Scott Peterson’s Lawyers Claim They Have Proof He Didn’t Kill Wife

Scott Peterson’s Lawyers Claim They Have Proof He Didn’t Kill Wife

Scott Peterson, the California man convicted of killing his wife and unborn child in a case that garnered national attention in 2004, appeared in court Tuesday in another attempt to launch a new trial—this time with the Los Angeles Innocence Project representing him.

Peterson’s lawyers have claimed they have new evidence that proves he didn’t murder Laci Peterson on Christmas Eve in 2022, but have stopped short of sharing publicly what exact evidence they have.

Peterson appeared virtually from a prison outside Sacramento at Tuesday’s hearing, the first court preceding to take place in his latest attempt to have his conviction thrown out. Defense attorneys and prosecutors attended the hearing in person at a courthouse in San Mateo County, between San Jose and San Francisco.

Peterson’s lawyers asked a judge to have the names of potential witnesses sealed from the public on Tuesday, claiming the witnesses feared retribution for speaking out all these years later.

A motion filed prior to the hearing laid out the reasoning for the request, with them writing, “the sole purpose for sealing the requested information is to protect the privacy of potential witnesses and to protect the integrity of post-conviction counsel’s ongoing investigation.”

Scott Peterson is escorted by deputies as he is walked from jail to be transported a California prison’s death row in 2005.

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It’s been two decades since a jury refused to buy Peterson’s alibi that he was out fishing when his wife disappeared and turned up dead months later on the shores of San Francisco Bay.

Laci, 27, was eight months pregnant at the time of her slaying. She and Peterson had planned to name the child Conner.

Before that could happen, however, police said she disappeared without a trace from her home in Modesto, California on Christmas Eve in 2002. On that day, multiple neighbors spotted the couple’s golden retriever, McKenzie, out roaming the neighborhood, but nobody saw Laci.

Laci was last heard from the night prior, when she spoke to her mom on the phone and to her sister at a hair salon. Peterson testified that his wife was home the morning of her disappearance, watching Martha Stewart and preparing to make cookies.

Peterson said he left their home to go fishing at the Berkeley Marina around 9:30 a.m. and left to come home just after 2 p.m.—a claim defense attorneys said was backed up by him leaving a voicemail for Laci at that time saying, “Hey, Beautiful. It’s 2:15. I’m leaving Berkeley.”

Once Peterson was home, he said his wife was nowhere to be found and alerted authorities. He wasn’t initially fingered as a suspect, and even appeared on local news broadcasts appealing for help in finding her. He also had the support of Laci’s family, who’d been describing them as being the perfect couple.

A sign displays photos of Laci Peterson along with a promised reward of $500,000.

A sign displays photos of Laci Peterson in 2002, before her body was found on the shores of San Francisco Bay.

Getty Images/Justin Sullivan

That perception began changing within days, however, as detectives noted that Peterson’s body language and comments didn’t match that of someone whose wife and unborn child had disappeared. He was deemed a person of interest and, on Dec. 30, a woman came forward to tell authorities that Peterson had been having an affair with her.

She told detectives that he’d lied to her weeks earlier, claiming he was a widower who was about to spend his first Christmas without his wife—a detail that prosecutors honed in on during his trial as being proof that Peterson’s decision to kill was premeditated.

As news of that affair spread, Laci’s family turned on Peterson and he was considered a prime person of interest—a title that remained until he was deemed to be a suspect after the severely decomposed bodies of Laci and Conner were found in mid-April. They were discovered not far from where Peterson had claimed to have gone fishing on Christmas Eve.

The exact date and cause of Laci’s death was never determined, but police uncovered evidence that suggested Peterson created concrete anchors designed to keep Laci’s body at the bottom of San Francisco Bay.

Peterson was arrested on April 18, 2003, and charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife and second-degree murder in the death of their unborn son. He was taken into custody at a golf course, where police noted he’d died his hair blonde and was driving a car that’d been stuffed with $15,000 in cash, a dozen Viagra tablets, survival gear, camping equipment, and four cellphones.

He went to trial the following year in the neighboring San Mateo County, where national reporters descended to cover the case day-by-day. There were issues with jurors, including the dismissal of one for doing outside research during the trial, but those who ultimately lasted would later indicate that they convicted Peterson largely because of his demeanor about his wife’s murder. Peterson was placed on death row.

A newspaper carrier for the San Francisco Examiner holds a special-edition newspaper after Scott Peterson was sentenced to death.

A newspaper carrier for the San Francisco Examiner holds a special-edition newspaper after Scott Peterson was sentenced to death.


Peterson has maintained his innocence from day one, and has launched multiple appeal attempts from behind bars. In those appeals, he has decried that he wasn’t given a fair trial and that, because of media coverage, an unbiased jury was never selected.

One of those appeals reached the California Supreme Court, which ruled on Aug. 24, 2020, that Peterson should be removed from death row. His conviction remained, however, and he was re-sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Peterson’s latest call for a re-trial isn’t regarding jurors, however. Instead, his attorneys have claimed that Modesto police withheld evidence about the investigation from defense attorneys two decades ago, and disregarded a robbery that occurred nearby the Peterson family home too quickly, suggesting Laci may have been abducted and killed by thieves.

Peterson’s attorneys have also mentioned a burned out van and a stained mattress that were found near the Peterson family home a day after Laci disappeared. They asked a judge to order DNA testing on the items on Tuesday, and a hearing regarding that evidence is slated to take place on May 29.

The Daily Beast

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