Death by Talons: Did An Owl 'Murder' Kathleen Peterson?

Death by Talons: Did An Owl 'Murder' Kathleen Peterson?

by Tiddy Smith
Death by Talons: Did An Owl 'Murder' Kathleen Peterson?

Death by Talons: Did An Owl 'Murder' Kathleen Peterson?

by Tiddy Smith


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A re-examination of the infamous 2001 North Carolina “Staircase murder” through the outrageous theory that an owl was the killer—and not Michael Peterson.

On December 9, 2001, Kathleen Peterson was found dead at the bottom of a staircase in her Durham, North Carolina, home. Her scalp was laced with deep incisions, and her blood was strewn from outside to inside the house.

The sinister truth of that night turned her murder into North Carolina’s most enigmatic criminal case, capturing media attention across the globe.

Police zeroed in on Kathleen’s husband, Michael Peterson, and charged him with murder. But was it the truth?

A neighbor, Larry Pollard, came up with an alternative “killer.” He claimed an owl attacked Kathleen outside her house. He said it sliced her scalp with its fierce talons and caused her to run inside, collapsing at the stairwell, and bleeding to death.

When the media heard about his theory, Larry was mocked. And Michael was convicted. Now, twenty years later, author Tiddy Smith explores Pollard’s theory and questions whether law enforcement ignored, or even hid, evidence to convict Michael Peterson. And was an owl, in fact, the real killer? In Death by Talons, Tiddy Smith gives insight into the “Staircase” and the conspiracy behind the Michael Peterson trial.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781957288604
Publisher: WildBlue Press
Publication date: 06/29/2023
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 308
Sales rank: 982,866
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Tiddy Smith is a philosopher of religion, who gained his PhD from the University of Otago in 2017. He has taught at various universities in New Zealand and Indonesia. He is the author of The Methods of Science and Religion (Lexington Books, 2019) and editor of Animism and Philosophy of Religion (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023).
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