Laci Peterson’s Relatives Cast Doubt on Scott Peterson’s Sincerity

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 11, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Laci Peterson’s Relatives Cast Doubt on Scott Peterson’s Sincerity

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
June 11, 2004

Redwood City, CA ( — Testimony from relatives and friends Wednesday cast doubt on the sincerity of Scott Peterson, who is being tried on charges he killed his wife and their unborn son, Conner.

Harvey Kemple, Laci Peterson’s mother’s cousin’s husband, said he became suspicious of Peterson on Christmas Eve 2002, when Laci first disappeared. Kemple was one of three people who testified Wednesday that Peterson told them he had been golfing that day. Peterson told others he had been fishing the day his wife disappeared, and the fishing story became his official alibi.

Kemple said he followed Peterson twice in January, once to a shopping mall and later to a local golf course. While he described Peterson’s behavior as strange, under cross-examination he admitted his own behavior, particularly following a relative, could be considered strange.

Building on testimony from other relatives on Tuesday, Kemple commented on Peterson’s apparent apathy following his wife’s disappearance. He testified that at a July 4, 2002 barbecue Peterson had become quite upset when he burned a chicken. Peterson showed more emotion then, said Kemple, than he had shown since his wife disappeared.

On Tuesday, witnesses, including Laci’s stepfather, Ron Grantski, 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.

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.