Supporters of Scott Peterson are hopeful this weekend after a judge in the case agreed to a hearing that may pave the path for a new trial. Peterson is currently in prison for life after being convicted of the murder of his pregnant wife, Laci Peterson, in 2004. But the judge agreed to a hearing to determine if there was misconduct during his first trial, which would allow him to seek a re-trial and perhaps clear the way to his release.
A New Trial?
Last week, Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo set a hearing date to consider whether or not there as misconduct in the first trial of Peterson. In his first trial, Peterson was convicted and sentenced to death. However, that sentence was reduced after the California Supreme Court found, “significant errors,” in the jury selection for the first trial. Peterson’s sentence was downgraded to life without parole.
Because these errors are on the record, the chance of finding misconduct is high and Peterson is likely to end up with a new trial. Today reports, per MSN, “[Judge Massullo] expects to set the date to listen to testimony from the juror in question during a hearing on Sept. 22 with the hope of it being in November. However, delays due to the pandemic could push it to January or February of 2022, Massullo said.”
The controversy focuses on one juror; Richelle Nice – known as Juror #7 before she publicly revealed her identity. According to the defense, Nice intentionally got herself selected to Peterson’s jury with the intention to see him convicted. This is all due to Nice’s own personal past, which has domestic abuse in it. If the defense can prove that this is exactly what happened, Peterson will get a new trial for certain.
Scott and Laci
Peterson’s trial gripped the nation in 2004, two years after Laci Peterson was found dead. It’s a twisted and convoluted story that really begins when Laci is reported missing on December 24, 2002. At this point, she is 8 months pregnant. According to Scott, he returned home from a fishing trip and she was gone. By mid-January of 2003, Laci’s family had suspicions and went to the media to plead with Scott so share everything he knows. At this time, Scott reportedly admitted to her family that he had an affair. One woman came forward at the end of January 2003 – Amber Frey – and admitted to an extramarital affair with Scott. Per Fox News,
- February 10th, 2003 marked a grim milestone as Laci’s due date came and went but she remained missing.
- March 6th, 2003, Modesto, CA police declare Laci’s disappearance a homicide.
- April 14th, 2003, the body of a woman and male fetus wash up in Richmond, CA.
- April 18th, the Attorney General reports that the body is confirmed to be Laci and her unborn child. That same day, police arrest Scott who is found with a suitcase full of cash, and his brother’s passport, both damning evidence brought up during trial.
- April 21, 2003, Scott pleads guilty in the murder of his wife and child, and days later the prosecution announces their intention to seek the death penalty.
- In May of 2003, the wild theories begin flying from Peterson’s legal counsel. According to his lawyers, a, “Satanic cult,” kidnapped and killed her. They later declare their intention to find, “Donnie,” a man they say is of interest in her death.
- Over the next year, a circus of jury and judge selection and a number of dramatics from the Peterson camp occur as the trial slowly starts to take shape.
- May 27, 2004, 12 jurors are selected – including the controversial Nice.
- November 12, 2004, Peterson is found guilty, and one month later the jury recommends the dealth penalty.
- March 16, 2005, the judge sentences Peterson to the dealth penalty, calling the murder, “cruel, uncaring, heartless, and callous.”
According to the defense, Peterson killed Laci and dumped her body off his boat to cover up his extramarital affairs.
A Tale of Two Petersons
Scott is not the only Peterson currently serving prison time for the murder of his wife. In a tale of perhaps a cursed last name, Drew Peterson, a former police officer, was convicted of murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
Per CourtHouseNews, “Peterson, a retired Bolingbrook, Ill., police officer, first attracted the attention of law enforcement when his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared almost 10 years ago without a trace.
Suspicion fell on Peterson given that his third wife, Kathleen Savio, was found dead in her bathtub three months after divorcing him.
Savio’s death was originally ruled an accident, and there is no physical evidence connecting Peterson to her murder, but her body was exhumed after Stacy’s disappearance, and her death declared a homicide.
Peterson, 63, was convicted of Savio’s murder in 2012 and sentenced to 38 years in prison.”
But Peterson’s crimes didn’t stop there; he tried to hire a hitman to kill the prosecutor who filed charges against him, and 40 years were added to his sentence. Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, is still missing.