Defense Expert: Laci Peterson Son Conner Died Days After Laci Did

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 23, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Defense Expert: Laci Peterson Son Conner Died Days After Laci Did Email this article
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by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
October 23, 2004

Redwood City, CA ( — An expert testified for the defense in the Scott Peterson double murder trial on Thursday, telling jurors that Laci’s son Conner died four or five days after she was abducted.

Previous testimony from a prosecution expert said the child died the day of or the day before her disappearance on December 24, 2002.

Dr. Charles March, and obstetrician, said that the previous witness had miscalculated the due date of Conner Peterson. However, under cross-examination, he admitted that his own analysis was based on assumptions.

Laci had called her friend Renee Tomlinson on June 9, 2002, the day after she had thrown Tomlinson’s baby shower, to tell her she was herself pregnant.

March said that in his experience a woman would have announced her pregnancy at her friend’s shower, so he assumed Laci found out she was pregnant June 9. He also said he assumed that June 9 was the first possible day she could have detected the pregnancy with a home test.

"I mean, women talk all the time," March said. "The chances that a woman hosting a baby shower would not announce on the day of a shower that she was pregnant and have everybody rejoice in two pregnancies – that’s not realistic at all."

While the factual basis for March’s theory was questionable, if he was correct then by measurements taken during Conner’s autopsy would indicate he died after his mother’s abduction – even until early or mid-January.

Earlier this week the court heard testimony from a dog handler who explained the uncertain nature of the use of police dogs for tracking purposes.

Ron Seitz, a veteran handler, told jurors that a dog he was using did not find Laci’s scent at the launch site where a prosecution witness said their dog tracked the missing mother. Seitz explained that the dogs are only 70-80 percent accurate, and the samples police used – a sunglass case and a slipper – could have contained Scott Peterson’s scent, which the dog followed instead of Laci’s.

The prosecution has 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. They have suggested multiple motives, including Peterson’s affair and stressed finances.

Defense attorney Mark 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 investigators for doing sloppy work and focusing on Peterson exclusively.

Scott Peterson 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 throughout pregnancy.