The Staircase

Crime or Accident
On December 9, 2001 at 2:41 a.m. the rescue squad of the city of Durham, North Carolina got an urgent call from a man who had a hard time explaining that his wife had fallen down a flight of stairs.

He said she was bleeding profusely but still breathing. When the medical team arrived five minutes later, it was too late. The victim was dead. Her husband had traces of blood on his hands and face.

For the inspector in charge of the inquiry, the facts spoke for themselves: there was too much blood and too many wounds on the victim. It was not an accident, but a murder.

A week later Michael Peterson was arrested.

This is a murder mystery like no other by the Academy Award-winning director of Murder on a Sunday Morning. After winning the Oscar, Jean-Xavier de Lestrade set out to make a documentary investigating another alleged murder, a story that quickly developed more twists and turns than a script for CSI.

With unprecedented access to all the central characters, the result is the first-ever docu-thriller series Death on the Staircase: Crime Scene or Accident?

Join The Conversation

18 Comments / User Reviews

Leave Your Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. So this man is involved in two separate cases where a woman falls down the stairs and dies…………is there any debated as to if he is guilty or not??? Come now!

  2. Aside from the two murders, I think Margaret and Martha need to take a DNA test. They look exactly like their brothers — I bet Mike Peterson IS their biological father. After their “father” died, Petersen helped out at their house next door and their neighbors put him in the will as their guardians if something happened. Who makes the next door neighbors their kids’ guardians? That’s because he is their father, and guess what — he killed their mother, the woman before Kathleen who died falling down the stairs and whose death was later ruled a homicide.

  3. Yes, there was motive, he was BROKE, and there was that poker. Plus the fact his wife found the gay porn and letters on the computer

    • The poker had no blood, had not been clean and no dints in it. There were a lot of things that make me think he did it but they are missing any evidence that 100% proves he did it. This alone should have been NOT GUILTY until they find more evidence.

  4. You know, I was channel surfing last night and saw the sequel to all this and Michael Peterson is out on bail and getting ready for a retrial. Something about someone lying on the stand and false statements. But here’s the thing…..ANOTHER woman DIED down a staircase a few years prior and Peterson was there for THAT debacle. I think he’s guilty. He had motive; he was broke, and she found out he was gay. Plus this is number TWO now.

  5. Guilty, fab document

  6. Even small amounts of blood can, if in in diluted form, appear to be of greater amount than what it really is. I mean: Every time I floss my teeth the sink looks like a crime scene šŸ˜€

  7. No murder weapon, no motive, verdict: guilty. Just goes to show how stupid the average American juror is.

  8. I have watched this film many times thought it brilliant.
    That is until i researched the trail, this film is so biased and deceitful its criminal.
    The amount of forensic facts and timelines etc that have not been shown leave
    you in no doubt the man is a killer.
    I strongly suggest you seek out the information availble and i bet you will be in no doubt either.

  9. The thing is, I’ve seen someone who was horribly injured after falling down a large flight of CONCRETE stairs. The amount of blood lost from the incident was absolutely nothing compared to this woman’s “fall”. Makes no sense how someone can fall down wooden steps and end up absolutely covered in blood and spattering the area around them. Whether or not this guy killed her….she WAS murdered. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

  10. So hilarious to see the defense try to justify that crap. Lady was murdered. 100%.

  11. Amazing documentary totally fascinatingĀ 

  12. He was let out of jail 2 weeks ago and granted a new trial due to the prosecution’s blood spatter expert misrepresenting his credentials in court!

  13. I never know what to make of this guy, guilty? not guilty? i think that’s why i love this documentary!

  14. A really gripping series from the same filmmaker who made Murder on a Sunday Morning (elsewhere on this site).

    This cinema verite film make fiction look tame indeed by comparison, and the main characters will live will you for a long time.

    • I concur, I’ve watched this doc about a year ago (Sunday Morning, too, which is also fantastic) and I STILL find myself thinking about it.