We'll have to leave much of what happens during the trial behind, but suffice to say that no convincing theory ever comes to light before Peterson is convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Enter The Owl Theory. In 2009, a lawyer and neighbor of the Petersons named Larry Pollard, who was not involved in the case, reviewed the evidence files and came up with what sounded on its face like the ravings of an ornithologist madman. But when you look closer, it might actually make sense.
According to the theory, the events of that night unfolded like this: Kathleen Peterson was outside the couple's home at night, while her husband was down by their pool. An owl -- likely a barred owl -- swooped down and attacked Kathleen on her head, causing the lacerations police found later. (Yes, owls do attack humans; we'll get into that later.) Kathleen then ran inside to escape the owl, which had ripped out chunks of her hair; pine needles were also found in her hands, along with microscopic feathers. Drops of blood were found on the front steps, and the door had blood smeared on it, indicating that whatever happened, it wasn't totally confined to the staircase.