Michael Peterson on This Morning today

This Morning today: Michael Peterson reveals why he chose to plead guilty to manslaughter after wife’s death

Michael Peterson served 16 years in prison before his release in 2017

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On This Morning today, Michael Peterson – whose story inspired new drama The Staircase – appeared on the show.

In 2003, Michael was convicted of murdering his wife. He has always maintained that he didn’t kill his wife in 2001.

Martin Peterson on This Morning
Michael Peterson appeared on This Morning today (Credit: ITV)

Michael Peterson on This Morning today

Back in 2001, Peterson’s wife Kathleen died at their home in North Carolina.

Michael claimed that Kathleen had fallen down the stairs while under the influence of alcohol. However, authorities believed that Peterson had bludgeoned her to death.

Michael was charged with murder and sentenced to life in prison. However, in 2017, he got released after entering an Alford plea.

Read more: The true story behind The Staircase: Where is Michael Peterson now?

The murder case has recently been turned into a miniseries starring Colin Firth and Toni Collette on HBO Max.

Today, Michael appeared on This Morning to talk to Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby about the case.

He also spoke about why he pleaded guilty to manslaughter, even though he claims he didn’t murder Kathleen.

Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby speaking to Michael Peterson on This Morning today
Phillip and Holly spoke to Michael today (Credit: ITV)

This Morning today

In the interview with Phil and Holly, Michael once more professed his innocence.

He also spoke about what he thinks happened to Kathleen on the night she died.

“Pathologists looked at all the evidence and said ‘no, she was not beaten to death’ and I could never figure it out [what happened]…,” he said.

“My understanding of it was, and it’s hard to believe this, but it was over 20 years ago, but the theory was that yes she fell but she tried to get up and slipped in all the blood,” he continued.

“I think she fell – she had alcohol, she had valium, flexerole…I don’t know, I honestly, I wish I could tell you,” he said.

Michael Peterson talking on This Morning today
Michael spoke about the murder case on the show (Credit: ITV)

Later in the interview, Holly asked: “If you are innocent, why then accept manslaughter?”

“There’s a good reason,” Michael responded. “When this came about and they wanted to retry it, I was 73 years old and my attorney said he’d done as much as he could and couldn’t represent me in the next case.”

“I have grandchildren and children that had probably gone through more than what I had gone through,” he continued.

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“I went to prison but my children had to live through all of this and it was terrible for them, so at the age of 73 did I want to go back to trial to prove that I didn’t do anything so that I could be free? I was already free.”

He then said that to save his children from more “emotional damage”, he considered an Alford plea.

“To me, that was the better thing,” he said.

This Morning airs daily from 10am on ITV and ITV Hub.

'I Didn't Murder My Wife': The True Story Behind 'The Staircase' | This Morning

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Robert Emlyn Slater
Senior Writer