Scott Peterson Defense Team Gets Boost From Police Investigators

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 21, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Scott Peterson Defense Team Gets Boost From Police Investigators

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
July 21, 2004

Redwood City, CA ( — While they were the prosecution’s witnesses, police investigators gave the defense plenty of ammunition this week in the Scott Peterson double-murder trial.

On Monday, Detective Henry "Dodge" Hendee told jurors that all seven stains in Peterson’s truck, which police suspected were blood, all tested negative. Additionally, a hair found in Peterson’s toolbox turned out to belong to a police investigator, and not Peterson’s wife, Laci.

Hendee confirmed that there was not evidence linking Laci to the toolbox, which prosecutors allege Peterson used to transport his wife to San Francisco Bay, almost two hours from their Modesto home.

Defense attorney Mark Geragos, cross-examined Detective Ray Coyle on Tuesday, focusing on a list of sex offenders in the Modesto area that police were to investigate.

Coyle admitted that several of the investigations of sex offenders were marked completed although several with questionable alibis were never followed up with, twenty-four offenders were not found, and one had even confessed to the crime.

"He said he murdered a female named Lisa Peterson, right? He said the only witness was the dog," Geragos asked Coyle. "He said he broke her neck?"

Coyle said police discounted the confession because the man had mental problems.

The list, according to Coyle, was a "round up the usual suspects" effort created early in the case when there was little information for investigators to go on.

Prosecutor Rick Distaso pointed out that several of the 309 sex offenders were elderly, sick, deceased or incarcerated.

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.