Skip to comments.Husband (Scott Peterson) Arrested in Calif. Woman's Death
Posted on 04/19/2003 6:06:03 AM PDT by TaRaRaBoomDeAyGoreLostToday!
MODESTO, Calif. - Authorities said genetic odds "in the billions" proved that two bodies that recently washed ashore were those of Laci Peterson and her baby, in an announcement that came hours after the missing woman's husband was arrested in their deaths.
Scott Peterson, 30, arrived at the Stanislaus County jail just before midnight after being driven there from San Diego, where he was arrested 12 hours earlier. Prosecutors said they planned on charging him with double murder, which would make him eligible for the death penalty.
The body of Laci Peterson, who was eight months pregnant, and her unborn child were found this week about three miles from where Scott Peterson said he was fishing when his wife disappeared Christmas Eve.
Plainclothes agents who had been tracking Scott Peterson's movements with phone taps and vehicle sensors made the arrest before the DNA test results on the bodies were known because Peterson was considered a flight risk, and because he had indicated he knew he was under surveillance, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said.
Apart from the two badly decomposed bodies, Modesto Police Chief Roy Wasden declined to describe the state's evidence. But he said it suggested that Laci Peterson may have been killed on Dec. 23 because no "credible witness" saw or heard from her after that.
Officials wouldn't discuss Scott Peterson's possible motives.
Wasden said there were no other suspects in the case. The fact that a $50,000 reward for information leading to her body went unclaimed, he said, "continued to reinforce that one person knew what happened to Laci and where Laci was."
Scott Peterson's first court appearance will come on Monday or Tuesday. His attorney, Kirk McAllister, did not immediately return telephone messages Friday from The Associated Press.
The dramatic turn in the case came nearly a week after pedestrians found the bodies of Laci Peterson and the son she had already named Conner washed up about a mile apart on the shoreline.
The bodies were identified Friday evening through a comparison with DNA samples from Scott Peterson and Laci Peterson's parents.
"There is no question in our minds that the unidentified female is Laci Peterson. The unidentified fetus is the biological child of Laci and Scott Peterson," Lockyer said. "We're scientifically convinced the match is one in billions."
A spokeswoman for Laci Peterson's family said relatives were devastated by the confirmation of the deaths, but grateful they finally had an answer after months of uncertainty.
"Families in their circumstances will always tell you the worst thing is not knowing," said spokeswoman Kim Petersen, executive director of the Carole Sund-Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation. "I don't know if relief is the right word. ... The waiting this week has been horrific for them."
Virtually from the moment his wife was reported missing, Scott Peterson's moves and statements have been scrutinized by authorities.
Modesto police seized his boat, pickup truck and nearly 100 items from the couple's house but had not formally named him as a suspect in his wife's disappearance.
Peterson traded in his wife's Land Rover for a new pickup truck, considered selling their home and eventually admitted he'd had an extramarital affair with a massage therapist while his wife was pregnant with the couple's baby.
Peterson said he'd told his wife about the affair in the days before she vanished.
"It was not a positive, obviously ... but it was not something that we weren't dealing with," he told ABC's "Good Morning America." "It wasn't anything that would break us apart."
The affair turned Laci Peterson's family against the son-in-law they had earlier supported. They begged him to cooperate with Modesto police, who had labeled him "uncooperative."
Scott Peterson launched his own search effort, separate from the one organized by his wife's family and sanctioned by police. At one point, as searchers looked in the San Francisco Bay and around Modesto, Scott Peterson showed up in Los Angeles to distribute fliers to volunteers at a local hotel.
"We simply have to expand the geographical area," he said at the time.
In February, Scott Peterson told MSNBC he missed his wife and the child she was to bear.
"I can't drive. I can't sleep," he said then. "Sometimes I feel I just can't do it. I feel like I'm in a dark corner and I just can't function."
He even dyed his eyebrows!!! Serious stuff! LOL!
He doesn't have O.J.'s money. Also, I don't think there is a court in the land that won't find Scotty guilty. It's so sad when you think that this young couple had it all, and he threw it all away for whatever...freedom?
The odd thing is both bodies washing ashore, muchless around the same time.
That a very good question.
MPD sends out little coded messages. "We are going for the death penalty" is what this says to me.
Citizens visit a makeshift memorial on the front lawn of the home of Laci and Scott Peterson Saturday, April 19, 2003, in Modesto, Calif. Investigators have determined that the remains of two bodies found last week on the California shore were Laci Peterson and her unborn baby. Scott Peterson, Laci's husband, was arrested in San Diego, Calif., on Friday. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
By Andrea Orr
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) -California's top prosecutor said on Saturday there was a "very compelling" case against Scott Peterson (news - web sites) in the death of his pregnant wife and that he was confident the 30-year-old fertilizer salesman would be convicted of murder.
"There is a very, very compelling case against him. I think it is going to result in a conviction," state Attorney General Bill Lockyer said on local television.
Peterson was arrested in San Diego on Friday, a few days after the decomposed remains of his wife, Laci, and the fetus of their son washed ashore near San Francisco.
Authorities said the cause of death of Laci Peterson (news - web sites), a 27-year-old substitute teacher who had been missing since Christmas Eve, has not yet been determined. There was also no known motive for murder.
Under California law, a double murder conviction constitutes murder with special circumstances, which could make Peterson eligible for the death penalty, if he is convicted.
Peterson was being held in jail in Stanislaw County, near his hometown of Modesto, 90 miles east of San Francisco, and was expected to be arraigned early next week. When he arrived back in town about midnight on Friday, he was greeted by a crowd of angry locals who cried out "Murderer" and "Baby Killer."
Although he had been the subject of suspicion since his eight-month-pregnant wife disappeared four months ago, Peterson consistently denied he had any knowledge of her whereabouts. By several accounts, he had been uncooperative with police investigating the case. But he did lead his own search efforts and even traveled to Los Angeles to hand out flyers.
In recent weeks, Peterson had been staying with his parents in San Diego, near the Mexican border, and police feared he might be planning to flee the country. He had changed his appearance since Christmas, and photos taken after his arrest on Friday showed he had dyed his dark hair blond and grown a beard.
Plainclothes agents who had been tracking him with phone taps and car sensors pulled him over on Friday as he was driving a sports car near San Diego.
Scott and Laci Peterson met when they were both students at California Polytechnic State University in central California. After graduation, they opened a coffee shop in the college town, and a few years later moved inland to Modesto to be closer to Laci's family.
Friends told The Modesto Bee the couple had always appeared to be happy together and Scott had been excited about becoming a father, spending hours working on his son's bedroom.
"No one else ever made my son smile like that," his mother Jacqueline Peterson, told the newspaper.