The defense lawyers for Scott Peterson say new evidence will be presented that shows prosecutors during his murder trial established an incorrect timeline.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Peterson, who’s currently in San Quentin prison for killing his wife, Laci, and unborn son, Connor, wants a new trial. Last month, the California Supreme court was ordered to re-examine his murder convictions.
The order came two months on the heels of Peterson’s death penalty being overturned.
KRON 4 spoke with Peterson’s lawyer, Pat Harris, who claimed a private investigator found new evidence that would prove Peterson is “an innocent man.”
Some of the new evidence will reportedly focus on the prosecution’s alleged failure to prove when Laci Peterson died, how she died, and where she died. The defense will also provide documents that reportedly show that a mailman’s comments were “lost” and that several witnesses said they saw Laci alive after Peterson had already left their home to go fishing.
Further, habeas corpus documents will reportedly reveal evidence the jury was not allowed to hear during Peterson’s 2004 trial, and the evidence they were allowed to hear before convicting him of murder.
“The time of the crime ultimately became the critical disputed issue at trial. The state’s theory was that Laci was killed before Scott left for Berkeley. The defense theory was that Laci was still alive when Scott left the house that morning. If, in fact, Laci was at home and alive after Scott left that morning, Scott is innocent,” the court documents read.
The Murder of Laci Peterson
Laci was eight months pregnant when she disappeared from her Modesto home she shared with her husband. Peterson became the primary suspect after he was caught in numerous lies throughout the investigation. Investigators also uncovered he was having an affair with a woman he met at a party, Amber Frey.
The affair, according to prosecutors, was one of the most damning pieces of evidence against Peterson. Prosecutors argued that the affair alone didn’t automatically mean murder, but the information Peterson told Frey that made him appear culpable.
Prior to Laci’s disappearance, Peterson told Frey that his wife died previously and the upcoming holidays would be the first without her. He also told Frey that he never wanted children and her daughter from a previous relationship would be enough for him.
On December 23, 2002, the day Laci disappeared, Peterson said he went fishing at the Berkeley Marina. He told authorities he last saw his wife at around 9:30 a.m. at their home. He said she was watching a television show and preparing to walk their dog, McKenzie.
A neighbor found the Petersons’ dog wandering alone at around 10:10 a.m. to 10:17 a.m. The neighbor returned McKenzie to the Petersons’ backyard, but another neighbor found the dog wandering alone again at around 10:45 a.m., and returned him to the backyard. Scott Peterson said he returned home that afternoon to find the home empty, aside from McKenize in the back yard.
In April 2003, investigators found Laci’s deteriorating body near the San Francisco Bay, around eight miles north of Berkeley Marina. Connor’s body was found, with his umbilical cord still attached, nearby.
According to an autopsy reported, nylon tape was found wrapped around Connor’s neck. He also had a laceration on his body. Laci’s body also had nylon tape wrapped around her torso.
On April 18, 2003, police officers arrested Peterson near a golf course in La Jolla.
Reports indicate he was carrying $15,000 in cash, hundreds of sleeping pills, about 10 Viagra pills, multiple cellphones, and an identification card belonging to his brother. He was also found in possession of weapons including a firearm and a dagger.
Although there was no physical evidence tying Peterson to his wife and son’s death, prosecutors amassed a collection of circumstantial evidence that convinced a San Mateo County jury that Peterson was guilty.
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 harbormaster.
- 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, an 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.
Peterson’s sister-in-law, Janey Peterson, who has been one of his biggest supporters, told KRON 4 that she feels additional evidence, such as other possible suspects, a tidal expert, and a mailman’s comments are the strongest factors to prove Peterson’s innocence.
Janey Peterson also said testimony from a fetal development expert who said Connor could have been alive as late as January 3 refutes the prosecution’s assertations that he died on December 24.
Check back for updates.
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[Feature Photo: Scott Peterson/Police Handout; Laci Peterson/Family Handout]