Scott Peterson’s Family, Friends Testify to Help Avoid Death Penalty

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

Scott Peterson’s Family, Friends Testify to Help Avoid Death Penalty Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 3, 2004

Redwood City, CA ( — Scott Peterson’s family and friends joined his father in testifying on his behalf. They’re hoping to help Peterson avoid the death penalty after his conviction of the double murders of his wife Laci and unborn child Conner.

Scott Peterson’s sister-in-law and friends painted a picture of Scott as a caring friend, who was thoughtful and sincere.

As he did at times during his father Lee Peterson’s statement, Scott cried softly and wiped away tears as while his sister-in-law Janey Peterson testified. He even cried when she described the first time she met Laci.

"She took my breath away. She was just bubbly and fun and energetic and beautiful," she said of Laci Peterson.

Janey said Scott’s family was devastated by Laci’s death and the loss of her and Conner and the possibility Scott could die for his crimes have given the Peterson family a new appreciation of life, she commented.

"I think the one thing we’ve all learned in all of this is how important life is," she said. "I think every one of us would give up everything we have, whether it’s money, our homes, every stitch of clothing, because that’s how important life is."

John Peterson, Scott’s older brother, described their time growing up together and said the Peterson family would be devastated if Scott receives the death penalty.

Peterson’s attorneys are pulling out all the stops in an attempt to prevent his death. In addition to his family and friends, they’ve called former teachers to the stand.

They’re also hoping to align the Peterson family with the victims — both Laci and Conner as well as Laci’s family — with the hopes that jurors will see that killing Scott won’t bring further justice.

Defense attorneys have even lined up pictures showing a smiling Scott and Laci together at their wedding and on other occasions.

"That’s the theory," said Chuck Smith, a former San Mateo County prosecutor following the case told WBEX-TV. "I don’t know if it’s effective, but that’s the theory."

"They’re trying to show that this family loves Laci," Oakland defense attorney Daniel Horowitz, told WBEX. "There’s a shared loss, so the loss doesn’t belong solely to the Rochas."

"I don’t think it’s the right tactic," Horowitz said. "I think they should take it on more directly. Ask them and have them say ‘We loved Laci. It hurt us very, very deeply.’ The way he’s doing it is a little cheesy."

The case has drawn national attention to the light of pregnant women who have suffered from acts of violence.

Most often, a husband or boyfriend wants his partner to have an abortion. When she refuses, many attackers have cited that as the reason for the assault.

Spurned by the epidemic, Congress and many state legislatures have enacted unborn victims laws that charge criminals with two crimes when they attack a pregnant woman and kill or injure her unborn child.