Prosecution Focuses on Crime Evidence in Scott and Laci Peterson’s Home

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 14, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Prosecution Focuses on Crime Evidence in Scott and Laci Peterson’s Home

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
July 14, 2004

Redwood City, CA ( — Modesto Police investigators were brought to the stand this week to testify about evidence found during the investigation of Laci Peterson’s disappearance. Her husband, Scott Peterson, is standing trial for the murder of her and her unborn son, Conner.

Police officers testified about the extensive search of the Peterson’s home, which began on December 26, two days after Laci disappeared. Prior testimony from police had centered on Peterson behavior and interviews, but, since last week, the prosecution has begun focusing on evidence in the pregnant woman’s disappearance.

On Monday, Detective Ray Coyle testified that he noticed tiny spots on a comforter in the main bedroom that could have been blood, though he did not know for sure, as others had tested the stains. Similar stains in the kitchen and laundry were thought to be blood, but on closer examination were not.

Defense attorney Mark Geragos complained that the defense team was not given a list of sex offenders, which Coyle testified that police used to interview area suspects following Laci’s disappearance.

Sgt. Adam McGill narrated a videotape of the Peterson home, in which he showed there was no sign of forced entry, although neither the defense nor the prosecution had alleged that Laci’s disappearance was part of a burglary.

On Tuesday Detective Henry "Dodge" Hendee testified that he saw a strand of dark hair in a pair of pliers found on Peterson’s boat, which the prosecution alleges Peterson used to dump his wife’s body in the San Francisco Bay. Testimony is expected from DNA experts later to confirm that the hair was Laci’s.

The defense has contested the hair as evidence, alleging that the hair could have fallen out when Laci visited the warehouse, that the evidence could have been tampered with, and that the DNA test results were not conclusive enough.

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.

Geragos claims 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 the double murder charges. The case has 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 as a result of attacking 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.