pinging the latest on today's news stories of the Laci Peterson case against Scott Peterson.
Autopsy Leak 'Devastates' Laci's Family http://www.ajc.com/news/content/news/ap/ap_story.html/National/AP.V5467.AP-Laci-Peterson.html
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP)--The family of Laci Peterson on Friday denounced as ``incredibly insensitive'' the disclosure of sealed autopsy results indicating her unborn son had plastic tape wrapped around his neck and a significant cut across the shoulders.
A source close to the case who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed information in the autopsy to The Associated Press on Thursday. The information was first reported by cable news channel MSNBC, which said it had received a portion of the autopsy report completed by the Contra Costa County coroner's office.
Prosecutors responded later in the day by saying the leaked information was misleading and asked that the results be unsealed.
``The information being leaked has clearly been skewed in favor of the defense,'' wrote Deputy Stanislaus County District Attorney David Harris. ``By releasing the autopsy reports the court will allow the media to see what the actual facts are and then accurate information may be reported to mitigate recent adverse publicity.''
Through their spokeswoman, Kim Petersen, Peterson's relatives said they learned the autopsy details from television, without warning.
``No family should ever have to learn the autopsy results of somebody they love on national TV, and that's exactly what happened,'' Petersen said Friday on NBC's ``Today'' show.
She said Sharon Rocha, Peterson's mother, was ``devastated.''
``She asked me to go out and convey the pain that was inflicted on their family. ... She just implores the media to be sensitive and remember that this isn't a story, this is their life,'' Petersen said.
The autopsy results had been sealed by court order after Stanislaus County prosecutors said releasing them would jeopardize Scott Peterson's right to a fair trial.
Only the prosecution and defense were given copies of the reports, and prosecutors said they had not shared results with police or Laci Peterson's family.
In a statement, District Attorney James Brazelton said ``evidence in this case should be presented in court through the testimony of witnesses and not selectively leaked to the news media by unknown persons whom the press will not identify.''
The Contra Costa County coroner's office did not comment on the report.
Part of the autopsy indicated the unborn baby boy had 1 1/2 loops of plastic tape around his neck, MSNBC said.
Scott Peterson, 30, of Modesto, is accused of killing his wife and unborn son, whom the couple had planned to name Conner, last Dec. 23 or 24 in their home. Laci, 27, was eight months pregnant at the time. The bodies washed ashore in San Francisco Bay last month.
Contra Costa County authorities concluded their autopsy report earlier this month, but did not disclose the cause of death.
It's possible the baby's body was cut shoulder to shoulder or became wrapped in the tape because of its long submersion in San Francisco Bay, the MSNBC report said, adding that the part of the coroner's report the network received ``doesn't prove anything one way or another.''
Mark Geragos, Peterson's defense attorney, would not comment on the report. He said Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Al Girolami, during a closed meeting in his chambers Tuesday, ``more than telegraphed that he does not want us commenting on the case.''
Girolami had said he was considering a gag order to prevent news leaks.
Geragos has suggested that members of a satanic cult were the killers. He has also hinted that a female mystery witness could lead authorities to the real killer and free Scott Peterson.