Scott Peterson Double Murder Trial Resumes This Week With New Evidence

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 10, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Scott Peterson Double Murder Trial Resumes This Week With New Evidence

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 10, 2004

Washington, DC ( — The Scott Peterson double-murder trial has been delayed as new evidence surfaced last week. While a gag order prevents anyone involved in the case from discussing what the new evidence consists of, defense attorney Mark Geragos called it "potentially exculpatory."

Geragos asked Thursday for the trial to be delayed until Tuesday, when preliminary test results on the new evidence will be available. Prosecutor Rick Distaso agreed.

Judge Alfred Delucchi then informed the jury that there had been a "recent development in the case," and that there would be a delay as both sides investigated it.

"Because of that we’ve come to sort of an impasse," Delucchi said. "We can’t go any further until it’s resolved."

According to the Contra Costa Times newspaper, Scott Peterson and his lawyers appeared "upbeat" after discussing the issue in Delucchi’s chambers, while prosecutors, in contrast, had serious expressions on their faces.

In another blow to the prosecution Thursday, testimony from a witness earlier in the week was struck by Delucchi.

The woman testified that Peterson seemed "fairly nonchalant" as they searched for pictures to aid the search for Laci shortly after her disappearance. Under cross-examination, Geragos learned that the day before she took the stand, the woman was unable to identify any of the photos she was to testify about.

Delucchi, angered by yet another slip-up by the prosecution, struck the entire testimony, despite Distaso’s request for a less severe sanction.

Testimony is expected to resume Tuesday, and Peterson’s mistress Amber Frey will likely take the stand after the new evidence is discussed. Gloria Allred, Frey’s attorney, said she expected Frey to be on the stand "a considerable amount of time."

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.

Last week, an investigator from the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department testified that he searched 5 hard drives from computers in Peterson’s home and office, and found a file detailing the currents in San Francisco bay, created about the time he researched ads for boats sales on December 7-8.

Prosecutors consider the timing critical because on December 6 the woman who introduced Peterson to Frey said she confronted him about being married. Peterson told Frey and her friend that he had "lost" his wife.

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, and attacked investors for doing sloppy work and focusing on Peterson exclusively.

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 returned to Washington from the campaign trial to vote against 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.