So many of us followed the Laci Peterson story nearly two decades ago. Scott Peterson was convicted of killing his pregnant wife in December 2002. Laci was only 27, and eight months pregnant. They were expecting a son.
Today, Peterson who is now 49, was resentenced to life in prison and there is no possibility of parole. He also received 15 years to life for the death of his unborn son. Both sentences are to run concurrently. Peterson was on death row for the past 15 years. That sentence was overturned last year by the California Supreme Court due to errors by the trial court judge related to jury selection.
Judge Anne-Christine Massullo presided at the resentencing hearing at the San Mateo County Superior Court in Redwood City, California.
Peterson contends his trial was flawed for multiple reasons, beginning with the unusual amount of pretrial publicity that surrounded the case," the court said. “We reject Peterson’s claim that he received an unfair trial as to guilt and thus affirm his convictions for murder.
But the justices said the trial judge “made a series of clear and significant errors in jury selection that, under long-standing United States Supreme Court precedent, undermined Peterson’s right to an impartial jury at the penalty phase.
Laci's mother, Sharon Rocha, stated she wasn't going to push for another trial to seek the death penalty because it would be difficult to go through again. She and Laci's brother and sister gave impact statements directed to Peterson.
Sharon Rocha reminded Peterson how old his son would have been if he were still alive.
Peterson's attorney said that if a new trial is granted to Peterson, new evidence will be shown to reinforce their claim that Laci was killed by burglars.
Peterson's sister-in-law, Janey Peterson, spoke to reporters after the hearing.
They put this strictly on my brother-in-law because he was having an affair.
Peterson's attorney, Pat Harris, indicated that the prosecutors and law enforcement never really explored a connection between Laci's death and the burglary that occurred in their neighborhood. He also said the public perception of Peterson changed once they heard about his affair.
Peterson has always professed his innocence. He is hoping for a new trial as a result of allegations a juror lied on the jury questionnaire in the original trial. The hearing for that matter is set for late February.