Presumed Guilty: What the Jury Never Knew About Laci Peterson's Murder and Why Scott Peterson Should Not Be on Death Row by Matt Dalton For six straight months after Peterson's arrest, Dalton was the defense's only full-time investigative attorney on the case. During that time, he lived in Modesto and investigated every element of the case, interviewing witnesses, reviewing more than 35,000 pages of police documents, and meeting almost daily with Peterson in jail. What he has uncovered will astound even the most informed observers of the murder case and challenge the most deeply held beliefs about what really happened on Christmas Eve, 2002. This is the first book to go inside the Peterson defense team, and the only book to detail all the evidence that the jury did not hear -- that will surely play a crucial part in his pending appeals. Reports from numerous witnesses who saw Laci alive and well the morning of December 24, after the police claim Peterson had already killed her; none of them testified at trial. The story of another woman, eight months pregnant, who was harassed by two men the morning of December 24 five blocks from the Peterson home. The burglary that occurred across the street from the Peterson home on the morning of December 24, and the confessed burglars' questionable claims. Previously unreported details of the autopsy on Laci and her son, cast doubts on key elements of the prosecution's case. The disappearances of six pregnant women, in addition to Laci, reported missing and presumed dead within eighty miles of Modesto between 1999 and 2002. Presumed Guilty is the fascinating story of one lawyer's relentless efforts to find the truth behind one of the most complex and notorious murder cases in American history.
Laci Peterson: The Whole Story Brad Knight discusses the deadly love triangle of Laci, Scott and Amber, as well the pivotal issues brought into the original investigation. This key evidence has been ignored by the media. The author compares several powerful new theories. Rare interviews with primary but discreet participants. The reason why prosecutors should've called Cory Carroll as a witness. A powerful version of possible prosecution and defense closing arguments. Plus fascinating incidents throughout the case.
Watch for new True Crime Books and DVDs as they are published!
The trial convened on December 25, 2002, the day after his wife vanished, and the day after he went fishing on San Francisco Bay. Well, he says he went fishing.
Who can resist? The story has it all. Attractive, loving wife nearly eight months pregnant disappears Christmas Eve. Husband fails to react in a manner approved by the Great American Grief Script. Then, as if culpability knew no bounds, the other woman appears at a press conference. Scott Peterson's boat ramp ticket is now valid for a one-way trip to San Quentin's death row.
Laci and Scott Peterson are no longer real. They are incarnations of perfect good and perfect evil brought to us nightly by the name brands that grace our tables. She is the Madonna. He is Beelzebub.
Then there is the matter of Laci Peterson's fetus, "Conner." Although passing directly from pre-life to post-life, Conner Peterson has achieved the Christ like status reserved for superstars like Elian Gonzalez.
We trust soups, soaps, cars, and beer to sell us the truth. Corporate sponsors trust the corporate media to infotain us. No harm, no foul, right?
Can you say, "Sam Sheppard"?
In Cleveland's Bay Village suburb, late on the night of July 3, 1954, Marilyn Sheppard retired for the night. She was four months pregnant and sleepy after entertaining friends that evening. Her husband Sam remained downstairs, alternately dozing and watching a TV movie. The couple's seven-year-old son was asleep.
Some time during the night, Sheppard heard his wife call him. He ran to her aid, struggled with a "bushy-haired" intruder, and lost consciousness from a blow to his head. Marilyn Sheppard had been savagely beaten to death. The murder would later become the basis for the TV series and motion picture "The Fugitive."
In the run-up to the trial, the media gorged themselves on titillating tales of Sheppard's infidelity, his lies about his other woman, rumors that he had a child by yet another other woman, and that his wife had described him as having a dark side. The jury returned the expected guilty verdict.
Sheppard spent ten years in jail before the Supreme Court overturned his conviction. In its ruling the Court said, "The massive, pervasive and prejudicial publicity attending petitioner's prosecution prevented him from receiving a fair trial consistent with the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment."
Opinion polls indicate 90% or more of those responding are prepared to convict Scott Peterson for the murders of his wife and unborn son. Whether these polls reflect the attitudes of the jury pool is moot, but there can be no argument about media saturation.
The latest skirmishes over autopsy report contents and an alleged in-law burglary have kept the pot bubbling. Unnamed sources conduct a debate over whether bones were manually severed, or torn away by sea beasts; a Rocha vs. Peterson pissing match over diamonds, dresses, and food blenders. None of this has anything to do with media's responsibility to its public to monitor and objectively report the procedures of the criminal justice system.
The manner of Laci Peterson's death was homicide, but the cause of death is unknown. Any evidence that might link Scott Peterson to his wife's murder is not in the public domain.
What happened to Laci Peterson was indeed tragic. It is even more tragic that women are murdered daily in the United States. Perhaps the saddest aspect of all of this is that the media created and whetted public appetite for every detail, every opinion, relevant or not.
It may be too late to gag the principals in the case. Change of venue? Baghdad, perhaps. Like Sheppard, if Scott Peterson is convicted, the case will be back to bite the court on the ass.
Now to the promised culinary paragraph. Did you know that sturgeon is cartilaginous? Yep. Just like shark. Versatile? You bet. Whether you want it stir-fried, batter-fried, or baked, haul out your favorite chicken recipes and substitute sturgeon. Oh, and be sure to adjust cooking time.
Now back to our continuing coverage.
John Philpin is the author of The Murder Channel (Bantam), a novel that examines the impact when reporting the news is not enough for a Boston TV station.
©John Philpin 2003
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Copyright Kari Sable 1994-2006
For Laci: A Mother's Story of Love, Loss, and Justice
Every mother’s worst fear became Sharon Rocha’s reality. On Christmas Eve 2002, she received a phone call from her son-in-law saying that her daughter, Laci, was missing. In the hours, days, and months that followed, Sharon struggled to avoid accepting that her child is never coming home. Sharon tells us what it was like to live through the nightmare and opens our hearts to the Laci she loved: the kindergarten artist, the tenth grader who cried on her mother’s lap after her first breakup, the young woman who planned her wedding with joyful enthusiasm.
Laci was twenty-seven years old, seven and a half months pregnant, and a vibrant presence. From that first moment, Sharon knew something was terribly wrong.
Sharon goes far beyond previous accounts to tell this story. Here are private conversations with the murderer, his mistress, and the lead police investigators as well as heartbreaking revelations about the trial and its aftermath.
Inspired by a desire to help others who find themselves similarly afflicted, to detail how the love of family, friends, and community helped her survive her ordeal, and to convey how much the world lost when her wonderful daughter was taken.
Laci: Inside the Laci Peterson Murder by Michael Fleeman Praying for a happy ending, friends and family stood by Laci's grieving husband Scott. Four months later, Laci's decomposed body was found in the murky waters of San Francisco Bay. The body of her child had washed ashore about a mile away, after a possible "coffin birth." It was a sad closure to an exhaustive search, and a grim end to a marriage that by all accounts had appeared to be perfect.
Scott Peterson's behavior had cast a mysterious shadow over the death of his pregnant wife: his alibi on the day of the disappearance was questionable; he admitted to an affair with another woman; and when he was finally charged with capital murder, he had altered his appearance. Almost immediately, the media condemned Scott, even though he maintains his innocence. Is Scott Peterson a victim of circumstantial evidence? Despite the state attorney general's claim of a "slam dunk", the case that has gripped the nation is much more complex, and is yielding even more questions, doubts, accusations, and shocking revelations.