Laci Peterson’s Relatives Continue Testimony in Scott’s Murder Trial

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

Laci Peterson’s Relatives Continue Testimony in Scott’s Murder Trial

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
June 9, 2004

Redwood City, CA ( — Testimony from Laci Peterson’s relatives continued Tuesday with her stepfather taking the stand against her husband, Scott Peterson.

Charged with the death of both Laci and her unborn son, Conner, the double-murder charge could result in the death penalty if Peterson is convicted.

Ron Grantski, Laci’s stepfather, told the court that Peterson’s story that he went fishing the day his wife disappeared was "fishy." An avid fisherman himself, Grantski recounted how Peterson had turned him down on several invitations to go fishing together. He added that it was unusual to go fishing on December 24.

However, Grantski admitted that he had gone fishing alone at another location that same day.

Other members of Laci’s family took the stand Tuesday, and all helped paint the picture of Scott Peterson’s emotionless state and apparent unwillingness to help in the search for his wife. Some odd comments he allegedly made didn’t help his case either.

Sandy Rickard, a close of Laci’s mother, Sharon Rocha, testified that Peterson made an unsolicited remark about his own likelihood as a suspect.

"I wouldn’t be surprised if they find blood on my truck because I cut myself frequently," Rickard said Peterson blurted out to her during the initial hours of the search for Laci.

Other witnesses recounted how Peterson would not speak to the media following his wife’s disappearance, when it was still believed she was alive and that getting the word out could help locate her. He also did not attend a vigil for her on December 31 when the rest of her family was on stage.

Another possible motive also surfaced — that Peterson may not have wanted to be a father.

Rose Marie Rocha, Laci’s sister-in-law, testified that she recalled a statement Peterson had made to her shortly after Laci became pregnant

‘I was kind of hoping for infertility,"’ she said Scott told her, adding that he did not appear to be joking.

In opening statements the prosecution put forth a case based on Scott Peterson’s erratic behavior, affair, and alleged secret purchase of a fishing boat that could have been used to dump Laci’s body into the San Francisco Bay.

Peterson’s defense attorney, Mark Geragos, has pointed out that the prosecution has no murder weapon, no eyewitnesses, and a case built entirely on circumstantial evidence. He has put forth explanations for Peterson’s strange behavior as well as theories that a satanic cult or men with a tan van abducted Laci on the morning of December 24.

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.