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Scott Peterson prosecutors lay out 'overwhelming evidence' against killer's new appeal in 337-page filing

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A California jury found Scott Peterson guilty of murdering his 27-year-old pregnant wife, Laci, and their unborn son, Conner, after a five-month trial in 2004.

Over the years, he’s had multiple failed appeals but succeeded in having his death penalty overturned in favor of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. But his latest appeal, taken up by the Los Angeles Innocence Project, purports that there is previously untested DNA evidence that could show someone else may have been responsible for the double homicide.

Prosecutors disagree – and they pointed out a boatload of evidence in a 337-page court filing opposing his motion for new DNA testing, describing the “overwhelming” case that landed him a conviction in the first place.

They pointed out Peterson’s repeated lies to detectives, to his mistress Amber Frey and to the media. They included photos of him smiling during a vigil for Laci Peterson just days after her disappearance. But much of it is tied directly to his alibi – a boat trip in San Francisco Bay the day his wife vanished. 


They said a police K-9 picked up her scent at a boat ramp in Berkeley. And they said her hair had been recovered from a pair of needle-nose pliers recovered from his boat. The autopsy also suggested her remains had been weighted to the sea floor before she broke apart and washed ashore – and prosecutors included evidence that Peterson made multiple homemade anchors out of concrete and rebar.

Concrete Dust in Peterson warehouse

Prosecutors painted Peterson as a charmer who would show up with dozens of roses and home-cook meals. 

When he first met his mother-in-law, he handed her and his wife each a bouquet. In the weeks before the murder, Peterson was having an affair with a woman named Amber Frey. He showed up to their second date with fresh groceries.

Prosecutors also pointed out the web of lies he made before his wife’s remains washed up. When her friend found out he was married, he claimed his wife had died – a month before she really did. 

In an interview with detectives, he denied having an extramarital affair. In an interview on TV, he claimed he told police about Frey “immediately” after his wife went missing.


Scott Peterson Christmas 2002 interview

Before police arrested him with bleached-blonde hair and $15,000 near the Mexico border, he bought a Mercedes in cash and told the seller his name was “Jacqueline,” according to prosecutors.

The seller, identified as Michael Griffin, asked him if the car was for his wife.

Scott Peterson appears via video call for a status hearing

“No, that’s my name,” Peterson replied, according to the filing. Griffin asked him if it was a “French thing.”

“No, it’s kind of a boy-named-Sue type thing,” Peterson told him. “That’s what my parents hung me with, I go by Jack.”

Amber Frey wearing a white blazer and tan sweater in a courtroom

To anchor his boat, Peterson made a homemade anchor by pouring concrete into a container and leaving a steel loop sticking out.

A pair of needle-nosed pliers on board had his wife’s hair “mashed” between the teeth, according to prosecutors. A police K-9 picked up her scent at the Berkeley Marina’s boat ramp, where Peterson told detectives he’d launched to go fishing.


After returning from the Berkeley Marina, where he is believed to have thrown his wife’s remains overboard, Peterson returned to his home in Modesto to find the family’s dog in the backyard with its leash on. He went inside through unlocked French doors in the rear, ate pizza and drank some milk.

Scott Peterson and Amber Frey pictured in a car

Police immediately took issue with Peterson’s story, according to prosecutors, asking him why he was wearing light clothing if he’d gone fishing on a cold, overcast day. He claimed to have changed and told police he washed his fishing clothes. The officer on scene noted the couple’s hamper was full, however, and police found a pile of wet rags on top of the washing machine. Inside were a damp pair of jeans, a blue T-shirt and a green pullover, according to prosecutors.

Scott Peterson smiling at vigil

The officer pressed him, asking what he’d been fishing for and what bait he used. 

“At that point, the defendant paused and had a blank look on his face for a second or so, his eyes shifted a little bit and hesitated in answering him, before he mumbled something, but did not give the officer an answer,” prosecutors wrote.

Moments later, an officer observed Peterson walk out his front door, throw a flashlight at the ground and say, “F—.,” according to prosecutors. He told several other people that day that he’d been golfing.

Peterson made other conflicting statements to police. He claimed his wife had gone for a walk in a nearby park, while other evidence suggested that, due to her pregnancy, she had stopped taking walks on the rough terrain there. He claimed she was supposed to go grocery shopping the morning she went missing. Police found receipts in her purse from the day before. He claimed a pistol recovered from his glove box was for pheasant hunting. 

Stand in poses in Petersons boat to illustrate size

While Peterson has for years suggested the suspects in a burglary at the Medina household across the street from where he lived with his wife in 2002 could have killed her, prosecutors said the break-in happened at least two days after she had already vanished.

Laci Peterson vanished on Christmas Eve in 2002. Dozens of people showed up to help search for her. Police deployed a FLIR-equipped helicopter. There was no sign of her.

In their filing, prosecutors included photos of Scott Peterson smiling during a somber New Year’s Eve vigil for Laci Peterson, who still hadn’t been found at the time. A minute after midnight, he called Frey to wish her a happy new year. By then, she had learned about the disappearance of Laci Peterson through news coverage of the case and recorded the conversation for police.

Peterson's homemade concrete anchor with a rebar loop on top

On April 13 and 14, 2003, the decomposed bodies of Laci and Conner Peterson washed ashore about a mile from where Peterson told police he was fishing when his wife vanished. Although the missing woman’s remains floated up without a head, forearms or lower left leg, the autopsy found no evidence that she had been dismembered. Instead, the forensic pathologist said it was likely that her body had been broken apart by the marine environment and that her limbs were likely anchored in place. He concluded that she was still pregnant at her time of death. He was unable to determine her cause of death.

Days later, police arrested Peterson near the Mexico border with a stack of cash, bleach-blonde hair and a new goatee. He had his brother’s identification, four cellphones, outdoor gear and a relative’s credit card, according to court documents.

In November 2004, jurors found him guilty of first- and second-degree murder for the deaths of his wife and son.

Lawyers for the Los Angeles Innocence Project are seeking new DNA testing on a hammer linked to a burglary across the street from the Peterson family home as well as a stained mattress found in a burned-out van parked less than a mile away.


Peterson, who has always maintained his innocence, is currently serving a life prison sentence.

He is due back in court on May 29 for a hearing on the DNA dispute.

Fox News’ Michael Lundin contributed to this report.

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