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 •  Defense motion for new trial (7 mb .pdf)
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Motion for new Scott Peterson trial offers window to jury room conflicts



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 injection.

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 life.''

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 headlines.

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 the courtroom.

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 to begin.

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 Bach.

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 called mom.''

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 Press.


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 someone’s life.

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 character evidence.

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 to come.

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 people.

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 relatively successful.

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 Peterson case. 

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 you."

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 cream."

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 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.

E-mail us at

December 10, 2004 | 7:16 p.m. ET

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 .

December 10, 2004 | 2:26 p.m. ET

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) 

On the witness stand, Scott Peterson's mother, Jackie, repeatedly compared her anguish to that of Laci's mother, Sharon.  But the comparison doesn’t quite work.

Yes, both are angry: Sharon’s beautiful daughter was brutally murdered and Jackie’s son has been convicted of that murder.

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 something."

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 tip.

Jury recommends execution for Peterson

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 headline "DEATH."


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. (Wire reports)




Scott Peterson Laci Peterson Guilt Beyond Court TV Reward $359,715

Lisa 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."

Mary 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."

Huck’s 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 you.

Tom 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."

John Wrote:  Reward Pledge

"I simply haven't seen enough evidence that proves that Scott is guilty because of this I pledge $500."

Andrea 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."

Huck’s 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 findI'm 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.  I’m sure they’re sitting by the telephone eagerly awaiting your telephone call.

Stephanie Wrote:  Kill Him

     "I think he should get the death penty."

Barbara 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 your site!"

Huck’s 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

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     So if you have any Ask Huck questions or comments go to the s5000 homepage and click on the link next to What the Hucks5000 will also publish photos of interest in the What The Huck article that you can upload through the Ask 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.

s5000 / what the huck


Scott Peterson Jurors Say He Showed No Remorse for Laci, Conner

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 14, 2004

Redwood City, CA ( -- 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.

Peterson 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 them."

"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 like garbage."

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 sentence.

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.

Lack of Emotion Doomed Scott Peterson
December 14, 2004

Listen to Rush Conduct the Broadcast Excellence Transcribed Below...


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.
How 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 remarks.

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, he --

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 stare.
NICE: 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 courtroom."

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. Hello.

CALLER: Mega dittos from
Steeler Country, Rush.

RUSH: Thanks.

CALLER: It's snowing here.

RUSH: Thanks you, Mary Ann.

CALLER: It's an honor to speak to you.

RUSH: Thanks so much.

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 brutality."

RUSH: Well, okay. "I'm not capable of this kind of brutality so don't kill me. Spare my life."

CALLER: Exactly.

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.

CALLER: Right.

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 --

CALLER: Right.

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 comment.

CALLER: Well, I think we tend to be a little more emotional, usually.

RUSH: Really? I think that's true.

Jury describes emotional toll

By Ethan Fletcher | Staff Writer
Published on Tuesday, December 14, 2004
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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 there."

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 fireman.

"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 Monday."

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 hair.

"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
Attorney says he's concerned with Peterson's fate after death verdict — not his own career, reputation




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 murder."

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 acquittal.

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 scrutinized."

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 his in-laws.

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 celebrity lawyer.

"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 eats you."

Jury will figure in appeal
Peterson team sure to bring up foreman



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 said.

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 excused."

"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.

Review automatic

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 uphill battle."

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 it up.

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 double-murder trial.

"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," Keane said.

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 prosecution-oriented.

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
Religious man said he needed more time but has 'no doubts'


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 a smile.

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, analysts speculated.

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 verdict.

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 use them.

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 school.

"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 obvious evidence.'

"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 avoids.

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 judge.

Marino never looked back.

"I'm comfortable and confident with our decision," he said. "We did the right thing."

Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at 578-2390 or

Peterson upbeat despite sentence
Prospect of death doesn't seem to bother murderer, sheriff says

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 Thursday.

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 vanished.

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 items."

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 grandfather

Associated Press

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 bludgeoning Latham.

Police re-arrested Sewell in January 1949, and after three days of questioning he confessed to smashing Latham's skull with a single blow.

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 honor.

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 missing.

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.

Information from: The San Diego Union-Tribune,

Scott Peterson's Mistress' Book Due Out January
New Media Producer: Kerry Corum

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

National News : Scott Peterson's Attorney Sets Up Website for Fundraising for Investigation
Posted by jsaine on 2004/12/20 

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,, accepts Visa, Matercard, and other forms of payment for donations.

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 innocence.


Could Scott Peterson Have Avoided The Death Penalty?
Why Mark Geragos Should Have Put Peterson on the Witness Stand
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 trial testimony.

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 Flee

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 conviction.

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 Spilbor explains 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 sentence.

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 Dispel

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,, includes MP3 and text downloads of the novel's first chapter.

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

Knight Ridder Newspapers

- (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 jury room.

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 this evidence.

"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 sentencing.

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 claims."

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 stability.

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 states.

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.


© 2005, Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.).


Posted on Mon, Mar. 14, 2005
 R E L A T E D   L I N K S 
 •  Defense motion for new trial (7 mb .pdf)
 •  Prosecution opposition filing (.pdf)

Motion for new Scott Peterson trial offers window to jury room conflicts

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 of pregnancy.

"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 defense claims.

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 April 2002.

Posted on Wed, Mar. 16, 2005
Scott Peterson during his trial, Jan. 20, 2004.
Al Golub / Associated Press
Scott Peterson during his trial, Jan. 20, 2004.

Peterson punishment: Death


Mercury News

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 yourself?''

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 that's death.''

``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 with handcuffs.

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

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.

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 judge.

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 new trial.

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 therapist.

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 it all.

"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."

Bird was convinced of his guilt and gave the reasons in her book, "Blood Brother: 33 Reasons My Brother Scott Peterson is Guilty." But notes she is against the death penalty, not just for her brother, but for everyone.

"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 way out.

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 not.

"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 awful."

When Laci's mother, Sharon Rocha, faced Peterson, the room seemed to fill with tears, CBS News Correspondent John Blackstone reports.

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.



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