He’s on death row for mur­der­ing his wife and un­born child, but Scott Peterson is hardly rough­ing it in prison

In Touch (USA) - - True crime -

The jury had spo­ken. On Nov. 12, 2004, Scott Peterson was found guilty of killing his preg­nant 27-year-old wife, Laci, and their un­born son, Con­ner, be­fore dump­ing their re­mains into the San Fran­cisco Bay on Christ­mas Eve in 2002. For four months, the pub­lic ag­o­nized over how the Modesto, Calif., fer­til­izer sales­man would be pun­ished for his un­think­able crime. Fi­nally, on March 16, 2005, Scott was sen­tenced to death by lethal in­jec­tion. “You de­serve to be put to death as soon as pos­si­ble,” Laci’s mother, Sharon Rocha, screamed in rage at the sen­tenc­ing, as a stone-faced Scott sat calmly in the court­room. “You de­serve to burn in hell for all eter­nity.”

But Scott’s time be­hind bars has been any­thing but a liv­ing hell. In Touch has ex­clu­sively learned that the 43-yearold, once dubbed “the most hated man in Amer­ica,” has been liv­ing quite com­fort­ably on death row at Cal­i­for­nia’s San Quentin State Prison. “Scott is do­ing won­der­fully. He’s found a life be­hind bars,” his fa­ther, Lee Peterson, tells In Touch in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view. Though many of Scott’s fel­low in­mates have called San Quentin “the worst place” they’ve ever been, Scott is thriv­ing in an ex­clu­sive area of the prison where he’s able to so­cial­ize with other in­mates on a roof deck with a half basketball court. “We talk all the time and he’s al­ways in good spir­its,” says Lee, adding that Scott wants to have kids some­day and is crav­ing “a nor­mal life.”

Through the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act, In Touch has ob­tained doc­u­ments, in­clud­ing Scott’s com­mis­sary log, which show his shock­ingly cushy life on death row. While other in­mates chow down on fatty prison food, he splurges on pricey (and healthy!) op­tions from the com­mis­sary, in­clud­ing fat-free milk, smoked scal­lops and oys­ters, gra­nola, mul­ti­vi­ta­mins and sugar-free honey. Scott also keeps reg­u­lar with “nat­u­ral fiber,” buys whey pro­tein tablets fa­vored by body­builders and even re­cently shelled out for a $17 ex­ten­sion cord.

Scott isn’t sit­ting around lonely, ei­ther. Aside from mail he gets from sup­port­ers and fe­male ad­mir­ers, the doc­u­ments re­veal the no­to­ri­ous mur­derer en­joys a steady stream of vis­i­tors. While many of the guests on his prison vis­i­tors’ log (also ob­tained ex­clu­sively by In Touch) are rel­a­tives, one woman, Sharon Bates, has had con­tact vis­its with Scott mul­ti­ple times a year for the last decade. “Scott and I are good friends,” Sharon tells In Touch. She says they’ve been friends for “over 10 years” — the mur­ders hap­pened 14 years ago — and that she never met Laci, but de­clines to re­veal how they be­came pals or what they talk about when she vis­its. Sharon, a mar­ried South Carolina busi­ness owner, in­sists the re­la­tion­ship is strictly pla­tonic. (Her hus­band con­firms to In Touch that he knows about and ap­proves of the friend­ship.) “I’m fond of Scott. He’s a good man and a good friend,” Sharon adds. “I fully sup­port him and be­lieve he is in­no­cent.”

Scott’s pop­u­lar­ity ex­tends to his fel­low in­mates. In June 2012, jour­nal­ist Nancy Mullane ob­served Scott’s daily life in San Quentin’s North Seg­re­ga­tion fa­cil­ity, which is less re­stric­tive than other ar­eas and al­lows him to be a so­cial but­ter­fly. “He has the abil­ity to walk around and in­ter­act with other in­mates,” she tells In Touch, adding that un­like other men on death row, Scott spends sev­eral hours a week with his cell door open and un­locked. He also has ac­cess to a com­mon area where he can so­cial­ize with other in­mates or make calls to friends and fam­ily.

Scott, who was cheat­ing on Laci

be­fore killing her and their un­born son, seems at ease. “When I saw Scott, he was play­ing basketball. He didn’t look de­pressed. He looked like some­one you’d see on the street play­ing basketball,” says Mullane, who was given ac­cess to the max­i­mum-se­cu­rity prison for her book, Life Af­ter Mur­der: Five Men in Search of Re­demp­tion. “He had his shirt off and his boxer shorts up. He wasn’t ripped, but he looked healthy. He was hav­ing a good time.”

If he has his way, he’ll one day be free. Scott’s le­gal ap­peal is slowly mak­ing its way through the sys­tem — and a new doc­u­men­tary, Trial by Fury: The Peo­ple v. Scott Peterson, prom­ises to raise se­ri­ous ques­tions about Scott’s guilt. “There is so much that is un­known about the mur­ders. How did Scott kill Laci? Where is the mur­der weapon?” asks co-di­rec­tor Sha­reen An­der­son, who be­lieves Scott was wrong­fully con­victed and hopes the film will lead to a new trial. “We owe it to ev­ery­one in­volved to explore all of the ev­i­dence.” But at­tor­ney Glo­ria Allred, who rep­re­sented Scott’s for­mer mistress and key wit­ness in his pros­e­cu­tion, Am­ber Frey, tells In Touch that Scott is ex­actly where he’s sup­posed to be. “The jury found Scott guilty and he was sen­tenced to death. There shouldn’t be an­other trial,” saysallred. “Jus­tice has al­ready been served.” ◼


made him out “He’s not the mon­ster they’ve son Scott, to be,” Lee Peterson says of his month­swho is be­hind bars for killing eight- son, Con­ner. preg­nant Laci and their un­born Scott is on death row at San Quentin, but he takes full ad­van­tage of ameni­ties like a rooftop half basketball court and fancy food — smoked oys­ters and gra­nola! — from the max­i­mum­se­cu­rity prison’s com­mis­sary.

“I make it a point to visit him for his birth­day and I go other times, too,” says Scott’s friend Sharon Bates (pic­tured), who, ac­cord­ing to records (above), has al­ready vis­ited Scott five times this year — more than any other friend or fam­ily mem­ber.

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