by Steven Ertelt
April 14, 2006
Modesto, CA (LifeNews.com) — A California judge has ruled that Scott Peterson’s mother is not entitled to receive money from Laci Peterson’s estate to compensate her for repairs and house payments she says she made on the Peterson home during Scott’s trial for the murders of Laci and her unborn baby Conner.
Jacki Peterson had asked for $35,000 but a judge yesterday refused to grant the request.
"I don’t think there is any basis for a creditor’s claim," Stanislaus Superior Court Judge David Vander Wall said.
Jacki Peterson acted as her own attorney during the hearing. She filed paperwork with the court on March 27 seeking reimbursements from the estate for the house costs, including mortgage payments, property tax payments, utility bills and home repairs.
"The estate profited unfairly after I made the payments," she told the judge. "I’m not looking to profit."
An attorney for Laci Peterson’s mother told the Modesto Bee newspaper that state law doesn’t allow for such reimbursements after a person’s death and applauded the ruling.
Calvin Moorad, said, "This closes out a long and emotional probate."
As a result of the ruling, Laci Peterson’s parents, Sharon Rocha and Dennis Rocha, will split the $430,000 in Laci’s estate. The house was eventually sold in July and Peterson’s parents received some of the money for it.
According to the Bee, Sharon Rocha noted in court papers that Scott’s parents stayed in the home on various occasions throughout the trial.
"I assumed (the Petersons) were making these payments," Rocha wrote, "because they were attempting to preserve the house for the benefit of their son who was a joint tenant of the property."
Scott’s claim on the house was no longer applicable following his convictions in the death of both Laci and Conner, who was eight months old and days away from being born.
The Rochas are also suing Scott Peterson for $25 million in a wrongful death claim.
Peterson sits on death row after having been convicted of the double murder. His legal team is working on appeal of the conviction and sentence, but Scott’s family is hoping to up the ante to free him.
They are offering the money for "specific information" leading to his exoneration and have put together a web site, www.scottpetersonappeal.org, which claims Scott is innocent of Laci’s Christmas Eve disappearance and the deaths of her and her baby.
The Peterson case sparked a renewed debate about violence against pregnant women and prompted the passage of a Congressional measure allowing federal prosecutors to punish criminals when they attack a pregnant woman and kill or injure the unborn child.
Some 32 states currently have laws that recognize the unborn child as second victim in such attacks and 20 of them protect mother and child throughout pregnancy.
Peterson was convicted under California’s unborn victims law that recognizes a second victim starting at seven to eight weeks into pregnancy.