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xx Peterson's family paints new picture
« Reply #75 on: Dec 2nd, 2004, 06:14am »

REDWOOD CITY -- He was a good-looking athlete, a charmer and a hardworking young man who held multiple jobs to put himself through college. But most of all, Scott Peterson was the golden boy of his family, the star son whose future seemed limitless.
A day after Laci Peterson's mother confronted Peterson about her daughter's murder in tense courtroom moments, the Modesto man's defense Wednesday began its quest to save him from a death sentence.

Peterson's father and other family members and

friends took the stand to tell the jury not just about Scott Peterson, but about the web of people close to him who also have been affected by this tragedy.
The image of Peterson presented Wednesday was a far cry from the lying, cheating husband whose image dominated the double-murder trial. According to Peterson's family, he loved children. He practiced his golf game intensely and dreamed one day of playing on the pro tour. He volunteered at a home for the elderly, singing songs for the residents and raising their spirits.

Appearing weary, his voice hoarse, Peterson's father, Lee Peterson, spent more than half of the day on the stand describing his own hardscrabble upbringing that culminated in a successful adult life with a seemingly perfect family.

"I love him very much, I have great respect for him," Lee said, looking at his son.

"Losing someone we love and now having our son in this kind of jeopardy ... it's something I never thought I'd have to go through," he said.

Peterson watched his father's testimony, smiling at fond remembrances of their past life and dabbing his cheeks with a tissue at times.

His defense attorneys told the jury that they have only come to know one part of the real Peterson, and the other part was a beloved son and brother whose family would be devastated if he were sentenced to death.

"For the past four or five months, we've sat here together and have gone through a man's life in minute detail," said defense attorney Pat Harris, who took over from Mark Geragos for this phase of the trial.

"It seems fair for any of us to say we now know who Scott Peterson is," Harris continued. "But the next week will prove that wrong. You don't know who Scott Peterson is."

Geragos sat quietly next to Peterson, watching the proceedings with a somber expression. On Nov. 12, this same jury found Peterson guilty of murdering his expectant wife and the fetus she was carrying.

"First of all, it's clear that the verdict ... is not something we agree with... But it's time to move forward and put this behind us," Harris said, later adding, "We believe this is a life worth saving."

Peterson's attorneys also called other friends and Peterson's half-sister to the stand. All of them described a happy family free of controversy, whose stoic demeanor in public hid the true emotions they shared in the privacy of their home.

Susan Caudillo, Peterson's half-sister, said her "baby brother" was the light of the family. Caudillo, who has two children, said Peterson still corresponds with his niece and nephew from jail.

"He brought our family together, really kind of connected everybody and completed our blended family," said Caudillo. "He made us whole, I think."

Geragos, taking over for Harris for Caudillo's testimony, asked her how a sentence of death would affect the Peterson family.

Struggling through tears, she replied: "I can't describe exactly how we would go on. ... I mean, I see the pain in my parents' faces every day, and we've gone through this now for two years.

"We're sticking together. We're strong, we're supportive of him 100 percent, but I don't think my parents will make it if he goes."

The defense resumes its presentation at 9 a.m. today
http://www.trivalleyherald.com/Stories/0,1413,86~10669~2571235,00.html
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xx Peterson's friends plead for his life
« Reply #76 on: Dec 3rd, 2004, 06:35am »

REDWOOD CITY -- In a half-empty courtroom Thursday, friends and siblings of Scott Peterson tried to convince a jury that he was too good to execute for the murder of his wife, Laci.
On the victim's side, only Laci Peterson's brother, Brent Rocha, stayed in court to hear the testimonials, although her mother, Sharon Rocha, stopped by briefly.

By day's end, Scott Peterson had been cast as an adorable child who grew up into a caring and thoughtful man.

"He had an inner strength. Anyone who knows Scott closely as I do realizes he has a sense of faith and strength that permeates who he is," said Aaron Fritz, one of Peterson's closest friends, whom he met in high school.

Fritz, a year younger than Peterson, played high school golf with him and became almost like his little brother. Fritz said Peterson was "very gracious, very thoughtful" when Fritz moved to San Diego from Indiana and was the new kid at school.

Jurors watched with no visible signs of emotion. On Nov. 12, this same panel convicted Peterson for the first-degree murder of Laci Peterson and second-degree murder for the death of the fetus she was carrying.

Peterson's best friend from middle school, Britton Scheibe, said Peterson was voted "class friendliest" because he was always polite and respectful of teachers and students. Defense attorney Pat Harris projected a yearbook photograph of Peterson on the courtroom's screen.

Scheibe said he had a tough time reconciling the image of Peterson the convicted murderer with the boy he once knew.

"My first initial response is, this could no way be the same Scott Peterson I knew. My heart just absolutely sank," Scheibe said. "Of all the people I grew up with and knew, Scott would be the absolutely last person to ever do this."

Janey Peterson, Scott's sister-in-law, has been his most outspoken supporter. Thurs-

day, she took the stand and had trouble getting through her testimony.

Getting choked up, she said she always enjoyed spending the Thanksgiving holidays with Laci and Scott. "I look back through the years as we watched Scott and Laci grow up as a couple," she said.


John Peterson, Scott's older half-brother, told jurors about the pranks he used to play on his little brother, including one where he made giant paw prints in their back yard and convinced young Scott that a giant squirrel lived there. Peterson and some jurors smiled at the story. Harris asked John Peterson how a death sentence would affect his family. Pausing briefly, he replied: "I don't even wanna go there."

Legal analysts questioned whether Peterson's attorneys were getting through to the six men and six women of the jury. "The Peterson side is not going to win the emotional tug-of-war," said Chuck Smith, a former San Mateo County prosecutor.

"The defense would have been well advised to have been finished by now and to have just put on the immediate family members who say, 'We don't think he did it, and you should spare his life,'" Smith said.

The defense continues its case today. Judge Alfred Delucchi said he expects Peterson's case to last through Monday.
http://www.oaklandtribune.com/Stories/0,1413,82~1865~2573814,00.html
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xx Half Brother Testifies for Scott Peterson
« Reply #77 on: Dec 4th, 2004, 06:07am »

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - Scott Peterson's half brother implored jurors to spare the life of his younger sibling so he could still make a valuable contribution to society.

Joe Peterson testified Friday in the penalty phase of Peterson's murder trial. The former fertilizer salesman was convicted Nov. 12 of killing his pregnant wife, Laci, and the 8-month-old fetus she was carrying.

Peterson, 32, faces either the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2002 murders.

"Scott is a person you want to be around in any circumstances ... He's a listener, a talker, someone that cares," Joe Peterson said. "He's just got so much to share that there would definitely be a positive.

"And if he's allowed to live," he said, "my kids and our family will still have some sort of relationship, however limited it is."

Joe Peterson said his younger brother took up fishing at the age of 5. Defense attorney Pat Harris displayed a picture of a young Scott Peterson holding a fishing rod.

"He always loved being around the water, being on the shoreline," Joe Peterson said.

Prosecutors claim Peterson smothered or strangled Laci in their Modesto home on or around Christmas Eve 2002, then dumped her weighted body into San Francisco Bay. The remains of Laci and the fetus were discovered about four months later along a shoreline a few miles from where Peterson claims to have been fishing alone the day his wife vanished.


Joe Peterson went on to tearfully describe how both he and his brother always wanted "to please our parents ... wanting to do the best we can do." Scott Peterson also wept.

Jurors listened with grim expressions. One sat impassively with his arms crossed over his chest. Another appeared to be doodling in her notebook.

Asked whether he could imagine his brother having committed such a horrible crime, Joe Peterson said, "Not my brother, absolutely not."

During three days of testimony, defense witnesses have talked about Peterson's childhood and how a death sentence would affect his family members. The prosecution presented its case in one day, on Tuesday.

Earlier, the mother of one of Scott Peterson's high school friends described the convicted murderer as a "caring, sweet, loving boy ... somebody that I was proud to have as my son's friend."

Conception "Coni" Fritz said Peterson was "a gentle man ... caring, considerate. That's the Scott we know."

Peterson's lawyers told Judge Alfred A. Delucchi they planned to call about 20 more witnesses. Delucchi told jurors to expect testimony into Tuesday, possibly even Wednesday, before closing arguments.
http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/1-12042004-411125.html
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xx How should courts hear from grieving
« Reply #78 on: Dec 6th, 2004, 04:56am »

How should courts hear from grieving?

By WILLIAM RASPBERRY

Washington Post


‘The first Mother’s Day, I laid on the floor and cried most of the day,” the sobbing mother of Laci Peterson said last week. “She wanted to be a mother.”

Sharon Rocha, testifying during the penalty phase of her son-in-law’s murder trial, also recalled attending her daughter’s funeral. “I knew she was in the casket,” she said. “I knew her baby was in there. I knew she didn’t have arms to hold him.” (When Laci’s body was found along the Richmond, Calif., shoreline, it was without head or forearms.)

This is the hearing to determine whether Scott Peterson, already convicted of murder by another jury, will serve life or be given the death penalty. Listening to Rocha’s gut-wrenching testimony made the choice — in favor of death — seem absurdly easy.

So why on Earth am I a bit ambivalent about the process?

Naturally one wants to be sure that the right person was convicted of this awful crime. In the absence of either witnesses or a confession, there’s always the possibility that Peterson is nothing worse than a contemptible cad.

But my misgivings run in another direction as well: What role should the grief and visceral rage of Laci’s parents play in the sentencing of her husband?

Reporters at the hearing say Rocha wasn’t so much testifying as confronting her daughter’s killer. Her remarks were directed at him, as when she faced him and shouted: “Laci always had motion sickness ... and you knew that, and you put her in the bay. You knew she’d be sick for the rest of eternity and you did that to her anyway.”

Well, you say, weren’t her parents victims, too? No, not in any legal sense of the word. Laci and her unborn child were the victims in fact. The case against the husband wasn’t called Rocha Family v. Peterson. It was called The People of the State of California v. Scott Lee Peterson. The Rochas, distraught loved ones and grieving friends are, under the law, reduced to the role of mere witnesses. Theoretically, the purpose of their testimony is to give the jury information regarding the character of the convicted Scott and the impact of his crime. It is not to avenge the family for their loss.

My mind goes back to the 1988 presidential campaign debate in which CNN’s Bernard Shaw asked the anti-death penalty Michael Dukakis whether, “if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered” he would change his mind and “favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer.”

Dukakis thought he had been trapped into two awful choices: to come off as inhumanly cold or confess inconsistency. He chose the former.

There was, however, a third choice. He might have said that the sort of scenario laid out by Shaw is the very reason we leave these matters to trained judges and strangers, and not to the emotions of bereft families. It is the difference, he might have said, between a calm deliberation and an angry mob. (And who has never, ever wished an outraged public would substitute its will for that of a court overly bound by crippling technicalities?)

The problem is that while we don’t want a system with the mindlessness of a mob, neither do we want one with the heartlessness of a law-school text.

That, very likely, is why California and other jurisdictions make at least a little room for the expression of pure, unbridled emotion. Maybe the introduction into a courtroom of Sharon Rocha’s palpable despair will give the rest of us a little more faith in the system.

Maybe that’s what it’s meant to do.
http://www.thestate.com/mld/state/news/opinion/10348722.htm
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xx Family friend: 'I do not believe Scott is guilty'
« Reply #79 on: Dec 7th, 2004, 05:13am »

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- Jurors made a mistake when they convicted Scott Peterson of murdering his pregnant wife, friends and family members testified Monday as they described Peterson as a loving, gentle person.

''I do not believe that Scott is guilty of this crime. I don't believe that he could have done this,'' said Sandra Bertram, who has known the Peterson family for 30 years and worked at a golf course with Scott Peterson when he was a teen.

The testimony came on the fifth day of the penalty phase in Peterson's trial, now in its seventh month. The same jurors who convicted him now must decide whether he should receive the death penalty or be sentenced to life in prison without parole in the killings of Laci Peterson and her fetus.

Another murder in family



Robert Latham, the brother of Peterson's mother, Jackie, spoke of a nephew who was a nice and ''very respectable'' boy and ''always greeted everybody with a smile.''

''I don't believe he's guilty,'' said another uncle, John Latham. ''I would not like to see him die. It would tear our family apart.''

Jurors showed no expression, and some looked away or toward the ground as John Latham spoke.

The jury already has heard that Peterson was captain of his high school golf team. Defense witnesses have testified that he sang to seniors on Sundays, distributed food and clothes in Tijuana and that he was a best friend and loving son.

Robert Latham spent much time testifying Monday about the difficult life Jackie Peterson had as a child. Her father was murdered when she was just a baby and her mother was an invalid unable to care for the kids. AP
http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-laci07.html
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xx Peterson Jurors Wont Factor In Family
« Reply #80 on: Dec 8th, 2004, 05:25am »

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - Jurors won't be allowed to consider sympathy for Scott Peterson's family when they decide if he should receive the death penalty.

Defense lawyer Mark Geragos argued that jury instructions should allow panelists to consider the affect a death sentence would have on Peterson's family, given that the fetus was to be a grandson to both the victim's and the defendant's parents.

But Judge Alfred A. Delucchi declined to include the clause in jury instructions.

"Sympathy for the defendant's family is not a matter the jury can consider in a capital case," he said Tuesday.

He also said he would tell jurors they could give Peterson a lesser sentence if they have doubt about the circumstances of the crime and its premeditation.

That means panelists could legally give Peterson life in prison without parole.

Defense attorneys have called 34 witnesses in the penalty phase of Peterson's murder trial and four or five witnesses were set to testify Wednesday. Delucchi told jurors to expect closing arguments after that and to begin deliberations Thursday.

Testimony on Tuesday turned to memories of the slain 27-year-old schoolteacher, bringing her mother to tears in the gallery.


An agriculture professor who taught both Scott and Laci Peterson while the couple attended California Polytechnic State University said Scott Peterson graduated with a 3.38 GPA and was on the dean's list three times.

"He was very intelligent, bright, confident, able, productive. He seemed more mature at the time ... like he was well-raised and well-rounded, the kind of student that sticks out," said Robert Thompson, Jr.

Prosecutors then questioned Thompson, asking how Laci's murder affected him.

"I've been grieving ever since," Thompson said, choking back tears. "I was close to Laci and she was such a warm .... type of person so I miss her terribly."

Sharon Rocha, Laci's mother, began to weep.

Scott Peterson was convicted Nov. 12 of one count of first-degree murder in the death of his pregnant wife, Laci, and one count of second-degree murder for the killing of her fetus.

Prosecutors say he killed Laci in their Modesto home on or around Christmas Eve 2002, then dumped her body into San Francisco Bay. The remains of Laci and the fetus were discovered about four months later a few miles from where Peterson claims to have been fishing alone the day his wife vanished.

http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/1-12082004-413234.html
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xx Re: Laci Peterson
« Reply #81 on: Dec 8th, 2004, 9:13pm »

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- Scott Peterson's mother took the stand Wednesday as what some billed as the defense's star witness, but many were left wondering if her impassioned words made any impact on the jury.

As Jackie Peterson literally begged for her son's life Wednesday, she was in tears and so was her son.

"I beg you to consider how he helped people, how he could do good," Jackie Peterson said, adding that "we mourn for Laci and Conner. And we mourn for Scott. If you kill him, it would be a whole family wiped off this earth. It would be such a waste."

The defense strategy has largely centered on Scott Peterson's parents. His father was the first to testify, and on Wednesday, his mother tearfully told the jury all the reasons her son's life is worth saving.

While Scott and his mother cried, most jurors did not react, according to KCRA 3's Edie Lambert. However, she did say that juror No.12 wiped away some tears. Legal analyst Jim Hammer said that may be enough to save Scott's life.

"The defense's best chance is a juror like Juror (No.) 12 -- a woman maybe who's a mother on the jury, who can literally put herself in Jackie Peterson's shoes, and say, 'Oh my God! What would I want to happen if I were in Jackie Peterson's shoes?" Hammer said.

The defense also asked Jackie Peterson about her difficult life, including the murder of her father when she was 2 years old, her mother's debilitating illness, the orphanage where she was raised, and the two babies she gave up for adoption.
Jackie Peterson also compared her pain with the pain of Laci's mother -- Sharon Rocha.
"As she looked toward Sharon, she said, 'I loved Laci the same way Sharon loved my son Scott. At that point, we understood that this was a tragedy for two families.' That's what Jackie let us know," said legal analyst Daniel Horowitz.

After court, Scott's father, Lee Peterson lashed out at the media, accusing the press of lynching his son.

"When are you guys going to hold your next lynching?" Lee Peterson said.

"I think this jury is ultimately going to look at that testimony, and they're going to say a mother's love is blind, but so is justice," said legal analyst Dean Johnson.

Closing arguments are expected Thursday, with the sentencing going to the jury in the afternoon.
http://www.theksbwchannel.com/news/3983532/detail.html
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xx One More Witness in Peterson Trial
« Reply #82 on: Dec 9th, 2004, 07:14am »

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - The judge in the Scott Peterson trial says one more defense witness may testify Thursday morning before closing arguments in the penalty phase. Jurors will then be sequestered in a hotel to decide whether he should get the death penalty or life in prison for the murder of his wife and their unborn child.

Peterson's mother testified on Wednesday that Laci "became like a daughter to us," adding that the 27-year-old schoolteacher was a perfect match for her son.

"The two of them were inseparable," Jackie Peterson said. "I loved Laci as much as Sharon (Laci's mother) loved Scott."

Her tearful plea to save her son's life moved at least two jurors.

While defense lawyers flashed Peterson family photographs on a large screen, Jackie Peterson, who uses a portable oxygen tank for a lung ailment, begged jurors to see the good in her son.

"He's an exceptional young man and he's my son," Jackie Peterson said during about 40 minutes of testimony. "I know he's not perfect ... but he is genuinely a loving, caring, nurturing, kind, gentle person."

Defense lawyers are trying to convince jurors that Scott Peterson deserves life in prison, not the death penalty. The 32-year-old former fertilizer salesman was convicted Nov. 12 of two counts of murder for killing Laci and her fetus.

Prosecutors say he killed Laci in their Modesto home on or around Dec. 24, 2002, then dumped her body into San Francisco Bay. The remains of Laci and the fetus were discovered about four months later a few miles from where Peterson claims to have been fishing alone the day his wife vanished.

Defense attorneys have called 39 witnesses over seven days in the penalty phase of the trial. Prosecutors called just four of Laci's family members on the first day, Nov. 30.

Earlier Wednesday, a family friend broke down in tears when asked how a death sentence for Peterson would affect her life.

"It's just going to be an extremely sad day if that's what happens. It's not going to bring back Laci and it's not going to bring back Conner. All it's going to do is add another tragedy," said Shelly Reiman, who met Scott and Laci Peterson while the couple attended college in San Luis Obispo.
http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2004/12/09/ap/headlines/d86s4m000.txt

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xx Jurors now to decide life or death
« Reply #83 on: Dec 10th, 2004, 05:57am »

The witnesses have gone home. The lawyers have argued. Now the rest of Scott Peterson's life lies in the hands of just six men and six women.

The same jurors who judged him a murderer on Nov. 12 began Thursday making one of the most difficult decisions of their lives: whether to sentence the 32-year-old Modesto man to death for killing his wife, Laci, and unborn child or punish him with life in prison.

The jury spent two hours deliberating after lawyers for the two sides earlier in the day offered up emotional pleas: one seeking death, the other begging for life.

Prosecutor David Harris called Peterson "the worst of the worst," a master manipulator, a man who gained the respect and trust of his wife and everyone else around him, then hatched a "monster plan" to kill her and stood by as the grieving husband while heartbroken family and friends hoped in vain for her safe return.

"It's a hard choice but it's the right choice," said Harris. "Someone who shows no mercy, is so heartless and so cruel to his own family deserves death."

But Peterson's lawyer, Mark Geragos, begged the jury to "end the cycle of death" in the case and spare his client's life because it still has "value."

"How does the idea of sticking a needle in his arm and strapping him to a gurney ... how does that help?" Geragos asked in an impassioned plea to the jurors. "None of this will bring back Laci and Conner."

The closing arguments followed two weeks of testimony in the penalty phase of the trial. The prosecution's case lasted less than one day, but elicited emotional and powerful testimony from just four witnesses: Laci Peterson's mother, stepfather, sister and brother. Sharon Rocha angrily confronted her son-in-law and spoke of the heartbreak she has suffered since her daughter disappeared on Christmas Eve, 2002.

Peterson's mother, Jackie, closed the defense case Wednesday begging for her son's life. She acknowledged that her son had not led a perfect life, but told the jury he had always been loving and kind and not the evil man portrayed by prosecutors throughout the five-month trial.

The defense case included 38 other witnesses, including Peterson's father, sister, brothers, former teachers, coaches and friends, who one by one recalled Peterson as a thoughtful, generous boy and man, who loved golf and was more concerned about others than he was about himself.

But in his closing arguments Thursday, Harris told the jury that the defendant had manipulated and lied to many of those witnesses, including his mother. Harris said Peterson never told any of them about the double life he led, conducting an amorous affair with Fresno massage therapist Amber Frey while his very pregnant wife stayed home alone many nights in Modesto.

"They didn't know the other side of Scott Peterson. ... The side of Scott Peterson who isn't loving, who isn't kind,'' he said.

Prosecutor Harris reminded jurors that Thursday marked the two-year anniversary of when Peterson started plotting to kill his wife because he didn't want to be saddled with a wife and baby.

"Laci was an anchor around his neck, so he put one around hers,'' Harris said.

On Dec. 9, 2002, Peterson told his mistress that he'd lost his wife. That same day, he purchased an aluminum fishing boat so he could dump his wife's body at the bottom of San Francisco Bay, Harris said.

Two weeks later, Laci Peterson vanished from her Modesto home; her body was found 116 days later, near where Peterson said he'd been fishing.

Harris said that through it all, Peterson was nothing but a fraud -- a man who played the part of a grieving husband on national television, while continuing to woo his secret mistress on the telephone.

Harris showed two pictures taken at a vigil one week after Laci Peterson disappeared. One was of a grief-stricken Rocha, surrounded by friends; the other was of a smiling Peterson holding a candle. Harris then played a secretly taped conversation Peterson had with Frey, minutes before the vigil began. Peterson, who was in Modesto at the time, is heard joking and laughing with Frey and lying about celebrating New Year's in Paris.

"Imagine what these families were going through, and the entire time someone ... at the vigil had the answer,'' Harris said. "What was this kind, gentle honest, sincere, fun-loving Scott doing at that vigil? When everyone else grieved, prayed for the return of Laci and Conner, the man who knew where they were laughed and lied."

"This is a man deserving of sympathy?''

Harris flashed a series of pictures of family photos of Laci on the wall as he asked the jury not to forget the holidays, birthdays and graduations that will never be shared. He also showed jurors the only pictures Laci Peterson's mother has of the baby who was to be her grandson: sonogram photos her daughter had given her before she disappeared.

"He murdered Laci. He murdered Conner,'' said Harris. "He had a plan and he executed it, and he deserves no less.''

But Peterson's attorney Pat Harris said his client is not "a monster" and urged jurors to recall the testimony of the witnesses who said Peterson could help others in jail.

He reminded them about "the thousands of little things" family and friends said Peterson did for others during the first 30 years of his life.

"I believe Scott Peterson has the ability to affect other lives,'' Pat Harris said during his summation. "I'm asking you to look at what people have testified to. This is a man who continually helped people.''

He asked the jury not to forget about the parents of Peterson's childhood friend, whom Peterson continued to visit well after his friend moved away; the lifelong friend who talked about the volunteer work Peterson did on behalf of orphans in Mexico; and the professor whom Peterson invited over for dinner, long after he'd taken his course.

The defense attorney also told jurors that although they convicted Peterson beyond a reasonable doubt, it doesn't mean they may not still have some lingering doubt about who committed the crime.

"You don't know when, we don't know the where, we don't know how and we don't know why,'' he said.

Geragos was the last to address the jury. He told them that no one would find any solace in the killing of his client and begged them to "cherish the idea that there does not need to be any more death in this case.''

He said a life in prison without the possibility of parole hardly resembles a walk in the park. Peterson's cell would be little bigger than a king-size bed and his notoriety would put him at great risk from other inmates.

"At any time he tries to leave to go out for a half hour of exercise or to take a shower, he'll have to look over his shoulder,'' Geragos said.

With dramatic effect, the defense lawyer then tried to show how alienated Peterson would be from the rest of the world and his loved ones. He said that in time, Peterson would receive a visit from a prison guard.

Rapping on the jury railing three hard times, Geragos played the part of the guard: "Peterson, your mom is dead."

Six months later, Geragos said it would happen again. Knock. Knock. Knock. "Peterson, your dad's dead."

And then perhaps, a year later, the guard would come again, this time to announce the death of his brother.

The dramatic demonstration was to counter the prosecution's contention that, if allowed live, Peterson would be reading books, looking at photographs and writing letters to his nieces and nephews -- something that Laci Peterson and her baby will never get to do.

"Scott should spend the rest of his natural days in prison,'' Geragos pleaded, as Peterson's family wept in the gallery. "He will stay in that cell every single day of his life until he dies."

He urged them to stick with their own convictions and reminded them that they are not required to come to a unanimous vote.

"If you believe and I'm begging you, this is a life worth saving, all I'm asking for is you to vote for life,'' said Geragos.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/12/10/MNG20A9TUU1.DTL
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xx Peterson jurors finish deliberations for weekend
« Reply #84 on: Dec 10th, 2004, 11:07pm »

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - (KRT) - Jurors returned on Friday to their hotel for the weekend, ending nearly nine hours of deliberations over the fate of Scott Peterson without reaching a verdict.

The panel of six men and six women have asked for nothing from Judge Alfred Delucchi and have given no indication that they are at an impasse.

They arrived at the courthouse about 8 a.m. PST Friday morning after spending the night sequestered in a Foster City hotel. They began deliberating at 8:05 a.m., adding to the two hours of discussions they had Thursday.

They ate lunch in the closed courtroom before returning to the deliberation room where nearly a month ago they decided Peterson was guilty of killing his wife.

Lawyers on both sides of the case arrived in court for a morning session to certify the official transcript of the proceedings. They remained in chamber for about 45 minutes before emerging to put the innocuous matter on the record.

Little else was known about the progress jurors were making. Not even Judge Alfred Delucchi knew the status of deliberations.

"For those interested parties, the jurors are still hard at work," Delucchi told those gathered in his courtroom. "I haven't heard a word."

They are weighing whether Peterson, 32, should be put to death or spend the rest of his life in prison. The same jurors convicted Peterson on Nov. 12 of two murder counts and affirmed a special circumstance that guaranteed Peterson would at least be given a life sentence and sparked the penalty phase of the trial.

Prosecutors called only four witnesses during the weeklong process. The defense summoned 39 people to testify.

Lawyers for both sides gave closing arguments to jurors on Thursday before Delucchi turned the case over to the jury at 2:01 p.m. PST.

Reporters and members of the public sat inside the courtroom, passing time with newspapers and conversation. Courtroom sketch artists rendered drawings of the brief appearance by lawyers and Delucchi for eager broadcasters and their worldwide audiences waiting outside.

Paul Canny, a veteran San Mateo defense attorney, said jurors were taking their decision seriously.

"Clearly somebody gets the enormity of the decision that the group has to come to," she said. "On this verdict, there is no take back."

Robert Talbot, a University of San Francisco law professor following the case, said jurors could very well be deadlocked. Perhaps they have not told Delucchi, he said, because they view the split as a solvable dilemma.

"I would think that if they were split 6-6, they would push the button and say `We're deadlocked,'" Talbot said. "But I would have expected they would have come to a quicker decision."

The jury will return Monday morning to resume deliberations.
http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/mld/ledgerenquirer/news/nation/10390655.htm
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xx At least Peterson panel lives in comfort
« Reply #85 on: Dec 12th, 2004, 10:28am »

REDWOOD CITY — It's hard to avoid news of the Scott Peterson case, even for 12 jurors ordered to do just that.
Dozens of complimentary copies of USA Today litter the hallways of the Bay Area hotel where they're sequestered. Friday's edition included a front-page headline that the death-penalty decision had gone to the jury.

Though jurors are not allowed to read newspapers, there are other reminders of the case.

From the top floors, on a clear day, one can see San Francisco Bay, where Peterson dumped the bodies of his wife, Laci, and his unborn son, Conner.

It's in this luxurious, suburban hotel where the jurors will live until they decide whether Peterson should die for his crimes. He was convicted Nov. 12 of the murders of Laci and Conner Peterson.

"Nobody in the world wants to be sequestered," said Art Noffsinger, a former Modesto resident who lives in Las Vegas and was staying at the hotel Friday night. "I guess if you have to be, this is as good a place as any."

Jurors are allowed to read only court-approved books and magazines. Their TV viewing is limited to sports and court-approved movies. They are not allowed to use the Internet. They can place calls, but can't receive them. They can't have visitors.

And they cannot leave the seven-story building in the middle of high-rise suburbia. It's about a 10-mile drive from the Redwood City courthouse.

Rooms are pretty much like those at any hotel: Big windows, televisions in entertainment centers and paintings of flower pots hanging on the walls. Rooms start at about $69 a night for one king-size bed, which is being billed to taxpayers. Jurors stayed at the hotel nine nights before reaching a verdict. They have stayed there three nights so far during the penalty phase.

Brochures tout the hotel's sunny atrium, where waterfalls pour into a koi pond and bubbling stream.

There are two restaurants. One features Japanese cuisine. The second is a sports bar and grill with eight giant TV screens, two pool tables and a dance floor, the scene of karaoke and dancing parties during the weekend. A plate of beef and broccoli costs $14; pints of domestic beer, $3.

For recreation, there's a heated pool, a whirlpool and a sauna. There's even a chance for holiday shopping. A first-floor gift shop sells a number of novelty items. Neckties go for $8.99.

Those who struggle with sleep might find respite in the fitness center, which is open 24 hours.

Bee staff writer Todd Milbourn can be reached at 578-2339 or tmilbourn@modbee.com.
http://www.modbee.com/local/story/9588897p-10475960c.html
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xx Peterson penalty deliberations to resume
« Reply #86 on: Dec 13th, 2004, 05:09am »

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP) — The fact that jurors did not immediately return a sentence recommendation for Scott Peterson bodes well for the man convicted of murdering his wife and her fetus, legal observers said.
Jurors resume deliberations Monday on whether Peterson should be sentenced to death or life in prison. They took the weekend off following 8 hours of deliberations ending Friday afternoon.

"It was a good sign for Peterson that they didn't come back immediately," said Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson. "It makes a lot of sense to me that frankly they wanted to take the weekend ... Because I think in the amount of time they've deliberated, about the only thing they've been able to do is hear each other out."

The jurors will remain sequestered in a hotel until they reach a unanimous agreement on a punishment. The judge will formally sentence Peterson on Feb. 25.

The same jury of six men and six women found Peterson guilty Nov. 12.

Defense attorneys called 39 witnesses over seven days in the penalty phase of Peterson's double-murder trial. Prosecutors called just four of Laci's family members, all on the first day, Nov. 30

Peterson, 32, was convicted Nov. 12 of murder in the deaths of his wife, Laci, and her fetus. Prosecutors say he strangled or smothered his wife on or around Christmas Eve 2002 and dumped the body in San Francisco Bay.

Peterson claims he was fishing alone that day.

If jurors are unable to agree on a sentence, prosecutors must decide whether to retry just the penalty phase or to accept a default sentence of life in prison.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2004-12-13-peterson_x.htm
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xx Peterson trial lawyers huddle with judge
« Reply #87 on: Dec 13th, 2004, 1:20pm »

Redwood City, CA, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Lawyers in the Scott Peterson trial met with the judge early Monday, raising speculation that a verdict on the convicted killer's sentence had been reached.

The same jury that convicted Peterson of murdering his pregnant wife, Laci, and her unborn child, has been deliberating whether to recommend a death sentence or life without parole.

CourtTV said there was no official word about the in-chambers meeting; however they also noted that the jurors appeared to be dressed up Monday, a development that can sometimes indicate they are ready to deliver a verdict.
http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20041213-124305-6906r.htm
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xx Jurors reach verdict in penalty phase of trial...
« Reply #88 on: Dec 13th, 2004, 2:30pm »

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — A jury announced Monday it has reached a verdict in the penalty phase of Scott Peterson's murder trial.

The panel is expected to deliver the verdict at 1:30 p.m. PT at the San Mateo County Courthouse.

Peterson, 31, faces either the death penalty or life in prison without parole for the murders of his wife and unborn son.

The six men and six women reached their verdict after deliberating for about 12 hours over three days. They have been sequestered in a hotel during their deliberations, but were not allowed to deliberate over the weekend.

Jurors requested Monday morning that graphic photos of the victims' decomposed remains be brought into the deliberations room.

Judge Alfred Delucchi announced that the photos and several items were sent into the jury room "for their perusal."

The judge said the panelists also requested Laci's medical records, which include a sonogram of the boy the couple planned to name Conner and a copy of one of the last photos taken of the mother-to-be.

That picture shows the 27-year-old seated and smiling at a holiday party 10 days before her Dec. 24, 2002, disappearance.

The images the panel asked for tracked visuals that prosecutor Dave Harris used during his summation. He began and ended the argument with the photo of Laci Peterson at the holiday party and moved jurors to tears when he showed the gory images of the remains.

"Leaving his wife's body to rot in the bottom of the ocean. Leaving his son's body to be found as trash in debris," he told them. "That is not something that should be rewarded by sparing his life."

Delucchi made the announcement after an hour-long closed-door meeting with Peterson, defense lawyers and prosecutors.

The jury found the fertilizer salesman guilty of one count of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder in the December 2002 deaths of Laci Peterson and her fetus.

Jurors returned the guilty verdict on Nov. 12, after about five months of testimony.
http://www.courttv.com/trials/peterson/121304_verdictreached_ctv.html
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xx Peterson sentenced to death
« Reply #89 on: Dec 13th, 2004, 4:03pm »

DECEMBER 13, 2004 -- A California jury has sentenced Scott Peterson to death for the murder of his wife, Laci, and their unborn child.

The sentence came down just after 4:30 pm EST on Monday.

Earlier in the day, the jurors asked to see 13 pieces of evidence, including autopsy photos and aerial photos of the site where the bodies were found.

The jury had resumed deliberations Monday after taking the weekend off.

The same jury, six men and six women, found Peterson guilty last month.

We'll have more on this story tonght on First News at 5:00 pm.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

http://www.wect.com/Global/story.asp?S=2686717&nav=2gQcU9CI
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