It’s been 16 years since notorious killer Scott Peterson was convicted of murdering his wife and unborn son, but his sister-in-law says evidence can prove his innocence.
“He should not be sitting on death row,” Peterson’s sister-in-law, Janey Peterson, told Dr. Phil on Monday. “There’s no time for Scott to commit this crime. Scott has been wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife and son.”
One person that could point to Peterson’s innocence, according to Janey, is the mailman who delivered mail to Scott and Laci Peterson’s Modesto home on the morning Laci disappeared in 2002. Mailman Russell Graybill, delivered mailed between “10:15 to 10:50 a.m.” to the Peterson’s home, after a neighbor said he found the Peterson’s dog running loose and placed the dog back inside the fence at the couple’s home.
Graybill told authorities that when he delivered mail, the gate was open and the dog was not barking, meaning the dog disappeared after the neighbor placed her back inside the fence.
“The mailman signed an affidavit that said if Mackenzie was inside or out in the yard, he would bark at the mailman. And on December 24th, the mailman came by and Mackenzie was not on the property,” Janey said.
According to a brief filed that aims to get Peterson off of death row, “If Laci is alive and walking McKenzi after Scott leaves, he is innocent,” as authorities accused Scott of carrying Laci’s body with him to Berkeley Marina during the early morning hours on December 24, 2002, hours before Graybill delivered the mail.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Peterson, now 45, is on California’s death row, housed in the San Quentin prison for the murder of Laci and their unborn son, Conner. Although there was no physical evidence, prosecutors amassed a collection of circumstantial evidence that convinced a San Mateo County jury that Peterson indeed murdered his wife and son.
For instance, according to court documents, the following circumstantial evidence was strong enough to lead to Peterson’s conviction.
- Trained dogs picked up Laci’s scent at the Berkeley Marina, where Peterson claimed he went fishing when Laci vanished; her remains were later found close to the same area.
- Peterson visited the crime scene repeatedly.
- The tarp Peterson used on his fishing trip was covered in gasoline in his shed; gasoline is known to destroy DNA.
- Another tarp was found buried in fertilizer, also known to destroy DNA, according to Dr. Henry Lee, who testified at Peterson’s trial.
- Peterson told detectives he stopped fishing because it began to rain, although there was no precipitation at the Berkeley Marina on the day in question, according to the harbor master.
- Peterson claimed Laci was watching a cooking segment on television when he left their home on December 24, but the show he referenced aired on December 23.
- Laci wore a diamond necklace, sapphire ring and band each and every time she left her home. On the day she disappeared, the jewelry was left in her bedroom.
- After Laci and Conner’s remains were found, authorities caught Peterson close to the Mexico border with his hair and beard dyed blonde, identification that didn’t belong to him, several credit cards, clothes, knives, four cell phones, a rope, camping supplies, and around $15,000 in cash.
On the other hand, the defense brought up many factors that suggest Peterson’s innocence. For instance, baby Conner’s remains were found on the Richmond shoreline on April 17, 2003. A medical examiner who performed an autopsy on the baby stated that the infant was just shy of 39 weeks gestation.
Laci went to a doctor’s appointment a day before she vanished and medical records stated the baby was around 32 weeks gestation. The defense claimed that in order for Conner to live until close to 39 weeks gestation, he would have had to been born alive or Laci would have had to be alive past the week the prosecution said Peterson killed her.
“There were multiple witnesses that testified as to gestational age,” Janey Peterson told CrimeOnline. “The bottom line is you can’t pinpoint Dec 24th as the date of death to implicate Scott. The foremost expert on the topic, Dr Jeanty, submitted an affidavit for Scott’s habeas petition.”
While it’s unknown if Peterson will indeed get a new trial or not, court documents filed by the state Attorney General in response to Peterson’s habeas corpus indicates that the state will fight tooth and nail to have his appeal denied. Janey Peterson said she’s “absolutely” certain he’ll be granted a new trial.
[Feature Photo: Scott Peterson/California Department of Corrections]