The Laci Peterson Case

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The Laci Peterson Case

The murder of Laci Peterson is one of the most famous cases of our time. It had gotten

more publicity than even the O.J Simpson case. This case had ended with the conviction of

Laci’s husband Scott Peterson , even though the police had found very little physical evidence to

know beyond a reasonable doubt that he had indeed been the one to commit this heinous crime.

The jury had later revealed that Scott’s attitude, he lack of emotion is what helped make

their decision. The police had even said that during the questioning of Laci’s disappearance,

Scott Peterson was very arrogant and had shown little emotion about his wife being missing.

His behavior and attitude is what made police believe that he was involved with her

disappearance and why the police began to investigate him from the beginning.

Scott and Laci’s marriage had looked happy and perfect from the outside, but Scott was

not happy. The had met each other around 1994 while Scott was in college and a few years later

in 1997, they had gotten married. Laci had found out that Scott was having an affair only a few

months after they had gotten married. She quickly had forgiven Scott of this act of indiscretion,

but little did she know that Scott would continue to be unfaithful to her and have a number of

affairs throughout their marriage. He was even having an affair during the time she disappeared.

Laci was 8 months pregnant when she was reported missing. Before Laci had gotten pregnant,

Scott admitted to some of Laci’s family members that he did not want any kids. Nevertheless, the

Petersons started trying to conceive around the year 2000 and Laci had become pregnant in

2002. (Hawkins, n.d.) Conner Peterson was due February 10, 2003. (Hawkins, n.d.)

Scott Peterson’s girlfriend at the time of Laci’s disappearance was Amber Frey, which he

met around November 2002. Amber did not know Scott was married at the time and he had told

her that he did not want any kids. He even told her that he was checking into having a vasectomy

and he insisted that all he needed was her and her daughter.

Shortly after Scott found out that Laci was pregnant, he took out a quarter million dollar

life insurance policy on her. (Hawkins, n.d.) This could be considered as motive to most people

and it did indeed raise some questions for the investigators. The police had also found in Scotts

computer history where he had shopped for and bought a boat. (Hawkins, n.d.) He also had

searched for and studied the geological surveys of the currents in the San Francisco bay.

(Hawkins, n.d.)

Laci Peterson was reported missing on December 24, 2002 by her mother Sharon Rocha.

Scott had stated that he had come home from a fishing trip to Berkley marina and his wife was

nowhere to be found. (Timeline: The Laci Peterson Case, 2004) Scott Peterson told the police

that he had been out all day. He said that he went to office that morning, went fishing, then

returned to his office a few hours before coming home. (Hawkins, n.d.)

The interesting thing about the fishing trip story that Scott had told the Police is that

Scott’s father-in-law had asked Scott many times to go fishing and he never seemed interested in

fishing. His father-in-law later told police that a good fisherman doesn’t leave to go out at 9:30

am, but that would be a good time to be returning. It was also a very cold day and the water

would be very cold. Another good question was, how many people go fishing on Christmas eve?

The police were able to find some of Laci’s hair in the boat that Scott had bought and

used on his fishing trip. On March 5, 2003 the police announced that they were going to treat

Laci Peterson’s disappearance as a possible homicide. (Hawkins, n.d.) They had believed at this

time that Laci was not going to turn up safe and that she was most likely dead. The police had

also noticed that Scott never really seemed that concerned about his wife. They said he would

cooperate up until a certain point, but when they would push him just a little, he would then get

aggravated and insist that he needed to speak to his attorney.

(The Peterson Case : How they got Scott, 2005)

On April 13, 2003 a couple walking their dog in point Isabel State Park found a male

fetus. (Hawkins, n.d.) The next day, the body of a pregnant woman washed ashore nearby was

discovered by another dog walker. (Hawkins, n.d.) This was some 90 miles away from the

couples home, but just 5 miles from the Berkley marina where Scott had said he had gone fishing

the morning of Christmas Eve. (Hawkins, n.d.)

The fetus was still intact, but Laci’s body was just a skeleton, and the hands, head, and

feet were all missing. The police were able to identify the remains of Laci and her unborn child.

Now the police finally had a body and could indeed state that the case was a homicide without

question. The police continued to investigate Scott as their main suspect and they finally arrested

him on April 18, 2003. When they found him, it had seemed like he was preparing to flee the

country. He had changed his hair color, grew a goatee, had a large sum of money on him, and he

had his brothers ID.

The case wouldn’t be heard until 2004and because the case was getting so much

publicity, Scott’s lawyer was granted a change of venue. The first Jury deliberated for seven

days. (Hawkins, n.d.) Then they had to remove 2 jurors and after they were replaced it only took

the jury 7 hours to deliberate.

On November 12, 2004 Scott Peterson was convicted of first degree murder of Laci

Peterson, and the second degree murder of unborn Connor Peterson only Laci murder, not that of

the child, was premeditated and deliberate, the jury believed. (Hawkins, n.d.) Scott was at a later

date sentenced to death and sent to San Quentin. Scott Peterson is still to this day sitting on death

row, even though he still proclaims his innocence.

Scott was convicted and sentenced on merely circumstantial evidence. At one time it was

even said that Scott told a cell mate that he had did it, but of course later Scott claimed that was

false. A witness had also come forth and said that she was abducted by people in a brown van.

She was then tied up, beaten and raped. This supposedly was the same brown van that neighbors

of the Peterson had said they seen in their neighborhood around the time of Laci’s disappearance.

The police eventually tracked down the brown van and found ductape, candles, and bloodstains

inside. It was reported that no one had ever attempted to do any type of forensic testing on any of

the evidence found. This is one of those cases that we all think that its open and shut case, he’s

guilty. Was he convicted merely because the public didn’t like him or his attitude? Was it

because he wasn’t grieving in public for everyone to see? No murder weapon was ever found,

there was no physical evidence against him, and the evidence they did have was circumstantial.

Can we be 100 percent sure that we truly did convict a guilty man?


Hawkins, K. (n.d.). Murder of Laci Peterson. Retrieved from Crime Library :

The Peterson Case : How they got Scott. (2005, May 23). Retrieved from People:

Timeline: The Laci Peterson Case. (2004, July 12). Retrieved from Fox News: