Scott Peterson Trial Fast Facts
Here is a look at the Scott Peterson trial. In November 2004, Peterson was convicted of murdering his wife, Laci, and their unborn son, Conner, in 2002. Prosecutors alleged that Peterson’s motive for the murders was to escape married life and upcoming fatherhood. His death sentence was overturned, and he is serving a life sentence without parole.
December 24, 2002 – Laci Peterson is reported missing from the Peterson’s home in Modesto, California.
January 24, 2003 – Amber Frey, a Fresno massage therapist, comes forward at a police news conference and says she was having an affair with Peterson. She says the affair began November 20, after Peterson told her he was single.
April 18, 2003 – California Attorney General Bill Lockyer confirms a body found on April 13 on the shore of San Francisco Bay is Conner and another body found on April 14 is Laci.
April 18, 2003 – Peterson is arrested in San Diego, pending capital murder/double homicide charges, and is held without bail.
April 21, 2003 – At his arraignment Peterson is charged with two felony counts of murder with premeditation and special circumstances. Peterson pleads not guilty.
May 2, 2003 – Mark Geragos becomes Peterson’s attorney.
June 12, 2003 – A gag order is placed on participants, saying the restrictions are necessary to preserve Peterson’s right to a fair trial amid “massive” publicity.
August 18, 2003 – Judge Al Girolami rules that news cameras will not be allowed in the courtroom at the preliminary hearing.
September 26, 2003 – Laci’s family files a civil lawsuit against Peterson to prevent him from receiving money for selling his story.
December 19, 2003 – Laci’s mother, Sharon Rocha sues Peterson for over $5 million for the deaths of her daughter and unborn grandson. As the executor of Laci’s estate, Rocha files two separate lawsuits, a wrongful death action and a survival action.
January 20, 2004 – The trial is moved to San Mateo County.
February 2, 2004 – Judge Alfred Delucchi bars cameras from the courtroom for the entire trial.
March 4, 2004 – Jury selection begins.
May 27, 2004 – The six-man, six-woman jury is seated in the case. There are also six alternates.
June 1, 2004 – Trial begins.
June 21, 2004 – Judge Delucchi tells jurors that they must take care to ensure their actions in and around the courtroom are not misconstrued. The warning comes after Juror No. 5 spoke to Laci’s brother, Brent Rocha, at a courthouse security checkpoint on June 18.
June 23, 2004 – Juror No. 5, Justin Falconer, is dismissed from the jury.
August 10, 2004 – Frey testifies that Peterson told her he was a widower and lied about where he lived and where he traveled. Jurors hear recordings of Peterson and Frey’s conversations made by police after she discovered the truth.
November 3, 2004 – Jury deliberations begin.
November 12, 2004 – Peterson is found guilty of first-degree murder for Laci’s death and second-degree murder for Conner’s death.
December 13, 2004 – The jury recommends that Peterson be sentenced to death.
March 16, 2005 – Judge Delucchi follows the recommendation of the jury and sentences Peterson to death.
October 21, 2005 – A judge rules that proceeds from a $250,000 life insurance policy Peterson took out on Laci will go to Laci’s mother.
April 2009 – Laci’s parents drop their wrongful death lawsuit against Peterson.
March 13, 2019 – Gov. Gavin Newsom signs an executive order issuing a moratorium on executions of death row inmates in California prisons, including Peterson.
August 24, 2020 – California’s Supreme Court overturns Peterson’s death sentence. The case is remanded to a lower court to determine Peterson’s penalty.
October 14, 2020 – The California Supreme Court orders the San Mateo County Superior Court to reexamine Peterson’s murder convictions because a juror did not disclose involvement in other legal proceedings, including but not limited to “being the victim of a crime.” The latest ruling is part of an ongoing appeals case.
October 2022 – Peterson is moved from death row at San Quentin State Prison near San Francisco to Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, California.
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