Scott Peterson’s attorneys have new evidence, new witnesses and the names of his pregnant wife’s true killers, they claim as they seek to get his murder conviction tossed out.
Peterson, 48, appeared remotely in San Mateo County Court in California on Tuesday, where his attorneys sought to overturn his 2004 conviction, claiming a juror failed to disclose key information before trial.
In a case that spawned a media frenzy and inspired the Ben Affleck film Gone Girl, Peterson was sentenced to death for killing his wife Laci Peterson and their unborn son Connor, but his death sentence was overturned last year over questions about jury selection.
Now, his attorneys seek to win Peterson a new trial, and say they have suspects who were Laci’s real kidnappers and killers. They also claim to have new witnesses who saw her alive after the time authorities said she was murdered, according to CBS News, which will feature the case in a new episode of 48 Hours.
Peterson, a fertilizer salesman, said that he was fishing in San Francisco Bay when his 27-year-old wife Laci, who was eight months pregnant, vanished from their Modesto neighborhood on Christmas Eve 2002. Her body was found in the bay months later.
Amber Frey came forward and revealed that Peterson was having an affair with her and lied about being married, then claimed his wife was dead.
The case sparked intense speculation and debate, with Peterson’s defenders pointing out that the case against him was entirely circumstantial, with no direct forensic evidence tying him to the murder.
After Tuesday’s hearing, Peterson attorney Pat Harris addressed the press, insisting on his client’s innocence.
‘Scott is sitting in a cell and he’s innocent. From the moment I met him, from the first three months I sat in a jail cell with him in Modesto every single day, he was always telling the exact same story,’ Harris told KRON-TV.
‘It never, ever changed, it never contradicted. It was amazing because every client I’ve ever had, you can almost always pick up contradictions in their stories. Never did with him. He’s always been very truthful with me,’ added Harris.
Despite throwing out the death penalty, the Supreme Court said there was considerable incriminating circumstantial evidence against Peterson, including that he researched ocean currents, bought a boat without telling anyone, and couldn’t explain what type of fish he was trying to catch that day.
He also sold his wife’s car, considered selling their house, and turned the baby nursery into a storage room before their bodies were found, the court said in August, all indicating that ‘he already knew Laci and Conner were never coming back.’
Detective Jon Buehler, one of the original investigators on the case, told 48 Hours that no new evidence has emerged to convince him of Peterson’s innocence.
‘Well I guess it’s possible,’ said Buehler. ‘But you know, there’s still people that believe the earth is flat, too.’
Notorious wife killer Scott Peterson will "never be convicted of murder again," supporters say https://t.co/TrqS1DT48o— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 30, 2021
California has not executed anyone since 2006 because of legal challenges, and Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom issued a moratorium on executions for as long as he is governor.
Peterson is currently incarcerated at San Quentin, and due back in court in June for a hearing on his petition for a new trial.