Scott Peterson’s Defense Team Says He Didn’t Kill Laci, Conner

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 3, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Scott Peterson’s Defense Team Says He Didn’t Kill Laci, Conner

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
June 3, 2004

Redwood City, CA ( — In opening statements Wednesday, Scott Peterson’s defense attorney played his hand, telling the jury that there are enough holes in the prosecution’s case to acquit Peterson on charges he killed his wife, Laci, and unborn son, Conner in December 2002.

The most unanticipated move, however, was Geragos’ claim that he will prove that Conner was born before Laci was killed. As Laci was eight months pregnant when she disappeared, it would mean that she was held by captors before being killed, and not dumped in the San Francisco Bay the same day as prosecutors allege.

"If this baby were born alive, clearly Scott Peterson had nothing to do with this murder," Geragos told the court.

Robert Talbot, a professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law, told the Associated Press the move was "dramatic, but dangerous."

"But if he can do it, it will go a long way to reasonable doubt," Talbot added.

Geragos said his expert witnesses will explain that the baby was more developed than a typical child after eight months in utero. The prosecution has said their witnesses can prove Conner died before birth.

While the prosecution is bringing forth hundreds of witnesses, Geragos has only 18 witnesses on his defense list. His case is centered on alleged failings and holes in the prosecution’s case.

Geragos pointed out that, despite collecting 100 bags of evidence from the Peterson’s home, crime labs found nothing. Without a murder weapon or eyewitness, the prosecutions case is entirely based on circumstantial evidence, Geragos explained.

The defense will also bring forth witnesses who say they saw Laci walking her dog the morning she vanished, and others claim they saw a woman looking like Laci being abducted or escorted by men in tan van.

In response to prosecutor’s allegations that Peterson did not want children, Geragos painted a different picture, of a expectant father who went with his wife to every prenatal appointment and redecorated a room in their house as nursery.

Geragos also attacked the motive put forth by the prosecution – that Peterson’s affair with massage therapist Amber Frey was the reason he would have anted to get rid of his wife. Geragos said Peterson hardly knew Frey at the time and had only had two dates with her.

"Was he therefore ready to chuck entirely the life he had built up with Laci for a woman with which he had two dates," asked Geragos.

Scott has pleaded innocent to charges that he murdered his wife on Christmas Eve 2002, when she was eight months pregnant, and dumped her body into San Francisco Bay. Her body and that of her son Conner washed up on the California coast in April.

The double murder charges against Peterson have received national attention and spurred the passage of numerous unborn victims laws.

The laws allow prosecutors to charge criminals with two crimes when they kill or injure an unborn child in addition to a pregnant woman.

Laci’s mother, Susan Rocha, has become and outspoken advocate of Unborn Victims Laws, both for individual states and the entire nation.

President Bush signed a federal Unborn Victims of Violence Law in March. Rocha had voiced her support of the bill, and had criticized members of the Senate, including presidential hopeful John Kerry, who had stalled and opposed the bill.

According to the National Right to Life Committee, 30 states have unborn victims laws, most recently Kentucky and Virginia, and 18 cover mothers and their unborn children throughout pregnancy. None of those laws has ever been successfully challenged in Court.