Prosecutors have announced that they will be seeking the death penalty once again against Scott Peterson for the 2002 murders of his wife Laci and their unborn son Connor.
Fox News reported that Peterson, 47, appeared in Stanislaus County Superior Court for the first time in over a decade for a hearing at 8:30 on Friday. He reportedly appeared virtually from San Quentin Prison, where he is currently being housed, and he did not speak at all during the hearing. Prosecutors announced in this hearing that they plan to retry the death penalty phase of Peterson’s case.
This came just over a week after the California Supreme Court also ordered that Peterson’s conviction be reexamined to determine whether he should receive a new trial. Two months ago, this court ruled that Peterson’s death sentence must be overturned, citing “significant errors” in the jury selection process.
Mark Geragos, a lawyer who represented Peterson at trial, said on Thursday that he was “not surprised” that the case was sent back to San Mateo for review.
“I always thought he would get some relief at some point, and I am gratified to see it happen now,” he said.
Peterson’s sister-in-law Janey Peterson said today that justice for Laci and Connor is the “most important” thing.
“As big as a tragedy as this that Scott’s on death row, ultimately we still don’t have justice for Laci and Connor,” she said. “Their murder’s not solved. That’s our goal, to not only free Scott, but solve the crime.”
The California Supreme Court decided that the conviction should be overturned after it found that a juror committed “prejudicial misconduct” by failing to disclose that she had been involved with previous legal proceedings. Officials claim that juror Richelle Nice, who later wrote a book about the case with other jurors, failed to disclose to prosecutors that she had filed a lawsuit in 2000 trying to get a restraining order against boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend for harassing her while she was pregnant.
Peterson was convicted for murdering Laci, 27, when she was eight months pregnant with their son on Christmas Eve in 2002. He then allegedly dumped their bodies in the San Francisco Bay, and it took five months for them to be found. Peterson was arrested after massage therapist Amber Frey came forward to tell police that she had been dating him since a month before Laci was killed. When they started dating, Peterson told Frey that his wife was already dead.
Gloria Allred, the attorney who represents Frey, said that she that she was “glad” that the penalty phase of Peterson’s case would be retried.
“It is important that a jury have an opportunity to decide if Scott Peterson should receive the death penalty for the murder of his pregnant wife, Laci Peterson and the second degree murder of her unborn fetus,” Allred said in a statement. “Justice must be done. Scott Peterson deserves due process and a fair trial, but so do the victims.”