Scott Peterson Double Murder Trial Heads to Jury, Verdict Anxiously Awaited

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 3, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Scott Peterson Double Murder Trial Heads to Jury, Verdict Anxiously Awaited Email this article
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by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
November 3, 2004

Redwood City, CA ( — With closing arguments made, the Scott Peterson double-murder trial could go to the jury as early as Wednesday afternoon.

On Monday, prosecutors delivered their closing arguments in the case, pointing again to the possible motive that Peterson wanted to protect his "bachelorhood."

"He didn’t want adult married life. He didn’t want Conner Peterson," prosecutor Rick Distaso told jurors.

Prosecutors, who lack any direct evidence linking Peterson to his wife and unborn son’s murders, have named numerous possible motives during the trial, including financial difficulties and Peterson’s then current mistress Amber Frey.

Distaso told the court he believed Peterson asphyxiated his wife on December 23, then drove her body out to the bay and dumped it in San Francisco Bay on Christmas Eve. While there was no evidence how exactly Laci died, Distaso told jurors, "I only have to prove that he did it."

Defense attorney Mark Geragos gave his closing arguments on Tuesday, going so far as to acknowledge that his client was a "jerk," among other despicable names, for cheating on his wife. But Geragos asked jurors to use reason, not passion, in making their decision.

"They [the prosecution] hope you’ll say, ‘They may not have the evidence, but I hate this guy,’" Geragos told the jury. "The only thing they are banking on is that you are going to hate him, and if you hate him, you are going to suspend rationality."

Distaso’s theory of how Laci died ignored several holes, according to Geragos. He mentioned the evidence that someone had surfed the web on the Peterson’s computer looking for an umbrella stand and scarf with a sunflower design, a curling iron was left in the bathroom, and the fact that Laci’s walking shoes – which she allegedly wore to walk the dog Christmas Eve
morning — were never found.

Geragos kept close to the defense he laid out in his opening statement, picking apart the prosecutions case and noting that they not only had only circumstantial evidence, but no consistent motive either.

"First it is [mistress] Amber [Frey], then it is financial, then it is ‘Because I want to be free,’ then it’s ‘Because I don’t want a kid,’" he said.

Geragos will close his arguments Wednesday, and then Distaso will have one final rebuttal before the jury begins deliberations.

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.