It was one of the most sensational crime stories of the past 20 years. The case attracted the attention of national and international media. There are parallels between Scott Peterson, the strangely straightforward handsome husband whose wife has disappeared, and the character of Ben Affleck in the hit movie “Gone Girl”.
Scott Peterson was sentenced to death for the murder of his pregnant wife Laci and their unborn child in 2005. But after appeals, his. Her defense team told CBS News correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti that they also have new exculpatory evidence and are asking for a brand new trial. Vigliotti reports the case of “48 hours” in
To those who knew them, Peterson and his pregnant wife Laci looked like the all-American couple – beautiful, social, and starting a new family – until, on Christmas Eve 2002, Laci disappeared.
Scott Peterson’s alibi for the day Laci went missing was unusual. He said he took a solo Christmas Eve fishing trip to the cold San Francisco Bay, 90 miles from his home in the town of Modesto in the Central Valley. He then did what detectives called a suspicious call to Laci’s answering machine the day he went missing. Months later, the bodies of Laci and their unborn child, whom they named Conner, washed up in San Francisco Bay, very close to the area where he was fishing.
And then it turned out that Peterson had lied to the police about the status of his marriage. He had told them that everything was fine. But there was another woman in Scott’s life – he had been having an affair. Amber Frey was a young and attractive massage therapist. Peterson convinced her that he was single and that he was looking for love. Frey’s stories of Scott’s endless lies and deceit helped transform the American impression of him from charming everyone into a playboy sociopath.
And finally, on the day of his arrest, cops say Peterson drove them on a high-speed freeway escape. When they caught up with him, he had dyed his hair blonde and had $ 15,000 in cash and camping gear in his car.
After a six-month trial that captivated audiences and starred several media commentators, Scott Peterson was convicted and sentenced to death.
But last summer, the California Supreme Court dismissed Peterson’s death sentence.
The court ruled that the trial judge in the case erred in selecting the jury. The result of this error, say supporters of Peterson, was that the jury was stacked against him with jurors supporting the death penalty. A new trial has been ordered on the death penalty phase of the Peterson case.
Additionally, there is a separate legal battle over one of the jurors in the original case. Peterson’s defense team says she lied about her background on a quiz before being selected for the jury. Prosecutors insist she didn’t lie – she just didn’t think her past experiences were relevant to the questions. Later this year, a lower court judge is expected to decide whether Peterson will get a new trial for his guilt or innocence.
The case remains fascinating for several reasons.
It was a homicide case with circumstantial evidence; there was little solid and forensic evidence. Now the internet has sparked a boisterous community of “amateur sleuths,” including some of Peterson’s family and various real crime freaks who believe Scott is innocent.
While Scott Peterson’s defense team won’t exactly reveal what new evidence they say they’ve uncovered, they do claim they have new witnesses who saw Laci Peterson alive after authorities said she was murdered. They also claim to have suspects who they believe were Laci’s real kidnappers and murderers.
But one of the original detectives in the case, Jon Buehler, told “48 Hours” that there is nothing that has emerged that would change his mind that Peterson got a fair trial and that it he was the one who killed Laci. “Well, I guess it’s possible,” Buehler says. “But you know, there are still people who believe the earth is flat too.”
Peterson’s next court date will be in June.