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Subject: Freda Black, Prosecutor in Michael Peterson trial and ‘Staircase’ documentary

Dead at 57
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Date Posted: Monday, July 30, 11:33:40am

Freda Black, former Durham County assistant district attorney, was found dead at her home over the weekend, Durham police confirmed Monday morning. She was perhaps best known for being part of the prosecution in the Michael Peterson murder trial.

The trial has gained much new attention this summer, after the documentary “The Staircase” was released on Netflix.
Police found Black around 3:30 p.m. Sunday, police spokesman Wil Glenn said. A family member had told police they couldn’t get in touch with her. The death doesn’t appear to be suspicious at this point, but the medical examiner will have more information, Glenn said.

Black, 57, a mother of two daughters, was a member of the prosecution team that won the initial murder conviction of Peterson in the death of his wife, Kathleen.

She is perhaps best remembered for her closing arguments, delivered in a molasses-thick Southern accent.

She memorably described the pornography found in Peterson’s home as “pure-T filth.” Jeff Astrof, creator of NBC comedy “Trial & Error,” in which the first season is loosely based on the Peterson case, said he has “pure-T filth” in episode 9 in the second season. The character of the DA Carole Ann Keane is partly based on Black.
After the trial, Black ran two unsuccessful campaigns for district attorney, in 2006 and 2008. In 2010, she ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Durham district court bench.

Black later faced driving while impaired charges in Durham and Orange counties. A 2012 arrest warrant, in which she was listed as working at the Durham Cleaners, said she measured 0.18 on a blood alcohol test. She pleaded guilty to the charge in 2013 and surrendered her license. In 2015 she pleaded guilty to a second DWI, and in 2016 she was charged with driving while her license was revoked for impairment, according to court records.

Black started as an assistant district attorney in the early 1990s. She left the office in 2005 after Mike Nifong was appointed district attorney and asked for her resignation.

“Freda was an incredible person in so many ways,” said Durham County Judge Jim Hardin, who served as Durham district attorney from 1994 to 2005.

She was “absolutely fearless” in the courtroom, Hardin said, and an absolute and relentless advocate for victims of violent crimes, Hardin said.

She had a way of talking with victims and family members with “incredible empathy a and understanding,” said Hardin, who hasn’t spoken to Black in years..

Hardin said Black was a true prosecutor. .

“When she left the DA’s office, she was no longer able to do that,” Hardin said. “I honestly believe that was a significant contributor to some of the problems that she had.”


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Anyone who watched the Netflix series knows, she played a prominent role during the trial. (NT)But reading this notice, it looks like she spiraled downward, not long after!Monday, July 30, 01:22:29pm

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