The case of Laci and Scott Peterson captivated the entire nation. I won’t call this a murder case since a murder was never proven. The trial jury and millions of Peterson trial news-junkies will disagree with me on this point.
Let me begin by saying that Scott Peterson is a cad, cheat and liar. He led a double life to satisfy his over-active libido. We’ve all heard those stories about men who cheat and lie to get laid and then cheat and lie some more to cover-up those indiscreet liaisons. The popular former President Bill Clinton was cut from the same cloth as Scott Peterson in that regard. There was one not so minor difference though; Clinton lied about his own philandering under oath. Is a liar and cheat automatically a cold-blooded murderer? If the answer of that question were yes, most of the male population would be on Death Row today.
The American system of justice has always been one where a criminal conviction could only be sustained if there was proof beyond a reasonable doubt of guilt. That not so simple concept was created with the idea that it’s better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent man be wrongly convicted. I guess that concept is just too old fashioned and can’t satisfy Americans anymore.
It was around Christmas Eve 2002 when a very pregnant Laci Peterson vanished from her Modesto, CA home. This happened during a time when burglars and identity thieves were working very near the Peterson home. Despite that fact the Modesto police properly put Scott Peterson under tight scrutiny since statistically it's true that humans hurt the ones they love at a much higher rate then strangers. Eventually Laci and her unborn fetus were found dead of undetermined causes in The Berkley Marina of San Francisco Bay.
This sad story took on a Hollywood life of its own. Along with the media, their pundits and experts came bottom-feeders like Los Angeles lawyer, Gloria Allred. Allred bills herself as a victim’s advocate as she trolls for humanity like Scott Peterson’s love toy, Amber Frey as clientele. Allred has tailored her legal practice to hanging on to pathetic people with titillating stories to promote and cut her way into her client’s book and film deals. Unlike a film producer that would pay for an option, Allred becomes their “lawyer”, and takes a percentage of their money as an agent. Advocating for the best outcome of a story that would boost marketability becomes Allred’s goal rather than advocating for truth, justice or perhaps her client best interests.
Can those accused get a fair trial in a land of unprecedented electronic media coverage? Would prospective jurors truthfully inform the court about what they heard about the case? How could prospective jurors not expect to get bombarded with book deals and such if they got picked to sit on the Peterson jury? I would suggest that potential jurors could be trusted to tell the truth about their agendas as well as Bill Clinton did during that now famous court deposition.
As in all cases that are brought into out courtrooms there are those collateral issues that must be dealt with by the trial judge for relevance and unfair prejudice to any party of the case. In the Peterson case where media coverage was in overdrive no prospective juror could avoid the constant bombardment of gossip, rumors and outright bogus tales. This while people like Allred manipulate and spin the story for profit.
Next we have the Hollywood/TV lawyer throwing sensational sound bites everywhere. Unfortunately Peterson’s defense attorney Mark Geragos skill for TV sound bites exceeded his skill for lawyering. Instead of concentrating on the huge Corpus Delecti issue, Geragos got caught up in prosecution theories and Amber Frey’s pillow talk, spy work for the Modesto police.
Corpus delecti is Latin for the "body of the crime." Additionally it’s often correctly called the essence of the crime. The crime here is alleged as a double murder. Murder is the unlawful taking of a human life. To establish murder you need the corpus delecti. That would be a body and the cause and manner of death. That takes me to the simplest four-word question. How did they die? Not one prosecution witness could answer that question. That should have been the beginning and end of this case.
In order to convict a jury would have to determine that Laci Peterson was murdered. At best the Peterson jury could only make a guess that she was. Next the jury would have to again guess that Scott Peterson killed her.
When Mark Geragos lost sight of the corpus delecti and got caught up in the prosecution theory quagmire, he allowed the burden of proof to become reversed where Scott Peterson was forced into to proving that theory wrong. That’s where Peterson's defense case got derailed.
The opening defense statement should have been incredibility short and to the point. The Prosecution will not be able to establish a crime. They can’t tell you how Laci Peterson and her fetus died. The question of accident, natural causes or murder just can’t be answered. They don’t have the corpus delecti and they are simply wasting our time and tax money.
Every prosecution witness should have only been asked a minimum of questions during cross-examination: How did Laci Peterson and her fetus die? Did you see Scott Peterson kill anyone? Did Scott Peterson tell you he killed Laci Peterson and her fetus? Did you kill Laci Peterson and her fetus?
The closing defense argument should have been like this: Ladies and Gentlemen you have heard from an abundance of witnesses and not one could tell you how Laci Peterson and her fetus died. You have a duty to go into that jury room and render a verdict based on real evidence rather than a guess about the prosecution’s theory. The state has not even proven the corpus delecti. You must acquit because of the absence of cause or manner of death alone. If you can’t determine she was murdered, you can’t reach and guess even further that Scott Peterson is a murderer.
A conviction and death sentence was obtained against Scott Peterson with the help of a quartet of Court TV “anchors” that included Lisa Bloom, the daughter of Amber Frey’s lawyer, book and movie agent Gloria Allred. Court TV led the lynch mob while screaming for the conviction. We taxpayers shelled out no less than $4.13 million to put Scott Peterson on death row. I expect several more millions will be spent dealing with the appeals before this story ends.
Please, anyone just tell me how they died?
This was a case of trial by Court TV's Nancy Grace. She found him guilty and they jury followed her lead.
You hit the nail on the head Peterson had a lousy lawyer.
No actual evidence of a murder was ever presented.
Amber Frey was a real low life slug. Peterson is GUILTY of having poor taste in having Frey for a girlfriend.
I believe Scott Peterson is innocent, and the case against him a travesty of justice. My reasons for believing this are too numerous to mention here.
One correction. Laci and Conner were not found IN the Marina. They were never found in the water, or seen in the water. They were found on land and no way do I believe Conner "washed ashore". Check out the ScottIsInnocent website. They pretty much proved Conner could not have "washed ashore". He was planted.
There's no correction to make based on court records.
With all ue respect May 02, 2006 6:55 AM said "pretty much" this whole case is about pretty much rather than evidence.
There were no ligitures, no wounds, no cuts and no cause of death.
I'm back where I started, how did they die?
We can all say Laci was kidnapped, right?
If we determine she was kidnapped and she died while being kidnapped, then it does not matter how she died, cause she died during the commision of a felony. And that is murder.
Kidnapped? Nobody has ever presented evidence that she was kidnapped! That’s just another assumption that fits the Prosecution theory.
Excellent Article. Personally, I believe that Laci was kidnapped during her walk on the morning of DEC 24th. Based on the autospy's of both Laci and Conner, I believe that Laci died when Conner was cut from her body. I believe Conner was possibly suffocated inside the Target back that was found in close proximatly to where his body was placed.
Those, of course, are just theories. However,it seems that is all we have. Hardly sufficient to met the beyond a reasonable doubt standard.
I bet you think O.J. is innocent too?Can anyone ever be covicted without some reasonable doubt,i think not.I followed the trial and i think he is guilty as hell, was there a smoking gun?no
We fight wars to protect our freedom and way of life. The presumption of innocence and punishing people only after a crime was proven beyond a reasonable doubt is no small part of that freedom
We don’t convict people over gut feelings, hunches or a guess. Our system is more important that jerks like Scott Peterson. I don’t have an opinion about O.J other than to accept the jury’s verdict of Not Guilty.
They may be guilty but I hope we’d rather error on the side of fairness. That means the guilty sometimes escape justice. What about those cases were a suspect is never developed? Nobody gets mad about that!
Just ask the girl who sold Laci's croton watch to a pawn shop on Dec. 31st. I would think she knows how they died.
BTY, her name is Deanna Renroe.
Better still, ask each witness where appropriate these questions:-
Where exactly was Laci killed? What is your proof?
When exactly was Laci killed? What is your proof?
Why exactly was Laci killed? What is your proof?
What exactly was the way that Laci was killed? What is your proof?
I note also that according to the prosecution, Laci was in the sea for a full 111 days. According to police records Evelyn Hernandez was in the sea for no more than 84 days. Yet Evelyn's body was just bones and her fetus was totally gone. Why wasn't Laci's body in the same or worse condition? Facts don't lie. Laci was in the water for no more than 1 or 2 days -- she deteriorated on land for four weeks or less.
Just above Voice of Sanity's comment, anonymous named the pawner of the Croton watch as Deanna "Renroe." It is R-E-N-F-R-O, and please do not add a "W" to this name. There has been a huge red herring concerning this name, and I want to make certain that everyone knows that these are two UNRELATED families. Deanna Harbin Renfro pawned the watch. Not dissing anyone here; just want to avoid one more misunderstanding, mistake, red herring and false lead that became a part of this travesty of justice.
Scott will win his motion for appeal.
At the time of his arrest, Peterson had grown a beard and dyed his dark brown hair blond. He was also carrying $10,000 in cash and his brother's identification.
Need we say more? Oh okay... OJ.
That's cute but not a cause of death.
I'd want to run if I was getting worked over by the TV news harpies every night too.
Again, just how did Laci die?
I have read all the evidence and watched the trail, Scott Peterson is innocent. Lacy was taken while walking the dog and she was taken for her baby. I will never forget the pictures taken from the video camera her neighbor stole from her house along with her social security card and other items, still to this date gives me the chills. She was not dumped in the bay but planted there to make Scott look guilty. I hope one day this case is solved and Scott is free.
Almost 4 1/2 year and nobody came up with evidence of homicide?
While I agree that a torso of the mother and her dead fetus/newborn on the shores of SF Bay
hardly look like a natural deaths, I honestly could not state that I'm having evidence for a murder.
However, there is evidence in the autopsy reports that somebody must have tempered w/ the bodies of Laci and Conner after their death.
The first (top) six cervical vertebrae of Laci's neck were missing which is unusual.
In addition, it's almost impossible that Conner's body was washed ashore unscathed by the rocks to a place which is not covered by water unless an extraordinary high tide would have occurred.
If someone is interested in the trial records and/or reading evidence exonerating Scott Peterson, I would highly recommend to got to:
But one should not forget the foremost victims of this crime:
RIP Laci & Conner
Too bad the TV hacks who "covered" Peterson's habeas appeal, never asked any of these questions. The questions have been out there for years. San Diego tv station videotaped throwing the brief down on a table as if it didn't contain anything of interest. Never reported its contents, just interviewed a family member. The opposite of journalism.
I cannot imagine any coroner ruling this death as anything but a homicide. Also, if you say "fetus" instead of "Conner" or "the baby," you will lose the jury right there. I agree that more should have been made of the lack of a crime scene. In all these years and numerous interviews with Modesto police, has any reporter ever asked, "Why were you convinced the Medina burglary happened on the 26th?"
Too many unanswered questions. If the idea was to get a baby, why is the baby dead? Why would people not under any suspicion risk everything by planting a body? Why would they enhance that risk by putting the baby in a second place? Where did they keep Laci and Conner or their bodies for four months? Where is the rest of her body? Why was she so badly decomposed? Why was Conner not as decomposed? The prosecution's case has holes and cover-ups, but there is zero evidence of how these bodies were planted and very little motive for them being planted. Why frame Scott?
The cause of death is undetermined but the manner of death is homicide.
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