Will Scott Peterson get death penalty? California prosecutors retry sentence for man who murdered pregnant wife
Attorney Pat Harris told reporters outside the courtroom: 'He's innocent - an innocent man's been sitting in jail for 15 years'
Scott Lee Peterson — Does the name ring a bell? One of America's cold-blooded murderers, the 48-year-old was convicted of the first-degree murder of his pregnant wife, Laci Peterson, and the second-degree murder of their unborn son, Conner, in 2004. A year later, he was sentenced to death by lethal injection.
On automatic appeal to the Supreme Court of California, his death penalty was overturned in August 2020 after justices penalty sentencing on the basis that the original trial was "flawed for multiple reasons." The case was splashed in a six-part A&E series 'The Murder of Laci Peterson' and at that time, prosecutors told jurors that Scott either suffocated or strangled his wife before he wrapped her body up in a blue tarp. Meanwhile, investigators say Peterson took the bodies from their Modesto home and dumped them from his fishing boat into San Francisco Bay, where they surfaced months later. According to the phone call interview recorded for the miniseries, Scott maintains his innocence.
In a recent statement, California prosecutors said that they will seek the death penalty again. As per a Daily Mail report quoting spokesman John Goold, Stanislaus County Assistant District Attorney Dave Harris announced that it is prosecutors' intention to retry the penalty phase of the case. The report says Peterson made his way to the Modesto courtroom and was seen sporting a buzz cut and a mask. He is currently incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison north of San Francisco.
Initially, the state's high court upheld his conviction but the same justices ordered a new hearing in San Mateo Superior Court in October. Per the Daily Mail, the Supreme Court said his death sentence could not stand because potential jurors were improperly dismissed from the jury pool after saying they personally disagreed with the death penalty but would be willing to follow the law and impose it. The court also said a juror committed "prejudicial misconduct" by failing to divulge details of a legal proceeding she had been involved in. Times reported that the juror had filed a lawsuit in 2000 to obtain a restraining order after her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend harassed her while she was pregnant.
Meanwhile, attorney Pat Harris told reporters outside the courtroom: "He's innocent - an innocent man's been sitting in jail for 15 years. It's time to get him out." Janey Peterson, his sister-in-law, said the family is looking forward to his new day in court. "We still need justice for Laci, Connor and Scott," she told reporters. "We don't have justice for Laci with Scott on death row, because Scott is innocent."
On April 21, 2003, Peterson was first charged with two felony counts of murder with premeditation and special circumstances before Judge Nancy Ashley in Stanislaus County Superior Court.