Who the heck killed Kathleen Peterson?! We probably are never going to know, but if you haven’t binged watched ‘The Staircase’ on Netflix you are missing out. It came out earlier this month and I watched it all within 48 hours of it coming out.
Now originally The Staircase came out in 2004, but that was a time when you had to get DVDs from the service and couldn’t even stream anything. Now the streaming giant has re-released it along with new episodes that shed more light onto the case of Michael Peterson allegedly killing his wife, Kathleen.
The plot according to IMDB reads as the following:
“Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, presents a gripping courtroom thriller, offering a rare and revealing inside look at a high-profile murder trial. In 2001, author Michael Peterson was arraigned for the murder of his wife Kathleen, whose body was discovered lying in a pool of blood on the stairway of their home. Granted unusual access to Peterson’s lawyers, home and immediate family, de Lestrade’s cameras capture the defense team as it considers its strategic options. “The staircase” is an engrossing look at contemporary American justice that features more twists than a legal bestseller.”
Now if you’re still reading this and haven’t watched it, let me warn you that there are spoilers if you continue.
Okay, I think we are good so let’s dive into the Owl Theory that is gripping everyone that hears about it. Netflix even released a short video on their official Youtube that explains it a bit.
Basically, The Owl Theory says that Kathleen Peterson was attacked by an owl outside her home and that explains how she got those blows to the head. There were also microscopic feathers/hairs on her hands which would have been from her fighting off the flying foe.
She then went inside to try and clean her wounds, but she had been drinking that night. She then slipped on the stairs and that’s how Michael found her.
David Rudolf who was the lead attorney for the Peterson case spoke to the Vulture and said this about the theory:
“The first time it ever crossed my consciousness was a day or two before I was getting ready to give my closing argument. Even if I was willing to come in after six months of saying it was a fall and say, ‘Sorry folks, it wasn’t a fall, it was an owl that first caused these wounds,’ I couldn’t do that because in the closing argument, you’re limited to evidence that’s been presented at trial.”
He continued to say:
“The feather that was in her hand, I just didn’t focus on that. I figured it was from a down comforter. I take full responsibility for not having thought of that. I give Larry Pollard credit for coming up with it. I wish he had realized it six months earlier.”
So in all actuality, an owl could have sent Peterson away to jail for eight years of his life. That fact is just crazy and scary all at the same time.