Scott Peterson Death Sentence Overturned

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Scott Peterson's death sentence in murder of pregnant wife overturned by California Supreme Court
Laci Peterson and their unborn son, Conner, were killed over 15 years ago



The California Supreme Court on Monday overturned the death penalty sentence for Scott Peterson, convicted in the Christmas Eve murder of his pregnant wife, Laci, and their unborn son, Conner.

The court's decision came more than 15 years after Laci, a Modesto, Calif., school teacher, was killed. Investigators said Peterson dumped his wife's body from his fishing boat into the San Francisco Bay in 2002. The bodies of Laci and Conner surfaced months later.

While the murder conviction against Peterson stayed in place, the court ordered a new penalty phase trial.


"Peterson contends his trial was flawed for multiple reasons, beginning with the unusual amount of pretrial publicity that surrounded the case," the court found. "We reject Peterson's claim that he received an unfair trial as to guilt and thus affirm his convictions for murder."

SCOTT PETERSON: 'I HAD NO IDEA' CONVICTION IN LACI PETERSON MURDER WAS COMING

However, the court ruled the trial judge in Peterson's case "made a series of clear and significant errors in jury selection that, under long-standing United States Supreme Court precedent, undermined Peterson's right to an impartial jury at the penalty phase."

The court also agreed that potential jurors improperly were dismissed from the jury pool after saying they personally disagreed with the death penalty but would be willing to impose it per California law.

Peterson, now 47, also claimed on appeal that he couldn't get a fair trial because of the massive publicity that surrounded his case, even though his trial was held nearly 90 miles away from his Central Valley home of Modesto to San Mateo County, south of San Francisco.


SCOTT PETERSON: 15 YEARS LATER, A LOOK BACK AT A CASE THAT GRIPPED A NATION

Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager did not immediately say if she would seek the death penalty again.

Peterson has been housed on San Quentin State Prison's death row since he was sentenced to death by lethal injection in 2005.

Peterson's case grabbed national headlines and intense pressure was put on investigators to find her killer. They chased nearly 10,000 tips and considered parolees and convicted sex offenders as possible suspects.

On Dec. 24, 2002, Peterson called his mother-in-law, Sharon Rocha, in the early evening to ask if Laci was with her. He told Rocha he had returned from a day of fishing and when he got home, Laci's car was in the driveway and their dog was in the backyard with his leash on.


The call to Rocha around 5:15 p.m. would set off a chain of events that would move an entire community, which jumped into action to find the missing mom to be. As the days and weeks went on, the search for Laci, who was 8 1/2 months pregnant when she disappeared, became more desperate.

Peterson claimed she was home the morning he left for his fishing trip in the San Francisco Bay and that was the last time he saw her.



Laci's family went on television, pleading for her safe return and for any information to help find her.

"Please bring my daughter home," Rocha asked the public in one news conference.

Attention soon turned to Peterson who has maintained he had nothing to do with Laci's disappearance.

One month after Laci's disappearance, police revealed her husband was living a double life, having an affair with a massage therapist who was living in Fresno by the name of Amber Frey.

SCOTT PETERSON MISTRESS AMBER FREY SUED OVER 'MEMOIRS OF A SEX ADDICT,' 'MYTHS OF THE FLESH'

Frey, a single mother, went to police once she became aware that the man she thought was her boyfriend was quickly becoming a prime suspect in a nationally televised case.

She eventually would go on to wear a wire and helped police record her conversations with Peterson, which would play a key role in the trial.


On April 13, 2003, the body of a baby boy was discovered along the shore of San Francisco Bay. The next day, the body of an adult female wearing maternity clothes was found nearby. The bodies were positively identified as those of Laci and her unborn son Conner.

Peterson was arrested in San Diego just days after the bodies were discovered.


He had dyed his hair blonde, grown a goatee and had many items in his car which led investigators to believe he may have been ready to run.

The double murder trial would take more than a year to begin, but at the end Scott Peterson was found guilty of first-degree murder for killing his wife, and second-degree murder for killing Conner.

Peterson, who pleaded not guilty, has always maintained his innocence.


He had dyed his hair blonde, grown a goatee and had many items in his car which led investigators to believe he may have been ready to run.

The double murder trial would take more than a year to begin, but at the end Scott Peterson was found guilty of first-degree murder for killing his wife, and second-degree murder for killing Conner.

Peterson, who pleaded not guilty, has always maintained his innocence.

 
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Guess Who

Well-known member
I think the death penalty should still exist in some states where it does not and it should be carried out in certain cases but it sure is not what goes on these days. Even though many of us may feel that way, the political ways these days and news is going towards "softness" on criminals and against the death penalty. Some states that have it new governors have put moratoriums on it. I would worry that the death penalty retried for Peterson, right now in California of all places, may not result in a unanimous yes. Also, witnesses die, prosecutors change or die, etc. I am guessing the decision was a measured one and considered the risk, and the possible pros and cons.

My personal opinion is that he deserves it though. But who ever thought this case would come back or win anything on appeal either?
I'm kind of liking the idea that he will no longer have the protection that death row provides.
 

Frydaddy

New member
He deserves it. I would think they would want it. It's the best justice IMO. I know California isn't executing people. But still. I think that is the only thing that is going to make a difference in Scott's head.
He sure does. I can only speak to what I would have wanted, which would be that Scott never saw another day of freedom the rest of his life. One thing is certain (to me anyway) and that is, nothing made a difference to Scott. The man was a narcissist if ever there was one, I think to this day he's still confused about why he couldn't charm his way out of this.
 

Frydaddy

New member
I think the death penalty should still exist in some states where it does not and it should be carried out in certain cases but it sure is not what goes on these days. Even though many of us may feel that way, the political ways these days and news is going towards "softness" on criminals and against the death penalty. Some states that have it new governors have put moratoriums on it. I would worry that the death penalty retried for Peterson, right now in California of all places, may not result in a unanimous yes. Also, witnesses die, prosecutors change or die, etc. I am guessing the decision was a measured one and considered the risk, and the possible pros and cons.

My personal opinion is that he deserves it though. But who ever thought this case would come back or win anything on appeal either?
I always expected this case to come back into the news at some point. Judge Delucchi, from all that I've read on him, was respected and revered for his law acumen. That he mentioned the case being a petri dish for appeals told me as much. Now, overturning the conviction and granting Scott another trial...I just don't see that. In my mind, his rulings on the guilt phase were sound, with the higher level court affirming many of them. Only thing left now is the spaghetti thrown against the wall by Janey, which will likely amount to nothing. But again, with the voice activists now have in our society, never say never.
 

kdg411

Administrator
Staff member
The family has “no doubt” Peterson killed his wife and unborn son Conner and deserves the death penalty but doesn’t want to pursue that punishment because “this process is simply too painful to endure once again,” District Attorney Birgit Fladager said her filing in San Mateo Superior Court.
 

Kimster

Let's Find Michael Bryson!
Staff member
The family has “no doubt” Peterson killed his wife and unborn son Conner and deserves the death penalty but doesn’t want to pursue that punishment because “this process is simply too painful to endure once again,” District Attorney Birgit Fladager said her filing in San Mateo Superior Court.
He wouldn’t have been executed in California. That just doesn’t happen there.
 

Jante

New member
I feel badly for Laci's family. They've been through the wringer with the loss of Laci and Conner. I believe he's guilty, always have, too many
things add up to it being him and no one else. IMHO
 

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