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In 2002, on Christmas Eve, 27-year-old Laci Peterson went missing. She was eight months pregnant at the time and, to this day, no one really knows what happened to her.
Her case quickly swept the nation; it wasn’t long before the people of America were hoping and praying for her safe return.Screenshot/Good Morning America
Sadly, four months later, her body, as well as her son’s, was discovered in the San Francisco Bay.
The body of her baby boy, Connor, washed up on shore just north of Berkeley, California. According to the Daily Mail, Connor was found with a rope around his neck and a sizable laceration on his body.
The very next day, Laci’s body washed ashore just a mile away from her son’s. She was found with “tape wrapped around her torso,” per the Daily Mail.
According to reports, both Laci and Connor’s bodies were too decomposed by the time they were discovered for their causes of death to be ascertained.
From the very start of the investigation into their disappearances and murders, Laci’s husband, then-30-year-old Scott Peterson, was one of officials’ top suspects — and he was arrested just three days after their bodies washed ashore.California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
But now, more than 10 years later, Scott is speaking out against the accusations.
Per the Daily Mail, when police made the arrest — which occurred while he was playing a round of golf — they discovered that he owned numerous cellphones, $15,000 in cash, 200 sleeping pills, his brother’s ID, a dagger, a gun, 10 Viagra pills, and directions to his mistress’s work.
And it would be his mistress that eventually led to his conviction — or, at the very least, played a significant role in it — after she essentially detailed a potential motive by revealing that Scott never disclosed he was a married man.
In fact, other than her statements, there was very little forensic evidence in the case. Investigators were only able to find one strand of hair hanging on a pair of pliers on Scott’s boat — which he was driving just hours before reporting Laci as missing.
In the upcoming A&E documentary “The Murder of Laci Peterson,” set to air Tuesday evening, Scott says the lack of evidence not only led to his wrongful conviction, but it also “failed” to bring justice to Laci and their son:
‘The police failed to find my family.”
An individual on Scott’s legal team backed up his claim, saying:
“There was no biological evidence, no forensic evidence, that pointed to the guilt of Scott Peterson whatsoever.”
Scott’s trial commenced during the summer of 2004, and he was sentenced to death by lethal injection in March 2005.Screenshot/Good Morning America
Following his sentencing, his legal team filed an appeal against the conviction, but to this day, it is still pending. The prolonged uncertainty is one of the many reasons the show’s producer, John Marks, decided to make the documentary, telling ABC News:
“There’s an appeals process that’s ongoing, so his case is under appeal. So it felt like a moment, I think, for him and for his lawyer to step up and … say something about the case.”
And Scott certainly did have something to say, especially in response to the claims he was the last person to see her the day she went missing:
“I wasn’t the last one to see Laci that day. There were so many witnesses that saw her walking in the neighborhood after I left.”
According to the documentary, that claim is substantiated by more than 11 witnesses who believe they saw Laci walking their dog around their California neighborhood. One of those witnesses is neighbor Mike Chiavetta; he told producers he saw Laci’s dog walking around after Scott left for work:
“After I had talked to the police man and given my statement that I had seen the dog in the park nothing was followed up.”
Scott’s sister-in-law Janey, who is steadfast in her belief of Scott’s innocence, said:
“There was over 11 witnesses who saw Laci that day, this is all while Scott is at the office and on his computer, so he’s innocent.”
But some of the optics in the case just didn’t look good, namely the fact that he not only had a mistress, but that he also continued to communicate with her following his wife and child’s disappearance.Screenshot/Good Morning America
Now, however, he’s explaining his decision:
“The overriding reason throughout it all was [if] she start[ed] giving media interview[s], there is no more search for Laci and Conner.”
He referenced another disappearance case that was never solved after an affair was outed:
“I’d just seen what happened to the search for Chandra Levy. There was no more search for her.
Every hour I could buy to keep the search going is all solved if I bring Laci and Conner home.”
In retrospect, however, his continuation of communication with the woman played a major role in his conviction.
And when asked about the moment he was convicted, Scott said it was intense:
Screenshot/Good Morning America
“It was just like this amazing, horrible, physical reaction that I had. 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.”
He continued, saying he was completely shocked:
“I, I was staggered by it. I had no idea it was coming.”
Although the murder of Laci and her son Connor might never be solved, the documentary’s producer hopes his dive into Scott’s defense might shed a little more light and inspire people to ask, “What actually happened here?”