(SAN FRANCISCO) — Scott Peterson was resentenced on Wednesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole, nearly 17 years after he was sentenced to death for the murder of his wife and unborn son.
Peterson was convicted in November 2004 for killing his wife, Laci Peterson, and their unborn son, who was to be named Connor, on Christmas Eve in 2002.
Peterson was sentenced to death in March 2005 and had remained on death row up until last year when the California Supreme Court overturned his death sentence, citing that his jury was improperly screened for bias against the death penalty, according to court documents.
Some members of Laci Peterson’s family confronted Peterson in court on Wednesday.
“Laci and Connor will always be dead and you will always be their murderer,” said her mother Sharon Rocha.
Laci Peterson, who was 27 years old and eight months pregnant, disappeared on Christmas Eve in 2002. The remains of her and her unborn son were found in the San Francisco Bay four months after she went missing.
The bodies were identified several days after they were found. On that same day, Scott Peterson was arrested and charged. He pleaded not guilty.
Investigators later discovered that, at the time of his wife’s disappearance, Peterson was having an affair with massage therapist Amber Frey. In an exclusive interview with Diane Sawyer in 2003, Peterson admitted to having an affair, but denied the murders.
Peterson and his legal team claim that he received an unfair trial based on possible jury misconduct. Peterson’s lawyers claim that the woman, known as Juror 7, had not disclosed involvement in other legal proceedings, ABC News previously reported.
In a 2000 legal proceeding, the juror, identified in court papers as Richelle Nice, alleged that her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend “committed acts of violence against her” and prompted “fears for her unborn child,” ABC News reported previously.
During the jury selection process, Nice told attorneys she had never been the victim of a crime or involved in a lawsuit. In a 2017 interview with “20/20,” she said that her situation never came to mind when she had filled out the application.
Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo, who resentenced Peterson, is separately considering whether he should receive an entirely new trial.
Laci Peterson’s mother told ABC News’ “20/20” that another trial would be painful, but would likely result in the same outcome.
“To have to go through a trial again, of course, would be excruciating. But if that’s what it takes, I’ll be there,” Rocha said in May 2021. “And I’m sure they’ll find him guilty again.”
Attorney Pat Harris maintained Peterson’s innocence after Wednesday’s hearing and said the judge denied Peterson’s request to speak.
“He wanted to make it clear that there is no way he could have possibly harmed Laci and Connor,” said Harris.
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