News and Analysis

Scott Peterson: Guilty, Or The Unluckiest Cheater In History?

Why The Innocence Project Is Taking On The Peterson Case
REDWOOD CITY, CA - DECEMBER 9: Scott Peterson (R) sits in the courtroom at the San Mateo Superior Courthouse with his attorney Mark Geragos (L) during defense closing arguments in the penalty phase of Peterson's trial December 9, 2004 in Redwood City, California. Peterson was found guilty of first degree murder of his wife, Laci, and second degree murder of their unborn son and could receive the death penalty. (Photo by Fred Larson-Pool/Getty Images)
Fred Larson-Pool/Getty Images

The simplest and most logical explanation for what happened to Laci Peterson on Christmas Eve in 2002 is that her husband Scott, who was having an affair, killed her and dumped her body into the San Francisco Bay.

And yet, there is a case to be made that, despite all the circumstantial evidence, Peterson could not have physically done what he is alleged to have done. It is why the Innocence Project has recently announced it was taking Peterson’s case.

Missing On Christmas Eve

Laci Peterson was seven-and-a-half months pregnant when she went missing on December 24, 2002. At 10:18 that morning, neighbor Karen Servas found McKenzie, the Peterson’s golden retriever, wandering the neighborhood with its leash attached to the collar. The leash was reportedly covered in wet leaves and grass clippings, CNN reported in 2004. Servas noticed that Laci’s car was parked in the Peterson driveway, and returned McKenzie to the family’s backyard.

Peterson initially told investigators that he had left his home around 9:30 a.m. that morning, but cellphone records placed him near his home at 10:08 a.m., 10 minutes before Servas found McKenzie, the Houston Chronicle reported in 2004, during Peterson’s trial. While the prosecution argued that Peterson made a call to check his voicemail that bounced off a cell tower in Modesto that placed him at his home, a wireless phone expert testified that triangulating a location using a cell tower isn’t always accurate. In the A&E docuseries “The Murder Of Laci Peterson,” it is reported that police actually triangulated Peterson’s phone call near his warehouse, which is where he said he was at that time.

Watching Martha Stewart

Peterson also said that Laci was watching Martha Stewart when he left, and that he caught mention of Stewart discussing meringue. In opening statements, the prosecution alleged that there was no mention of meringue during that day’s episode, but during the defense’s opening statements, attorney Mark Geragos played the segment, proving Peterson had told the truth.

UNDATED PHOTO: A Missing poster shows Laci Peterson who has not been seen since December 24, 2002. Peterson, 27, who was eight-months pregnant, allegedly went to walk her dog in a nearby park on Christmas Eve morning and has been missing ever since. The Modesto Police published several images of her husband Scott Peterson's truck and boat on their Web site in order to "corroborate" his alibi that he had gone on a solo fishing trip. (Photo by Getty Images)

UNDATED PHOTO: A Missing poster shows Laci Peterson who has not been seen since December 24, 2002. Getty Images.

Nearly a dozen other people said they saw a woman matching Laci’s description – pregnant, wearing a white top and leggings, and walking a golden retriever – at various times after Servas found McKenzie walking around the neighborhood. As Peterson’s family and defense said in the A&E documentary, if even one of these witnesses is correct, Peterson could not have murdered Laci as he is alleged, because he can be placed at his warehouse and then driving to the Berkeley Marina at that time.

Black Or Khaki Pants?

The witnesses said in the documentary that police never followed up with them, while prosecutors alleged their stories were inconsistent and inaccurate. One sticking item is that the witnesses all described the woman they saw as wearing black pants, but when Laci’s body was found, she was wearing khaki pants, according to SF Gate. This could mean that Peterson was wrong about what Laci was wearing when he last saw her, thus nullifying all witnesses who thought they saw Laci alive after Peterson allegedly killed her. On the other hand, he could be telling the truth, and Laci did walk her dog as witnesses described before returning home and changing.

Laci’s sister, Amy Rocha, also testified that Laci had been wearing khaki pants on the night of December 23, when Peterson is alleged to have killed her. Rocha’s testimony could indicate that Peterson lied about what Laci was wearing, or, again, that she liked those Khaki pants and changed into them after walking the dog.

REDWOOD CITY, CA - JUNE 3: Brent Rocha (L), brother of Laci Peterson, and Amy Rocha, sister of Laci Peterson, arrive for the San Mateo County Courthouse for the third day in the Scott Peterson murder trial June 3, 2004 in Redwood City, California. Peterson is charged with the deaths of his wife, Laci, and their unborn child. (Photo by Tony Avelar-Pool/Getty Images)

Tony Avelar-Pool/Getty Images

One of the most compelling witnesses who testified for Peterson was the local mailman, Russell Graybill, who said he walked his route past the Peterson’s house after Servas found McKenzie, and that McKenzie didn’t make a sound, indicating she was not at the home, because she always barked at the mailman.

Computer Forensics

There is also disputed evidence about someone, possibly Laci, accessing the Peterson home computer on the morning of December 24, even though she was allegedly killed on December 23. Computer forensics expert Lydell Wall testified during Peterson’s trial that someone logged onto the home computer around 8:42 a.m. and looked up a weather report for the San Jose area, then accessed a Yahoo shopping website “where two items were listed, one is a GAP pro fleece scarf, and one is a sunflower motif umbrella stand.” Peterson’s defenders argue that it was Laci who searched for the scarf and umbrella stand because she loved sunflowers. Those who believe Peterson is guilty say that the scarf and umbrella stand were merely ads on the Yahoo website. Regardless, after visiting the Yahoo website, Peterson’s personal email account was accessed, where an email was opened regarding a PING golf bag Peterson was selling on eBay.

After leaving home, Peterson went to his warehouse, where he kept his fishing boat. He accessed his work computer to send some Christmas emails and look up how to put together a woodworking tool he had just received in the mail. He did this while Laci’s body was allegedly in the back of his truck.

Here too, confusing and contradictory information has been reported.

Scott Peterson’s Boat

Prosecutors alleged that Laci never knew about Peterson’s boat, but a woman who worked in the area said Laci had come with Peterson to his warehouse the day before she disappeared, and that Laci had used the witness’ bathroom. Detective Allen Brocchini, who investigated Laci’s disappearance and suspected Peterson almost immediately, admitted at Peterson’s trial that he had removed this witness’ information from his report, 9News reported in 2004. This would also explain how Laci’s hair was found in Peterson’s boat.

MODESTO, CA - JANUARY 3: This handout image from the Modesto Police shows a Ford F150 pickup with California license 6T59718 and a fishing boat belonging to Scott Peterson January 3, 2003 in Modesto, California. Peterson's pregnant wife Laci went missing on Christmas Eve 2002. The Modesto Police published several images of Scott Peterson's truck and boat on their Web site in order to "corroborate" his alibi. (Photo by Modesto Police Department/Getty Image)

Modesto Police Department/Getty Image

Other issues exist surrounding Peterson’s boat. He was not a regular fisherman and had not held a fishing license since 1994, The Modesto Bee reported at the time. He allegedly began searching for a fishing boat to buy on December 7, 2002, less than a month before Laci disappeared. On December 8, he searched for fishing supplies and tidal currents around San Francisco Bay, where Laci’s body was later found. On December 9, he bought the small fishing boat with cash. Also on December 9, Peterson allegedly told his mistress, Amber Frey, that his wife had died and that this would be his first Christmas without her.

On December 23, Peterson purchased a two-day fishing license, which he used at the Berkeley Marina, which was 90 miles away from his home and beyond other places where he could have fished. Peterson also allegedly told people he was going golfing on December 24, but instead made a spontaneous trip to go fishing in the bay, which would have been windy and cold.

Yet people at the marina said they saw Peterson or his truck on December 24 and that he could not have been hiding Laci’s pregnant body in it. One witness told the A&E filmmakers that he saw Peterson from the docks and that he had nothing in his boat that could have been a body.

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 01: In an aerial view, brownish water is visible in the waters near the Berkeley Marina as an algal bloom grows in the San Francisco Bay on August 01, 2023 in Berkeley, California. The San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board has warned that a toxic algae bloom in the San Francisco Bay, similar to one that occurred one year ago and killed tens of thousands of fish, has returned to the Bay. The red tide has turned the bay waters brown in several locations in the Bay Area. So far there have been no reports of the algae impacting wildlife. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Defense attorneys also sent an employee into the bay with a similar boat and a dummy about the same height and weight as Laci. They filmed attempts to dump the body from the boat but failed every time, alleging it was impossible for Peterson to have dumped Laci’s seven-and-a-half-month pregnant body into the bay from his small boat. This evidence was not allowed at trial.

Prosecutors alleged at trial that Peterson had made multiple cement anchors, but only found one, indicating the others had been used to weigh down Laci’s body. Peterson’s defenders, however, note the evidence to support this doesn’t exist, and that Peterson’s claim that he used the rest of the cement to fill holes in his driveway can be verified. Holes with concrete mix could be seen at the Peterson home after Laci’s disappearance, multiple witnesses told A&E.

At 2:15 p.m., Peterson called Laci and left a voicemail saying, “Hey, Beautiful. It’s 2:15. I’m leaving Berkeley.”

Peterson arrived home around 4:30 p.m. to find Laci’s car in the driveway but the house empty and McKenzie in the backyard. He showered and washed his fishing clothes and ate some food before he called Laci’s mother to ask if she was there. Just before 6 p.m., Laci’s mother and stepfather reported her missing, as did Peterson.

Modesto Police

Modesto police detectives Brocchini and Jon Buehler arrived to investigate the missing person. From the beginning, the two suspected Peterson of having harmed Laci.

“I suspected Scott when I first met him,” Buehler told ABC News in 2017. “Didn’t mean he did it, but I was a little bit thrown off by his calm, cool demeanor and his lack of questioning … he wasn’t, ‘Will you call me back? Can I have one of your cards? What are you guys doing now?'”

peterson18_076_pc.jpg Modesto police chief Roy Wasden (right) addresses the news media with detective Jon Buehler at his side. Modesto police officials and Stanislaus Co. prosecutors held a news conference on 3/17/05 in Modesto, CA to comment on the death penalty verdict for Scott Peterson. PAUL CHINN/The Chronicle (Photo By Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

One thing Det. Brocchini found suspicious was that, while he was at the Peterson home on December 24, Peterson seemed to focus on unimportant things, like putting a coaster under Brocchini’s drink and buffing out a nick in a car door.

During the A&E documentary, Peterson said he knew police suspected him when he heard an officer say so over the radio on the night Laci was reported missing.

For the next few months, Peterson’s demeanor was the subject of intense media scrutiny, with many reporting that he didn’t seem upset by Laci’s disappearance and news outlets publishing photos of him smiling and laughing. His father, however, told A&E that Peterson was upset.

Scott Peterson gets a hug from his sister in law Alison Peterson from San Diego who arrived to help distribute posters. Laci's photo is on poster in background.Scott Peterson from Modesto California, husband of missing Laci Peterson who was due with their first child on February10 passed out flyers at the Doubletree Hotel in Westwood to volunteers willing to put them up in their communities. Peterson was joined by his parents and several other family members to help him. (Photo by Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

In his initial interview with police, Peterson agreed to take a polygraph test – an unreliable test that can’t be used against someone in a court of law – but later backed out. Peterson’s father said that he told his son not to take the test, because of how police could use it against him.

On the night Laci disappeared, Peterson let police search the house for clues. Two days later, police wanted to search the home again and have Peterson sign a warrant agreeing to the search. His family said that Peterson attempted to contact a lawyer to get information on what the document actually meant, but the attorney didn’t get back to him in time and so police executed a search warrant and painted Peterson as being uncooperative.

peterson18_048_pc.jpg Modesto police detective Al Brocchini (right) pauses before responding to a question at Thursday's news conference. At left is retired detective Rudy Skultety. Modesto police officials and Stanislaus Co. prosecutors held a news conference on 3/17/05 in Modesto, CA to comment on the death penalty verdict for Scott Peterson. PAUL CHINN/The Chronicle Ran on: 03-18-2005 Modesto police detective Al Brocchini (right) and retired detective Rudy Skultety appeared. (Photo By Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Peterson’s brother-in-law explained in the A&E documentary that if Peterson had been too emotional, he would have been viewed as weak, but because he was not crying, he was seen as not caring.

When a volunteer command center was set up to search for Laci, Peterson regularly attended and, his family said, would come up with search strategies. Peterson’s family said they thought police were following up on tips that came into the center, but later learned that police were not.

Burglary Across The Street

One instance that has been pointed to as a possible alternate explanation for Laci’s murder is a burglary that took place across the street. A witness said she saw several men standing behind a van outside the home on December 24, shortly after the residents left for their Christmas vacation.

Police investigated the burglary and arrested two men, but said they were cleared in connection to Laci’s disappearance and that the burglary occurred on the morning of December 26. The witness, however, was adamant that what she saw occurred on December 24. Ted Rowlands, a reporter who covered the Peterson case extensively and was outside the Peterson home nearly every day for weeks after Laci was reported missing, said that he was outside the home early in the morning of December 26, and that no burglary could have occurred since he and other media outlets were nearby.

“I wasn’t the last one to see Laci that day,” Peterson said in a recording to documentary producers. “There were so many witnesses who saw her walking in the neighborhood after I left. The cops just never followed up on the burglary across the street. The police failed to find my family.”

For weeks, media outlets reported numerous things that turned out to not be true, according to those who spoke to A&E documentary filmmakers. For example, it was reported that the Peterson house smelled of bleach on the night of December 24, but no police officers mentioned this in any of their reports.

At one point it was reported that police were looking into whether Peterson was involved with a woman who had gone missing while he was in college, but later admitted there was no connection. This served to further imply that Peterson not only killed Laci, but may be a serial killer.

Amber Frey

On January 17, 2003, police called a press conference but didn’t inform media what it was about. During the event, a woman named Amber Frey spoke about her relationship with Peterson and how she didn’t know he was married.

Frey would go on to say that on December 9, Peterson told her that his wife was gone and it would be his first Christmas without her. Peterson also told Frey that he would be traveling to Europe during the holidays, and called her regularly to claim he was in various European countries.

The most notorious of these calls occurred at a candlelight vigil for Laci on New Year’s Eve, when Peterson told Frey that he was in Paris and pretended the background noise of the vigil was people celebrating at the Eiffel Tower. At this point, Frey had already informed police about her relationship with Peterson and was recording their phone calls in an effort to get him to confess, which he never did.

Amber Frey exits the courthouse with her attorney Gloria Allred after a day of testifying during the Scott Peterson double murder trial Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2004, at the San Mateo County Superior Courthouse in Redwood City. Scott Peterson is on trial for the murder of his wife Laci Peterson and their unborn child. (San Mateo County Times photo/Ron Lewis) (Digital First Media Group/San Mateo County Times via Getty Images)

San Mateo County Times photo/Ron Lewis, via Getty Images

On January 6, two weeks before Frey’s press conference, Peterson called her to admit that he was married and that Laci was missing. Frey mentioned the December 9 comment and Peterson admitted to saying that, and said Frey deserved an explanation, but he couldn’t give her one at the moment.

Peterson and Frey reportedly saw each other four times since they were introduced months before Laci disappeared, but apparently spoke on the phone regularly.

Even while speaking to Frey, Peterson’s family said he kept asking police to follow up on witnesses who said they saw Laci, but was told the witnesses were wrong or had been describing a different day.

After Frey came forward, Laci’s family publicly dropped their support for Peterson and began to believe that he was responsible for Laci’s disappearance. It was also discovered that Frey was not Peterson’s first affair and that he had various relationships with other women throughout his marriage to Laci.

Two Bodies Found

Police conducted nearly 30 searches of the San Francisco Bay after Laci disappeared, but found nothing. Then, on April 13, 2003, a couple walking their dog along the San Francisco Bay discovered the body of a full-term male infant. Conflicting accounts were given as to the state of the body. Outlets initially reported that the umbilical cord was still attached but had been torn instead of cut. A month later, it was reported that neither the umbilical cord nor placenta were found with the baby’s body.

SEARCH1-C-04JAN03-MT-MAC Alameda County Search and Rescue teams used dogs, ( who can detect the gases from a decomposing body through the water) to search the waters off Berkeley Marina in hopes of finding some clue in the case of the missing Modesto woman. 12 days after the disappearance of Laci Peterson of Modesto, Police Agencies from throughout the Bay Area conduct a searh of the Berkeley Marina. by Michael Macor/The Chronicle (Photo By MICHAEL MACOR/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

MICHAEL MACOR/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Nearly 24 hours after the infant’s body was found, another passerby found the body of a pregnant woman nearly a mile away. The body was missing the head and limbs, and was so decomposed it was hardly recognized as a human body. DNA tests confirmed the bodies belonged to Laci and her unborn son, Conner.

The cause and date of death was never determined for Laci. She had two cracked ribs, but the pathologist could not say whether that occurred before or after she died. Her body lacked internal organs except for her uterus, which protected Conner and kept him from decomposing. Her cervix was intact, indicating she had not given birth naturally. Conner reportedly was found with a loop of nylon tape around his neck and on his ear, with a major cut on his body, leading many to believe he lived after Laci was killed. He was not decomposed, but appeared mutilated on one side. He also had meconium in his bowels, which is the first stool passed after a baby is born. Peterson’s defenders suggest this meant that Laci was killed and Conner was taken from her body before he was also killed, but it is an unproven theory.

During Peterson’s trial, an expert for the prosecution testified that Conner had died on December 24, but an expert for the defense countered by saying the prosecution witness measured the wrong bones and used the wrong formula to determine when Conner died. 

The defense expert, an OB-GYN, testified that Conner died on December 29 – six days after Peterson was alleged to have killed Laci and dumped her in the bay. But on cross-examination, the defense witness seemingly couldn’t defend his credentials and lashed out when an error was pointed out in his report.

When the man who created the formula for determining the baby’s age was asked for the A&E documentary to determine when Conner died, he reportedly found that Conner may have lived until January 6.

Tracking Peterson

Detectives had placed a tracker on Peterson’s car, and knew that he had moved to San Diego to stay with family during the media circus. When the bodies were found, the detectives feared that Peterson would flee to Mexico, so they began following him. In the A&E documentary, Peterson and his family say that he had plans to golf that day, and thought that he was being followed by members of the media, not detectives in unmarked vehicles.

“I was tired of being hounded by the media,” Peterson said in a recorded message for the documentary. “I tried to lose them. I drove for a long time. At least over an hour. I flipped them off a few times because I thought they were media. And I drove kind of crazy just to try to get away from them.”

Peterson’s dad even said that his son called him to say he thought he was being followed by the media and that he wouldn’t golf that day to keep the media from his family.

mediacircus_053_mac.jpg MSNBC Anchor Dan Abrams live from the front entrance to the San Mateo County Courthouse. The Scott Peterson trial brings out hugh numbers of the news media as they await a verdict in the case. 11/4/04 Redwood City, CA Michael Macor / San Francisco Chronicle Mandatory Credit for Photographer and San Francisco Chronicle/ NO Sales- Magazine Out Ran on: 11-05-2004 Dan Abrams, MSNBC cable TV anchor, reports from outside the San Mateo County courthouse. (Photo By Michael Macor/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

Michael Macor/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Finally, Peterson’s family said, he drove to the golf course where he was to meet with his family, and detectives arrested him. They found around $10,000 in cash, his brother’s ID card, and that Peterson had dyed his hair blond. It was reported in the media that he was attempting to flee to Mexico.

But the golf course was 30 miles from the Mexican border, and documentary filmmakers produced a photo of Peterson talking to one of the lead detectives on the case in his own driveway with blond hair and a beard, meaning he hadn’t dyed it that day, and that police knew he dyed his hair. Peterson said in the documentary that he “wanted anonymity.”

“I was fearful,” he added. “There had been threats left on our answering machine at home.”

As for the money, Peterson’s mother reportedly took it out of their joint account by accident and was paying Peterson back. And Peterson’s sister-in-law argued that Peterson had his brother’s ID because he had used it to get a discount at a golf course the day before.

Peterson Arrested

After he was arrested, detectives told him that Laci and Conner’s bodies had been found. They later told the media that Peterson showed no emotion. Peterson, however, claimed in the A&E documentary that he teared up but didn’t want the detectives to see his emotions.

“When they told me I had just a terrible physical reaction, I mean it was a really emotional, physical reaction,” he said. “But I was in a car with those two detectives and I just stopped that. I wasn’t going to let them see the emotions I was going through.”

Peterson’s trial was held just 50 minutes away from his home in Modesto, and the jury was not sequestered during this time, though the trial did last for months.

REDWOOD CITY, CA - DECEMBER 9: Scott Peterson (R) sits in the courtroom at the San Mateo Superior Courthouse with his attorney Mark Geragos (L) during defense closing arguments in the penalty phase of Peterson's trial December 9, 2004 in Redwood City, California. Peterson was found guilty of first degree murder of his wife, Laci, and second degree murder of their unborn son and could receive the death penalty. (Photo by Fred Larson-Pool/Getty Images)

Fred Larson-Pool/Getty Images

One juror, Justin Falconer, was dismissed after he was seen briefly talking to Laci’s brother and for discussing witnesses with other jurors. He went on a media tour saying that no evidence had been presented at that point in the trial pointing to Peterson’s guilt.

Jurors and media later reported that Peterson showed no emotion during trial – defendants are told to remain emotionless – but a Modesto Bee reporter said in the A&E documentary that he saw Peterson put his head down and gulp several times when the court was shown the pictures of Laci and Conner’s bodies.

Ultimately, it is believed that the recordings between Peterson and Amber Frey sealed his fate. While inconclusive DNA testing found Laci’s hair in a pair of pliers on Peterson’s boat (which could have gotten there when she visited the warehouse the day before), a few drops of blood were found on the couple’s bedroom comforter, and Peterson’s own blood was found on the door of his truck, none of this was a smoking gun that Peterson murdered Laci on the night of December 23 and dumped her body in the bay on Christmas Eve.

The recordings, however, showed that Peterson was lying about Frey, lying to Frey, and keeping up their relationship while authorities searched for Laci and Conner.

The jury spent seven hours deliberating before finding Peterson guilty.

REDWOOD CITY, CA - DECEMBER 13: Edie Alejandre, a carrier for the San Francisco Examiner, hands out copies of the newspaper's special edition which headlines the sentence of death in the Scott Peterson Trial outside the San Mateo County Courthouse December 13, 2004 in Redwood City, California. Peterson was convicted of two counts of murder in the deaths of his wife Laci Peterson and their unborn child. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

“It was just like this amazing, horrible, physical reaction that I had,” Peterson said in the documentary, referring to hearing the verdict. “I couldn’t feel my feet on the floor. I couldn’t feel the chair I was sitting in. My vision was even a little blurry. And I just had this weird sensation that I was falling forward and forward and down and there was going to be no end to this falling forward and down. Like there was no floor to land on.”

“I was staggered by it I had no idea it was coming,” Peterson added.

Peterson was sentenced to death and sat on death row until 2020, when California’s Supreme Court upheld his conviction but overturned his death sentence. In 2021, a Superior Court judge changed his sentence to life in prison without parole.

In 2015, Peterson’s attorneys filed a habeas corpus petition, arguing that the trial judge had made errors in what evidence was allowed. Three years later, the attorneys filed a response to the State Attorney General arguing that his trial attorney, Mark Geragos, failed to call experts in fetal growth or the witnesses who reportedly saw Laci after she had been allegedly murdered. He was also accused of failing to call experts on how bodies move through water and didn’t place enough emphasis on the burglary that occurred across the street.

Condemned prisoner Scott Peterson, (right) with a fellow inmate is seen in the exercise area of during a tour of North Segregation of death row at San Quentin State Prison on Tuesday December 29, 2015, in San Quentin, Calif. Peterson was guilty of the murder of his wife Laci Peterson back in 2002. (Photo by Michael Macor/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

Condemned prisoner Scott Peterson, (right) with a fellow inmate is seen in the exercise area of during a tour of North Segregation of death row at San Quentin State Prison on Tuesday December 29, 2015, in San Quentin, Calif. Peterson was guilty of the murder of his wife Laci Peterson back in 2002. (Photo by Michael Macor/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

Another point of contention is that the judge allowed the prosecution to enter evidence that a scent dog tracked Laci’s scent to the pier where Peterson went fishing. Using dogs to track scent or find bodies has repeatedly been found to be junk science. In the Peterson case, the dog was given an item that had been handled by Peterson and Laci. It is also questionable whether a dog could track a specific scent days later and in an area as windy as the San Francisco Bay.

Peterson’s defenders also determined that the dog who allegedly tracked Laci’s scent had failed its certification process and had been wrong 75% of the time when conducting non-contact scent searches. Another dog was unable to find any trace of Laci at the marina.

Peterson’s defenders continue to point toward a different perpetrator, noting that Between 1999 and 2002, when Laci disappeared, seven pregnant women had gone missing in the area. One woman went missing just 6 months before Laci and her body washed up in the bay in a similar condition to Laci’s.

Still, Peterson would have to be one terribly unlucky person for someone else to be responsible for Laci’s death, given the comments he made to Frey and his wife being dead before she even disappeared. He also reportedly didn’t want to be a father and had told Laci’s relatives that he was “hoping for infertility,” CNN reported in 2004. 

Last month, the Los Angeles Innocence Project (LAIP) announced it was taking Peterson’s case and “filed motions seeking DNA testing and post-conviction discovery.” The filings note that the LAIP will be further examining witness statements about the break-in across the street and will analyze DNA found on a blood-stained mattress that was discovered in a burned van near the Peterson home.

A few days after LAIP’s announcement, a former California fire investigator told ABC News that some of the key evidence in the case was not properly examined. Bryan Spitulski, formerly of the Modesto Fire Department, told the outlet that the burned van he had investigated around the time of Laci’s disappearance may be more than what he initially thought.

“You know, I don’t know that I was tying the moment to Laci. I was more tying the moment that it was human blood,” Spitulski told the outlet. “It made it like this was much more important than just a burned vehicle that somebody was just wanting to get rid of or cover up a simple crime.”

Peterson has a long road ahead, whether it is determined the evidence and prosecution against him was unreliable or it is determined, once and for all, that he did kill Laci.


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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Scott Peterson: Guilty, Or The Unluckiest Cheater In History?