Motion for new Scott Peterson trial offers window to jury
Jury Recommends Capital Punishment
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (Dec. 13, 2004) - A jury
decided Monday that Scott Peterson should be executed for murdering his
pregnant wife, Laci, whose Christmas Eve disappearance two years ago was
the opening act in a legal drama that captivated the nation.
Cheers went up outside the courtroom as the jury
announced its decision after 11 1/2 hours of deliberations over three
days. The jury had two options in deciding the 32-year-old former
fertilizer salesman's fate: life in prison without parole or death by
Judge Alfred A. Delucchi will formally sentence
Peterson on Feb. 25. The judge will have the option of reducing the
sentence to life, but such a move is highly unlikely.
Peterson clenched his jaw when the verdict was
read but showed no other emotion.
In arguing for death, prosecutors called Peterson
''the worst kind of monster'' and said he was undeserving of sympathy.
The defense begged jurors to ''go back there and please spare his
The decision came almost two years to the date
after the disappearance of Laci Peterson, a 27-year-old substitute
teacher who married her college sweetheart and was soon to be the proud
mother of a baby boy named Conner. The story set off a tabloid frenzy as
suspicion began to swirl around Scott Peterson, who claimed to have been
fishing by himself on Christmas Eve and was carrying on an affair with a
massage therapist at the time.
The remains of Laci and the fetus washed ashore
about four months later, just a few miles from where Peterson claims to
have gone fishing in San Francisco Bay. The case went to trial in June,
and Peterson was convicted Nov. 12 of two counts of murder.
All the while, the case never stopped making
The case graced more People magazine covers than
any murder investigation in the publication's history. Court TV thrived
during the case, providing countless hours of coverage on the
investigation and gavel-to-gavel commentary throughout the trial. CNN's
Larry King hosted show after show with pundits picking apart legal
strategies, testimony and even Scott Peterson's demeanor.
Trial regulars showed up by the hundreds to
participate in the daily lottery for the coveted 27 public seats inside
Peterson will now be sent to death row at San
Quentin State Prison outside San Francisco, the infamous lockup where
prisoners gaze out small cell windows overlooking the same bay where
Laci Peterson's body was discarded.
Peterson still might not be executed for decades,
if ever. That is because California's death row has grown to house more
than 640 condemned men and women since the state brought back capital
punishment in 1978. Since then, only 10 executions have been carried
out. It can take years for even the first phase of the appeals process
California's last execution was on Jan. 29, 2002,
when Stephen Wayne Anderson - described by supporters as the poet
laureate of Death Row - was put to death by lethal injection for the
Memorial Day 1980 murder of 81-year-old Elizabeth Lyman during a
break-in at her home.
As many as three murderers face possible
execution in 2005, said Department of Corrections spokeswoman Margot
Prosecutors spent months portraying Peterson as a
monster, a cheating husband and cold-blooded killer who wooed his lover
even as police searched for his missing wife. They said he wanted to
murder Laci to escape marriage and fatherhood for the pleasures of the
freewheeling bachelor life.
The prosecution put on a short, but emotional
case in the penalty phase of the trial, calling just four witnesses.
''Every morning when I get up I cry,'' Laci's
mother, Sharon Rocha, said during the penalty phase. ''It takes me a
long time just to be able to get out of the house ... I miss her. I want
to know my grandson. I want Laci to be a mother. I want to hear her
Rocha would later rise halfway out of her seat
and scream at Scott Peterson, who was seated impassively at the defense
table: ''Divorce was always an option,'' she said. ''Not murder!''
Defense attorneys argued during the trial's guilt
phase that Peterson was framed and that the real killers dumped Laci's
body in the water after learning of Peterson's widely publicized alibi.
The defense fought hard to save Peterson's life, calling about 40
witnesses over seven days in the penalty phase.
They seized on anything from Scott Peterson's
past in attempt to spare his life, including testimony that he never
cheated on the golf course or lost his temper.
They told jurors of the Scott Peterson who was a
smiling, snuggling toddler. He was the high school golf captain who
tutored younger students. He sang to seniors on Sundays and once broke
up a dog fight. He cared for mentally retarded children. He was the
highly motivated son who worked his way through college.
And finally, he was the young professional who
married the woman he fell in love with in college.
''I wish there was a phrase that I could give you
that could turn this around and make you believe there is good, there is
real, real good in this person,'' defense attorney Pat Harris said
during closing arguments. ''But I don't have that phrase ... that's up
to you to decide.''
AP-NY-12-13-04 17:02 EST
Copyright 2004 The Associated
December 13, 2004
Character evidence put Peterson to
death (Dan Abrams)
The jury has deliberated for 11 hours and 30 minutes. At about 11:30
PT, they announced that they reached an unanimous verdict. Only minutes
ago, the jury recommended the death penalty for Scott Peterson.
During the guilt phase of the Peterson case,
there were cheers from the crowd of hundreds when Scott Peterson was
found guilty of first degree murder. Today, in front of the court house,
reactions are more muted. And rightly so… this was a decision about
This judge has the recommendation in his hand
— and he still has the discretion to say 'no' and recommend life
imprisonment instead. The official sentencing hearing will be in
February 2005. But this would be unlikely and unusual. The defense team
should not count on having this sentence reduced.
The murder of Laci Peterson and her unborn son
Conner got Scott Peterson convicted. But it was the period of 116 days
after the murder that got him the death penalty.
Between the time Laci was murdered and her body
was found, volunteers were searching, the families were frantic, and
everyone was trying to do anything and everything to find Laci.
And Scott? He was on the phone with Amber Frey
at Laci’s vigil, he was lying to volunteers, and even laughing at a
message from his own mother. The prosecutors successfully argued that
this is not a life worth sparing. What put him to death was
We are now expecting to hear from some of the
participants of this case. Jurors will be free to speak, and so will
family members, the prosecutors, and the defense team. We could hear
some very emotional statements from both sides in the minutes and hours
December 13, 2004
Why we covered the Peterson case so
much and so often (Dan Abrams)
It is a question I get nearly every day, and my
answer will be unsatisfying to some. News purists would argue that
only the most important news should be covered — the news that affects
the future of nations or issues that could affect life or death for most
The outcome of the Peterson case will not
impact international nuclear proliferation nor lead to peace in the
Middle East. Anyone who tells you we are covering one of the more
important stories of the day is a liar.
But it is a fascinating story, more
newsmagazine than pure news. This story gives an insight into both
our legal system and into the darkest sides of humanity. So many
can see something in themselves in either Laci or even Scott. They
were where so many couples had been, or strive to be: young and
For some women, Scott Peterson represents the
epitome of everything wrong with certain men and yet he just seems
perfect; a seemingly loving, handsome husband who appeared so normal.
But in reality, he was nothing of the sort
Disgusted by his burgeoning wife, he was out
soliciting while she fended for herself and her soon to be baby at home.
Then at the time when so many women feel so
vulnerable-seven-and-half-months pregnant — he killed her.
It is at least as intriguing psychologically as
it is legally, leading so many who have followed this case to question
their own choices. Could my Harry or Doug be anything like him?
It’s led me to wonder whether I could have seen it in him. I
doubt it. Do I know anyone who is that deceptive? It’s a
study in psychology. Everyone wants to understand Scott.
When I attend the most intellectual of events
and speak about the Middle East or the Supreme Court, people always
approach me afterwards. They ask, almost shamefully, questions about the
But there should be no shame. There is nothing wrong with
following a fascinating story or reading a compelling book for that
matter, particularly one that also teaches so much about how our legal
system works. There is a place for it at the news dinner table
and, while this is serious stuff as a news matter, maybe it's dessert.
But as long as you don't only eat or serve sweets, I see it as an
entirely defensible part of the diet. For some of the time, I have no
qualms about being the pastry chef.
Your rebuttal I’ve said what I needed to, now it’s your turn…
Thursday night, one of my guests, Geoffrey
Fieger, tried to suggest Scott Peterson was involved in a disappearance
of another woman before Laci. I cut him off because there is no
evidence to suggest this claim... Many of you were upset.
Sheila P. Burlson in Charlotte, North Carolina
writes: "You know, I have thought from the beginning that Laci was
not Scott's first murder. Just a creepy feeling I had... wish you had
let Geoffrey tell the viewing audience about that."
And from Virginia Beach, Virginia, Grace
writes: "Thank you Geoffrey Fieger. I definitely agree that
this is not Scott's first offense."
I cut him off because police investigated and
found no evidence, zero that Scott may have been connected to another
murder and I do not want to discuss non-issues on the program.
Trish Good in Pasadena, Texas: ”I was impressed how you strongly
objected to this ridiculous, inflammatory statement and applaud
Finally, in Thursday night's edition of
"Legal Lite", we told you about a fast-food worker who was
jailed for spitting in a police officer's hamburger, the officer
noticing only after he started eating it!
Many of you were eating dinner during that
segment… Sorry about that...
But Kathy Carlson in Anderson, Indiana didn't
mind: "The topic of the Legal Lite today was some guy hocking up a
loogie on some police officer's hamburger. It's kind of bad because I
eat my dinner while watching your show, but it's also kind of good
because I'm on a diet. Could you possibly find a case where someone
hocked a loogie on a plate of fries or a big bowl of chocolate ice
Good one, Kathy.
The Peterson sentencing verdict will be
announced at 4:30 p.m. ET today and we will be live in Redwood City,
Calif. with the latest news. So stay tuned to MSNBC and
Abramsreport.msnbc.com for the details.
December 13, 2004
All's quiet on the western front
(Amy Harmon, Abrams Report Peterson trial producer in Redwood City)
Official word from the courthouse: The jury
arrived shortly before 8 and started deliberating at 8:00 on the dot.
Our booker/producer Brian Cohen watched jurors
come in this morning and reports they were slightly more dressed up than
they were Friday, noting that juror #12 has her hair done. Brian's
thought? Juror #12 thinks she could end up on TV today after the
jury makes its recommendation. My thought? The weekend was
long and boring, and she had plenty of time to do her hair this morning.
The buzz around here? There really isn't
one. At least not compared to Friday afternoon. Could this
be the calm before the storm? We'll keep you posted.
Peterson jurors take the weekend to
think (Jamie Rubin, Abrams Report producer)
The jurors called it a day. They will
resume deliberations on Monday to decide between life in prison or the
death penalty for Peterson. But there's a good chance that even if
they do vote for death, it's going to be a long time before Scott
Peterson is strapped into to the death chamber — if he ever makes it
there at all.
California has the largest number of inmates on
death row in the country. People are waiting to be executed there,
15 women, and 626 men. Only 10 people sentenced to death in
California have actually been executed there since the state reinstated
the death penalty in 1978.
The last execution was held in 2002 and that
inmate had been on death row for over 20 years. Even if jurors
decide to give Scott Peterson a death sentence, there is a chance the
judge in this case can overrule their verdict when the sentence is
finalized in February.
Even so, it matters whether he gets the death
penalty or not; it’s not irrelevant as some suggest. The
decision will inevitably change where he lives and the appellate
process. So this life or death sentence from the jury is not
something to be taken lightly.
What are your thoughts on this case as final
deliberations in the penalty phase near an end?
E-mail us at
Abrams and staff on high alert
(Jamie Rubin, Abrams Report producer)
Dan is back in Redwood City, Calif. on high
alert as we wait for a verdict in the Scott Peterson sentencing phase.
The decision could come at any moment, even during our show, so you
won't want to miss Dan and his crack legal team for expert analysis.
Tune in at 6 p.m. Eastern for the latest on the sentencing phase, the
reality of the death penalty in California (more people are on death row
there than in any other state, but no one has been executed in nearly
three years), what Scott's life will be like in the California prison
system, and reaction from Redwood City if Peterson's fate is decided
tonight. And if word of a verdict comes before 6 p.m., Dan will be
live on MSNBC with the news. Don't miss it!
December 9, 2004
All mothers’ pain is not created
equal (Dan Abrams)
Yes, both are angry: Sharon’s beautiful
daughter was brutally murdered and Jackie’s son has been convicted of
If Scott Peterson gets the death penalty, both
will have lost a cherished child, through no fault of their own. But
Jackie suggests both will have also lost a loved in-law as well.
Jackie Peterson testified that she loved Laci
as much as Sharon Rocha loved Scott. That may have been true.
In fact, Sharon initially defended Scott. But while Jackie still
loves Laci, Sharon does not share those sentiments about Scott anymore.
Jackie's statement ignores that reality.
Jackie's pain is based in helplessness;
Sharon's in sadness and fury. Sharon's rational is supported by love and
facts; Jackie's is just based on love alone.
Jackie has directed her anger towards the media
and, ultimately, the jurors.
Sharon's anger is directed straight at Jackie's
son. Jackie's effort to deflect blame from Scott is ultimately an
insult to the Rochas.
If Scott were innocent, it would be fair to
talk about everyone's pain. But when everyone else, the Rochas and
the jurors, are convinced otherwise, it just adds insult to injury to
lump them together. Talking about all of them as one family is only fair
when she speaks for the family.
But no matter what anyone says, I feel for
Jackie Peterson— she is a sweet loving mother. But that should
also lead her to better understand that her pain is not Sharon's.
She has not lost her son yet. Even if he gets the death penalty, it
would take at least ten years on death row before he is executed. That
is not anything for her to celebrate but she and Sharon are just not
battling the same demons.
Your rebuttal The other night, I
whined about wine on the show. The states claim that the
21st Amendment, which ended prohibition, gives them the power to
regulate alcohol sales any way they want.
On Monday, the Supreme Court heard arguments
that some state laws, namely New York and Michigan, discriminate against
consumers and wine makers because those states allow consumers to buy
wine directly from wineries in their state, but prohibit them from
buying from wineries in another state.
I said this issue revolves around distributors
trying to protect their monopoly and it's time for the court to say no
to this discrimination. Ken Starr joined me on the program to
discuss the issue.
Law student Aaron Power in Los Angeles,
California writes: "The show made me admit, for the first and
hopefully the last time, that I actually agreed with Ken Starr on
On the Peterson trial—
Scott Peterson's family and friends are still on the stand pleading for
his life to be spared in the penalty phase of his murder trial.
Greg Allan in Indiana: "The only point
this gibberish from the friends of Scott brigade establishes is that he
had the ability to charm strangers and acquaintances, which is a trait
common to sociopaths."
But Brenda Moore has a different sentiment:
"This man and his family are fighting tooth and nail for his life.
I don't care if they call 1,000 people. Let them talk. If you
don't like it, bring yourself back from Redwood City."
I have said they should be allowed to do it.
I just don't think it is helping the cause. But thanks for the
Tuesday, December 14, 2004 at 07:31 JST REDWOOD CITY, Calif — A jury decided Monday that Scott
Peterson should be executed for murdering his pregnant wife, Laci, whose
Christmas Eve disappearance two years ago was the opening act in a legal
drama that captivated the nation.
A cheer went up outside the courtroom as the jury announced its
decision after 11 1/2 hours of deliberations over three days. The jury
had two options in deciding the 32-year-old former fertilizer salesman's
fate: life in prison without parole or death by injection.
Peterson clenched his jaw when the verdict was read and leaned over to
speak with his attorney, Mark Geragos, but showed no other emotion. Laci
Peterson's mother, Sharon Rocha, cried — her lips quivering. Scott
Peterson's mother, Jackie, showed no apparent emotion.
A crowd of several hundred gathered outside the courthouse to hear
the verdict — a scene reminiscent of when about 1,000 people showed up
last month for the conviction. The San Francisco Examiner came out with
a special edition within minutes of the sentence, with the giant
Alfred A Delucchi will formally sentence Peterson on Feb 25. The
judge will have the option of reducing the sentence to life, but such a
move is highly unlikely.
If the judge upholds the sentence, Peterson will be sent to death row
at San Quentin State Prison outside San Francisco, the infamous lockup
where prisoners gaze out small cell windows overlooking the same bay
where Laci Peterson's body was discarded.
But Peterson still might not be executed for decades — if ever —
and it can take years for even the first phase of the appeals process to
begin. Since California brought back capital punishment in 1978, only 10
executions have been carried out; the last execution, in 2002, was for a
murder committed in 1980. The state's death row houses about 650 people.
The death sentence came almost two years to the date after the
disappearance of Laci Peterson, a 27-year-old substitute teacher who
married her college sweetheart and was soon to be the proud mother of a
baby boy named Conner. The story set off a tabloid frenzy as suspicion
began to swirl around Scott Peterson, who claimed to have been fishing
by himself on Christmas Eve and was carrying on an affair with a massage
therapist at the time.
The remains of Laci and the fetus washed ashore about four months
later, just a few miles from where Peterson said he was fishing in the
San Francisco Bay. The case went to trial in June, and the jury of six
men and six women convicted Peterson last month of two counts of murder.
The case graced more People magazine covers than any murder
investigation in the publication's history. Court TV thrived on the
case, providing countless hours of coverage on the investigation and
gavel-to-gavel commentary throughout the trial. CNN's Larry King hosted
show after show with pundits picking apart legal strategies, testimony
and even Scott Peterson's demeanor.
Trial regulars showed up by the hundreds to participate in the daily
lottery for the coveted 27 public seats inside the courtroom.
Prosecutors spent months portraying Peterson as a cheating husband
and cold-blooded killer who wooed his lover even as police searched for
his missing wife. They said he wanted to murder Laci to escape marriage
and fatherhood for the pleasures of the freewheeling bachelor life.
Laci Peterson Guilt Beyond Court TV Reward
Peterson was found guilty by Court TV.
Laci Peterson is this year's "St. Ratings of
Court TV." The Scott Peterson Reward is at $359,715.
Court TV should be banned from every courtroom in
the country. Scott Peterson would never have been convicted
of Laci Peterson’s murder if not for media whores like MSNBC
and Court TV. The Peterson case is a
classic example of what happens when trial outcomes are dictated
by ratings and agenda driven entities such as MSNBC and Court TV.
It took a caller to the Larry King show on CNN
to ask the panel if they felt networks like Court TV
played a part in the outcome of the Peterson case. Each
panelist agreed that regardless of the jury instructions, jurors
in the Peterson case had to have watched and been
affected by the biased, one sided reporting of MSNBC and Court TV.
It is obvious to anyone who watches Court TV, MSNBC, Nancy
Grace, Gloria Allred, Wendy Murphy, Lisa
Bloom, Kimberly Guilfoyle Neasom, Vinnie Politan and Dan
Abrams that they need to be banned from reporting on any
trial until a jury reaches a verdict.
I took flack from someone on the message boards yesterday for
calling Court TV, MSNBC, Nancy Grace, Gloria
Allred, Wendy Murphy, Lisa Bloom,
Kimberly Guilfoyle Neasom, Vinnie Politan
and Dan Abrams media whores. They didn’t like the fact
that I referred to Nancy Grace and Gloria
Allred as bitches. However, they have no problem
when Nancy Grace refers to other females as bitches, or Gloria
Allred repeats that Scott Peterson is an
"A-hole" on the air no less than 15 times within one
week. It seems that Court TV followers have
two sets of standards. For
Your Input Click Here:
I’ll make this real simple.
We’re going to plaster the $359,715 Reward
offer any and everywhere we can. We’re not going to be
deterred by people who are more concerned about ratings and being
right than justice. Scott Peterson was
found guilty as a result of Court TV and
MSNBC’s reporting and ratings driven biased hosts and guests.
Only individuals as ignorant as the people over at Court TV and MSNBC
would support their efforts to deny Scott Peterson his right to a
fair trial. This conviction, if there is any integrity left
in the California Judicial System, will be thrown
out or over turned the day the appeal is filed.
the Reward being offered every place you normally
discuss this case. Give Scott Peterson the opportunity for
someone to come forward with information that may prove his
Here are more of your thoughts about Scott Peterson, Court TV, MSNBC,
Gloria Allred, Nancy Grace, Lisa Bloom, Dan
Abrams, and the rest.
Wrote: Scott Peterson
"I believe Scott is innocent. I want to know
why the 2 guys that he met in a hotel that were ex-cons were not
ever questioned is this case. I think they are the ones
responsible for Laci’s death. I think he
was framed. There is no weapon, no
DNA, no eyewitnesses. How can he
be convicted? He had an affair, it doesn’t make
him a killer."
Wrote: Peterson Verdict
"I cannot believe this site has been here all this time and I
somehow got all tangled up watching those hateful people
on the Modesto Bee Site... Anyone believing Scott
to be innocent dares not to speak there. They are a bunch of
crazed people that now are posting kill kill
kill! I hope they never have to walk in these people’s
shoes... and I pray for the "real" murder to be found so
these people can eat "crow" along with that hateful Dan
Abrams and his pack of media thirsty crowd. And the
"prosecutor" he has on there every
night makes me scream at TV."
Response: You think that’s bad. Try
turning on Court TV when Nancy Grace, Gloria
Allred, Wendy Murphy, and Lisa Bloom are all on together.
Talk about a bitch fest. If you have a gun in the house make
sure you give the bullets to someone else to hold before you
watch. There’s a good possibility that you’d
kill yourself while watching them. If that
happened, Court TV and the "she
woman men haters club" will do everything in
their power to convict your husband by claiming
he staged your suicide in order to cover up your murder. In
their eyes this would be a ratings bonanza.
Never mind the note you left saying Nancy
Grace and Gloria Allred’s ignorance drove you to pull
the trigger. Forget the video tape you made
that shows you committing suicide. That call you
placed to 911 so there was a real time recording of the
event had to have been staged. As for your husband’s alibi
that puts him on stage at a U2 concert with 80,000
witnesses. Nancy Grace will claim they all lied to
protect him. All this because Nancy Grace thinks
she knows everything about everything. If you
don’t believe me, just ask her, she’ll tell
Wrote: Thank You
"I appreciate your posting of the behind the scenes
truths by the "Court TV Crowd"
and more importantly Mark Geragos. I could not believe it
when he did not have the forensic scientist take the stand and say
that there would have been forensic evidence if Scott did it
regardless of how he did it even if he strangled Laci;
however, that there was no forensic evidence that they found at
all. They said that on TV afterwards. I had suspected,
but then I felt for sure, that Scott would not have a
trial when I heard that."
Wrote: Reward Pledge
simply haven't seen enough evidence that proves that Scott
is guilty because of this I pledge $500."
Wrote: Laci Peterson’s Killer
"You people are nuts. There won't be a
"murderer" found. The right sociopath has already
been proven guilty. Go on with your sordid lives."
Response: Andrea, what proof?
There has not been one piece of evidence
introduced during this trial that proves Scott Peterson guilty
beyond a reasonable doubt. I’ve asked this
question a hundred times of people that write and post.
Where is the physical evidence?
I don’t care how smart you want to claim Scott Peterson
is. He did not clean up seven (7) different crime
scenes, based on the police and prosecutions theory, and
not leave one piece of trace evidence for the FBI crime
unit and lab to find.
still waiting for any of the "know it alls" to give me
one example of physical evidence that proves Scott
Peterson murdered Laci. I guess you'll never be
able to provide me with any since none exist.
Don't take my word for it, call the FBI at 202-324-3000,
and ask them to connect you with the crime lab.
sure they’re sitting by the telephone eagerly awaiting
your telephone call.
Wrote: Kill Him
"I think he should get the death penty."
Wrote: The Tips
"Huck, can you please tell me what you will be doing with
any tips people provide you with in the Scott
Peterson case? Who will screen them? Will
they go to police or what? Thank you! I really like
Response: All tips or information will be
forwarded to both the police and Scott
Peterson's attorney of record at the time any tip is
received. We will screen them only to the extent of
verifying that there is a valid contact. However, we will
not make any determination as to what to forward. That is
unless it is not a credible tip or response.
We do not know all the facts of the case that have not been made
public. Therefore it will not be for us to determine what is
relevant or not.
Ask Huck can be found on the s5000home page next
to the What The Huck article. If you have
any questions or comments about s5000 just click on the Ask
Huck link and fill out the form. Ask Huck questions
and comments will be responded to in upcoming What The Huck
articles. s5000 provides the What
The Huck articles as part of its many features.
So if you have any Ask Huck questions or comments go to the s5000
homepage and click on the link next to What the Huck.
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Huck link. By using the Ask Huck link on the s5000
home page you can have your responses featured in a future What
The Huck article.
Don’t just make a difference, Be The Difference.
what the huck
Peterson Jurors Say He Showed No Remorse for Laci, Conner
by Steven Ertelt LifeNews.com Editor
December 14, 2004
Redwood City, CA (LifeNews.com) -- In interviews held after
announcing that convicted double murderer Scott Peterson should receive
the death penalty for the deaths of his wife and unborn child, jurors
said they wished the California man would have shown some remorse over
their brutal deaths.
reacted to the jury's announcement with the same tight-jawed look that
he has had throughout the trial. His only other reaction was to lean
over to speak to one of his attorneys.
The lack of emotion then, and throughout the
trial, was a turnoff, jurors said.
"I still would have liked to see, I don't
know if remorse is the right word," jury foreman Steve Cardosi said
at a news conference following the sentence. "He lost his wife and
his child -- it didn't seem to faze him. While that was going on ... he
is romancing a girlfriend."
Juror Richelle Nice, the mother of four
children, also mentioned Peterson's demeanor.
"No emotion, no anything. That spoke a
thousand words," Nice said. "Scott Peterson was Laci's
husband, Conner's daddy -- the one person that should have protected
"Scott Peterson is a cold blooded killer.
He has no remorse," juror Michael Belmessieri told CBS News. He
said Peterson had a loving family but he threw it away, "treated it
Speaking about the death penalty sentence,
Cardosi said, "It just seemed to be the appropriate justice for the
crime, given the nature and how personal it really was, against his wife
and his child."
When the jury gave her son-in-law the death
penalty for killing her daughter and future grandson, Laci Peterson's
mother, Sharon Rocha, cried quietly.
Laci Peterson's stepfather, Ron Grantski was
the only member of Laci's family to speak to the media after the
sentence was pronounced. He said the family has many holidays ahead that
will be tough to endure.
"They had no reason to doubt it was Scott
who did what he did," he said.
Grantski said Peterson "got what he
deserved" for killing his 27-year-old pregnant wife.
"It's still a nightmare. It should never
have happened. It's hurt too many people for no reason," Ron
Grantski said. "But justice was served."
Members of Scott Peterson's family, many of
whom had taken the stand to ask jurors for mercy, did not comment on the
Meanwhile, in a brief news conference after the
sentence, Peterson's lead attorney Mark Geragos said he and his defense
team plan to appeal the verdict and sentence.
"Obviously, we plan on pursuing every and
all appeals, motions for a new trial and everything else," he said.
Listen to Rush Conduct
the Broadcast Excellence Transcribed Below...(audio)
I thought about this long and hard, and I'm gonna go
ahead and do it because I gotta couple-- just one
real little thing here to say about all this. But
other than "I told you so; I predicted
it," you want to listen to some of the things
the jurors said in the Scott Peterson trial, or have
you had enough of it, Dawn? Did you see any of it?
Yeah, but you haven't heard it all till you've heard
what I think about it, and so, ladies and gentlemen,
let's go to juror Greg Beratlis speaking to the
media yesterday in Redwood City, California, one of
the jurors that spoke after recommending the death
penalty for Scott Peterson.
BERATLIS: I would have liked to have heard something
out of his mouth, yes, anything, a plea for -- for
his life or -- or just his opinion on everything
that went on in the last, you know, two years. But I
never got that, and I couldn't use that for any
decision-making. I didn't see much emotion at all.
When I looked over there, I -- it was a blank stare,
and I don't know why, I can't -- I couldn't read
into that, but I didn't -- we would see him laugh at
certain situations, and then sit there and shake his
head as if in disbelief at what was going on. That's
what I saw.
RUSH: Wasn't that emotion if he's laughing and
shaking his head in disbelief? Isn't that emotion?
That's my first question. Second question... It's
not really a question. It's just a nah-nah-nah-nah,
I told you so. I don't know if one of these guys
used the word "remorse" or not, one of
these jurors. I'm not being critical of the jurors,
don't misunderstand. I don't disagree with the
verdict. It's not the problem here. It's just this
whole notion we didn't see any emotion. We did not
see any of this. Would it have made any difference?
Does anybody really think it would have made any
difference if the jurors had seen any emotion from
this guy? Would it? No, it wouldn't have made a
dime's worth of difference -- and not only that, it
shouldn't have. The one thing about all these juror
comments, there's only one thing -- and probably in
the grand scheme of things it's a small thing -- but
the one thing that bothers me is his guilt or
innocence is not up to anything he does. The
prosecution has to prove it beyond a shred of doubt
or reasonable doubt. He doesn't have to go on the
stand and persuade anybody. He doesn't have to take
the stand. Now, you can argue whether he should have
or shouldn't have.
could it have been any worse had he taken the
stand? He got the death penalty. But I still, it's
a small thing, but for the jurors to imply that
their decision was weighted on whether or not he
testified, whether or not his emotion showed
through is just a tiny bit troubling because
that's not the system. You're not supposed to
judge guilt or innocence based on the way the
defendant looks over there. I know it's going to
happen, but it's not supposed to. You're not
supposed to judge guilt or innocence on whether
the defendant takes a stand up there and says,
"I didn't do it." Of course he didn't do
it. He's sitting there saying he didn't do it by
having lawyers represent him. His whole case is he
didn't do it. Now, it's up to the prosecution to
prove that he did. It's not up to them to prove
that he didn't. Geragos mounted a defense, from
what I understand there was not much substance to
it, but this whole notion, "Well, if we'd
just seen some remorse... Well, if we'd just seem
some remorse, well, I just wanted to hear his
answer to these questions". Hey, what he says
about it is not relevant to the verdict, not in
the system, anyway. This is the redheaded juror,
Richelle Nice. She's an unemployed mother of four,
and here's a portion of what she said.
NICE: No emotion, no anything. That spoke a
thousand words. That was loud and clear. Today,
the giggles at the table, loud and clear. I heard
enough from him.
RUSH: You didn't hear anything from him. You start
out complaining you didn't hear anything from him.
He giggles at the end of the day yesterday. Well,
that's all I need to hear. Now, folks, as I say,
I'm not trying to be a spoilsport about this; I'm
not defending the guy. I didn't even watch the
trial. I don't even care. I have never cared. I
mean, I'm sorry that somebody died, but I mean the
-- it's not right to say I didn't care. My level
of interest has not been such that I have watched
proceedings every day and watched the analysis.
Quite the contrary. There are a lot of people
murdered in this country, and for some reason
their cases don't end up on television the way
this one did. We know why. I mean it's, you know,
an all-American girl, young pre-born baby involved
and sort of a cad for a defendant, not to mention
the fact he lies to women. I mean, that was just
the last straw for many people. ABC's Good Morning
America in the middle of the trial after they
found out from Amber Frey's testimony he lied to
women they had a whole feature on men who lied to
women. It was almost worse than committing murder
the way they focused on the way Scott Peterson
lied. Here these jurors, "No emotion! No
anything! That spoke a thousand words." It's
not supposed to speak a syllable. What the
defendant does or doesn't do at the defense table,
what he says or doesn't say on the stand, the fact
he takes the stand or not is not supposed to say
anything to the jury. Here's one more. This is the
foreman, Steve Cardosi and a portion of his
CARDOSI: I did see emotions in him, most of which
were anger. You could tell he didn't get upset and
cry very often at all until the penalty phase you
saw a couple tears coming down his face. I still
would have liked to see, I don't know if remorse
is the right word, but a little more expression of
caring about his loss. I mean if he was innocent,
RUSH: Stop the tape. Stop. Stop! These guys just
determined this guy committed murder. If he cared
he wouldn't have committed murdered. If he cared
about them in the first place, he wouldn't have
committed murder. Is that not true? Too logical?
So they wanted to see some caring; so he's
supposed to sit there -- it's sort of like the
Menendez trial. You want the Menendez son that
shot his mother to cry about it on the stand, and
then the juror said, "Oh, look at him. He's
going to be without his mother now." Yeah,
but because he killed her! "Well, he's still
a good boy," said one of the jurors in that
trial. Anyway, so, this guy did see emotion, but
it didn't matter. Peterson is still going to fry.
Here's the rest of his... Well, no, they don't fry
'em out there. They either gas 'em or they inject
'em. They'll go to, I think it's San Quentin. You
know the last person executed in California was
2002, and they were on death row since 1980. Death
row since 1980. So Peterson is how old, 30, 25?
He's got 23 years at least here to go, but it will
be on death row. It will be in solitary, and I
wonder if the wardens will see any emotion from
Peterson. Here's the remainder of the comment.
CARDOSI: His wife and his child, and it didn't
seem to faze him, and while it was going on
they're looking for his wife and his child, he's
romancing a girlfriend. That's -- that doesn't
make sense to me at all.
RUSH: It must have because you just convicted him.
It had to make sense. He didn't care. He wanted
out of the marriage, wanted to be a big bachelor,
didn't want to pay child support or alimony and
all that so, bammo! No more wife; no more preborn
baby. Hello, bachelor life. Anyway, a quick
time-out here, uh, ladies and gentlemen. The
choices this guy's made in his life are obviously
screwed and screwy, this Peterson character, but
still you've got a mixture of opinions. He showed
emotion, one juror said. Another juror says he
didn't show any emotion, didn't act like he cared
his wife and son are missing. Yeah, he killed
them. How could he? That was the thing! He didn't
want to miss them. He didn't want them around. I
know. I know. I'm being too technical with all
this, but this is the jury system. I think this
stuff is worth pointing out.
RUSH: I should point out, just to keep things in
context here, the juror with the red hair whose
nickname on the jury was Pinkie and her name is
Richelle Nice, this comment that she made, "I
had heard enough from him," she was, I think,
referring to all the tapes that they had played in
court of this guy calling Amber Frey, and she was
basically saying she didn't need to hear any more
from the guy because, you know, she recognizes a
cad when she hears one. He was on the phone with
this babe. Now, here's another montage of three
jury members, Steve Cardosi, Richelle Nice, and
Greg Beratlis. We just put this montage together
to emphasize a point.
CARDOSI: I would like to have heard something out
of his mouth, yes, anything. A plea for his life.
I didn't see much emotion at all. It was a blank
No emotion. No anything. That spoke a thousand
words. That was loud and clear.
BERATLIS: I did see emotions in him, most of which
were anger. He didn't get upset and cry very often
at all. I still would have liked to see a little
more expression of caring. He lost his wife and
his child, and it didn't seem to faze him.
RUSH: One of the things I seem to recall, uh, from
watching Perry Mason over the years is that -- I'm
sorry. My dad was a lawyer, too. I have some
experience with this stuff -- the defense lawyers
tell their clients, "Don't have emotional
outbursts," tell the defendant, "Don't
have an emotional outburst. It doesn't play well.
You're just supposed to sit there." It's a
little contradictory, the jurors want to see
emotion. Here's an expert on the Today Show today,
news analyst Michael Cardoza. Katie Couric said,
"Michael, we heard repeatedly that Scott
Peterson showed very little emotion during the
trial, as one of the jurors just told Matt Lauer,
and that seemed to have a major impact. How
important was that in terms of not only his guilty
conviction but the death penalty as well?"
CARDOZA: Well, I'll tell you, according to the
jurors it was very important, but I do have
difficulty with that, because people react
differently to different circumstances. I mean,
look, somebody slips and falls, most people laugh.
I mean, that's not the appropriate response to
that. So to say that he wasn't remorseful, I have
real difficulty with that. I thought Matt pointed
out, but if he's innocent why should he be
remorseful? But yet the jurors did look at that,
how he reacted in court and I know a lot of
defense attorneys now are thinking, "Gee I
better tell my client to react more in a
RUSH: See? See? I'm telling you, the rule of thumb
with the defense lawyers to their clients is,
"Just sit there like a bump on a log. Don't
act like any of this stuff is getting to
you." Now these jury experts are gonna be
rethinking this because every jury you talk to now
comes out and complains they didn't see any
emotion from the accused. Either didn't care that
he lost his wife and preborn baby... You know what
Brian said? I gotta share this. Brian had an idea
for the defense on the appeal: Pre-partum
depression. So we're going to send that out free
of charge here to Mark Geragos and his team.
Because postpartum depression has been
successfully employed in... Well, not when you
kill your spouse, but when babies have died,
postpartum depression. It's related to PEST,
Post-Election Stress Trauma, or Selection Trauma
or whatever. So pre-partum depression. But this
whole bit of emotion, and I'll bet you we could
take some phone calls on this and everybody will
think I'm wrong about this in one of those rare
displays where the audience after 16 years still
has the courage and guts to disagree with me. Mary
Ann in Pittsburgh, welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: It's very rarely that I disagree with you
but I have to in this case because I think that any
human being would be affected by what happened in
that courtroom, and especially a husband and a
father that was innocent of this crime would have
shown some emotion during the showing of the autopsy
photos, of a brutally murdered wife and unborn
child. Wouldn't that affect any normal person that
they would show some kind of emotion? During the
penalty phase, he could have at least shown some
emotion that, "Hey, maybe I'm a cad and maybe I
fool around, but I'm not capable of this kind of
RUSH: Well, okay. "I'm not capable of this kind
of brutality so don't kill me. Spare my life."
RUSH: If you're going to say that as a juror you
would have liked to have seen that, wouldn't that
have been more appropriate during the guilt phase
rather than the penalty phase because the idea here
was not to be convicted?
CALLER: Well, it would have been except that Mark
Geragos chose not to put him on the stand during the
guilt phase --
RUSH: Well, but doesn't matter. He could still be
emotional sitting there at the table. He could bang
his head on the table, he could start crying.
RUSH: He could ask for a recess. He could fake
convulsions. He could throw up, at the sight of the
pictures. Any number of things he could have done --
RUSH: -- that obviously might have moved this jury.
CALLER: Absolutely. Especially there were women on
that jury, and I think they would have been --
RUSH: What does that mean? That sounds like a sexist
CALLER: Well, I think we tend to be a little more
REDWOOD CITY -- Not only were jurors introducing themselves to the
media following six months on the Scott Peterson murder trial, they
were also introducing themselves to each other for the first time.
Each member of the jury, according to foreman Stephen Cardosi, used
fake names during the trial -- they only learned each other's real
names for the first time at the press conference following the
decision to send Peterson to death row.
In addition to discussing details of the trial, Cardosi, Belmont
youth-sports coach Gregory Beratlis and East Palo Alto mother of four
Richelle Nice spoke about the toll of serving as jurors on the most
high-profile murder case of the year.
"As you can see, I'm an emotional wreck," said Nice, who
nearly broke down on several occasions. "I've changed and I look
at life a lot different."
Beratlis likened the experience to a "jury 'Survivor,'"
saying the trial took a strong emotional toll.
"We can't talk to anyone about this stuff and so you have six
months to bottle everything up," Beratlis said. "I got three
hours of sleep and I was happy.
"I appreciate life a lot more now," he added. "You
can take your family for granted -- that they'll always be
Nice mentioned the difficulty of juggling four children while going
to trial every day, and Cardosi also mentioned the financial hardship
involved with taking six months off from his job as a paramedic
"It's been hard, it's like two full-time jobs," he said.
"I've worked many a weekend and then gone straight to court on
Despite its difficulties, all three spoke of the sense of
camaraderie that built up amongst the jurors throughout the six-month
murder trial. They even managed to joke around with the reporters at
the press conference, many of whom had given nicknames to the jurors
they had previously known only as numbers. Nice, for instance, was
known as "Strawberry Shortcake" because of her brightly dyed
"I've seen most of you press people before," Beratlis
said. "We have names for you."
Beratlis described the most difficult time of the trial, when the
12 San Mateo County residents walked out of the courtroom to cheers
after they had declared Scott Peterson guilty two weeks ago.
"We had to make that decision, and people were running around
and clapping -- that was not a happy event for any of us," he
said. "It is not going to bring back anyone who is gone."
Geragos takes a hit with defeat
says he's concerned with Peterson's fate after death verdict —
not his own career, reputation
Mark Geragos, shown in a
January hearing with Scott Peterson, was fired
by Michael Jackson for focusing too much on
Peterson's case. AL GOLUB/THE BEE
LOS ANGELES — Last winter, Mark Geragos was the king of defense
lawyers, a legal superstar representing Michael Jackson and Scott
Peterson. What a difference a year makes.
Peterson's five-month trial ended Monday with a jury recommending
he be executed for killing his pregnant wife and unborn son. A case
that started well for Geragos, who brought a flash of celebrity in
defense of the former fertilizer salesman, ended with a futile plea to
spare Peterson's life.
Though jurors said afterward they respected Geragos' courtroom
craftsmanship, he couldn't persuade them to feel for a client who
himself appeared to feel little over the loss of Laci Peterson.
"I don't think it gets any worse than this, losing a death
penalty case in such a public way," said trial watcher and Loyola
Law School Professor Laurie Levenson. She said that while the death
sentence is far from a death knell for Geragos' career, "he has
fallen from on high."
It was the second high-profile rejection for Geragos, who earlier
this year was fired from Jackson's child molestation case expressly
because he was so focused on defending Peterson.
Geragos said that he was more worried about Peterson than himself.
"I'm not concerned about my career or reputation," he
said. "I'm concerned about my client."
Geragos said he knew from the start that the defense of Peterson
would be unpopular and many colleagues counseled him to stay away.
But once he saw what looked like "a lynch mob" greet
Peterson at the jail in Modesto, he agreed to take the case.
"I thought it was the right thing to do for a criminal defense
lawyer," he said.
As a principal partner in a thriving Los Angeles law firm, Geragos
won't lack work.
He said he would be in court today and was "bouncing between
three different cases — a murder, a fraud and an attempted
No longer at top of the list
But, for a time, it won't be the way it was — the solution for
cases requiring an elite lawyer was simple: "Get Geragos."
He won legal battles for Whitewater figure Susan McDougal and
represented former Rep. Gary Condit of Ceres while police investigated
him in the disappearance of former intern Chandra Levy, who grew up in
Modesto and whose parents still live here.
One victory that touched Geragos personally didn't revolve around
big names: He wrangled a $20 million settlement in January to cover
unpaid life insurance benefits to about 1.5 million Armenians killed
nearly 90 years ago in the Ottoman Empire.
Geragos, 47, had built a reputation, though he couldn't help
actress Winona Ryder beat shoplifting charges in a trial many
observers said should have been avoided with a plea bargain.
Then came Peterson. As a cable TV analyst, even Geragos cast
suspicion on Peterson.
Geragos promised in opening statements a defense more compelling
than he could muster. At first he was dazzling, attacking the police
investigation and convincing many in the press that he could score an
But he couldn't make a likable character out of Peterson, a
philanderer who appeared oddly unaffected by the death of a wife whose
photogenic smile capti-vated millions of Americans. And, ultimately,
Geragos' most dramatic promises fell flat.
He claimed witnesses saw Laci Peterson shoved into a van in the
couple's neighborhood. The witnesses never appeared.
Too many unkept promises
He promised to show that Conner Peterson, the couple's son to be,
was born alive — the implication being that Laci Peterson was
kidnapped and gave birth weeks after she was last seen around
Christmas Eve, 2002. But a crucial medical witness failed to deliver
the promised knockout.
"I'm sure he regrets all the things he said he was going to
prove and couldn't," said attorney Steve Cron, who has
represented comedian Paula Poundstone and other celebrities. He called
Geragos a "fine lawyer," but added "he stuck his neck
out, and in a high-publicity case everything you do is
Still, jurors, who felt enough of a connection to call Geragos
"Mr. G," gave him high marks.
"I respect Mr. G. I think he's a great lawyer," said
juror Richelle Nice.
It was the facts of the case, she suggested, that conspired against
Geragos. The bodies washed up near where Peterson told police he had
been fishing alone, and the husband who should have been grieving was
instead calling his mistress and becoming increasingly detached from
Juror complimented Geragos
Another juror, Greg Beratlis, said he would want Geragos to
represent him should he get in trouble.
Those comments should encourage Geragos, legal experts said.
Attorney Leslie Abramson, who has lost limelight cases in her time,
including the murder case of Erik Menendez, said Geragos will remain a
"Once your name's out there, it's out there," Abramson
said, noting that she admired Geragos' work.
But she warned of the pitfalls of pursuing celebrity cases.
"Mark doesn't care about money, but he did care about
fame," she said. "Sometimes when you pursue that beast, it
Jury will figure in appeal
team sure to bring up foreman
Modesto police pack up
boxes of Peterson trial evidence at the
Redwood City courthouse to return to
Stanislaus County. PAUL SAKUMA/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
The jury that decided Scott Peterson should be executed for the murder
of his wife, Laci, and their unborn son also heightened the chance
that Peterson could have his conviction overturned on appeal,
according to legal experts.
Many of the same experts say they doubt that Peterson will win a
new trial. But his efforts to do so will, at minimum, almost certainly
delay his execution for many years.
Of 640 defendants in California who have been sentenced to death
since 1978, only 10 have been executed. Defense attorney Mark Geragos
said Monday he would begin work on an appeal immediately.
The death verdict could work to Peterson's advantage because it
means an appellate court will be more likely to scrutinize the case
carefully, said Stan Goldman of Loyola Law School.
"I sincerely believe that some court of appeal will choose to
look at this case on appeal" if Judge Alfred A. Delucchi
ultimately accepts the jury's death penalty recommendation, Goldman
And as appeals unfold, "his accommodations will be safer"
on death row than if Peterson were housed with the general prison
population, Goldman said.
Peterson's most promising argument on appeal probably will be to
challenge Delucchi's dismissal of the first jury foreman. Gregory
Jackson, a doctor and lawyer, was dismissed about a week into the
deliberations during the first phase of the trial — when the jury
was deciding whether Peterson was guilty.
Jackson asked to be removed, indicating that he was under pressure
to convict, Peterson's lawyers say.
"If excusing the juror was wrong, that is automatic
reversal," said University of Santa Clara law professor Gerald
Uelmen. "It is very rare that a juror actually asks to be
"That could be a very big card," said Peter Keane, a
professor at Golden Gate University's law school in San Francisco.
"There are some cases that say a juror should not be removed just
because the juror said it was really hard and uncomfortable. The whole
deliberation is supposed to be difficult and uncomfortable."
The California Supreme Court in the last few years has warned lower
courts about the dangers of removing jury holdouts, said Loyola Law
School professor Laurie Levenson, a former federal prosecutor.
"It is a very fine line between excusing someone who is not
doing their duty on the jury and excusing someone who is not agreeing
with the other jurors, which is improper," she added.
Still, Levenson does not see a strong likelihood that the verdict
will be overturned.
The state Supreme Court, which automatically reviews all death
sentences, "will be extremely deferential to the calls of the
trial judge," she said. "Peterson is facing a very steep
In addition to the issue of the holdout juror, several law
professors said an appeals court might decide Delucchi made a serious
error when he allowed the jury to learn that Peterson had subscribed
to a pornographic cable channel after his wife disappeared. That
testimony could inflame a jury, they said.
The legal performance of Geragos, Peterson's highly regarded lead
lawyer, also is expected to be scrutinized during appeals. Some
analysts faulted Geragos for promising in opening arguments to show
that Peterson was innocent, then failing to produce witnesses to back
Geragos initially had the Peterson jury "eating out of his
hands," but the jury eventually seemed to tire of his jokes, and
the early rapport faded, Loyola's Goldman said.
Keane contrasted Geragos' rapport with the Peterson jury to Johnnie
L. Cochran's mesmerizing of the jury during the O.J. Simpson
"When Johnnie Cochran walked into the courtroom, the jurors
couldn't take their eyes off of him. They were like cats watching a
bird," said Keane, who observed both trials.
Geragos' "swagger and arrogance worked against him,"
Simpson trial comparisons
The comparison between the two lawyers was one of several that
commentators have drawn between the Peterson and Simpson cases. Both
Peterson and Simpson were attractive defendants accused of domestic
murders. Both hired high-profile lawyers. Both used the same celebrity
consultant to pick the jury, and both argued that there had been a
rush to judgment.
But the dramatically different verdicts underscored the unrealistic
expectations Simpson raised for high-profile defendants and the
aberration the Simpson verdict really represented, scholars said.
Because Peterson was charged with a capital offense, only jurors
willing to impose the death penalty could serve on the panel.
So-called death-qualified juries tend to be more
Uelmen, who was on Simpson's legal team, said he had been deeply
relieved when Los Angeles prosecutors decided early on not to seek the
death penalty against Simpson because a "death-qualified"
jury would have given the prosecution an immediate advantage.
Instead, Simpson had a largely black jury from a community where
tensions between the police and the black community had been high.
Jurors were receptive to his defense that racist police officers had
framed him by tampering with the evidence.
By contrast, Levenson said, Peterson "didn't start out with a
jury who was inclined to acquit."
Jury holdout comfortable with sentence
man said he needed more time but has 'no doubts'
Juror Tom Marino said he
consulted a priest about the death penalty
because he values the sanctity of life. LOU DEMATTEIS/REUTERS
SAN CARLOS — Scott Peterson's last hope for life rested with a juror
who took a little longer than others coming to terms with condemning a
man to die for his crimes.
But once the decision was made Monday, it was final, said juror Tom
Marino this week in a lengthy interview with The Bee.
"I'm very comfortable and at ease with the verdict," the
55-year-old man with strong religious convictions said at his San
Carlos home. "No doubts, no second thoughts."
Other jurors said Marino had been the last holdout leaning toward a
recommendation of life in prison without parole for Peterson.
The 32-year-old fertilizer salesman from Modesto killed his
pregnant wife, Laci, and used a solo fishing trip on Christmas Eve
2002 as cover to dump her body in San Francisco Bay.
"It was a serious matter and we all (jurors) gave it the
seriousness it deserved," Marino said.
Ultimately, jurors deliberated 11 hours, 32 minutes over parts of
three days, weighing whether Peterson should be executed. That doesn't
count a two-day weekend break that jurors spent guarded by sheriff's
deputies in a Foster City hotel, to lessen the chance of being tainted
by news reports.
"He ruined my weekend," Marino's wife, Barbara, said with
Sometimes, doing the right thing takes time, Tom Marino said. After
all, a man's life was at stake.
While waiting for a decision, TV pundits made much of Marino's
statement during jury selection in the spring that he had talked to a
priest about the death penalty. That might suggest a reluctance to
vote for lethal injection, regardless of the circumstances of a crime,
This week, Marino elaborated.
"I'm not against the death penalty," he said, but
acknowledged that he consulted with clergy because of Roman Catholic
tenets on the sanctity of life.
"All of a sudden, you're in the jury chair. How would you
feel?" Marino said, noting he was raised in a
tradition-respecting Italian family.
"(Peterson) did something terrible. But even people who aren't
religious might have a hard time" voting for death, he said.
The Marinos lived and worked in San Francisco, raising three
children who now are adults before moving a few years ago to a hilltop
home on the Peninsula. Tom Marino, a former U.S. Postal Service
carrier, officially retired Nov. 26 — in between the guilty verdict
and death sentence.
During the trial, which began June 1, Barbara Marino sometimes
would meet her husband for lunch in nearby Redwood City. They followed
the judge's warning not to talk about the trial, they said.
"That was my house — the kitchen and the back," Tom
Marino said Tuesday, motioning away from his living room where a
television was tuned to Peterson news coverage. Barbara Marino spent
hours there alone for more than six months, they said.
"Imagine you can't go home and tell your wife what you did at
work that day," he said.
Two feet from the TV is a wood-burning stove. Barbara Marino said
she had trouble firing it up — that's her husband's job — during
his first sequestration, which lasted nine nights before the Nov. 12
Jurors were mostly confined to their hotel floor, Tom Marino said,
except for escorted trips to the roof two times a day for 30 minutes
each. Sundays weren't bad, he said, because they were allowed to watch
football on a large television in a conference room.
Said juror Richelle Nice: "The deputies had the remote
control, which I'm sure made the men (jurors) crazy."
Sometimes they were allowed to watch movies, Nice and Marino said.
Their hotel had a gym and swimming pool, but they weren't allowed to
When Marino finally was free to speak to reporters after Monday's
sentence, he went home and ignored the constantly ringing phone.
"I'm not comfortable with (media attention)," he said.
"I'm a private guy. I don't like the spotlight."
He made an exception for the hometown newspaper of Sharon Rocha,
whose Nov. 30 sobs of grief on the witness stand reduced the normally
poker-faced juror to tears — along with most jurors.
"If you weren't affected by that, what would you be affected
by?" he said.
Barbara Marino, whose cousin lives in Modesto, added, "We feel
for Laci and the Rochas."
Tom Marino said he also has sympathy for Scott Peterson's parents,
Lee and Jackie, both of whom testified twice. They had sent Scott
Peterson, their only child in a large, blended family, to Catholic
"You're going to fight for your child," he said.
"I'd stick to the end with my kids."
Barbara Marino said the judge's decision to ban cameras from the
courtroom did a disservice to jurors, who couldn't explain anything to
acquaintances dependent on news filtered through journalists.
"When the poor jurors go home," she said, "people
want to ask them questions. `How could he be guilty? There was no
"Of course, I will defend my husband, but it should have been
televised (so people could better understand). It's the People v.
Scott Peterson, right? The people have a right to see it. I don't
think it was fair to the jurors."
Crunch time in the jury room, however, always is private. That's
when the big decision was made that landed Marino in the spotlight he
Nice, the juror, said she and the others did not belittle,
ostracize or otherwise exert pressure on Marino.
"He just needed more time to talk about it," she said,
"so that's what we did."
For about three hours, Monday morning. When all jurors declared
themselves "sound in their decision," they notified the
Marino never looked back.
"I'm comfortable and confident with our decision," he
said. "We did the right thing."
REDWOOD CITY — Scott Peterson remains cheerful despite being
sentenced to death just days ago, buoyed in part by the constant flow
of fan mail he continues to receive, the San Mateo County sheriff said
Peterson's demeanor hasn't changed since he was transferred months
ago from Stanislaus County to the San Mateo County Jail, even after
jurors found him guilty on two counts of murder, Sheriff Don Horsley
said during a news conference. On Monday, the jury recommended he be
sent to California's death row.
"He has been his normal self. He is very cheerful. He is very
compliant and very helpful," Horsley said, adding that jailers
describe him as a model prisoner.
"When we move him from one area to the next, they do have to
put restraints on him and he helps them," Horsley said.
"He's not suicidal."
While the murderer from Modesto awaits formal sentencing, scheduled
for Feb. 25, he stays in a 10-by-10 cell in the county jail.
Guards perform standard hourly checks and let him out of his cell
twice a day for an hour to exercise alone in the yard, watch
television or use a computer that does not have Internet access.
Horsley said he saw Peterson, an avid golfer before his arrest,
watching a golf tournament on television one day. He also receives
visits from family members every three to five days.
"He gets a lot of mail," the sheriff said. "He does
have a fan club."
Peterson was convicted Nov. 12 of one count of first-degree murder
in the death of his wife, Laci, and one count of second-degree murder
in the death of Conner, the 8-month-old fetus she was carrying.
Prosecutors said he killed his wife on or around Christmas Eve 2002
and dumped her weighted body into San Francisco Bay. Her remains and
those of the fetus were discovered about four months later, close to
where Peterson claims to have gone fishing alone the morning his wife
His case was moved from Stanislaus County after a judge in Modesto
ruled he couldn't get a fair trial.
"He's lost a lot of weight. He really did start looking like a
little boy," Horsley said. "I told him … 'Scott, you've
lost weight. Is the food bad?' He said, 'No, it's actually better than
in Stanislaus County.'"
This Christmas, Peterson will receive a "small gift
package" that is standard for inmates in San Mateo County.
Horsley said it will include "candy and personal hygiene
Meanwhile, Regan Books announced Thursday it had signed a deal with
Peterson's mistress, Amber Frey. The book is due to go on sale Jan. 4.
"I am very gratified that Regan Books has agreed to publish
Amber's story," said Gloria Allred, Frey's attorney. "We
think her story of courage in crisis will inspire others who have been
betrayed to fight back for truth and justice."
Posted on Sun, Dec. 19, 2004
Archives offer details of murder of Scott Peterson's
- Scott Peterson's grandfather was brutally murdered
outside his salvage and tire repair shop nearly 60 years ago, a
tragedy Scott's mother, Jackie, touched on in testimony when
asking jurors to spare her son's life.
Jackie Peterson was just 2 1/2 years old when her father,
36-year-old John H. Latham, was bludgeoned to death with a rusty
pipe on Dec. 20, 1945, as he was leaving his business in downtown
San Diego. His wallet, which was probably holding at least $400 in
cash from the day's sales, was missing.
According to the archives of The San Diego Union and San Diego
Tribune, one of Latham's employees found his body in a pool of
blood the next morning. Police estimated the time of death to be
about 9:00 p.m. on the 20th, shortly after Latham called his wife,
Helen, to tell her he was heading home.
Helen Latham later told police she hadn't reported her husband
missing because he sometimes "stayed out with the boys."
The case went unsolved for four years until 28-year-old Robert
Sewell, an odd-jobs worker whom Latham fired two days before the
murder, confessed to police.
Sewell had been picked up for questioning shortly after the
killing but was released. The case was reopened when an informant
told police he had heard Sewell boasting to a friend about
Police re-arrested Sewell in January 1949, and after three days
of questioning he confessed to smashing Latham's skull with a
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
hired a lawyer to represent Sewell after friends said police had
beaten the confession out of him. The night before the trial
began, the group organized a "defense rally" in his
Sewell was sentenced to life in prison for the murder. He died
of natural causes after serving two years in San Quentin.
Scott Peterson was found guilty last month of two counts of
murder in the deaths of his wife, Laci, and the fetus she carried.
The bodies of Laci and the fetus - a boy the couple planned to
name Conner - washed up on a San Francisco Bay shoreline near
where Peterson said he'd been fishing the day Laci was reported
During the penalty phase of the trial, Jackie Peterson and one
of her brothers testified about their father's murder and asked
the jury to spare their family more hardship.
They said their mother became so distraught after her husband's
death that she could no longer care for her four children, who
were placed in an orphanage.
Peterson's Mistress' Book Due Out January
12-20-04 New Media Producer: Kerry
Scott Peterson's former mistress is going to write a book.
Regan Books has announced that it has signed a deal with Amber Frey.
The book is expected to go on sale January fourth.
Frey's attorney says the book will be a "story of courage in
crisis" that "will inspire others who have been betrayed to
fight back for truth and justice."
The attorney declined to say how far along Frey was with the
manuscript - or whether she'd receive help writing it.
Frey is the woman Peterson was romancing on the side while married to
his wife, Laci. During his trial, prosecutors portrayed Peterson as a
cheating husband who wanted to murder Laci to escape his marriage.
Source: AP, All Rights Reserved
News : Scott Peterson's Attorney Sets Up Website for
Fundraising for Investigation
Los Angeles - The attorney for convicted killer
Scott Peterson, Mark Geragos, has launched a website for the
purposes of raising funds to "continue to investigate the
murders of Laci and Conner Peterson so that we can free the man we
know is innocent."
The site portrays Peterson as innocent in the disappearance and
murder of Laci and Conner Peterson.
The site also links to other sites that proclaim Peterson's
---- Could Scott Peterson Have Avoided The Death Penalty? Why Mark Geragos Should Have Put Peterson on the
Witness Stand By JULIE
Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2004
The decision whether a criminal defendant will testify is one of the
most important - if not the most important - strategic decisions
the defendant and his attorney will make together. In the Scott Peterson
double-murder trial, I will argue, the defense made a colossal mistake
in deciding not to have Scott testify. Whether this was bad advice by
Mark Geragos, or whether Peterson overruled Geragos's recommendation
that he testify, no one will ever know.
What we now understand from juror comments, however, is that as week
after week of the six-month trial passed, Peterson's silence grew louder
and louder. Ultimately, the jury not only convicted Peterson, but also
recommended that the judge sentence him to death.
In hindsight, the decision that Peterson not testify seems to have
greatly alienated jurors. As juror Greg Beratlis remarked,
"Anything -- a plea for his life, or just his opinion on everything
that went on in the last two years. ... I would have liked to have heard
his voice on that."
Indeed, I will argue that, if Peterson had testified during the trial
as to his guilt or innocence, he might have been spared a guilty
verdict. Typically, a defendant with no criminal record - and Peterson
had none - will, and ought to, testify. It was a boon to prosecutors
that Peterson opted not to. As I argued in a
prior column, I believe the prosecutors made a weak case. Their win,
therefore, may have been due mostly to luck - in that the key decision
whether Peterson would testify was out of their hands.
I will also argue that even if Peterson had still been found guilty,
despite taking the stand - indeed, even if he made a terrible witness -
he might well have avoided the death penalty based, in part, on his
Whether Peterson should have testified once again at the penalty
phase, as I will explain, is a more difficult question.
Scott Peterson Should Have Testified at the "Guilt
Phase" of His Trial
Under the Constitution, a defendant has a Fifth Amendment right not
to testify, on the ground that he may incriminate himself. But if a
defendant avails himself of that right, jurors may well, in practice,
judge him for doing so.
By law, prosecutors cannot comment disparagingly on the defendant's
exercise of his Fifth Amendment right. But no one can stop jurors from
thinking disparaging thoughts and silently noting - during the defense's
case and later during deliberations - the fact that the defendant opted
not to tell his own story.
Granted, a defendant's choosing to remain silent doesn't always lead
to a guilty verdict. For instance, in the O.J. Simpson case, the
defense's successful bid to put the LAPD on trial for racism worked to
sufficiently distract the jury, leaving them with enough questions about
the LAPD that they felt there was reasonable doubt about Simpson's
guilt. These questions probably included: Did the famously racially
insensitive LAPD know of Detective Mark Fuhrman's use of the
"n-word" and look the other way? Was Fuhrman racist enough to
try to frame an African-American defendant?
In the Peterson case, however, no such police missteps occurred
during the investigation. Any remaining questions in jurors' minds were
probably directed to Peterson, and might well have been answered had he
testified. Jurors might, for instance, have wanted to ask him questions
such as: Why was Laci's hair on the pliers in your boat? What happened
to those concrete anchors in your warehouse locker? When - if ever -
were you going to tell Laci about Amber, or Amber about Laci? Why have
you appeared so unemotional through this whole trial?
With no answers, the jury doubtless assumed the worst. After all, the
only story of the case echoing in their minds was the prosecution's -
for jurors never got to hear Scott Peterson's story of what happened
that Christmas Eve and Day.
No wonder, then, that Juror Stephen Cardosi remarked,
"Collaboratively, when you add it all up, there doesn't seem to be
any other possibility [than Peterson's guilt]." The prosecution
told a story of guilt; Peterson did not respond with a narrative of
innocence. Geragos tried to suggest he was innocent, but a lawyer's
claims are no substitute for a defendant's sworn testimony. After all,
lawyer's arguments aren't evidence, and testimony is.
No wonder, too, that Juror Beratlis - who had begun the case
believing Peterson was innocent - began to find that his belief was
undermined by the facts. The facts he heard came mostly from the mouths
of prosecution witnesses, and never from Peterson himself - who had the
most access and knowledge about his own whereabouts and activities
during the relevant time period, as well as why he dyed his hair and
then, it appears, fled.
Had He Testified, Peterson Could Have Explained His Decision to
Peterson's apparent decision to flee was another reason he should
have testified. Most people assume flight is evidence of guilt. But
that's simply not true; it can also be evidence of fear of wrongful
If Peterson had testified about the specifics of the media pressure
he was under, and that he feared a wrongful conviction, jurors might
have felt that his flight, in particular, showed fear, and not
necessarily guilt. After all, the media had portrayed him as unspeakably
evil. No wonder he wanted to dye his hair and stop showing his face.
Had He Testified, Peterson Could Have Shown the Jury His Humanity
Thus, testifying would have allowed Peterson to tell his own story of
events, and explain his apparent flight. In addition, it would also have
humanized him to the jury - in a way that would have helped him in both
phases of the trial. It is harder to convict a person than to convict a
"monster." And it is much, much harder to put a person, as
opposed to a "monster," to death.
(As Jonna Spilbor discussed in a
previous column for this site, evidence in a two-phase trial is not
always confined to that stage alone. The same jury that sat for the
guilt phase, also sat for the penalty phase. And as Spilbor points out,
the defense had multiple audiences for every statement it made and piece
of evidence it introduced: the trial judge, appellate judges, and of
course, the jurors.)
As it was, the silent Peterson may well have seemed to jurors like
the "monster" the prosecution claimed he was. Jurors later
said they were appalled by his demeanor. Some even thought they
overheard him giggling.
If Peterson did giggle, he absolutely should have taken the stand to
explain his behavior. In general, evidence as to any antidepressant or
other drugs Peterson was taking - and odds are, he was taking
them, innocent or guilty - would have given insight into his demeanor.
More generally, Peterson's testimony might have raised enough doubt
in the jury's mind to either convince them to acquit him or - more
likely - convince at least one juror to hang the jury.
The sad truth is that Peterson is not the only man in the world to
have strayed while his wife was pregnant. Suppose he had, for instance,
suggested in testimony that Laci's pregnancy brought a diminished sexual
desire between them, and that despite his better judgment, he was
tempted, and to his surprise, fell in love with Amber?
Or, suppose he'd testified that he was hoping that when Laci finally
gave birth, he would fall in love with the baby, and the romance in his
marriage would be reborn, making him all the more committed to staying
with his family - and when the birth never came, and his wife
disappeared instead, he drifted, still obsessed with Amber?
These explanations would have answered a question that must have
haunted the jury: If he wasn't a psychopath, then what else could
have explained all of Scott's lies?
The prosecution had an easy answer for Scott's lies: They covered up
a murder plot. Scott might have offered a messier, more human answer:
That he got himself into a predicament when he cheated, and couldn't see
a way out except by lying.
Should Peterson Have Testified at the Penalty Phase? It's Unclear.
If Peterson had testified at the guilt phase, should he also
have testified at the penalty phase?
I believe it was easy to foresee, during trial, how Peterson's guilt
phase testimony would have been an asset to his defense. But it was not
easy to foresee whether, assuming he had testified in the guilt phase,
his additional penalty phase testimony would have helped or hurt him.
In hindsight, it seems that some jurors wanted to hear from Peterson
at least once, and others not at all. Juror Greg Beratlis, as noted
above, said he would have welcomed the chance to listen to anything
Peterson said - including, but not limited to, a plea for his life. But
Juror Richelle Nice seems to have heard all she wanted to in the tape
recordings of Peterson talking to Amber Frey - suggesting that in those
alone, "I heard enough from him."
Nice probably would have voted to convict, and voted for death, no
matter what. But Berlantis was on the fence, and one holdout would have
been enough to ensure either a hung jury, or a life sentence. How could
Peterson have convinced Berlantis and any other like-minded jurors?
Probably simply by telling his own story at the guilt phase. As
in her column, if Scott Peterson's guilt phase testimony had at
least raised a "lingering doubt" - that is, a doubt that is
less than "reasonable doubt," and which jurors could have
considered and still found Peterson guilty enough to convict - that
testimony would also have helped him in the penalty phase. That's
because "lingering doubt," under California law, can cut
against the imposition of the death penalty and in favor of a life
Then again, penalty phase testimony by Peterson might have struck the
jurors as disingenuous or even disgusting. In convicting Peterson at the
end of the guilt phase, the jury would already have effectively deemed
him a liar beyond a reasonable doubt. Would its members really want to
hear from a liar once again - asking for mercy for the very crimes he
just denied committing? Probably not.
The Belief that the Innocent Speak for Themselves Is Hard to
In the end, legal rules cannot contradict human nature. Jurors may
have naturally thought, "If you're not guilty, then what the heck
happened?" Appellate judges naturally will have the same thought -
as will the trial judge, Judge Delucchi, as he considers whether to
accept or reject the jury's death sentence recommendation.
The Peterson trial offers further proof for the enduring truth of
famed D.C. attorney Edward Bennett Williams's remark that a defendant
must testify "unless he has a record as long as Long Island."
Most people believe that the innocent proclaim their innocence to anyone
who will listen. Most people also believe that husbands whose pregnant
wives are missing will virtually move into the police station, doing
everything possible to find their wives.
These beliefs may be wrong - the innocent who are indicted
nevertheless may sit by in mute horror, and husbands who lose their
families in one fell swoop may be frozen in depression as a result.
Indeed, there are notorious cases where the very "loved ones"
who lead rescue efforts turn out to be the ones guilty of the crime. But
wrong or not, these beliefs about proclaiming your innocence and never
resting until your missing loved ones are found are widespread.
So after having failed to search as avidly as expected, Peterson at
least should have proclaimed his innocence at trial. Instead, throughout
both the investigation and the trial, he failed to act as juries expect
innocent people to act. I believe that - along with the failure to
explain his actions to the jury -- sufficed to ensure his conviction.
Julie Hilden, a FindLaw columnist, practiced First Amendment law at
the D.C. law firm of Williams & Connolly from 1996-99. Hilden's
first novel, 3, was published recently. In reviewing 3, Kirkus Reviews
praised Hilden's "rather uncanny abilities," and Counterpunch
called it "a must read.... a work of art." Hilden's website,
www.juliehilden.com, includes MP3 and text downloads of the novel's
Defense Seeks New Trial for Scott Peterson
From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Scott Peterson's defense attorneys have filed a motion for a new
trial, claiming, among other things, that newly discovered evidence
withheld by the prosecution could have brought a different verdict.
The 135-page motion was filed Feb. 25 in San Mateo County Superior
Court and made public Monday.
Peterson, 32, was convicted of murder in November in the deaths of
his pregnant wife, Laci, and the fetus she carried. Jurors voted for the
death penalty. Formal sentencing is set for Wednesday
Posted on Mon, Mar. 14, 2005
Scott Peterson's attorneys file motion for new trial
BY IVAN DELVENTHAL
WALNUT CREEK, Calif.
- (KRT) - Convicted murderer Scott Peterson should be
granted a new trial because of misconduct by prosecutors and
jurors and errors by the trial judge, his attorneys claim in a
court filing unsealed Monday.
The defense's 135-page motion for a new trial and prosecutors'
response were made public two days before Peterson's formal
sentencing Wednesday at the Redwood City courthouse.
A San Mateo County jury convicted Peterson in November of
murdering his pregnant wife, Laci, and the couple's unborn son. On
Dec. 13, the same panel recommended Peterson, 32, be put to death.
The defense motion filed Feb. 25 and unsealed Monday by Judge
Alfred Delucchi echoes themes raised by defense lawyers during the
trial, including an oft-repeated claim that Stanislaus County
prosecutors withheld potentially exculpatory evidence.
With the release of the motion also came portions of previously
sealed transcripts of the judge's closed door meetings on juror
issues - which shed some light on the emotions and turmoil in the
The core of the motion by attorney Mark Geragos involves an
alleged telephone conversation in January 2003, not long after
Laci Peterson's disappearance, between an inmate at the California
Rehabilitation Center in Norco and his brother.
In the call, according to the defense, the brother tells his
incarcerated sibling Laci Peterson had confronted a man breaking
in to a neighbor's home on Dec. 24 and had been threatened by the
burglar. Defense lawyers claim prosecutors failed to turn over
"If the evidence were presented at a retrial, it is highly
probable a different result would have occurred," the motion
states. The evidence "points to the conclusion that Laci was
alive after Scott had left for the day."
In a filed response, prosecutor David Harris said many defense
claims are repetitive or unsupported by evidence. He urged the
judge to deny the motion.
Delucchi is expected to rule Wednesday morning, before
Prosecutors contend in their court filing there is no new
evidence pointing to Peterson's innocence and insist they gave all
evidence to the defense
In the prosecution filing, dated March 9, Harris calls claims
of withheld evidence "an all to (sic) familiar tactic on the
part of the defense to twist the truth and make false
Evidence about the call was given to the defense a year before
opening statements in the trial, the prosecution states.
The defense filing makes a laundry list of claims for why
Peterson deserves a new trial. Among Geragos' contentions, all
rejected by prosecutors: The judge erred in denying a defense
motion for a second change of venue; The jury conducted an
improper experiment when two climbed into Peterson's boat during
deliberations; and the defense claims the judge erred by barring
it from showing a videotape of its own experiment on the boat's
Defense lawyers also claim the Judge Delucchi abused his
discretion in removing two jurors, including one sent home during
deliberations, and offer up portions of transcripts of closed
meetings between the judge and jurors, and the judge and Geragos,
to support their claim.
From a discussion between Delucchi and Geragos regarding Juror
5, Justin Falconer, who was dismissed the first month of trial:
Delucchi: "I think that he's a total cancer in this jury.
And I find that there is good cause to remove this juror ... So I
think he's going to be unhappy about this. But so be it. We have a
trial to worry about here."
The defense also claims the judge should not have allowed
Peterson's statements to his mistress Amber Frey to be allowed
into evidence. "The statements were not proof of murder; they
were proof of adultery, and no more," the motion states.
"The only arguably inculpatory evidence against Mr.
Peterson was the fact that the bodies of Laci and Conner were
found within a couple of miles of where Mr. Peterson had been
fishing on the morning of December 24, 2002," the motion
In his response, prosecutor Harris says there was ample
evidence tying Peterson to the murders. "The fact that the
bodies of the two victims washed up near the spot where the
defendant placed himself on the day of the disappearance is enough
by itself to warrant a conviction," he wrote.
Laci Peterson disappeared from Modesto on Dec. 24, 2002. The
bodies of Laci and her unborn child washed up on the Richmond
shoreline in April 2003.
Motion for new Scott Peterson trial offers window to jury
A defense motion for a new trial for Scott Peterson, unsealed
in court in San Mateo County Superior Court this morning, offers a
window into the behind-the-scenes turmoil in the jury room at the
time of the trial.
The motion by attorney Mark Geragos, which includes hitherto
unreleased portions of transcripts of meetings between Judge
Alfred DeLucchi and jurors, seeks a new trial for the convicted
murderer on a number of points.
Peterson's lawyers claim new exculpatory evidence -- a tip they
claim the prosecution failed to disclose about a burglar claiming
to having seen Laci Peterson after Scott had left for the day --
and other items are grounds for a new trial.
Among other items, the defense claims the denial of a second
change of venue, dismissal of jurors, the jurors' unauthorized
experiment with the boat, the court's exclusion of a defense
videotape on the boat's stability, and other items, should all be
considered fodder for a new trial.
To bolster its case, the defense motion contains portions of
transcripts of conversations between the judge and jurors.
In discussion of possible problems with Juror Five, Justin
Falconer, Juror Eight told the court of comments made by Falconer
to other jurors. Juror Eight complained of ongoing comments about
how the prosecution was doing, comments about talking to his
girlfriend about Court TV coverage, and speculation about Laci's
weight might have showed she was further along than eight months
"Have you confronted him with, and told him that he
shouldn't, shouldn't be discussing this?" the judge asked.
"I've done that on two occasions," the juror said,
according to the court documents. "After that I just stopped
because it's not, it's not working. And he keeps saying if anybody
has a problem with this, they should be man enough to come up to
him. Well, I have, but what am I supposed to do? I can't be
physical with him."
In arguments filed with the court, prosecutors denied the
Peterson, who was convicted Nov. 12 of killing his eight-months
pregnant wife, Laci, is scheduled for formal sentencing on
Wednesday. On Dec. 13, the jury voted for the death penalty for
Peterson. The judge will either affirm the death penalty, or
sentence the former Modesto fertilizer salesman to a life sentence
without the possibility of parole.
Laci Peterson disappeared from Modesto on Dec. 24, 2002. The
bodies of Laci and her unborn son washed ashore in Richmond in
Posted on Wed, Mar. 16, 2005
Golub / Associated Press
Peterson during his trial,
Jan. 20, 2004.
Peterson punishment: Death
LACI'S MOTHER: 'YOU DESERVE TO BURN IN
HELL FOR ALL ETERNITY'
By Jessie Seyfer
Judge Alfred Delucchi sentenced Scott Peterson to die by
lethal injection for the murders of his wife, Laci Peterson, and
they unborn son they were going to name Conner.
While issuing his decision in a Redwood City courtroom this
morning, Delucchi called the killing ``cruel, uncaring,
heartless and callous.''
Delucchi said that ``the factors in aggravation are so
substantial when compared to the factors of mitigation that
death is warranted.''
The judge then allowed members of Laci Peterson's family to
speak, which touched off a shouting match and led to Scott
Peterson's father leaving the courtroom.
``I hope you regret the choices you've made,'' said Laci's
brother, Brent Rocha. ``How do you not know that it's not right
to take someone else's life? Why did you have to kill? Did you
really hate Laci and Conner that much or did you dislike
Rocha called Scott Peterson ``evil'' and said that when the
verdict was handed down in January he went out and bought a gun.
``I chose not to kill you myself,'' Rocha said, ``because you
would have to sweat it out.''
He told Peterson that it may take 25 years before he's
executed, but that ultimately he'll have to face his crime --
and his victims.
``By the way, when you walk to that execution chamber, look
out and you'll see Brooks Island,'' Rocha said, ``and you'll
know that Laci and Conner have come to take you away.''
Other members of Laci Peterson's family spoke, including her
mother, Sharon Rocha.
``There's unbelievable sadness in my heart for the loss of
what was and what should have been,'' she told Peterson. ``The
Scott I knew was the one Laci loved and I entrusted him with
her. Scott you made a conscious decision to murder Laci and
Conner; you planned and executed their murders. Yes, you did.
You decided to throw Laci and Conner away and dispose of them as
if they're just a piece of garbage.''
She then told Peterson that he got ``what you deserve and
``We had to bury Laci without her arms to hold her baby and
without her head to kiss and smell her baby,'' she told him.
``You have no idea what that does to my soul.''
She finished by suggesting what must have gone through her
daughter's mind and the offered her own parting shot: ``Now,
Scott Peterson I'm saying this to you. You deserve to burn in
hell for all eternity.''
Earlier this morning, Delucchi also denied a motion from
Peterson's attorneys for a new trial.
The same jury that convicted Peterson of first- and
second-degree murder recommended in December that Peterson be
put to death. Delucchi agreed: ``The court is satisfied beyond a
reasonable doubt that the defendant, Scott Lee Peterson, is
guilty of first-degree murder.''
The former Modesto fertilizer salesman entered the Redwood
City courtroom wearing a dark suit and shackled at the waist
Delucchi's denial of the motion for a new trial was expected.
Much of the rationale used by Peterson's lawyer, Mark Geragos,
in his motion -- two jurors should not have been dismissed, the
trial should have been moved from San Mateo County, various
evidence should not have been allowed -- already had been ruled
on by Delucchi during the trial and deliberations.
Scott Peterson Arrives on Death Row
By BRIAN SKOLOFF, AP
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (March 17) - Secured with leg
irons and shackles around his wrists and waist, Scott Peterson was taken
to death row at San Quentin State Prison early Thursday after being
sentenced to die for murdering his pregnant wife, Laci.
Peterson was transferred under heavy security from
the San Mateo County jail to San Quentin at 3:10 a.m. The infamous prison,
which overlooks the bay where Laci's body was discarded, is about 20 miles
north of San Francisco.
Peterson is the 644th person awaiting lethal
injection in California.
On Wednesday, a judge sentenced a stone-faced
Peterson to death after each of Laci's family members had a chance to
address him in the courtroom.
''You decided to throw Laci and Conner away,
dispose of them like they were just a piece of garbage,'' Laci's mother,
Sharon Rocha, told Peterson. ''We had to bury Laci without her arms to
hold her baby and without her head,'' she said, her voice breaking.
Peterson, wearing a dark suit and shackled at the
waist, stared at his former mother-in-law without expression, chin up.
Laci's father, Dennis Rocha, said: ''You're going
to burn in hell for this.''
And Laci's brother, Brent Rocha, said he bought a
gun during the investigation into Laci's disappearance and contemplated
shooting Peterson to death.
''I chose not to kill you myself for one reason, so
you would have to sweat it out and not take the easy way out,'' he told
Peterson's attorney, Mark Geragos, tried to get
Judge Alfred A. Delucchi to allow Peterson's parents to speak, on the
basis that they were related to Conner. But Delucchi said the hearing was
an opportunity for only Laci's relatives to speak.
At one point during the family testimony, Brent
Rocha recounted a conversation he said he had with Peterson long before
Laci vanished. Rocha said the former fertilizer salesman lamented about
his life not being what he had hoped it to be.
Scott Peterson's father, Lee, shouted, ''What a
liar!'' He walked out of the courtroom after being admonished by the
Peterson, 32, betrayed little emotion at the
hearing. It was the same stoic demeanor he displayed during more than six
months of trial, which ended with a jury's recommendation of death.
Peterson was invited to make a statement, but he
declined after several minutes of discussion with his attorneys.
The judge had the option of rejecting the jury's
recommendation and imposing a sentence to life without parole, but such a
move is all but unheard of. The judge also denied a defense request for a
He ordered Peterson to pay $10,000 restitution for
funeral expenses and an additional $5,000, though the reason for that
amount was unexplained.
Laci Peterson, who was eight months pregnant,
disappeared on Christmas Eve 2002, and prosecutors said Peterson killed
her and then dumped her body in San Francisco Bay. The badly decomposed
bodies of Laci Peterson and her fetus washed ashore four months later.
Prosecutors said Peterson strangled his wife to
escape marriage and impending fatherhood. At the time of his wife's
disappearance, he was having an affair with Amber Frey, a massage
Ten of the 12 jurors who recommended the death
penalty returned to court Wednesday for the sentencing, four months after
the panel found Peterson guilty of murder.
''We wanted to see it all the way through to the
end,'' juror Richelle Nice said outside the courthouse.
As prosecutors and Laci Peterson's family left the
courthouse, about 100 people cheered and clapped.
''Our family is going to make it,'' said Ron
Grantski, Laci's Peterson stepfather. ''We're stronger because of this,
and Scott got what he deserved.''
03-17-05 07:54 EST
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.
March 17, 2005
(CBS) Scott Peterson will be living on death row at San
Quentin. Peterson was under heavy guard as he was put in a van. He was
sentenced for the murders of his wife, Laci, and their unborn son.
Wednesday was an emotional
day in the courtroom, and yet Scott Peterson appeared unfazed by
"That's the way he's been," his half-sister, Anne
Bird, tells The Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen.
"Even during the search for Laci, he was completely emotionless,
could have cared less. And that's been really hard to deal with. He's
a sociopath, and a sociopath does not have a conscience, which is a
really hard fact to understand."
"I don't see how any good can come of it," she says. "I
think this whole thing has just been bad all the way around. I miss
Laci very much. She was someone whom I loved and I never had the
opportunity of meeting Conner and that was completely devastating. You
know, so this is has been tough."
But judging by the reaction of Laci Peterson's brother, Brent Rocha,
some good has been done by the sentencing. He admitted to buying a gun
and in the courtroom told Scott Peterson, the only reason he chose not
to kill Peterson was so he could sweat it out and not take the easy
Though Bird says she was not aware Brent Rocha had said those words,
she says, "This will never have a happy ending. This will never
have kind of closure for anyone."
Reporter Gloria Gomez, who has covered the story, heard Rocha made the
statement. "That was amazing because, obviously, nobody knew that
before," she says. "Clearly, he was opening up all of the
wounds that he had really held in for so long, and now, spilling all
over the courtroom. Some people actually began crying during some
parts of what he had to say and, clearly, everyone was moved because
Brent was saying: 'Why did you have to take my sister away? Why did
you have to do this?' He almost began psychoanalyzing Scott saying,
'This is all a product of your environment.'"
Bird says she does not even know whether to contact Scott Peterson or
"I haven't quite grasped everything yet," she says.
"After everything that's happened; this has been so devastating
to so many people. I just want to take a little time."
Having been close with her sister-in-law as well, Bird says since she
heard the news of the sentencing, she has been very sad for everyone.
"I'm sad for the Petersons, and I'm sad for the Rochas, and I'm
very sad for Scott, also. You know, he's facing death, and that's
When Laci's mother, Sharon Rocha, faced Peterson, the room seemed to
fill with tears, CBS News Correspondent John Blackstone
She asked if Laci could have realized she was being murdered. "I
know she was terrified, and I wasn't there to save her," she
said. Then Rocha imagined Laci's unborn baby begging for its life,
saying, "Daddy, why are you killing mommy and me? I haven't met
you, but I love you. Daddy, please don't do this." Family members
sobbed as Rocha poured out her hatred for Peterson.
"There is just so much anger from all sides," Bird notes.