SAN MATEO COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Scott Peterson on Wednesday was resentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of his wife Laci Peterson and his unborn son Connor in 2002.
The California Supreme Court ruled a year ago that his jury was improperly screened for bias against the death penalty. Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager, who came to fame as one of three prosecutors in Peterson’s trial, opted this time to settle for life without parole.
Laci disappeared Christmas Eve 2002. That’s when prosecutors said he killed her and then dumped her pregnant body into San Francisco Bay from his fishing boat. The 27-year-old and her unborn son washed ashore about four months later.
He has been in San Quentin State Prison, home to California’s death row, since he was condemned to death in March 2005. That followed his conviction in November 2004 during a trial that was moved 90 miles to San Mateo County because of worldwide publicity.
But Massullo said he couldn’t stay on death row once prosecutors said they would not again seek his execution. He has since been moved to the county jail for resentencing and is expected to remain there until Massullo decides on whether he should get a new trial.
She plans about a weeklong hearing from Feb. 25 through March 4 to hear defense claims that the woman known as Juror 7 falsely answered questions during the selection process.
Prosecutors say Peterson took his wife’s body from their Modesto home on Christmas Eve 2002 and dumped her from his fishing boat into the San Francisco Bay, where they washed ashore in April 2003.
Defense attorneys say new evidence points to nearby burglars, though investigators say they were ruled out as suspects.
Supreme Court justices said in their August 2020 decision overturning his death sentence that there was considerable circumstantial evidence incriminating Peterson in the first-degree murder of Laci and the second-degree murder of Connor.
It included that the bodies washed ashore near where Peterson admitted he was fishing on the day they disappeared. He had researched ocean currents, bought a boat without telling anyone, and couldn’t explain what type of fish he was trying to catch that day.
Also, in the weeks after Laci disappeared but before the bodies washed ashore, he sold his wife’s car, looked into selling their house, and turned the baby nursery into a storage room.
Peterson was eventually arrested after Amber Frey, a massage therapist living in Fresno, told police that they had begun dating a month before his wife’s death, but that he had told her his wife was dead.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.