Scott Peterson, the man convicted of the 2002 murder of his wife and unborn child, was sentenced again to life in prison without parole on Wednesday after spending more than a decade on death row.
Peterson’s new sentencing came after the California Supreme Court last year. annulled his death sentence by the improper selection of the judges for bias and then said a the lower court must determine if you get a new test. However, the court did not overturn his conviction and said considerable circumstantial evidence incriminated Peterson.
Pat Harris, one of Peterson’s defense attorneys, said his client had wanted to speak at Wednesday’s hearing, but Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo would not allow a speech as sentencing was predetermined, he said.
Peterson was convicted of first degree murder for the death of his wife Laci Peterson and second degree murder for the death of their unborn son, who was to be named Connor.
The high-profile case gripped the nation when prosecutors said Peterson dumped the bodies from a boat on Christmas Eve 2002, and the remains were washed ashore in April 2003 from San Francisco Bay.
At the sentencing hearing, Laci Peterson’s mother and siblings spoke about the pain they had felt without her for the past 19 years and never got to see Connor born and grow up.
“Your evil, self-centered, unforgivable and selfish act took down two beautiful souls.
And for what reason. There was no reason other than that you didn’t want them anymore, “Laci Peterson’s mother, Sharon Rocha, said during the hearing.
Massullo plans to hold a hearing next year to consider whether the jury’s misconduct hurt Peterson and whether there should be a new trial.
Harris argued Wednesday that certain mitigating factors supported Peterson’s innocence and that claims that Peterson has shown no remorse are unfair given that he maintains his innocence.
Annulment of the death penalty:California Superior Court overturns death penalty for Scott Peterson for murder of pregnant wife
The search for Laci Peterson generated thousands of public leads as investigators searched for clues as to what led to her disappearance. Scott Peterson was eventually arrested after a masseur told investigators that they started dating a month before Laci Peterson’s death and that Scott Peterson told him that his wife was dead.
At the sentencing hearing, prosecutors said Peterson lied to multiple people in the weeks before and after Laci Peterson’s death. His defense attorney said the comments were “taken out of context.”
Last year, state Supreme Court justices said the trial judge “made a number of clear and significant errors in jury selection that, under long-standing precedent from the United States Supreme Court, it undermined Peterson’s right to an impartial jury in the sanction phase. “
Some jurors were wrongly removed after saying that they personally disagreed with the death penalty, but could impose it under the law, the judges ruled.
However, when considering whether Peterson should receive a new trial, the judge will examine whether false answers from a jury during the selection process hurt Peterson. Her defense says that she tried to join the jury.
The jury did not reveal that she had been beaten by a boyfriend while pregnant and requested a restraining order against a boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend, in which she said she feared for her unborn child.
Harris said that if a retrial were to occur, his defense would present evidence suggesting that Laci Peterson’s death may have been related to a nearby robbery that took place on the same day. However, investigators previously ruled out the thieves as suspects.
Contributing: The Associated Press
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism