In the fall of 2003, I was in Modesto, California covering Scott Peterson’s lengthy preliminary hearing for Court TV. Scott Peterson was accused, and later convicted, of murdering his wife Laci and their unborn son, Connor. That same fall of 2003, Court TV was televising another Peterson’s murder trial in North Carolina. Michael Peterson was accused of murdering his wife of five years by pushing her down the stairs in their home. (You can imagine the confusion at Court TV–we’d distinguish them as “east coast Peterson” and “west coast Peterson.”) Both Petersons ended up in state prison, convicted of murdering their wives. Scott is on death row and currently appealing his 2004 conviction. Michael Peterson’s case has a different trajectory. Michael Peterson, a columnist and novelist, was convicted in 2003 and sentenced to life. But he had a stroke of…

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