by Steven Ertelt
December 7, 2004
Redwood City, CA (LifeNews.com) — Friends and other relatives of Scott Peterson went further on Monday than his family did in its testimony last week as the defense looks for ways to keep Peterson from being subjected to the death penalty for the murders of his wife Laci an unborn child Conner.
Peterson’s friends told the jury that they mistakenly convicted him of planning and carrying out the murders.
"I do not believe that Scott is guilty of this crime. I don’t believe that he could have done this," said Sandra Bertram. She has known the Peterson family for 30 years and worked at a golf course with Scott when he was a teenager.
Meanwhile, Robert Latham, the brother of Peterson’s mother, Jackie, said his nephew was a "very respectable" boy who "always greeted everybody with a smile."
Latham joined Bertram in condemning the jury’s verdict.
"I think the verdict was a mistake," Latham said, as he pled with jurors to give Peterson life in prison without the possibility of parole instead of the death penalty. "I wouldn’t want that mistake to be on other people."
John Latham, another of Scott Peterson’s uncles, also questioned the verdict.
"I don’t believe he’s guilty," he said. "I know he’s guilty by trial, but in my heart I can’t believe that."
Turning to jurors, Latham said, "I know this guy. I know his family and I would not like to see him die. It would tear our family apart."
While the witnesses spoke and questioned their decision-making, jurors often looked away or to the ground.
Ten more witnesses are expected to be called today and Wednesday as the jury continues to hear testimony in the sentencing phase of the trial, which has garnered national attention.
Deliberations may begin on Thursday, the judge in the case said. According to the Modesto Bee newspaper, Judge Alfred Delucchi, who will hand down the sentence, tentatively scheduled it for February 25, but legal appeals may delay that.
If the jury suggests that Peterson be subjected to the death penalty, Delucchi has the option of reducing the sentence to life without parole.
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.