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Laci's things in tug of war
The Modesto Bee ^ | May 31, 2003 | Garth Stapely and John Cote'

Posted on 05/31/2003 8:41:50 AM PDT by runningbear

Laci's things in tug of war


Laci Peterson's brother Brent Rocha loads a rocking chair from her Modesto home into the back of a truck Friday morning.

Laci's things in tug of war

By GARTH STAPLEY and JOHN COTÉ

BEE STAFF WRITERS

Published: May 31, 2003, 07:16:10 AM PDT

Laci Peterson's family and friends removed truckloads of items from the slain Modesto woman's house on Friday, touching off controversy between her family and that of her husband.

Police responded to the Covena Avenue home at about 10 a.m. after a security company reported that the alarm had been triggered, Capt. Greg Savelli said.

Officers determined that Laci Peterson's family and friends were removing items that belonged to Laci, said Savelli, who added that officers documented what was taken.

"We're treating this as a civil dispute over property," he said. "It was clear to the Police Department that this was not a burglary.

Peterson's husband, Scott, 30, has been charged with double murder and faces the death penalty in the killings of his 27-year-old wife and their unborn son, Conner.

Savelli said the fallout from Friday's property removal "was best handled between the families and their attorneys."

Adam Stewart, an attorney for Laci Peterson's family, said the family had been in contact with Scott Peterson's defense team, who had agreed to allow Laci's mother, Sharon Rocha, to go through the house on Tuesday. She was to be accompanied by representatives of the defense team, and all items taken were to be photographed and videotaped.

Scott Peterson's parents and lawyers expressed outrage that the Rochas did not follow the agreement.

Jackie Peterson said the people who went into the home Friday had "absolutely no permission to be in that house. I have a lot of empathy for Sharon, but she does not have a right to go in our house and take what she wants."

Rocha did not appear to be among the packers. Calls placed to the Rocha home were not accepted.

Seven vehicles loaded

Among the items loaded into seven vehicles were a crib, a rocking chair and a box with Graco printed on the outside. Graco makes such products as strollers, highchairs and car seats.

Laci Peterson's family announced Wednesday that it had hired attorneys to help recover items from the house. A list included her wedding dress, jewelry and Conner's crib.

Jackie Peterson told The Bee that the security company notified her by telephone in San Diego County that the house alarm had been tripped.

The property removal appeared to take Scott Peterson's defense team by surprise.

Matthew Dalton, an attorney with lead defense attorney Mark Geragos' law firm, drove to the house and asked reporters if someone had reported a burglary.

Dalton went to Stewart's Modesto law office Friday morning and dropped off some items requested by the Rocha family, Stewart said.

Monday, the defense team moved other items, including what appeared to be gifts, to the Modesto office of defense co-counsel Kirk McAllister, for transfer to Laci Peterson's family. But the items had not been picked up by Friday morning, McAllister said.

Stewart said in front of the home that it would be "ridiculous" to suggest that the Rochas broke into the home.

"I apologize for it coming down to this," he said. "This is not the way we operate. This is for Laci, for Conner and Laci's family. It is not for the media or Mr. Scott Peterson's defense in any way, shape or form. It's depressing that it's come down to this."

Stanislaus County Chief Deputy District Attorney John Goold said prosecutors had no legal authority over the house.

"It's not a crime scene," Goold said. " This is a civil problem between the Rochas and the Petersons."

The house title is in Laci and Scott Petersons' names, county records show. In such a joint tenancy, when one titleholder dies, the title goes to the other.

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Incident brings Peterson case close to home
Victim's family moves items from house, raising the issue of ownership.

Incident brings Peterson case close to home
Victim's family moves items from house, raising the issue of ownership.

By Garth Stapley and John Coté
The Modesto Bee

(Published Saturday, May 31, 2003, 4:47 AM)

MODESTO -- Laci Peterson's family and friends removed truckloads of items from the slain Modesto woman's house Friday, touching off controversy between her family and that of her husband.

Police officers were dispatched after a security company notified them that the alarm at the Covena Avenue home had been triggered, Capt. Greg Savelli said.

Officers determined that members of the Rocha family and friends of Laci Peterson were removing items that belonged to the slain woman and documented what was taken, Savelli said.

"We're treating this as a civil dispute over property," he said. "It was clear to the police department that this was not a burglary. It was a dispute over property and was best handled between the families and their attorneys."

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Judge cites Peterson right to fair trial in denying report access

Judge cites Peterson right to fair trial in denying report access

By JOHN COTÉ
BEE STAFF WRITER

Published: May 31, 2003, 07:16:56 AM PDT

A Stanislaus County judge on Friday ordered that arrest and search warrants remain sealed in the case against Scott Peterson, who is accused of murdering his pregnant wife and unborn son.

Superior Court Judge Al Giro-lami's ruling also ordered the autopsy reports for Laci and Conner to stay sealed.

Thursday, District Attorney James Brazelton reversed his position and asked to have the autopsy reports made public, and the matter is set for hearing June 6.

Brazelton's about-face came after part of the fetus's autopsy report was leaked to the media. Prosecutors said that portion was clearly "skewed in favor of the defense."

Defense attorneys, coroner's officials, police and prosecutors have denied leaking the information.

Friday, in his ruling on all the documents, Girolami said releasing them "might irreparably harm the continued investigation into this criminal matter."

"Despite the fact that the complaint has been issued and a suspect has been arrested, the investigation and search for both incriminating and exonerating evidence in this matter continues," Girolami wrote.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys argued that releasing the documents could impede Peterson's right to a fair trial and damage an ongoing investigation.

Girolami agreed, saying in his ruling that releasing the documents "might result in the evidence being destroyed and witnesses being reluctant to step forward."

A group of newspapers, including The Bee, are seeking to have the documents unsealed.

Right to view reports argued

Charity Kenyon, an attorney representing the newspapers, argued that the public's right to view court documents was fundamental in an open legal system.

Other means exist for ensuring

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Judge orders Laci Peterson autopsy report sealed

Judge orders Laci Peterson autopsy report sealed

The Modesto Bee

The Associated Press

Published: May 31, 2003, 06:49:17 AM PDT

MODESTO, Calif. (AP) - A judge ruled Friday that an autopsy report on the deaths of Laci Peterson and her unborn son should remain sealed along with other search warrant and arrest records.

Superior Court Judge Al Girolami said releasing the information could hamper the murder investigation and prejudice public opinion before a trial begins.

Girolami is scheduled to hear more arguments June 6 from prosecutors preparing a murder case against Peterson's husband, Scott Peterson. Prosecutors on Thursday asked that the autopsy reports be released to the public. They argued that media leaks of the reports are biased toward the defense.

Girolami also ordered that leaks of sealed information stop and indicated he would consider a gag order to stop the prosecution and defense teams from talking to the media.

Scott Peterson, 30, is accused of killing his wife and unborn son, whom the couple had planned to name Conner, last December 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.

Several media outlets have released details of the coroner's report, and a spokeswoman for Laci Peterson's family members said Thursday they were "devastated" at hearing autopsy reports without warning on television.

The leaked reports indicated the unborn son had plastic tape wrapped around his neck and a significant cut across the shoulders.

Meanwhile, friends of Laci Peterson removed several personal articles Friday from the single-story Modesto home where she and Scott Peterson lived.

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MOM'S MOVING MOMENT

MOM'S MOVING MOMENT

By HOWARD BREUER and MARSHA KRANES

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

May 31, 2003 -- Laci Peterson's mother - shattered by the graphic details leaked from the 25-page autopsy of her unborn grandson - yesterday began removing her slain daughter's belongings from the home she had shared with her accused murderer husband, Scott.

Sharon Rocha, accompanied by several friends and relatives, was seen at the Modesto, Calif., house removing the rocking chair Laci had bought to use when she nursed her infant son, as well as unopened Christmas gifts, clothing, chairs, lamps and artwork.

In doing so, she ignored the advice of her lawyer, Al Clark, that she wait until he, Scott Peterson's lawyers and court officials work out the procedures to be followed when she entered the house.

Modesto police arrived while Rocha was there, and she and her entourage left a short time later after packing seven cars full of Laci's belongings.

Hours later, lawyers representing Laci's family and Scott Peterson started haggling over whether removing the items was legal.

Scott Peterson's mother, Jackie, expressed outrage that the items had been removed since Laci's family had "absolutely no permission to be in that house."

Scott Peterson has pleaded not guilty to killing his wife and their unborn son.

Laci's family said Wednesday that they had hired lawyers to help them retrieve a baby crib and jewelry from the home.

Meanwhile, Clark told Fox News his client's anger over the grisly revelations leaked from her daughter's and grandson's sealed autopsy reports drove her to go get her daughter's possessions.

A family spokeswoman said Rocha was "devastated" by the reports describing how the near full-term fetus of her grandson Conner had plastic tape wrapped around the neck and a large cut across the chest when he was found in the shallow waters of San Francisco Bay last month.

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(Excerpt) Read more at modbee.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: California
KEYWORDS: avoidingchildsupport; baby; babyunborn; conner; deathpenaltytime; dontubelievemyalibi; getarope; ibefishing; laci; lacipeterson; smallbaby; smallchild; sonkiller; unborn; wifekiller
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To: RGSpincich
Thanks for the thorough run-down. Let's see... hey! Why, if this is true, then Geragos' magnanimous gesture of "we won't prosecute them" is nothing but a declaration that he won't do something that he can't do anyway!

Why... why... why... imagine that!
851 posted on 06/02/2003 3:21:54 AM PDT by Devil_Anse
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To: IrishRainy
Yes, what a brave soldier he was--struggling out there onto those golf courses, day after day, when his heart was breaking.
852 posted on 06/02/2003 3:31:22 AM PDT by Devil_Anse
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To: Devil_Anse
Do I detect the tiniest note of sarcasm in your post, Devil?
853 posted on 06/02/2003 3:37:55 AM PDT by Yeti
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To: Sandylapper
Good catch! Okay, suppose that's true--it would mean that the rings were taken to the jeweler's after the death, not before it as some have speculated.

So we are still left with the question: was Laci wearing her wedding ring when she died? How and when did it get off her hand?
854 posted on 06/02/2003 3:40:11 AM PDT by Devil_Anse
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To: itsahoot
She probably just pays her house note on time, and is done with it. Saves a lot of energy looking things up.
855 posted on 06/02/2003 3:47:15 AM PDT by Devil_Anse
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To: daylate-dollarshort
Yeah, an individual can be a satanist! But he has to have his "Satan's Club" card on him at the time! Hey, their business memberships are really good, I hear!
856 posted on 06/02/2003 3:53:14 AM PDT by Devil_Anse
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To: Yeti
Actually, no, Yeti! YOU have come very close to accusing Amber Frey of murder! (I'm pointing at you; can you tell?)

YOU are a Geragos-lover! Geragos-lover! Geragos-lover! Nyahhh!
857 posted on 06/02/2003 4:31:14 AM PDT by Devil_Anse (Okay, I was just kidding about the Geragos-lover part.)
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To: Devil_Anse
Am not, am not!

YOU are an Amberphile!

Amberphile, amberphile, Devil is an amberphile!

Hey, why don't you go get a massage, Amberphile?

8¬ þ ~ ~~~

858 posted on 06/02/2003 4:37:24 AM PDT by Yeti
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To: Devil_Anse
Oh, lookie. The Rochas have been tried and convicted already. Funny how Scott has the presumption of innocence (as we are frequently and repetitiously reminded), but they don't.

Yeah, and it's kinda funny to watch you whine about it too. I'm enjoying it immensely, but you seem to hate when the show is on the other foot...

Good, then my point hasn't been completely lost on you...

859 posted on 06/02/2003 5:31:43 AM PDT by Chad Fairbanks (A blind man received a cheese grater as a gift - said it was the most violent thing he had ever read)
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To: Devil_Anse
Devil, I have been reading your many posts (800-850) and cracking up! I think you have given Chad a run for his money.

I found your posts to not have any bias at all, but your the only person that truly understands the hardship Scott has been going through, especially just trying to get through a golf game. I think you should write him in the big house. He probably needs a friend like you!

Lanza


860 posted on 06/02/2003 5:32:43 AM PDT by Lanza
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To: Devil_Anse
But you forgot the presumption of innocence "thingie".

YOu are repeating yourself - are you ok?

861 posted on 06/02/2003 5:33:01 AM PDT by Chad Fairbanks (A blind man received a cheese grater as a gift - said it was the most violent thing he had ever read)
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To: Devil_Anse
Oh, and goodness, you don't suppose that vehicle of Laci's Scott sold might have been property that her heirs had a claim on? Gee, where'd the funds from that go, anyway?

Beats me - who's name was the vehicle registered under? His? Hers? Both? And why not ask that of Scott Peterson, he's the jerk who sold it...

862 posted on 06/02/2003 5:34:33 AM PDT by Chad Fairbanks (A blind man received a cheese grater as a gift - said it was the most violent thing he had ever read)
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To: Devil_Anse
Do us a favor and do a quick trial on whether Scott murdered Laci, 'kay? People are on the edge of their seats waiting to find out

You ARE kidding, right? He's alteady been convicted by most here... Why bother with a trial at all?

863 posted on 06/02/2003 5:35:27 AM PDT by Chad Fairbanks (A blind man received a cheese grater as a gift - said it was the most violent thing he had ever read)
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To: Devil_Anse
Yeah, GrandMoM--why'n't you say something sensible, like a one-line post that says "The DA is a moron"?

Why do that, when calling some with whom you disagree 'a lunatic' is easier than debating?

But hey, don't let facts get in your way or anything, as I'd hate to see you inconvenienced in any way...

864 posted on 06/02/2003 5:37:50 AM PDT by Chad Fairbanks (A blind man received a cheese grater as a gift - said it was the most violent thing he had ever read)
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To: Devil_Anse
Wow... this one sure shows it's "not about me".

Pay attention. You look less foolish that way...

865 posted on 06/02/2003 5:40:06 AM PDT by Chad Fairbanks (A blind man received a cheese grater as a gift - said it was the most violent thing he had ever read)
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To: Devil_Anse
How does community property pass in CA, as a general rule?

Community property means that all income earned within the marriage is owned equally by the spouses, and all property bought with CP funds is also CP. There is a presumption that property owned by a married person is CP, but that can be overcome by a showing that it was owned before the marriage, or given to a spouse by someone as their separate property (like an inheritance).

When a married person dies without a will, their property (which is a 1/2 interest in their community property) passes to their heirs. When a married person dies childless, their only heir is their spouse, and all the CP would therefore pass to the spouse.

If Scott becomes ineligible to inherit from Laci because he is proven to have killed her, then the succession would go to Laci's parents, then her siblings, and then you get into cousins, uncles, etc.

Police are immune from suit for most things, but I think you could get to a jury on a cop intentionally allowing a person to rob another person.

866 posted on 06/02/2003 9:00:46 AM PDT by Defiant (Bush as philosopher: "I-raq, therefore I-ran.")
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To: RGSpincich
Thank you for the link. That was helpful. I knew that one could not inherit property from someone who the heir murders, but I did not know that the joint ownership is terminated by law either.

Weiford noted that if a death certificate lists the cause of death as unknown or involving violence, the title and sales process is halted and the situation investigated.

Under the state Probate Code, if a joint tenant feloniously and intentionally kills another joint tenant, "the killer has no rights by survivorship."

I think what they mean is that the title company would not issue clear title and thus no normal sale could proceed until the issue of guilt or innocence is established, if the issue is contested. Thus, the property automatically goes to the survivor unless someone raises an objection. I imagine that the objection would have to be raised in court, and then the court would put a lien of some kind, perhaps a lis pendens, on the property while the determination is being made.

However, no one has, to my knowledge, gone to court to contest Scott's right of survivorship. As of now, he is 100 percent owner of the house, by law.

Scott would still be half owner of the house, the only issue would be Laci's 1/2 interest in the house and who it went to. Also, Scott would be the only person right now with the right to possess the house, and he could designate who can go in and who cannot. All others, such as the Rochas, are trespassers.

That's a legalistic view of it. I feel for the Rochas, and understand their desire to collect some things of Laci's to keep. It's the job of the cops to intervene between emotions and the proper way of doing things, and the cops let us down in this instance. They should have told the Rochas to go get a court order. Their conduct means that any of us in any kind of dispute could have our homes invaded by someone claiming that it's a "civil matter" and if the cops are on their side, they can take our property and force us to sue to get it back.

867 posted on 06/02/2003 9:14:01 AM PDT by Defiant (Bush as philosopher: "I-raq, therefore I-ran.")
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To: runningbear
this is getting so old
871 posted on 06/02/2003 10:49:29 AM PDT by ezoeni
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To: allyoop77
Give it up, he's not going to answer your well thought out question according to HIS definitions of right and wrong.

I already answered that question - several times. Nice try though - and by the way, common courtesy would have dictated that you ping me, when discussing me... Thanks in advance :0)

872 posted on 06/02/2003 10:58:30 AM PDT by Chad Fairbanks (A blind man received a cheese grater as a gift - said it was the most violent thing he had ever read)
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To: Jackie-O
Why doesn't anyone jump back at Janey or Lee with that when they come up with this crap??

I am playing catch up having been gone for over a week, but just wanted to comment on this phenomenon, Jackie.

For the same reason dems get away with their outrageous lies, defense attorneys and their clients are presented via some in the media to their viewers and readers and granted an air of credibility: Certain members of the media actually ADMIRE overt deceit.

Remember during the clinton reign certain press types would openly marvel at the spin put out by the administration and the clintons, themselves. Same with criminals. I watched Menendez and OJ and was aghast as one made-up scenario after another was discussed and then the in-studio commentators didn't laugh at it---they actually would discuss how this could add up to "reasonable doubt" for certain jurors. They were right. (Thank goodness in Menendez it wasn't the whole jury and the non-televised retrial reached the correct guilty verdict.)

There is a certain segment of the population that wants to buy into spin and lies.

P.S. One of the worst reporters in the WH press briefings is Terry Moran. Before ABC hired him he was with Court TV and one of the most eager to take a defense line and run with it.

874 posted on 06/02/2003 11:25:04 AM PDT by cyncooper
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To: allyoop77
IMO, the Rocha's should have started proceedings AT LEAST a few weeks ago to get the 'family heirlooms' back immediately (furniture, grandma's stuff, etc.) with Laci and Conner gone, Scott has no need for the Rocha heirlooms.

Perhaps, but even if they had started such proceedings, they would not have a right to possession of anything of Laci's until after Scott's guilt is proven in a court of law. That is Scott's property, unless and until he is found guilty. They used the Modesto Cop Self Help Remedy to obtain by force what they could not have legally.

I was convinced 99.9 percent of the guilt of the guy who supposedly killed Elizabeth Smart. I was horrified when I read about the boys who killed their sister in Escondido. Then it turned out that these people didn't do it. I agree that it looks pretty darn bad for Scott, but I stick by my prediction that he won't be convicted unless the prosecution comes up with evidence tying him to the bodies. Placing him in the bay won't be enough by itself, not with burglars casing the neighborhood, not in the absence of blood in the house, not with an autopsy that could be interpreted as some kind of ritual killing, not with a dog wandering and a neighbor who claims he saw a pregnant lady walking a dog.

When they come up with that additional evidence that I haven't heard about yet, I'll be one of the first to jump on the bandwagon, believe me. I think he did it, but not beyond a reasonable doubt. Give me a fingerprint on the duct tape, and I'll be ready to hang. But right now, it's a little premature. And it remains his property that was taken from his house.

879 posted on 06/02/2003 12:30:39 PM PDT by Defiant (Bush as philosopher: "I-raq, therefore I-ran.")
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To: Defiant
The burglars were polygraphed and cleared!! Besides the burglary happened on a DIFFERENT day!!
883 posted on 06/02/2003 1:23:00 PM PDT by Canadian Outrage (All us Western Canuks belong South)
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To: allyoop77
I am doing okay, how are you?
884 posted on 06/02/2003 1:23:19 PM PDT by Yeti
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To: Chad Fairbanks
Interesting. If Scott sold HER car, it would mean HER name was not on the title. Not real unusual for a second car BUT it raises the question of "Who is Controlling" and from what I see, Scott says "EVERYTHING IS MINE, MINE, MINE."
886 posted on 06/02/2003 2:05:21 PM PDT by Sacajaweau (God Bless Our Troops!!)
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To: allyoop77
Already skipping some of the threads

Have you read about caffeine, duct tape and Donnie? The plot thickens ...

Have you seen Wheat? She went missing...

No.

I haven't been reading all of the threads myself. Too much to keep up with, and there are never any good Amber jokes anymore ; )

887 posted on 06/02/2003 2:27:07 PM PDT by Yeti
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To: Devil_Anse
And you point is.....?

Just when did posters on FR begin to take "media reports" as gospel?

And, just when did "Devil_Anse" become a poster here - ain't like a long time tag line.
890 posted on 06/02/2003 5:49:21 PM PDT by norton (Innocent until ...........)
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To: norton
You said, "notice that the Petersons don't appear to be using or benefitting from the house."

How did you come to that conclusion? Let me guess: you read comments on a forum, or read or heard a news report or two.

The news reports I read and heard said the Petersons had tried to persuade Scott's defense counsel and his assistants to use the house as a place to stay while in Modesto. That is "using or benefitting from the house".

Where else would we get information on this news story--or any news story--except from the media? Were you sitting next to President Bush when he made his decisions regarding Iraq? Or regarding Afghanistan? Were you in Florida during the 2000 attempt by democrats to steal the election? Were you in Modesto sitting with the police as they conducted their investigation, or sitting with the defense team as it decided what it was going to say or do? If you were not actually there when a news event happened, are you saying that you are not able to comment on it or discuss it in any way?

Are there any stories discussed on FR for which you did not need to rely on some sort of media, to find out what was going on?

And I became a poster here when I decided to. There's this little page, see, where you can go look at when a person became a member. And this matters because.....?
891 posted on 06/02/2003 7:31:11 PM PDT by Devil_Anse
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To: Defiant
Thanks! I almost missed your post, since I'm at least one thread behind. So Scott is the heir of all that they acquired during their marriage through community funds. BUT--try this on for size--the house doesn't go to him through inheritance, right, but b/c he is the survivor of the joint tenancy with right of survivorship? Doesn't matter too much, since the result is the same, except that he became the owner of her house on her death--a quick and probate-less acquisition.

I have never heard that Laci had a will. I am assuming that she didn't.

As for Laci's vehicle, which Scott has already sold, I guess that was a community asset. I heard that its title was held in Scott's name--although of course whose name was on the title is sometimes only part of the story of who owns it.

So I guess in the end Scott will get only what he already owned, when the assets are liquidated, and will get nothing that was Laci's.
892 posted on 06/02/2003 9:22:12 PM PDT by Devil_Anse
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To: Devil_Anse
I meant to say above that he became the owner of THEIR house on her death--sole owner, that is.
893 posted on 06/02/2003 9:23:41 PM PDT by Devil_Anse
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