Scott Peterson Convicted of Murdering Wife and Son
Scott Peterson was convicted Friday of murdering his pregnant wife and dumping her body in San Francisco Bay in what prosecutors in the made-for-cable-TV case portrayed as a cold-blooded attempt to escape marriage and fatherhood for the bachelor life. Peterson, 32, could get the death penalty. He was convicted of one count of first-degree murder for killing his wife, Laci, and one count of second-degree murder in the death of the son she was carrying.
Family members intensely waited in the courtroom and hundreds of onlookers gathered outside to hear word of the verdict. The verdict came after a five-month trial that was an endless source of fascination to the tabloids, People magazine and the cable networks with its story of an attractive, radiant young couple awaiting the birth of their first child, a cheating husband, and a slaying for which prosecutors had no eyewitnesses, no weapon, not even a cause of death. The verdict followed a tumultuous seven days of deliberations in which two jurors were removed for unspecified reasons and the judge twice told the panel to start over.
The jury of six men and six women were told to return Nov. 22 to begin hearing testimony on whether Peterson should die by lethal injection or get life in prison without parole.
Laci Peterson, a 27-year-old substitute teacher, was eight months pregnant when she vanished around Christmas Eve 2002. Four months later, her headless body and the remains of her fetus were discovered along the shoreline about 90 miles from the couple’s Modesto home – not far from where her husband claims he was fishing alone the day of her disappearance.
I’m one of the relative few people who don’t much follow these high profile trials. It’s never been clear to me why the murder of one person I never met by someone else I’ve never met is any more noteworthy than any of the thousands of other murders that are committed each year. For whatever reason, though, this trial has gripped the nation for months.