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xx Judge removes juror in Laci Peterson case
« Reply #45 on: Nov 9th, 2004, 4:59pm »

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP) The judge in the Scott Peterson murder trial dismissed a juror Tuesday and replaced her with an alternate a sign of conflict in the jury room on the fifth day of deliberations.

Judge Alfred A. Delucchi ordered the jury to start over in its deliberations. It was not immediately clear what the juror did to prompt her dismissal.

The judge removed the juror after meeting behind closed doors with lawyers in the case. A day earlier, Delucchi lectured the jury about the importance of deliberating with an open mind, prompting speculation among trial observers that the panel could be reaching a deadlock.

Peterson, 32, is charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of his wife, Laci, and the fetus she carried. Prosecutors claim Peterson killed Laci around Christmas Eve 2002, then dumped her weighted body from his boat into San Francisco B
http://www.boston.com/dailynews/314/nation/Judge_removes_juror_in_Laci_Pe:.shtml
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xx Jury begins to deliberate after Juror #7 is let go
« Reply #46 on: Nov 10th, 2004, 04:45am »

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- A juror in the Scott Peterson murder trial who apparently did her own research on the case was removed and replaced with an alternate Tuesday, and the judge ordered the panel to start all over again with their deliberations.

''We're going to send you back. Start all over again and keep in touch,'' Judge Alfred A. Delucchi told the panel on the fifth day of deliberations.

It was not immediately clear what the woman specifically did to get kicked off the jury. But a source told the Associated Press that she had apparently disobeyed the judge's orders to consider only the evidence presented at the trial.

''You must decide all questions of fact in this case from the evidence received in this trial and not from any other resource,'' the judge said.

Alternate attentive to defense



The judge removed the juror after meeting behind closed doors with lawyers in the case. A day earlier, Delucchi lectured the jury about the importance of deliberating with an open mind.

The juror, a retired utility company employee in her 50s or 60s, was replaced with the next alternate -- a woman in her 30s who worked at a bank and has four sons. Her brother was in and out of prison for drugs, leading her mother to become a drug counselor at a methadone clinic.

During the trial, the new juror seemed particularly attentive to defense presentations, and responded positively to the many jokes of defense attorney Mark Geragos. She smiled often and made a point of greeting the bailiffs each morning; she also cried openly at the sight of the autopsy photos.

Whether that means anything when it comes to deliberating the case remains to be seen, but lawyers for both sides left the courtroom smiling.

Peterson, 32, is charged with two counts of murder in the December 2002 deaths of his wife, Laci, and the fetus she carried.

AP
http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-laci10.html
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xx Information about Juror #7
« Reply #47 on: Nov 10th, 2004, 10:23am »

REDWOOD CITY, California (CNN) -- The jury in the Scott Peterson double-murder trial will start deliberations from scratch Wednesday after a juror was dismissed Tuesday.

Judge Alfred Delucchi brought in each juror and interviewed them one-by-one before deciding to dismiss Juror No. 7.

Sources close to the trial identified the woman as Fran Gorman from San Mateo County, California. Gorman, a woman in her 40s, works as an electric company auditor.

No explanation was given for her dismissal, but sources said the juror was accused of conducting independent research -- conduct that is forbidden. Jurors are supposed to consider only the information they hear presented in court.

Gorman, an employee of Pacific Gas and Electric, said in jury questioning that she had followed the case "moderately" before being called for jury duty and acknowledged that she was puzzled about a motive, according to CourtTV.com. She described herself as a "crusader."

Under the judge's gag order, Gorman is not allowed to speak publicly about the case for the duration of the deliberations.

Jurors began initial deliberations last Wednesday. They are charged with deciding whether Peterson killed his pregnant wife, Laci, and their unborn son.

The alternate who replaced Juror No. 7 is a woman in her late 20s or early 30s.

The alternate is a bank employee with four children, all of them boys. She has cried several times during the trial, including once when she saw the autopsy photographs and another time during a taped interview between Peterson and a reporter.

Legal analysts say she is a colorful character who expresses herself through fashion statements. She has nine tattoos.

Such independence, they say, is not usually good for the prosecution.

"This woman looks like a very individual kind of person ... as a prosecutor you don't want people to stand out," said analyst Jim Hammer, a former prosecutor.

Tuesday marked the second day in a row Delucchi has summoned jurors.

On Monday, he reread instructions about putting aside personal biases to reach a verdict. On Tuesday, he told the panel of six men and six women to decide the case from the facts and the law -- "and no other source."

"The fact that he reiterated it sends us a little bit of a signal that perhaps there was an improper source at play in the deliberations," legal analyst Chuck Smith said.

After dismissing the juror, Delucchi told the jury to return to deliberations and to "keep in touch." A couple hours later, the jury adjourned for the day.

Four alternates remain in the case. Another juror was replaced four weeks into the five-month trial.

Peterson is accused of killing his wife on December 23 or 24, 2002, and dumping her body, weighted with homemade cement anchors, into San Francisco Bay.

The bodies washed ashore separately in April 2003, near where Peterson said he had launched his boat during a fishing trip the day his wife disappeared.

If convicted of first-degree murder, to which he has pleaded not guilty, Peterson could be sentenced to death.

Jurors have the option of convicting him on the lesser charge of second-degree murder if they decide the slaying was not premeditated. A conviction on that charge could mean a sentence of 15 years to life in prison.

The option of the lesser charge was a victory for prosecutors because evidence against Peterson was largely circumstantial, and undecided jurors might have an easier time returning a second-degree conviction
http://edition.cnn.com/2004/LAW/11/10/peterson.trial/

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xx Another Juror Let Go
« Reply #48 on: Nov 10th, 2004, 2:54pm »

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP) - The judge in the Scott Peterson murder trial removed the foreman from the jury Wednesday, the second time in two days a juror has been sent home.
The judge did not disclose why he removed juror No. 5., a man in his mid-40s who has both medical and law degrees. The juror was replaced by an alternate whose son-in-law now owns a restaurant that Scott and Laci Peterson themselves once owned.

Judge Alfred A. Delucchi told the new panel to start all over with their deliberations - for the second day in a row.

"You must therefore set aside all past deliberations and begin deliberating anew," he said Wednesday.



Jurors sat impassively, some grim-faced, as the judge announced the change. They have endured a five-month trial and have been sequestered since deliberations began Nov. 3.

The dismissal marks the third time a juror has been removed in the high-profile case.

On Tuesday, a juror was removed after reportedly doing her own research on the case - a violation of court rules. In June, a juror was dismissed after he was spotted talking to Laci Peterson's brother.

The trial started with six alternates, and Wednesday's move leaves the jury pool with just three remaining alternates.

The new juror has a distant connection to Scott and Laci Peterson.

His daughter is engaged to a man who owns a restaurant in the town where Scott and Laci Peterson graduated from college. The son-in-law had worked for the Petersons when they owned the cafe, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Juror No. 6, a man who works as a firefighter and paramedic, was elected as the new foreman.

During the trial, he at times seemed uninterested in the proceedings. He was seen rolling his eyes on occasion, specifically during the playing of tape-recorded conversations between Peterson and his girlfriend, Amber Frey.

"He was one of the jurors who seemed most bored during Amber Frey's testimony," said Jim Hammer, a former prosecutor who has been observing the case. "He seems very mainstream, which is good for the prosecution."

Hammer said it is too soon to say the jury is in disarray.

"I wouldn't call it a runaway jury," he said.

Jurors are deliberating whether Peterson, 32, killed his pregnant wife on or around Christmas Eve 2002 and dumped her weighted body in San Francisco Bay. The remains of Laci and the fetus were discovered a few miles from where Peterson claims to have gone fishing alone the day his wife vanished.

The former fertilizer salesman faces up to life in prison or the death penalty if convicted.

http://www.sacbee.com/24hour/nation/story/1808891p-9692695c.html
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xx Re: Laci Peterson - CA
« Reply #49 on: Nov 10th, 2004, 11:20pm »

A tow truck driver attaches his truck to a boat being used as a memorial to Laci Peterson (news - web sites) near the Redwood City, Calif., courthouse Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2004. The boat is similar to the boat Scott Peterson (news - web sites) used in the San Francisco Bay on Dec. 24, 2002 that Peterson says he went fishing on. Defense attorney Mark Geragos used this similar boat to conduct experiments. The jury is in the sixth day of deliberations in the case of Scott Peterson. Peterson is charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of his pregnant wife Laci, and the fetus she carried.(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?p=news&g=events/ts/010103lacipeterson&e=1&tmpl=sl&nosum=0&large=0&t=1100147152
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xx Expert: Peterson jury dismissals could be positive
« Reply #50 on: Nov 11th, 2004, 11:02am »

REDWOOD CITY, California (AP) -- Legal experts say the unusual dismissal of a second juror during deliberations in the Scott Peterson murder trial indicates the panel is under stress, but also could signal a decision might be reached sooner.

Judge Alfred A. Delucchi did not disclose why he dismissed the jury's foreman, a man in his mid-40's who has medical and law degrees. He was replaced Wednesday by an alternate whose future son-in-law now owns a restaurant that Scott and Laci Peterson once owned in San Luis Obispo.

Delucchi then told the new panel to set aside any conclusions they had made during deliberations and begin anew. After deliberating Wednesday afternoon, the jurors were taking Veterans Day off before resuming Friday.

This will be the third time deliberations have started from scratch.

The latest dismissal came a day after the removal of another juror who apparently did her own research on the case, violating the judge's order to consider only evidence presented at trial.

A juror had been taken off the panel in June, as well, making three jurors who have been dismissed since the trial began.

The back-to-back removal of jurors Tuesday and Wednesday may not be a signal that the jury is in disarray, one legal expert said, and could mean just the opposite.

"We may have seen one group actually take over leadership of the jury, which could move things a lot faster than we would have had otherwise," said Robert Talbot, a professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law. "I've never seen anything like this before."

Juror No. 6, a man who works as a firefighter and paramedic, was elected as the new foreman. During the trial, he at times seemed uninterested in the proceedings. He occasionally rolled his eyes, specifically during the playing of tape-recorded conversations between Scott Peterson and his mistress, Amber Frey.

Some jurors sat impassively, grim-faced, as Delucchi announced the latest change. Others smiled slightly, and one even shook the new foreman's hand. They have endured a five-month trial and have been sequestered since deliberations began November 3.

The emotionally charged courtroom drama has become a national obsession, and some observers said jurors may be succumbing to the pressure of being in such an intense and prolonged spotlight.

"I think all the strange happenings with the jury can be attributed to the fact that they're in a pressure cooker. They know there will be a great deal of scrutiny no matter what decision they make," said Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson.

Prosecutors claim Scott Peterson killed his wife, Laci, then dumped her weighted body into San Francisco Bay. The remains of Laci and the fetus were discovered a few miles from where Peterson claims to have gone fishing alone the day his wife vanished.

Alternate jurors have been present throughout the trial in the jury box but have not been inside the jury room during deliberations. They have been sequestered along with regular jurors at a hotel. There are three remaining alternates.

The previous foreman, Gregory Jackson, was an alternate, replacing a juror just three weeks after the trial began. Another juror, Justin Falconer, was dismissed in June for talking to Laci Peterson's brother.

Jackson's removal came a day after the ousting of former juror Frances Gorman. Jackson and Gorman remain under a court-imposed gag order, while Falconer has been free to speak publicly.

If jurors ultimately conclude that Peterson killed his pregnant wife, Laci, and her fetus on or around December 24, 2002, they must decide whether he's guilty of first- or second-degree murder.

First-degree convictions, carrying the death penalty or life without parole, would mean jurors believe Peterson planned the killings. Second-degree murder convictions don't require a finding of premeditation and carry sentences of 15-years-to-life for each count.

In another development adding to the trial's circuslike atmosphere, a boat identical to the one prosecutors allege Peterson used to dump his wife's body into the bay turned up in a parking lot several blocks from the courthouse, attracting a parade of onlookers and media before it was towed away Wednesday night.

It is the same boat defense lawyers apparently used to conduct a videotaped experiment, during which they claim the boat nearly capsized and filled with water as they attempted to heave overboard an object weighing roughly the same as Laci Peterson.

The judge would not allow defense lawyers to show jurors the video during the trial.

It was unclear who put the boat there.
http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/11/11/peterson.thurs.ap/
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xx Re: Laci Peterson - CA
« Reply #51 on: Nov 12th, 2004, 04:50am »

Scott Peterson has received bias coverage from Court TV. Peterson jury members had fun made of their looks by Court TV. Laci Peterson deserves better than Court TVís exploitation of her memory. Who should be charged with jury tampering in the Scott Peterson trial? At the very least Nancy Grace, Gloria Allred, Wendy Murphy, Lisa Bloom, Kimberly Guilfoyle Neasom, and Vinnie Politan should be charged with Jury Tampering, which is a felony. The media continues to use the Scott Peterson case as a means to generate ratings and satisfy personal agendas. The media spin continued on Thursday in the Laci Peterson murder trial. Court TV and the media primarily cover and support only those who take the position that Scott Peterson is guilty. They give little or no coverage to those that believe there is not enough evidence to convict Peterson. Court TV is comprised of ratings driven liars who demonstrate a total disregard for the facts or truth. They will do whatever it takes to generate ratings regardless of the possibility that Scott Peterson may not be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in the murder of his wife Laci Peterson.

Here is the big problem with the media coverage of the Peterson case. Nancy Grace, Gloria Allred, Wendy Murphy, Lisa Bloom, Kimberly Guilfoyle Neasom, Vinnie Politan, and Dan Abrams have based their coverage of the case on ratings and personal agendas. They worry more about the ratings for their television shows on Court TV and MSNBC then the truth itself. By their own admission they admitted that there was a possibility that when sequestered jurors called friends or family from the hotel that they might hear about what they were reporting with regard to the boat parked at Mark Geragos office.

http://www.s5000.com/what_the_huck/631/court_tv_scott_peterson.php
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xx Re: Laci Peterson - CA
« Reply #52 on: Nov 12th, 2004, 1:25pm »

CTV is reporting that the verdict in the Scott Peterson trial will be read at 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
« Last Edit: Nov 12th, 2004, 1:27pm by FindCarrie » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Laci Peterson Verdict will be read @ 4 p.m EST
« Reply #53 on: Nov 12th, 2004, 1:41pm »

(Court TV) ó The judge in Scott Peterson's double-murder trial announced Friday that jurors have reached a verdict.

Judge Alfred Delucchi said the panel would read its verdict at 1 p.m. PT at the San Mateo County courthouse in Redwood City, Calif.

"Ladies and gentlemen of the media, the jury has arrived at a verdict," Delucchi said. "We'll expect a verdict at 1 p.m."

Scott Peterson was brought into the courtroom to hear the announcement.

http://courttv.com/trials/peterson/111204_verdictreached_ctv.html
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xx Re: Laci Peterson Verdict will be read @ 4 p.m EST
« Reply #54 on: Nov 12th, 2004, 3:12pm »

SCOTT PETERSON HAS BEEN FOUND GUILTY
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xx Scott Peterson Has Been Found Guilty
« Reply #55 on: Nov 12th, 2004, 3:25pm »

The jury in the Scott Peterson murder case found him guilty of first degree murder in the death of his wife. Peterson was also found guilty of second degree murder in the death of their unborn son Conner. The verdict was announced at 1 p.m. Pacific, the audio broadcast to the media.

Peterson, 32, was charged with murdering his pregnant wife Laci Peterson in December 2002. The high profile trial began in March with juror selection. Jurors started deliberations on November 3rd, and this week two of the jurors were replaced by alternates.

The first degree murder conviction carries the possibility of the death penalty or life in prison.

http://www.bloggingbaby.com/entry/2238236478270993/
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xx Peterson Found Guilty
« Reply #56 on: Nov 12th, 2004, 3:53pm »

Peterson was charged with two counts of premeditated murder and special circumstances accusing him of committing multiple murders. The jury found he committed first-degree murder on Laci, with the special-circumstances enhancement, and second-degree murder on Connor.

The jury was admonished by Judge Alfred Delucchi to not discuss the case with anyone. Jurors will now hear the penalty phase of the trial, which will begin Nov.22. The judge said he expected it to last one week.

The penalty phase was triggered because the special circumstance was found to be true. Jurors must now decide whether his penalty will be life in prison or a death sentence.

Judge Alfred Delucchi had announced at 11:23 this morning that a verdict would be read at 1 p.m.

"So, Ladies and gentlemen of the media, the jury's arrived at a verdict," Delucchi said to gasps from the gallery. "We'll expect to see you here."

Today's session began like most other days with reporters and members of the public waiting just outside the courtroom doors to be allowed inside.

Lawyers from both sides arrived at 10:27 a.m. and disappeared into Delucchi's chambers.

A short time later James Brazelton, the Stanislaus County District Attorney, arrived with Modesto police detective Craig Grogan and prosecution investigator Kevin Bertalotto. They filed out of the courtroom with deputy district attorney Rick Distaso about 30 minutes later.

Los Angeles lawyer Pat Harris and prosecutors Birgit Fladager and David Harris came out of chambers at 11:19. They appeared straight-faced while taking their seats and the prosecution table.

Pat Harris came out with a slight smile as he took his seat next to Peterson at the defense table.

Peterson smiled and chatted with Harris before Delucchi took the bench. Wearing a blue suit, he appeared calm throughout the seven-minute briefing.

"We're going home," Pat Harris said as he marched out of the courtroom. "One way or the other we're going home."

Reporters and television legal analysts began lining up for a seat inside almost immediately as breathless broadcasters took the news to live cameras waiting in the plaza outside.

The jury panel of six men and six women began deliberating Nov. 3 after hearing five months of testimony from 188 witnesses and viewing hundreds of pieces of evidence.

The dismissal of two jurors this week forced deliberations to twice begin anew. All jurors, including the alternates, spent more than a week sequestered in a Foster City hotel.

The case and the trial it spawned reeled in a worldwide audience who, at times, seemed as divisive as followers of this year's presidential election.

Perhaps the most passionate observers were found back in Modesto, where it all began. People of that blooming San Joaquin Valley town immediately bonded with the smiling woman that most learned of only from posters declaring her missing. Laci was a radiant 27-year-old with a bright smile whose image seemed to grip strangers with emotion.

Eight months pregnant, she inexplicably vanished on Dec. 24, 2002, leaving behind neither trail nor trace of what had occurred.

Her wallet, purse and other personal items found inside her Covena Avenue house yielded no clues to her whereabouts. Her house was in order, her SUV was in the driveway and most everything else appeared absolutely normal.

Police believe Laci had no known enemies, only family and friends that became sick with grief after her disappearance. They descended on the home she shared with her husband minutes after he called Laci's mother to report his wife missing.

Peterson told police he was fishing alone on San Francisco Bay that day. He returned about 4:30 p.m. to an empty house, but thought nothing was wrong.

He washed his clothes, showered, ate pizza and ultimately began to worry, he said. He and his wife were expected at the Rochas' for Christmas Eve festivities at 6 that night and Laci was nowhere to be found.

A phone call to Laci's mother, Sharon Rocha, shortly before 5:30 intensified the situation.

"When he called, he said, 'Hi mom. Is Laci there?' " Rocha testified in June. "He said that her car was there in the driveway, the dog was in the backyard with the leash on and Laci was missing."

Rocha told Peterson to call Laci's friends and to talk to neighbors. He did, he explained to her a short time later, saying he learned nothing about his wife's whereabouts.

"I knew," Rocha recalled during trial. "I just knew something was wrong."

While her partner Ron Grantski dialed 911, Rocha phoned her friend Sandy Rickard for a ride.

"When I received the call, I wasn't quite sure who was on the other end for a moment because Sharon was a little bit hysterical," Rickard testified. "I knew there was a problem with Laci or (the Petersons' dog) McKenzie. I didn't know what it was."

Rocha went to Dry Creek Park, where she knew her daughter had walked in the past. She believed Laci had given up on her regular exercise after falling ill on several occasions, but Peterson had said she planned to walk that day.

Dozens of police officers and investigators zeroed in on the normally quiet neighborhood as echoing calls shot through the park. There were no responses.

Looking for Laci

There were questions for Scott Peterson. He was the last person to see his wife that morning and could give clues critical to finding Laci, her relatives believed.

"I asked him, 'Where do you think she is?' " Rocha testified. "He didn't answer."

Peterson eventually said his wife planned to mop the floor, walk the dog, go to the store and bake gingerbread.

She was watching television when he last saw her, he said. It was Martha Stewart's program, something about meringue.

Peterson said he left about 9:30 a.m. on a fishing trip to Berkeley. He went to a warehouse that he used in connection with his job running a fertilizer company, where he briefly used the computer before hitching up his 14-foot boat.

His 90-mile ride to the Berkeley Marina was uneventful, he said. Peterson clumsily launched the boat, paid for parking and steered into a spot before setting out on what was a gloomy day.

Peterson told police he motored around for a couple hours, ending up near a piece of land investigators later determined to be Brooks Island. But it was cold and wet, he said, and it was soon time to pack it in for the day.

He talked to his father on the phone, left messages for his wife and friends and stopped for gas as he made his way back to Modesto, and to a mystery jurors worked to untangle.

Suspicions of Scott

But police believed almost immediately that Peterson knew more than he was letting on.

"I was suspicious of a lot of things," detective Allen Brocchini testified.

Police found it odd that Peterson would unexpectedly change his golf plans on Christmas Eve to instead go fishing 90 miles from home.

The more questions they asked, the more suspicious they became.

He had, police believed, secretly bought a boat Dec. 9. He unexpectedly changed his plans to golf on Christmas Eve and instead drove 90 miles to the Berkeley Marina to fish. He asked whether police were using cadaver dogs. He showered and washed his clothes after coming home.

"My primary role was to talk to him, eliminate him as a suspect," Brocchini said.

He couldn't, however, and police returned on Dec. 26 and 27, 2002 with a warrant to search his house and warehouse. And what they found only added to their theory.

There was a gas-soaked tarp in a backyard shed. There was a two-day fishing license covering the day he had fished. There was a cement-encrusted pebble.

At the warehouse, there was more even more concrete, and a homemade concrete anchor. Police began to theorize Peterson could have killed his wife and used anchors to sink her in a watery grave.

While police grew more suspicious, so did a public and press on the heels of a sensational story. News vans began clogging Covena Avenue as a desperate search for Laci continued. First they were the local reporters, then regional. Finally, the networks zeroed in.

Laci and Scott Peterson were becoming household names.

Reporters covered prayer sessions and vigils. They talked to neighbors, friends, relatives, search volunteers, everyone and anyone local who was following a tragic case.

Stories about the missing Modesto woman flooded the airwaves and made headlines in towns across the country and closer to home.

Complete Article:
http://www.montereyherald.com/mld/montereyherald/10167459.htm
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xx Re: Laci Peterson
« Reply #57 on: Nov 12th, 2004, 4:10pm »

For Laci and Conner.
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xx Sentencing Phase Next
« Reply #58 on: Nov 13th, 2004, 04:28am »

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- Scott Peterson's lawyers failed to persuade the jury that someone else killed his pregnant wife. Now, they'll try to persuade the same 12 people to spare him from the death penalty.
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But Peterson himself is unlikely to take the stand and beg for mercy -- doing that would require him to admit to the murders, and throw away any chance of overturning the convictions on appeal.

Six men and six women convicted Peterson Friday of the first-degree murder of his wife, Laci, and the second-degree murder of the fetus she was carrying. The couple had planned to name their son Conner. The jury also agreed on a "special circumstance" that calls for capital punishment -- namely that he killed another person -- the fetus -- while committing a felony -- the intentional and premeditated killing of his wife.

Judge Alfred A. Delucchi sent them home until Nov. 22, and urged them to avoid news coverage of the case until the penalty phase begins. During this next stage, the defense and prosecution will present exacerbating and mitigating factors in hopes of swaying the jury's decision. The jury will begin deliberating the former fertilizer salesman's fate on Nov. 30, and be sequestered again until they reach a decision.

The verdicts provided a made-for-cable-TV conclusion to a case that has captivated the nation since Laci Peterson disappeared 23 months ago. Prosecutors portrayed the murders as a restless husband's cold-blooded attempt to escape marriage and fatherhood for the pleasures of the bachelor life.

Scott Peterson, 32, stared straight ahead, then looked at each of the jurors as they were polled to confirm their decisions. Serious and unsmiling, none appeared to return his gaze.

Laci Peterson's mother, Sharon Rocha, sobbed. Laci's friends in the gallery cried, and loud sighs could be heard across the courtroom. As the courtroom emptied, throngs of well-wishers clapped and cheered. Gwendolyn Kemple, a distant relative of Rocha, was crying and shaking, saying "We're just elated."

Outside the courthouse, it was pandemonium -- roars went up from the crowd of about 1,000 with each verdict. In Modesto, drivers honked their horns and others shouted with satisfaction when the news broke on television. Well-wishers descended on Laci's home, leaving notes and flowers.

Laci Peterson's family avoided the throngs by leaving through an underground parking garage, but Scott Peterson's family faced the crowds outside the front door of the courthouse. As police rushed them away, someone in the crowd booed Jackie Peterson, Scott's mother. Someone else shouted "SHE didn't kill her!"

The families, lawyers and others directly involved in the case remain under a gag order until Peterson's sentence is determined. Defense attorney Mark Geragos, who was in Los Angeles when the verdict was announced, did not disclose whether his client plans to appeal.

The verdicts came after a little more than seven hours of deliberation by the final 12 jurors, following a five-month trial and a chaotic final week. The judge removed two jurors for reasons that have not been publicly disclosed.

Prosecutors said Scott Peterson killed his 27-year-old wife in their Modesto home on Dec. 23 or Dec. 24, 2002, and then drove his boat and her body 90 miles west and dumped it in San Francisco Bay. The substitute teacher was eight months pregnant when she vanished. Four months later, her remains and those of her fetus washed up just north of the marina where Peterson launched his fishing boat the day of her disappearance.

Annette Anderson, who lives across the street from the Peterson home, said she was happy for the Rocha family and relieved to know Scott Peterson would not be returning to the neighborhood.

"If he were to come back here, then I would be afraid, I'd up and move," she said.

The case became a reliable cover story for tabloids and cable networks. The details -- a radiant, 28-year-old woman awaiting the birth of her first child, a cheating husband, and a slaying for which prosecutors had no eyewitnesses, no weapon, not even a cause of death -- drew devoted followers who debated every development with endless fascination.

As word of the verdict spread, about 1,000 people gathered outside the courthouse, huddling over portable radios, cell phones and TV news tents.

"He's a sicko. He needs to fry," said Bob Johnston, 42, of San Jose. "I wanted to see that justice was served."

Police never were able to establish exactly when, how or where Laci died, but the circumstantial evidence proved persuasive. Prosecutors presented 174 witnesses and hundreds of pieces of evidence, from wiretapped phone calls to videotaped police interrogations, depicting Peterson as liar and a philanderer who sweet-talked his massage therapist girlfriend, Amber Frey, while publicly pining for his missing wife.

Peterson never took the stand. His lawyers suggested someone else abducted and killed Laci while she walked the dog, then framed her husband after learning of his fishing-trip alibi. They attributed his lies as the mutterings of a man in the midst of a breakdown over his missing wife.
http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=298396&category=&BCCode=&newsdate=11/13/2004
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xx Peterson's penalty phase is likely to be filled...
« Reply #59 on: Nov 13th, 2004, 11:25pm »

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.

The jury that convicted Scott Peterson saw a man with two faces: in public, a loving father-to-be with a steady job and stable home, and in private a cheating husband who yearned for bachelorhood and was willing to kill for it.

Convicted Friday of murder in the deaths of his pregnant wife and her unborn child, Peterson must now present a unified image on two fronts - he must convince jurors that his life is worth sparing while arguing to the courts that he was wrongly convicted.

Some experts said he might have a chance to win an appeal, given the dismissal of two jurors during deliberations. After his sentencing, defense investigators are likely to interview panelists, looking for any signs of misconduct.

"These jurors are about to go under the microscope," said Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School.

Peterson faces life in prison or the death penalty for the first-degree murder of his wife, Laci, and second-degree murder in the death of the unborn child.

The penalty phase, beginning Nov. 22, will be laced with raw emotion as rules of evidence that prohibit inflaming jurors are cast aside.

Blockbuster testimony is expected from Laci Peterson's mother, Sharon Rocha, who will testify about losing a 27-year-old daughter and the grandson she was waiting for.

"She's going to get up there and she's going to break down. Her voice is going to crack," said Daniel Horowitz, a criminal defense lawyer and regular trial observer.

Peterson is unlikely to take the stand. Instead, testimony will likely include pleas from his parents to spare his life.

Jury consultant Ed Bronson said that Peterson's defense attorney, Mark Geragos, will try to tap any lingering doubt over whether Peterson was a calculated killer. Even if jurors unanimously vote for death, Peterson might not be executed for years, if ever. Only 10 executions have been carried out in California since 1978.

On appeal, Peterson's attorneys will likely focus on two key issues during the jury's deliberations, said Jim Hammer, a former San Francisco prosecutor and trial observer.

"The biggest issue is juror removals," he said. "Kicking someone off the jury is one of the riskiest things you can do in a trial.... Two jurors in two days? I've never heard of that happening before."

The second point of appeal is the viewing of the boat that prosecutors say Peterson used to dump his wife's body into San Francisco Bay.

Jurors climbed inside the boat, parked in a garage near the courthouse, rocking it from side to side. Defense attorneys had argued that it would have been nearly impossible for Peterson to have thrown his wife overboard without capsizing.

Geragos asked for a mistrial after the viewing, saying that jurors violated the law by conducting an experiment. The motion was quickly denied.

http://www.journalnow.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=WSJ%2FMGArticle%2FWSJ_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1031779134328&path=!nationworld&s=1037645509161
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