Scott Peterson and Laci Rocha met while they were students at California Polytechnic State University.
Laci graduated in 1997 with a degree in ornamental horticulture. Scott graduated the following year, with a degree in agricultural business. The couple dated for two years, before marrying in 1997.
The Petersons moved to Modesto in 2000. They purchased a 3 bedroom home at 523 Covena Avenue, one mile from Laci’s Mom. Laci and Scott decorated a bedroom for their unborn son.
Scott Peterson was a duplicitous husband. He admitted cheating on Laci several times.
Laci Peterson disappeared on December 24, 2002. A telephone line received tips and a reward was offered for Laci’s return.
Janet Ilse dated Scott for five months in college, after he married Laci. Police learned about their affair, because Ms. Ilse called the Laci Peterson police tip line.
Modesto police detective Allen Brocchini interviewed Ilse. Court TV obtained excerpts of their discussion.
Janet learned about Scott’s marriage after showing up at Scott’s college residence after midnight, to surprise him. One of Scott’s three roommates let her into their shared house. Janet opened the door to Scott’s bedroom, and found Scott and Laci in bed.
Janet made it obvious to Laci that Scott and Janet were in an intimate relationship.Detective Allen Brocchini
Every adulterer on Bad Marriages had the same problem: they needed a divorce.
Shawn Sibley and Amber Frey
Scott Peterson met Shawn Sibley in October 2002, at a business convention in Anaheim.
Eric Olsen was Peterson’s employee at Tradecorp. Olsen attended the convention with Peterson. Olsen said Peterson and Sibley spoke, “Mainly about sexual positions and that sort of thing.”
Peterson called Olsen after the convention.
I shouldn’t have met her. I did something stupid.Scott Peterson
Sibley liked Peterson, but she was engaged. Sibley thought Peterson was single.
…he said that he had dated, had a lot of one-night-stands, and he was sick of having one-night-stands.
And he was sick of, seemed like all the women he met were just these bimbos with no brains.
And he was really interested in finding someone who had intelligence, and didn’t I have any single friends, I could hook him up with…Shawn Sibley
She introduced Peterson to her best friend, Amber Frey.
Scott met Amber Frey, an attractive 5'6" / 110 pound masseuse, when Laci Peterson was 7 months pregnant.
Who Was Amber Frey?
Amber Frey had a history of sleeping with married men. In 1998 she lived with Josh Hart, a married male stripper with a pregnant wife.
What kind of woman who was secure about herself would let some male stripper move in with her after a couple of weeks? Josh Hart
Ms. Frey gave birth to a daughter in 2000, but refused to identify the father. A subsequent (2004) DNA test revealed an unexpected father.
Amber Frey claims to be religious.
Who I was 10 years ago and who I am today share one very important trait — my faith in God. Amber Frey 2015
Scott Wanted Amber
Peterson appealed to Frey’s faith. He said he was preparing for his first Christmas without his late wife. It worked.
Scott said that he was looking forward to settling down, but that he hadn’t yet found the right person. The way he looked at me when he said that made me feel he might be wondering whether I was that person.Amber Frey
On November 20, 2002, Shawn Sibley watched Frey’s daughter Ayiana, while Peterson and Frey slept together on their first date.
Mike Almasri worked with Sibley. However, he answered an advertisement for sales job at Tradecorp. Scott Peterson interviewed Almasri, who was not hired.
At the end of the interview I just noticed that he looked young, so I just asked him, you know, how was he able to get into such a position for his young age.
And he indicated that he had met with the company, and he lived in Modesto, and him and his wife just bought a house.Mike Almasri
Sibley met Almasri on December 6, and asked him if he knew Scott Peterson. Almasri told her that he knew a Scott Peterson in Modesto, who was married.
Sibley went outside to call Peterson.
I heard that you are married and, you know, what in the hell is up with this?Shawn Sibley
Scott denied that he was married, so Sibley called Eric Olsen.
I told her she should speak to Scott about that.Eric Olsen
New Lie to Cover Old Lie
Sibley continued her investigation by calling Scott. He told Sibley that his wife died, and asked her not to tell Amber Frey.
Scott, I don’t care if you are widowed, or you are divorced. All I care about is are you currently married right now?Shawn Sibley
Scott’s Chance to End Affair
Peterson eventually confessed to Sibley and Frey. Nevertheless, Frey slept with Peterson one more time, and continued to speak to him.
You’re married. How do you figure you never cheated on me?Amber Frey
Peterson’s conversations with Frey ultimately led to his conviction.
I want to tell you everything, but I can’t.Scott Peterson to Amber Frey
Laci Peterson Disappears
On December 24 2002, Scott Peterson went fishing on his 14 foot boat, while his 8 month pregnant wife Laci walked their dog in Modesto, California.
Several witnesses saw Laci walking a dog, after Scott left to go fishing.
Laci Peterson Sightings
Gene Pedrioli saw Laci between 10:15 and 10:30, after shopping at a drug store. He watched Laci and her dog McKenzie walk around some branches on the ground. Pedrioli noticed her dog, because he owned a dog with the same color.
Vivian Mitchell reported seeing Laci from her window at 10:15, nine blocks from the Peterson home. She told husband Bill Mitchell, “There’s the pregnant woman with the beautiful smile.”
Bill advised his wife to call the police, after Laci was reported missing. Unfortunately, the police never responded.
Former police officer Tom Harshman also called the Laci tip line. Harshman told police he saw a woman matching Laci’s description urinating by the side of the road. He watched a man with a ponytail, forcing the woman into the back of a van near the Peterson house on December 28, 2002.
Additionally, Harshman said police did not send his information to Peterson’s defense before the trial started.
Homer Maldonado saw Laci a half block from her home at 9:45 AM.
I slowed down and was taking a good look. What caught my eye was she was so pregnant. There’s no question it was her.Homer Maldonado
Mike Chiavetta was a history teacher and water polo coach at Modesto High. Chivetta saw McKenzie in East La Loma Park at 10:45, while playing with his own dog.
It’s a pretty distinctive dog.Mike Chiavetta
Unfortunately, Chiavetta was not sure he if he saw Laci Peterson. “I remember looking over, and, in my mind, I see a woman with a big white smock and black leggings,” said Chiavetta.
Laci Peterson was last seen wearing black pants and a long sleeved white shirt.
Diana Campos was a Stanislaus County Hospital employee. Campos saw a woman and a barking dog resembling Laci Peterson and McKenzie in Dry Creek Regional Park, near the Peterson home about 10:45, while she was outside smoking. She recalled the incident, because two men complained to Laci about the dog barking.
Then on that same day you interviewed Campos, who also saw two people, who — described as being very dirty and telling somebody who’s got a Golden Retriever, who’s six to seven months pregnant, who’s walking the dog in the park, to, “Shut the f* dog up,’ and the dog is barking.
Did that occur to you as to be maybe significant in this investigation?Mark Geragos
At face value, it would have been. But after talking to her I didn’t feel that way. Detective Philip Owen
Why Didn’t These Witnesses Testify?
Modesto police wanted to convict Scott Peterson.
Laci sightings were not a priority.Lead detective Craig Grogan
Blaming Mark Geragos
Peterson and his latest attorneys blame Mark Geragos for missing witnesses. The Peterson trial was Geragos’s first capital trial.
Here, counsel promised (1) five witnesses who saw Laci alive after Scott left home, (2) one witness who saw Laci forced into a van, and (3) multiple witnesses who saw Scott launch a boat that contained nothing that could have been a body.
Counsel then produced none of these witnesses.
And the prosecutor in closing explicitly asked jurors to draw the precise inference which the case law recognizes as so prejudicial, telling jurors that petitioner had a “very experienced defense team” with “very good lawyers” and that the reason these witnesses were not called was because they would not support the defense case.
Karen Servas Contradicts Other Witnesses
Karen Servas was the Peterson’s neighbor. She found McKenzie in the street and returned him to the Peterson’s backyard.
Ms. Servas originally told police that she found McKenzie at 10:30. However, she changed her time to 10:18 after finding a sales receipt. Servas sent a note to Detective Buehler.
Enclosed is my receipt from Austins on 12/24/02.
After I found the Peterson’s dog and put it back in their yard, I went in briefly to wash my hands at my house. I then went to Bank of America, couldn’t find a parking spot; then drove to Austin’s.
I have retraced my trip; timed it from the time I found the dog to parking at Austin’s. I approximated the time it took was about 11 minutes.
I was in Austin’s for five minutes before I made my purchase. I went to the second cash register furthest away from the front door.
So I estimate I found the dog at 10:18 a.m., based on the receipt and working the timing backwards. If you need any more info, please call me at 480-1744.
Ten Minute Crime?
Police found Laci wearing tan pants, but Scott testified that she wore black pants. If Scott left his house at 10:08 and Laci was missing at 10:18, there was only ten minutes for her wardrobe change and abduction.
Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?
According to Karen Servas, everyone who saw Laci and McKenzie were wrong, because she found McKenzie at 10:18. Ms. Servas’s time estimate is based on a store receipt.
Was the time on her receipt accurate?
Mark Geragos sent Carl Jensen to check the cash registers at Austin’s Christmas Store. Jensen and store owner William Austin rang up two receipts, ten minutes apart. However, the two receipts have different dates, and a 49 minute time difference.
Russell Graybill delivered mail to 500 homes, including the Petersons. He was familiar with neighbohood dogs. McKenzie barked at him, when he delivered mail or walked on the property.
Graybill testified that McKenzie was not outside between 10:35 and 10:50 on December 24, 2002.
Graybill also told police that the Peterson’s gate was open on Christmas Eve.
Bodies of Laci and Conner Peterson
Laci and Scott planned to name their baby Conner.
A hiker discovered Conner in Richmond, California on April 13, 2003.
A dog walker discovered Laci’s decomposed body the next day, a mile from Conner.
Laci’s head and limbs were missing. She had two cracked ribs.
Laci Peterson’s cause of death was “undetermined,” despite her missing head and limbs.
How Did Laci Peterson Die?
Nobody knows. Prosecutors said Scott Peterson:
- Strangled Laci on December 23, 2002.
- Transported her body in his truck to his rented warehouse.
- Moved her body to his fishing boat.
- Launched boat at Berkeley Marina.
- Attached four anchors to Laci’s body and dumped her in San Francisco Bay.
Peterson engaged in several activities in the warehouse that point to his innocence.
He was logged into a computer for 26 minutes, reading and sending email.
Most important to me, was downloading instructions to assemble a mortiser, and assembling it.
An educated murderer with a dead wife in his truck or boat, might pause to answer job related email.
If Scott killed Laci, he would not have assembled the mortiser.
Investigators found one hair from Laci in Scott’s boat.
However, Peterson’s little 14 foot boat, with two seats, capsized when his defense team simulated the event.
Incredibly, the jury was not allowed to watch this video.
The trial court excluded defense evidence of an experiment showing that if a man of Mr. Peterson’s weight tried to do what the state suggested, the boat would capsize.
In closing argument, the prosecutor then relied on the absence of any defense evidence suggesting the boat was unstable.California v. Scott Lee Peterson 2012 Appellant Brief
Peterson did not receive a fair trial.
How Did Conner Peterson Die?
Conner was less decomposed than Laci. Was Conner born?
His placenta and umbilical cord were not found.
It does tell us that the baby was in the womb for many months after Laci was in the water and Laci in fact protected the baby until the baby came out shortly before the bodies were found.Dr. Michael Baden
That’s one opinion.
Was Conner Killed?
Conner Peterson was found with plastic tape knotted around his neck and shoulder. The drawing shown is a courtroom sketch of Conner’s body. This tape could have been used to tie a bag over Conner’s head.
Dr. Cyril H. Wecht is a renowned forensic pathologist. Dr. Wecht is also an attorney. He has consulted on many high profile cases including O.J. Simpson, Elvis Presley and President Kennedy.
Mark Geragos hired Dr. Wecht to examine the bodies of Laci and Conner Peterson. Dr. Wecht discussed the tape found on Conner with Greta van Susteren:
And you know that twine around the neck and over the shoulder, on the arm?
How about if there is some kind of a bag that is over the baby that is held in place with that tape, and the bag dissolves and breaks apart in the water and the tape remains?
There are a lot of explanations. The baby’s head was 28 centimeters circumference. I measured 20 centimeters around the neck.
You talk about something coming over the head, the body’s floating in the water? You couldn’t do that in a million years.Dr. Cyril H. Wecht
Conner’s Gestational Age
Unfortunately, expert witnesses for the prosecution and defense could only guess Conner’s gestational age.
Please read Conner’s Age Proves Scott’s Innocence by Marlene Newell for a comprehensive comparison of the experts’ methods and conclusions.
Was Laci Sacrificed?
Laci’s head and limbs were missing.
Conner, the fetus, was missing his umbilical cord.
Scott Peterson was an inveterate womanizer, just like Drew Peterson. Women liked him. Scott slept with Amber Frey on their first date. He liked women.
Why would Scott dismember his wife?
Laci disappeared on December 24th Christmas Eve. Satanic cults celebrate Demon Revels on this date, with animal and human sacrifices.
Was Laci Abducted?
Rudy and Susan Medina lived across the street from the Petersons. Burglers robbed the Medina residence about the time Laci disappeared.
Neighbor Diane Jackson saw three men outside the Medina home, standing next to a “brown or tan van.” Additionally, Edgar Maldonado and his wife saw a similar vehicle parked at a gas station.
In 2005, after Scott Peterson’s conviction, Modesto police learned that a recorded prison conversation discussed the Laci Peterson murder.
The recorded conversation reportedly said that a burglar threatened Laci, because she witnessed a robbery.
Sadly, the recording was subsequently lost. Modesto police claimed they never received the recording.
Brown Van and Laci’s Missing Croton Watch
Laci inherited a Croton watch worth $750 from her grandmother. Laci tried selling this watch on eBay, but withdrew it because the bids were too low. This watch was missing after Laci’s disappearance.
Court TV obtained a pawn receipt signed by Deanna Renfro on December 31, 2002 for either the same watch, or a similar watch.
Do you remember that Diane Jackson saw a van during the Medina house robbery?
On December 28, 2002 an unidentified woman said she was raped by two men and two women in a brown van.
Police reportedly tracked the van back to Mary Ann Renfrow, Donnie Renfrow and family. They lived at a Modesto campsite. Despite the different spelling, Deanna Renfro is Donnie Renfrow’s stepdaughter.
The prosecution and defense teams both tested the van. Nothing related to Laci was found in the van.
Did they test the correct van? How did Deanna Renfro get Laci’s watch?
Amber Frey Gets Even with Scott Peterson
Gloria Allred represented Amber Frey.
…if he had known that Amber had been taping him and those phone calls with her and turning all of those tapes over to the police, which she had been doing, I don’t know whether he might have intended to kill her, to harm her in some way, to abduct here, to kidnap her.Gloria Allred
A Woman Scorned
You don’t know what I’ve gone through and for you to have no compassion for me.Amber Frey
Amber Frey might have believed Scott Peterson’s outrageous lies, because he treated her daughter well. Amber believed Scott could not join Ayiana and her for Thanksgiving, because he would be fishing in Alaska.
Although they were dating for less than two months, Amber and Scott had unprotected sex after a Christmas party because she wanted his baby.
At this point, Scott needed to change this telephone number and find a new woman, or pay attention to his pregnant wife.
Amber Frey Gets the News
Police gave Amber Frey equipment to record telephone conversations with Peterson.
Amber Frey eventually recorded 29 hours of her conversations with Scott Peterson.
Amber Frey’s Tapes
Twelve hours of Frey’s recorded conversations with Peterson were played at his trial.
Scott Peterson traded his freedom, to continue his charade with Amber Frey for three additional weeks.
These tapes were the sole factor, in my opinion, in putting Scott Peterson to death.John Guinasso, Juror
There Was No Evidence Against Scott Peterson
Peterson lied about almost everything. He even lied about the weather.
Scott Peterson said he stopped fishing because it started to rain, but the Berkeley Marina harbormaster said there was no rain that day.
I think the worst evidence against Peterson was a box of wedding photos in the garbage can of his storage unit. However, people under stress are not always logical.
Additionally, Laci’s watch, jewelry, phone were left at home. Why would she walk the dog without them?
Scott made at least one, and up to 5, cement boat anchors. He dismantled them to use the cement to fix his driveway.
Detectives found one strand of Laci’s hair on Scott’s boat.
Nevertheless, the boat was stored in Scott’s rented warehouse, and two warehouse employees saw Laci on or about December 20, 2002.
Jurors convicted Scott Lee Peterson of first degree murder.
The defendant strangled or smothered Laci Peterson on the night of Dec. 23 or in the morning when she was getting dressed.Rick Distaso Senior Deputy District Attorney, Stanislaus County.
They sentenced Scott Peterson to death for murdering Laci and unborn Conner.
Scott Peterson’s Appeals
Scott Peterson hired attorney Lawrence Gibbs to file an appeal in 2015.
It turns out that the jury deciding this case did not have the whole truth – or anything close.Lawrence Gibbs
I think this appeal is excellent. Attorney Lawrence Gibbs made 19 claims that Peterson’s conviction is wrong.
For example, Staci Peterson was alive on December 24.
Margarita Nava cleaned the Peterson home. Nova put Staci’s curling iron away on December 23. Yet the curling iron was out, and apparently used by Staci on the morning on December 24, 2002.
Additionally, Laci’s sister Amy Rocha said Laci wore different pants on December 23.
Amy Rocha identified the pants Laci wore during a search by police.
Incredibly, California’s response claims, “…the prosecution presented overwhelming evidence, independent of the dog trailing evidence, which proved that appellant murdered Laci and Conner…”
Scott Peterson’s second appeal contended:
Although counsel promised to produce several witnesses who saw Laci alive and walking her dog after Scott left to go fishing, he never called a single one.
Counsel’s broken promises deprived Scott of the effective assistance of counsel.
Unfortunately, California disputed Peterson’s logic:
In any event, even if trial counsel should have called these individuals to testify, it would not have resulted in a more favorable outcome for Peterson…
New Evidence to Exonerate Scott Peterson
The Murder of Laci Peterson is a documentary that presents new evidence and more of Scott’s interview.
New evidence includes notes from Russell Graybill, the Peterson’s mail carrier, proving that Laci was out walking the dog while Scott was home, logged into his work computer.
The Carole Sund Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation offered a $500,000 reward for Laci’s safe return, or $50,000 for information leading to her.
Notably, the $500,000 reward attracted Scott Bernstein, president of Falcon Investigations in New York State.
Scott Bernstein pretended to be a member of the “U.S. Fugitive Task Force” and “New York Fugitive Task Force” to gain access to restricted information and photos of suspects.
Bernstein interviewed Sarah Taberna. Taberna stole checks from Scott Peterson’s warehouse mailbox, after Laci disappeared.
He also visited The Pawn Shop in Modesto for information on a pawned Croton watch, similar to a missing watch that Laci inherited from her grandmother. Alas, the store owner called police because Bernstein inquired about the Peterson case.
Bernstein almost lost his New York investigator’s license after a 2005 interview by Catherine Crier, on Court TV.
Scott Bernstein foolishly showed Catherine Crier booking photos of suspects, that were only available to authorities.
Stanislaus County investigator Lt. Mark Smith reported Bernstein after watching his interview with Catherine Crier.
Bernstein pleaded no contest to one count of impersonating a police officer.
Is Bernstein Credible?
Despite his felony conviction, Court TV hired Scott Bernstein as a legal analyst. Bernstein mailed a letter to Peterson’s jurors in 2007, requesting interviews.
Bernstein claimed he “turned up promising leads and new evidence for this case.” However, he refused to release information.
Did Robert Berringer Kill Laci Peterson?
Cryptic evidence offers another possiblity.
Who Was “I Killed Laci Peterson” ?
Someone using the handle “I Killed Laci Peterson” aka IKLP posted 544 cryptic messages on FratPack.com from March 2005 to August 2006. The Web site is gone, but the messages were saved.
Christopher Farmer cracked IKLP’s code and believes it was written by Laci Peterson’s murderer.
Citizen Q sent a box containing a report and photos to Judge Alfred Delucchi. His rambling report claims Robert “Rabbit” Barringer AKA Robert Berringer, killed Laci. Citizen Q believes Robert Berringer is the Zodiac Killer.
Then, what is reasonable doubt? It is a term often used, probably pretty well understood, but not easily defined. It is not mere possible doubt; because everything relating to human affairs and depending on moral evidence is open to some possible or imaginary doubt.
It is that state of the case, which, after the entire comparison and consideration of all the evidence, leaves the minds of jurors in that condition that they cannot say they feel an abiding conviction, to a moral certainty, of the truth of the charge. The burden of proof is upon the prosecutor.Lemuel Shaw
Someone should reopen Laci Peterson’s murder investigation. Scott Peterson deserves a new trial.
Scott Peterson in Prison
Scott Peterson lives on Death Row in San Quentin State Prison.
A jury sentenced Peterson to death by lethal injection. All California prisoners with death sentences live on one of three death rows in the San Quentin State Prison.
However, execution chambers were dismanted in 2019, after Governor Newsom granted reprieves to death row inmates. Newsom started a moratorium on the death penalty in California.
Peterson lives in a area with well-behaved prisoners. These prisoners are allowed to spend five hours a day outside their cell.
Reporter Nancy Mullane accidentally filmed Peterson on death row, while she was interviewing prisoners for a book.
When I saw Scott, he was playing basketball. He didn’t look depressed. He looked like someone you’d see on the street playing basketball.Nancy Mullane
However, “someone you’d see on the street playing basketball,” is free. Scott Peterson is locked in a cell for 19 hours a day.
Send Mail to Scott Peterson
Scott Lee Peterson V72100
San Quentin State Prison
San Quentin, CA 94974
Mail is inspected by prison staff, before delivery.
Read How to Contact an Inmate for additional information.