The Columbus Dispatch

Scott Peterson resentence­d to life in wife’s 2002 death

- Don Thompson

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Nearly 17 years after being sentenced to die, Scott Peterson was resentence­d to life without parole Wednesday during an emotional hearing in which family members of his slain pregnant wife, Laci, called him out for the Christmas Eve killing in 2002 and his apparent lack of remorse.

“Scott, 19 years ago today, you were in the midst of planning Laci’s murder,” said her mother, Sharon Rocha, addressing Peterson directly as he sat expression­less, handcuffed in a red and orange jail uniform.

“I still feel the grief every day, after 19 years,” she said. “Your evil, self-centered, unforgivea­ble selfish act ended two beautiful souls. And for what reason? There was no reason other than that you just didn’t want them anymore. You didn’t want a baby nor the responsibi­lity of being a father. You’re a coward.”

“I have dreams about her,” she added about her daughter, who was 27 and eight months pregnant when she was killed carrying the boy the couple planned to name Connor. “And sometimes when I wake up, I cry because they’re so realistic and I know I’ll never see her again.”

She also envisions what Connor would be like now, at age 18, had he lived.

The California Supreme Court ruled a year ago that Peterson’s jury was improperly screened for bias against the death penalty. Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager, who came to fame as one of three prosecutor­s in Peterson’s trial, opted this time to settle for life without parole.

Peterson’s attorney, Pat Harris, said his client has shown no remorse because he’s not guilty. He said, as he has in the past, that the defense can now prove that burglars were nearby on the day Laci disappeare­d, though investigat­ors say they were ruled out as suspects.

Peterson was uniformly described as a loving husband and expectant father, Harris said, until it became public that he was having an affair at the time of his wife’s disappeara­nce.

Then “he quickly became the most hated man in America,” Harris said, with a billboard outside the courthouse during his trial asking if he was a “man or monster.”

Peterson was prepared to speak,which he didn’t do during his initial trial and sentencing, Harris said, but Superior Court Judge Anne-christine Massullo didn’t allow it.

But Harris and Stanislaus County Assistant District Attorney Dave Harris sparred over Peterson’s pre-sentencing probation report.

It was not made public, but the prosecutor said that in it Peterson “is claiming he’s wrongfully convicted, that he’s innocent, and that he has sorrow for the loss of his family.”

His defense attorney accused prosecutor­s of “insinuatio­n” and taking incidents out of context. Where Peterson did lie, he said, it was to hide his extramarit­al affair because he knew it would derail any further investigat­ion.

Prosecutor­s say Peterson took his wife’s body from their Modesto home on Christmas Eve 2002 and dumped her from his fishing boat into the San Francisco Bay, where they washed ashore in April 2003.

 ?? BEE VIA AP, POOL ANDY ALFARO/THE MODESTO ?? Scott Peterson was condemned to death in March 2005 after his conviction for the death of his wife, Laci Peterson.
BEE VIA AP, POOL ANDY ALFARO/THE MODESTO Scott Peterson was condemned to death in March 2005 after his conviction for the death of his wife, Laci Peterson.

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