As we are nearing the end of HBO Max’s thrilling true-crime series, The Staircase, new evidence and characters are showing up to help Michael Peterson’s case. In the last episode of the limited series, we were introduced to Evelyn Ivins, played by Deja Dee, who is an attorney investigating the reports and findings of the North Caroline State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and their dealings under the table with the District Attorney (DA) that has helped the DA win several cases, illegally.
Evelyn is part of a project called the Project for Actual Innocence, which is an organization that investigates and deals the wrongful convictions in the State of North Carolina. Throughout The Staircase Episode 7, we see Evelyn follow leads that ultimately point fingers at SBI blood-spatter analyst Duane Deaver, who withheld evidence that resulted in the wrongful life imprisonment of Greg Taylor. However, while chasing these leads Evelyn realizes that Taylor’s case is not the only one and that there have been hundreds of cases where evidence was withheld by the SBI. Unknowingly, this helps Michael Peterson’s case as a lot of the ruling was done based on the blood splatter surrounding Katheleen’s death.
The Staircase: Are Deja Dee’s Evelyn Ivins and Project for Actual Innocence Real?
Both of these introductions made to us during The Staircase Episode 7 are based on real-life people and organizations. The character Evelyn Ivins is based on the real-life person Christine ‘Chris’ Mumma, who is the executive director of the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence (NCCAI).
In fact, Project for Actual Innocence is based on the concept and workings of NCCAI. The Greg Taylor case is shown in the episode also real as Chris and her team investigated Taylor’s case and got him out of his wrongful place in prison. As for if there is a relationship between the SBI case and Michael Peterson case? Well, there is. SBI analyst Duane Deaver was one of the principal witnesses against Peterson during his trial and his suspension gave the case ground for a retrial hearing.