Court Battles

Scott Peterson to get new life sentence after nearly two decades on death row

Scott Peterson, the man who was convicted in 2004 of murdering his pregnant wife and their unborn child, will be resentenced on Wednesday to life in prison after spending nearly two decades on death row.

The new sentencing comes after the California Supreme Court overturned Peterson’s death sentence last year after finding “clear and significant errors in the jury selection” by the trial judge during the penalty phase.

The court ruled that the judge’s error “undermined Peterson’s right to an impartial jury at the penalty phase” based on Supreme Court precedent.

Peterson was convicted for the 2002 murder of his pregnant wife, Laci, and their unborn child, named Connor.

A juror gave false answers during the selection process, failing to communicate that she had been beaten by her boyfriend while pregnant. Additionally, she did not disclose that he tried to get a restraining order against her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend out of fear for her unborn child.

While the court last year said errors were made during the trial, it rejected Peterson’s claim that he received an unfair trial and said considerable circumstantial evidence existed that is incriminating for Peterson.

He was convicted of the first-degree murder of his wife and the second-degree murder of their unborn child. Prosecutors said Peterson had jettisoned the bodies into the San Francisco Bay from his fishing boat on Christmas Eve in 2002.

Peterson has been at San Quentin State Prison since he was sentenced to death in 2005, according to The Associated Press. That facility is where California’s death row is located.

A California district attorney announced in May that she will not seek a new death sentence against Peterson.

Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo on Wednesday will first determine a sentence for Peterson, according to USA Today. She is planning to hold a hearing next year to determine if juror misconduct was biased toward Peterson and denied him a fair trial, which could lead to a new trial.

Up to 16 of Laci Peterson’s friends and family are permitted to be in the courtroom during the hearing on Wednesday, according to USA Today. Additionally, Scott Peterson is allowed to have up to 16 people in the courtroom.

Prosecutors said Laci Peterson’s mother and siblings will likely deliver a statement, USA Today reported.


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