Fourth Week of Scott Peterson Murder Trial Eventful, Juror Dismissed

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 25, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Fourth Week of Scott Peterson Murder Trial Eventful, Juror Dismissed

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
June 25, 2004

Washington, DC ( — An eventful week in the Scott Peterson double murder trial drew to a close Thursday with the cross-examination of the first detective to investigate the case, and an ousted juror’s statements that the prosecution is failing to make a convincing case.

Juror Justin Falconer has caught the media’s eye after a camera caught him speaking with Laci Peterson’s brother, Brent Rocha. As the exchange had only been a quick reference to Rocha blocking a camera view of the court, Judge Alfred Delucci had earlier decided to let Falconer stay.

On Wednesday, Falconer was excused from the jury, and while Delucci did not give a reason, Falconer says the incident with Rocha may have created too much of a distraction. Free to discuss the case, Falconer told media representatives that in his opinion, Peterson was going to be freed due to the prosecution’s inability to make a clear case.

"There’s no way that you could possibly convict him," said Falconer. "He’d be innocent, because the prosecution hasn’t given us any reason to believe otherwise so far."

Defense Attorney Mark Geragos asked again for a mistrial after Falconer was dismissed, but his request was denied.

Geragos cross-examined Detective Allen Brocchini, the first investigator in the Peterson case, on Wednesday and Thursday. Geragos focused on mistakes made by the investigator, as he has argued that police made crucial errors throughout the investigation.

Specifically, Geragos questioned Brocchini on why he removed a gun from Peterson car without consent or warrant, why he never met with a witness who claimed to see a pregnant woman with a dog on the morning Laci disappeared, and pointed out an error Brocchini had made during his interview with Peterson regarding a phone message he left for his wife.

Brocchini insisted he had Peterson’s consent to search the truck, and that he felt a phone interview with the witness had been enough.

As for the phone message, Peterson said he had left a message for his wife at 2:15 PM the day she disappeared. Brocchini, in the interview, claimed the message was timestamped 12:17 PM the same day.

Peterson had pointed out to Brocchini that the timestamp was from the detective saving the message at 12:17 the following day, December 25, an error to which Brocchini admitted.

The prosecution has been attempting to 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, Sharon 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.