Michael Peterson (m. 1997), Fred Atwater (m. 1977)
Lori Campbell, Candace Zamperini, Steven Hunt
21 February 1953 (age 48), Greensboro, North Carolina, United States
9 December 2001 (aged 48), Durham, North Carolina, United States
Frederick Baldwin Adams, Peter Alfond, Paul Allen
Staircase Murder (Kathleen Peterson) | Was Michael Peterson Guilty? | Mental Health & Personality
Kathleen Hunt Atwater Peterson (February 21, 1953 – December 9, 2001) was an American business executive, engineer, and philanthropist. She is well known as the subject of the documentary series The Staircase, which addresses the circumstances surrounding her death.
- Staircase Murder Kathleen Peterson Was Michael Peterson Guilty Mental Health Personality
- Life and achievements
- Michael Peterson
She was married twice—to Fred Atwater in 1977 and to Michael Peterson in 1997.
Life and achievements
Kathleen Hunt was the daughter of Veronica Hunt. She attended J. P. McCaskey High School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and graduated first in a class of 473 students. She matriculated at Duke University, where in 1971 she was the first female student accepted into the school of engineering. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Master's in Mechanical Engineering in 1975.
Hunt later achieved executive positions at Baltimore Air-Coil-Pritchard, Merck, and Nortel Networks, where she became Director of Information Services. Locally, she served on the Board of the Durham Arts Council and aided the American Dance Festival and the Carolina Ballet.
Her first marriage was to a physicist, Fred Atwater. The marriage ended in divorce in 1985. She had one child with him, Caitlin Atwater.
In 1996 she married writer Michael Peterson. On Sunday, December 9, 2001, she was found dead at the bottom of a staircase in her Durham mansion. Michael had called 9-1-1, stating that she had fallen down the stairs. He was convicted of her murder in 2003 and sentenced to life in prison, but on December 15, 2011, was granted a new trial following the discrediting of a prosecution witness.
A funeral service was held for Peterson on December 13, 2001 at Duke Chapel. She was buried at Maplewood Cemetery.