The new trial for convicted California killer Scott Peterson is scheduled to start today and the testimony of a previous juror could be the deciding factor regarding the outcome of the hearing.
The San Mateo County trial is expected to last a week and will focus on an evidentiary regarding juror misconduct allegations during Peterson’s first trial. Peterson was convicted in 2004 of killing his wife, Laci, and their unborn son, Connor.
Richelle Nice, who served on the jury during Peterson’s 2004 murder, was offered immunity ahead of Peterson’s new evidentiary hearing.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Nice failed to disclose during jury screening that she obtained a restraining order against her boyfriend’s former girlfriend in 2000 for harassment. She was pregnant at the time of the restraining order but denied any involvement in any crime-related incidents.
In August 2021, the California state Supreme Court overturned Peterson’s death sentence due to “significant errors” in jury selection.
“Juror No. 7 committed prejudicial misconduct by not disclosing her prior involvement with other legal proceedings, including but not limited to being the victim of a crime,” the order read.
Nice was initially an alternate juror, but she was given a seat when another juror was discharged. She later wrote a book about her experience and was dubbed “Strawberry Shortcake” because of her red hair during the trial.
According to Peterson’s attorneys, Nice “worked hard” to get on the jury. She reportedly claimed she was willing to serve despite her employer telling her she wouldn’t be paid for time missed from work.
“I don’t think you can make a cogent argument that somebody who is pregnant and has been the victim of violence can go into a trial and at the very least not feel some bias towards a circumstance where a victim is a pregnant woman who basically had violence occur,’ Peterson’s attorney, Pat Harris, told KTLA.
Nice previously said that without immunity, she would use the Fifth Amendment to protect herself from incrimination. With immunity, she’s required to answer questions while on the witness stand. Failure to do so could result in contempt of court.
After the evidentiary hearing, which is slated to last a week, the judge has three months to decide if Peterson will get a new trial.
Check back for updates.
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[Feature Photo: Scott & Laci/Family Handout]