when thought through essentially what the state is claiming is that he caned her which is a corporal punishment used in southeast Asia. People have died from the injuries from caning not necessarily from the blunt of it but from the splitting of the skin and the bleeding. Head injuries on her coupled with some of the other factors going on with her could have certainly proved fatal.

    Hi I just wanted to chime in about the blow poke. Truthfully it seems silly but when thought through essentially what the state is claiming is that he caned her which is a corporal punishment used in southeast Asia. People have died from the injuries from caning not necessarily from the blunt of it but from the splitting of the skin and the bleeding. Head injuries on her coupled with some of the other factors going on with her could have certainly proved fatal.

  • Barbara B.

    Barbara B.

    Hey Guys! I haven't yet listened to the episode or seen the show on Netflix. I love your podcast, it is my favorite, but I hope you continue to cover the lesser known cases as you have in the past. I am most intrigued by those kinds and not what is popular or trendy. However, if you are following the notorious and trendy route can you please cover Jon Benet. I know the case has been covered by everyone and all the information out there is recycled but I would love your take. Have an awesome weekend!

    Hey Guys!
    I haven't yet listened to the episode or seen the show on Netflix.
    I love your podcast, it is my favorite, but I hope you continue to cover the lesser known cases as you have in the past. I am most intrigued by those kinds and not what is popular or trendy. However, if you are following the notorious and trendy route can you please cover Jon Benet. I know the case has been covered by everyone and all the information out there is recycled but I would love your take.
    Have an awesome weekend!

  • Patti

    Patti Calgary AN

    I find it difficult to believe that she would just check to see if the email came & not open the email to check the information in it is what she was expecting. If it was important enough to have it sent so late why chance that it may not be what you need

    I find it difficult to believe that she would just check to see if the email came & not open the email to check the information in it is what she was expecting. If it was important enough to have it sent so late why chance that it may not be what you need

  • John

    John WI

    Great shows, could've been a 4-part easily. I think he's guilty from the 911 call. He says "My wife fell down the stairs". An innocent man who come upon that horrible scene would've said "My wife's been attacked" or "My wife's been stabbed". He immediately creates the fall theory.

    Great shows, could've been a 4-part easily.

    I think he's guilty from the 911 call. He says "My wife fell down the stairs". An innocent man who come upon that horrible scene would've said "My wife's been attacked" or "My wife's been stabbed". He immediately creates the fall theory.

  • Cato

    Cato Hinterlands

    One thing I always notice when listening to a 911 call made by someone that ends up being found guilty, is that they always tell the operator that the victim "is breathing" or they "think they are breathing." It is an old standard. I mean, if you attacked them and they were still breathing, they could testify against you. So it would make no sense for the person making a 911 call to phone in while the victim is still breathing. Of course, the victim is not breathing, they are very dead, and the perp knows it, they are just trying to deflect attention from themselves. He did it, and I sensed it when I first heard that call. The DA did a poor job here by not formulating a concise case. Everything was there for a guilty verdict, but the DA chose to throw a hundred things up against the wall and tell the jury, pick the ones you want. That is flawed, because it connects you to things that can be disproved later, hence making you look wrong. He did it, and the DA should have retried him, but DA's are afraid to go after defendants that can afford good defense attorneys.

    One thing I always notice when listening to a 911 call made by someone that ends up being found guilty, is that they always tell the operator that the victim "is breathing" or they "think they are breathing." It is an old standard. I mean, if you attacked them and they were still breathing, they could testify against you. So it would make no sense for the person making a 911 call to phone in while the victim is still breathing. Of course, the victim is not breathing, they are very dead, and the perp knows it, they are just trying to deflect attention from themselves. He did it, and I sensed it when I first heard that call. The DA did a poor job here by not formulating a concise case. Everything was there for a guilty verdict, but the DA chose to throw a hundred things up against the wall and tell the jury, pick the ones you want. That is flawed, because it connects you to things that can be disproved later, hence making you look wrong. He did it, and the DA should have retried him, but DA's are afraid to go after defendants that can afford good defense attorneys.

  • Al T

    Al T West Palm Beach

    I’m surprised that (it seems) you guys fell for The Staircase hook, line, and sinker. Michael Peterson lived a fractured life, out of desperation. His brother explained it best: when his sexual proclivities started to become apparent, his family vigorously rejected him. So he learned to live two very different lives from a very early age. When a sociopath who cares mostly about appearances is being threatened with the truth, he’s going to lash out to protect his secrets in any way he needs to, even if its in cold blood. I believe that Kathleen finally put together that her husband was not who she thought he was, was threatening to divorce him and/or make things public. In response, Michael attacked her in a desperate attempt to protect the only life he’s known, including his" loved" ones. Coincidentally, because of his previous observation of Elizabeth’s minor staircase death, he felt he had an obvious and believable explanation for what happened. Kathleen was dead when he called 911. The "why" in this case matters much more to me than the "how". #thehusbanddidit

    I’m surprised that (it seems) you guys fell for The Staircase hook, line, and sinker. Michael Peterson lived a fractured life, out of desperation. His brother explained it best: when his sexual proclivities started to become apparent, his family vigorously rejected him. So he learned to live two very different lives from a very early age. When a sociopath who cares mostly about appearances is being threatened with the truth, he’s going to lash out to protect his secrets in any way he needs to, even if its in cold blood. I believe that Kathleen finally put together that her husband was not who she thought he was, was threatening to divorce him and/or make things public. In response, Michael attacked her in a desperate attempt to protect the only life he’s known, including his" loved" ones. Coincidentally, because of his previous observation of Elizabeth’s minor staircase death, he felt he had an obvious and believable explanation for what happened. Kathleen was dead when he called 911. The "why" in this case matters much more to me than the "how". #thehusbanddidit

  • True Crime Garage

    True Crime Garage

    @ Barbara - we will continue to cover the lesser known cases. For the most part we allow listener requests to direct us where to go for case selection. The Staircase is obviously one of our most requested cases and we have put it off long enough. Thanks for the suggestion and cheers! Nic

    @ Barbara - we will continue to cover the lesser known cases. For the most part we allow listener requests to direct us where to go for case selection. The Staircase is obviously one of our most requested cases and we have put it off long enough. Thanks for the suggestion and cheers!
    Nic

  • True Crime Garage

    True Crime Garage

    Hi Patti, Yes I agree that the email is difficult... much has been made about it for both sides of the argument. She may have click on it she may not have. Michael could have clicked on it. I actually think she discovered things on his computer that she did not like while waiting for the email to arrive. Then the argument and attack. I think he attacked her with a cork screw, choked her and either pushed or pulled her down the stairs. All of this in the 11 o’clock to midnight hour. She bled out over the course of the next 90 minutes as he cleaned up and prepped the scene. He needed her to die before his son returned home and as others have said - he lied about her still breathing on his 911 call. I don’t even think he was near her body during much of the 911 call. -Nic

    Hi Patti,
    Yes I agree that the email is difficult... much has been made about it for both sides of the argument. She may have click on it she may not have. Michael could have clicked on it. I actually think she discovered things on his computer that she did not like while waiting for the email to arrive. Then the argument and attack. I think he attacked her with a cork screw, choked her and either pushed or pulled her down the stairs. All of this in the 11 o’clock to midnight hour. She bled out over the course of the next 90 minutes as he cleaned up and prepped the scene. He needed her to die before his son returned home and as others have said - he lied about her still breathing on his 911 call. I don’t even think he was near her body during much of the 911 call.
    -Nic

  • Blair

    Blair Frederick, MA

    Hello, and thanks for detailing this story and for your podcast in general. I lived in Durham for almost a decade and I can attest that it's now a very progressive city. I also used to see Micheal Peterson regularly working out at the YMCA, this was after he was let out of prison and awaiting a second trial. This case seems very straight forward to me. When Kathleen went to check to see if she had received the document from her work, she found the emails and pictures MP was receiving from a prostitute. She most likely did not know about his secret life and this led to a fight that got out of control. MP was not working at the time, so he knew that if Kathleen divorced him he would lose his family, his home and his very comfortable life. In a panic he snapped and beat her with the fireplace poker as she tried to walk up the staircase. The owl feather had dropped from outside into the house through the chimney, that's how it got onto the fireplace poker and then onto Kathleen. It was on her hand because she reached back to try to cover her head when she was being attacked. While Kathleen was dying, MP attempted to clean up and then eventually called the police when he was sure she was dead. I think it's very possible MP had nothing to do with the first staircase death, it was probably just a bizarre coincidence and the Durham DA's office made a mistake trying to connect that to Kathleen's death. Keep up the good work guys! Team Nic!

    Hello, and thanks for detailing this story and for your podcast in general. I lived in Durham for almost a decade and I can attest that it's now a very progressive city. I also used to see Micheal Peterson regularly working out at the YMCA, this was after he was let out of prison and awaiting a second trial. This case seems very straight forward to me. When Kathleen went to check to see if she had received the document from her work, she found the emails and pictures MP was receiving from a prostitute. She most likely did not know about his secret life and this led to a fight that got out of control. MP was not working at the time, so he knew that if Kathleen divorced him he would lose his family, his home and his very comfortable life. In a panic he snapped and beat her with the fireplace poker as she tried to walk up the staircase. The owl feather had dropped from outside into the house through the chimney, that's how it got onto the fireplace poker and then onto Kathleen. It was on her hand because she reached back to try to cover her head when she was being attacked. While Kathleen was dying, MP attempted to clean up and then eventually called the police when he was sure she was dead. I think it's very possible MP had nothing to do with the first staircase death, it was probably just a bizarre coincidence and the Durham DA's office made a mistake trying to connect that to Kathleen's death.
    Keep up the good work guys! Team Nic!

  • True Crime Garage

    True Crime Garage

    Thanks Blair - I think they should have had you prosecute this case... as you laid out a very precise account of what very likely happened. I would add that he choked her at some point and likely pulled her down the stairs to which she fell quite violently. Then cleaned (I assume, cleaned the crime scene report was confusing and not well detailed) footprints to the wine cabinet in the kitchen. Likely was done to place the extra wine glasses and bottle on the counter. Once he reached the cabinet he looked down noticed he was tracking blood everywhere and took off his shoes. Carefully carrying the shoes back to over by the body before the first officer arrived. Likely police and detectives were confused by the murder scene as well thus making the report unclear. Go Bulls, great season! Cheers to you Blair - Nic

    Thanks Blair - I think they should have had you prosecute this case... as you laid out a very precise account of what very likely happened. I would add that he choked her at some point and likely pulled her down the stairs to which she fell quite violently. Then cleaned (I assume, cleaned the crime scene report was confusing and not well detailed) footprints to the wine cabinet in the kitchen. Likely was done to place the extra wine glasses and bottle on the counter. Once he reached the cabinet he looked down noticed he was tracking blood everywhere and took off his shoes. Carefully carrying the shoes back to over by the body before the first officer arrived. Likely police and detectives were confused by the murder scene as well thus making the report unclear. Go Bulls, great season! Cheers to you Blair - Nic

  • Abigale

    Abigale KCMO

    Hi, I was curious after listening to these episodes about the prior murder and the 17 points of similarity (I am a third year student and normally that type of evidence is not allowed) so I went and read the opinion from the North Carolina Court of Appeals. The reason the prosecution focused on the 17 points of similarity is because the number of similarities makes it similar enough to be relevant to the case, which allowed the State to introduce the evidence of the prior murder. Also, an Alford plea is a plea of no-contest, which means the defendant accepts the plea as part of a plea bargain without admitting guilt. Love the show!

    Hi, I was curious after listening to these episodes about the prior murder and the 17 points of similarity (I am a third year student and normally that type of evidence is not allowed) so I went and read the opinion from the North Carolina Court of Appeals. The reason the prosecution focused on the 17 points of similarity is because the number of similarities makes it similar enough to be relevant to the case, which allowed the State to introduce the evidence of the prior murder.
    Also, an Alford plea is a plea of no-contest, which means the defendant accepts the plea as part of a plea bargain without admitting guilt.
    Love the show!

  • True Crime Garage

    True Crime Garage

    Hi Abigale, Thanks for the info, good stuff. Nic

    Hi Abigale,
    Thanks for the info, good stuff.
    Nic

  • Kelly

    Kelly Parts unknown

    As soon as I heard about the owl theory I thought of this... https://thisiscriminal.com/episode-one-animal-instincts-1-31-2014-2/ It’s how I first heard about this case and is an interesting look at the owl theory with lots of interesting information. Some of it conflicts with the info referenced in the garage. Hope it’s interesting for everybody!

    As soon as I heard about the owl theory I thought of this... https://thisiscriminal.com/episode-one-animal-instincts-1-31-2014-2/
    It’s how I first heard about this case and is an interesting look at the owl theory with lots of interesting information. Some of it conflicts with the info referenced in the garage.
    Hope it’s interesting for everybody!

  • Sophie Marie

    Sophie Marie Neverwhere

    Hey, guys, loving this dive into the Staircase. Just an aside: The discussion of Michael Peterson's sexuality made it seem like "bisexual" means "actively shagging both genders." That's not the case; monogamous bisexual people do exist! Bisexuality refers to one's attraction, not necessarily one's actions.

    Hey, guys, loving this dive into the Staircase. Just an aside: The discussion of Michael Peterson's sexuality made it seem like "bisexual" means "actively shagging both genders." That's not the case; monogamous bisexual people do exist! Bisexuality refers to one's attraction, not necessarily one's actions.

  • True Crime Garage

    True Crime Garage

    Agreed Sophie... but as this sexual preference pertains to this case - I believe the intent of MP was to actively “shag” his wife and the army guy. Cheers Nic

    Agreed Sophie...
    but as this sexual preference pertains to this case - I believe the intent of MP was to actively “shag” his wife and the army guy.
    Cheers Nic

  • Dorothy

    Dorothy Alabama

    Guys, I know it's the South but implying that MP couldn't get a fair shake because his affairs were bisexual is just wrong! We southerners are not all close-minded rednecks....

    Guys, I know it's the South but implying that MP couldn't get a fair shake because his affairs were bisexual is just wrong! We southerners are not all close-minded rednecks....

  • lee

    lee KY

    I believe the owl theory.

    I believe the owl theory.

  • True Crime Garage

    True Crime Garage

    @ Dorothy... Slow down I specifically said Durham, not all southerners. As stated earlier... My apologies to Durham but I do want to point out MP's sexual preference is one of the keys the prosecution was counting on - in the first trial. Review the closing statements... Cheers Nic

    @ Dorothy... Slow down I specifically said Durham, not all southerners. As stated earlier... My apologies to Durham but I do want to point out MP's sexual preference is one of the keys the prosecution was counting on - in the first trial. Review the closing statements...
    Cheers Nic

  • True Crime Garage

    True Crime Garage

    @ Dorothy... Slow down I specifically said Durham, not all southerners. As stated earlier... My apologies to Durham but I do want to point out MP's sexual preference is one of the keys the prosecution was counting on - in the first trial. Review the closing statements... Cheers Nic

    @ Dorothy... Slow down I specifically said Durham, not all southerners. As stated earlier... My apologies to Durham but I do want to point out MP's sexual preference is one of the keys the prosecution was counting on - in the first trial. Review the closing statements...
    Cheers Nic

  • Lissa

    Lissa Canadaland

    Hey Nic & Captain, This was the first time I've heard of the case and now I'm in the middle of the Netflix series. I've oscillated a few times as to his guilt. As of now, I don't think he's innocent per se, but I also don't think the state proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt. As an aside, was totally shocked to see Brent Wolgamott from Rob Has a Podcast (Big Brother/Survivor recaps) on The Staircase as the male prostitute! Anyway, thanks for all you guys do. Don't know what I'd do without the show.

    Hey Nic & Captain,

    This was the first time I've heard of the case and now I'm in the middle of the Netflix series. I've oscillated a few times as to his guilt. As of now, I don't think he's innocent per se, but I also don't think the state proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt. As an aside, was totally shocked to see Brent Wolgamott from Rob Has a Podcast (Big Brother/Survivor recaps) on The Staircase as the male prostitute!

    Anyway, thanks for all you guys do. Don't know what I'd do without the show.

  • Kristen

    Kristen Ontario, Canada

    I actually think Michael's bisexuality worked in his favour in this case. If he had been cheating with another woman, people would not have been so forgiving. The documentary film makers seemed to imply cheating was okay because it was with men. He is 100 percent guilty imo and a raging narcissist. I think he feels absolutely justified in what he did and feels no guilt whatsoever. I read or heard a theory somewhere that the cuts on her head could have been made from the tin of a coke can which apparently he drank all the time and a Diet Coke can was found on the scene with several cut hairs. It also seems obvious that she DID in fact fall up or down the stairs at some point. Prosecution didn't do a very good job on this one.

    I actually think Michael's bisexuality worked in his favour in this case. If he had been cheating with another woman, people would not have been so forgiving. The documentary film makers seemed to imply cheating was okay because it was with men. He is 100 percent guilty imo and a raging narcissist. I think he feels absolutely justified in what he did and feels no guilt whatsoever. I read or heard a theory somewhere that the cuts on her head could have been made from the tin of a coke can which apparently he drank all the time and a Diet Coke can was found on the scene with several cut hairs. It also seems obvious that she DID in fact fall up or down the stairs at some point. Prosecution didn't do a very good job on this one.

  • True Crime Garage

    True Crime Garage

    Thanks Kristen - I was unaware of the Diet Coke can angle... Good stuff! Nic

    Thanks Kristen - I was unaware of the Diet Coke can angle...
    Good stuff!
    Nic

  • Laurie

    Laurie Nashville, TN

    Hey guys! Love the podcast. I have watched the Staircase, and I know there is much talk about the timeline, time of death, etc. Unfortunately, the only clues we have about timeline are from MP himself. Kathleen very well may have gone inside around 11:30 - 12:00 a.m. like MP said, but who is to say she died at that time? She may have been inside for an hour going through his office and then come out in a rage at 12:30 - 1:00 a.m. because of what she had found. If she had been drinking with MP that evening, this extra time in the house may have allowed her body to oxidize the alcohol; my recollection is the coroners report said she had a low-level of alcohol in her blood, but was not drunk. Also, MP says she is breathing in the first 911 call, but there is no evidence to support that. I agree with several of the other comments on this page. I believe the argument started outside by the pool. He very well grabbed a stick, small garden hand rake, or some other convenient weapon, and struck her in the back of the head, which would account for the sticks and microscopic owl feathers. She ran inside to get away from him, and he followed her. The fight continued on the staircase where he choked her and she sustained further injuries to the head. There was just way too much blood in that stairwell for that to be an accidental fall. I also believe that MP cleaned up the house and staged the scene before even calling 911. In regard to the owl theory, I think that is ridiculous. If she had been attacked by an owl, I am sure there would be more than just microscopic feathers in her hair. Personally, if I had been attacked by an owl outside my home, the first thing I would have done was run in the house, to the back door, and yelled for my husband to come inside and help me. I also would have warned him that there is a wild owl on the loose and maybe he should come inside. Even if she decided to clean herself up without calling for her husband, wouldn't she have gone to the nearest sink/bathroom/mirror downstairs...not try to go upstairs where she would drip blood all over the house? This case is maddening because we will probably never know what happened that night.

    Hey guys! Love the podcast. I have watched the Staircase, and I know there is much talk about the timeline, time of death, etc. Unfortunately, the only clues we have about timeline are from MP himself. Kathleen very well may have gone inside around 11:30 - 12:00 a.m. like MP said, but who is to say she died at that time? She may have been inside for an hour going through his office and then come out in a rage at 12:30 - 1:00 a.m. because of what she had found. If she had been drinking with MP that evening, this extra time in the house may have allowed her body to oxidize the alcohol; my recollection is the coroners report said she had a low-level of alcohol in her blood, but was not drunk. Also, MP says she is breathing in the first 911 call, but there is no evidence to support that. I agree with several of the other comments on this page. I believe the argument started outside by the pool. He very well grabbed a stick, small garden hand rake, or some other convenient weapon, and struck her in the back of the head, which would account for the sticks and microscopic owl feathers. She ran inside to get away from him, and he followed her. The fight continued on the staircase where he choked her and she sustained further injuries to the head. There was just way too much blood in that stairwell for that to be an accidental fall. I also believe that MP cleaned up the house and staged the scene before even calling 911. In regard to the owl theory, I think that is ridiculous. If she had been attacked by an owl, I am sure there would be more than just microscopic feathers in her hair. Personally, if I had been attacked by an owl outside my home, the first thing I would have done was run in the house, to the back door, and yelled for my husband to come inside and help me. I also would have warned him that there is a wild owl on the loose and maybe he should come inside. Even if she decided to clean herself up without calling for her husband, wouldn't she have gone to the nearest sink/bathroom/mirror downstairs...not try to go upstairs where she would drip blood all over the house? This case is maddening because we will probably never know what happened that night.

  • Stacy

    Stacy Long Island

    I just wanted to bring up one thing that I keep going over. She had in both hands her own hair pulled out by the roots. Now, if I was falling down the stairs I would not be pulling my own hair out. If someone was beating me over the head would I be pulling my own hair out?? No .... this is what makes the owl theory seem possible if you are trying to pull a bird out of your head you will get your own hair in the process... just something to think about.

    I just wanted to bring up one thing that I keep going over. She had in both hands her own hair pulled out by the roots. Now, if I was falling down the stairs I would not be pulling my own hair out. If someone was beating me over the head would I be pulling my own hair out?? No .... this is what makes the owl theory seem possible if you are trying to pull a bird out of your head you will get your own hair in the process... just something to think about.

  • Stacy Wofsy

    Stacy Wofsy

    The only thing that makes me second guess anything is the fact that Kathleen had clumps of her own hair in each hand by the roots.... would you pull your own hair out if you are falling down stairs? Ummm no . Would you pull your own hair out of someone is beating you over the head?? Umm no.... so this is what makes me think the Owl theory may hold water ... bird in your hair you are pulling it off , you will pull your own hair ... something to think about

    The only thing that makes me second guess anything is the fact that Kathleen had clumps of her own hair in each hand by the roots.... would you pull your own hair out if you are falling down stairs? Ummm no . Would you pull your own hair out of someone is beating you over the head?? Umm no.... so this is what makes me think the Owl theory may hold water ... bird in your hair you are pulling it off , you will pull your own hair ... something to think about

  • Jeri

    Jeri Kirksville MO

    Longtime listener...love the show (except as a English teacher occasional grammar errors can be a huge CRINGE FACTOR for me. I was going to skip The Staircase because...when people sneer and scoff at The Owl Theory or reject it out of hand, I want to suggest they spend a little QUALITY TIME WITH AN ACTUAL OWL. Or really ANY bird for that matter. But owls are predators and they are territorial. Be sure to check out THEIR clawing potential. Ask yourself: why do Falconers wear huge thick leather gloves? When I heard the theory it just clicked for me. I remember as a kid going to gather eggs in the henhouse with my grandmother. Made a believer out of me...those chickens can do some damage, and will actually kill other chickens, piling on seemingly for no other reason than for the sheer hell of it. Those chickens had learned not to mess with my grandmother...they may have observed her beheading with an axe skills. But they menaced the young and uninitiated, like my brother and me. You dismiss their ability to injure you at your own peril. Turkeys and geese are even WORSE. Michael clearly may not have been the best husband in the world, but the crime scene for me just didn’t add up. When they introduced the Owl Theory the pieces of the puzzle FIT. There are thousands of ways to die, and some of them are extremely unlikely...a series of incidents/actions that come together which it might be impossible to replicate, but nevertheless had converged to end someone’s life. In any event, the guy has gone through a fair amount of payback for any cheating he had done in his marriage. His kids support him. Letting him go with time served seems to cover some of the bases for revenge fanatics. I don’t think he killed his wife. This time I think THE OWL DID IT. Perhaps it was the owl’s commentary on their Christmas decorations. is different, and as a husband, kind of a shit. But

    Longtime listener...love the show (except as a English teacher occasional grammar errors can be a huge CRINGE FACTOR for me.

    I was going to skip The Staircase because...when people sneer and scoff at The Owl Theory or reject it out of hand, I want to suggest they spend a little QUALITY TIME WITH AN ACTUAL OWL. Or really ANY bird for that matter. But owls are predators and they are territorial. Be sure to check out THEIR clawing potential. Ask yourself: why do Falconers wear huge thick leather gloves?

    When I heard the theory it just clicked for me. I remember as a kid going to gather eggs in the henhouse with my grandmother. Made a believer out of me...those chickens can do some damage, and will actually kill other chickens, piling on seemingly for no other reason than for the sheer hell of it.

    Those chickens had learned not to mess with my grandmother...they may have observed her beheading with an axe skills. But they menaced the young and uninitiated, like my brother and me. You dismiss their ability to injure you at your own peril. Turkeys and geese are even WORSE.

    Michael clearly may not have been the best husband in the world, but the crime scene for me just didn’t add up. When they introduced the Owl Theory the pieces of the puzzle FIT.

    There are thousands of ways to die, and some of them are extremely unlikely...a series of incidents/actions that come together which it might be impossible to replicate, but nevertheless had converged to end someone’s life.

    In any event, the guy has gone through a fair amount of payback for any cheating he had done in his marriage. His kids support him. Letting him go with time served seems to cover some of the bases for revenge fanatics. I don’t think he killed his wife. This time I think THE OWL DID IT. Perhaps it was the owl’s commentary on their Christmas decorations.
    is different, and as a husband, kind of a shit. But

  • Michael Caron

    Michael Caron New Hampsire

    Love the podcast. You do a great job of looking at the cases you discuss from a lot of different perspectives. I just finished listening to your podcast on the Staircase. I haven't watched the documentary yet, so my opinion is solely based on what I heard on your podcast. I don't think he killed his wife, and the reason I feel that way is because of the way that you described how people in his life spoke about Michael and his relationship with Kathleen. Michael was obviously hiding some things, but nobody (who you talked about during the podcast) described him as having a temper or showing any outward signs that he was capable of harming another person. They both said they had a good relationship and everybody said they seemed to be happy and love one another. A lot of suspects, killers, etc in true crime stories are able to hide their true self from most people for a long time, but I can't think of a single case that they were able to completely hide it from everybody right up to the moment that they committed a crime, or at the very least, looking back after a crime, there were some signs that they were disturbed. Can you think of one? In this case, the physical evidence leaves too many questions for anybody to definitively say whether he did or didn't kill her, so I think looking at his behavior gives us the best clue as to his innocence or guilt. He certainly had his flaws and made his share of mistakes, I just don't see signs in his character or behavior that tell me he's capable of murdering his wife. Thanks.

    Love the podcast. You do a great job of looking at the cases you discuss from a lot of different perspectives. I just finished listening to your podcast on the Staircase. I haven't watched the documentary yet, so my opinion is solely based on what I heard on your podcast. I don't think he killed his wife, and the reason I feel that way is because of the way that you described how people in his life spoke about Michael and his relationship with Kathleen. Michael was obviously hiding some things, but nobody (who you talked about during the podcast) described him as having a temper or showing any outward signs that he was capable of harming another person. They both said they had a good relationship and everybody said they seemed to be happy and love one another. A lot of suspects, killers, etc in true crime stories are able to hide their true self from most people for a long time, but I can't think of a single case that they were able to completely hide it from everybody right up to the moment that they committed a crime, or at the very least, looking back after a crime, there were some signs that they were disturbed. Can you think of one? In this case, the physical evidence leaves too many questions for anybody to definitively say whether he did or didn't kill her, so I think looking at his behavior gives us the best clue as to his innocence or guilt. He certainly had his flaws and made his share of mistakes, I just don't see signs in his character or behavior that tell me he's capable of murdering his wife.
    Thanks.

  • Lisa

    Lisa Denver

    Cap has a point about the bleeding and older folks and thin skin. My mother a couple years back cracked her head after a midnight trip to the restroom. She did not has a skull fracture but she damn near scalped herself and the EMT said it looked like a slasher film in her apt. She called me some point after serious disoriented and passed in and out a few times. And also slipped in the blood. I’m almost certain that she would have bleed to death had someone not called 911.

    Cap has a point about the bleeding and older folks and thin skin.
    My mother a couple years back cracked her head after a midnight trip to the restroom.
    She did not has a skull fracture but she damn near scalped herself and the EMT said it looked like a slasher film in her apt.
    She called me some point after serious disoriented and passed in and out a few times.
    And also slipped in the blood.
    I’m almost certain that she would have bleed to death had someone not called 911.

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