A California judge on Tuesday declined to grant Scott Peterson a new trial in the 2002 killing of his wife, Laci Peterson, and the couple’s unborn son, Connor.
In a 55-page order obtained by KNTV, San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Masullo denied a petition from Peterson seeking a new trial. Peterson had argued that he was deprived of his constitutional right to a fair and impartial jury because of alleged bias during the jury selection process.
In his petition, Peterson accused a juror of misconduct for her failure to disclose she had been threatened when she was five months pregnant and that she had sought and received a restraining order against her ex-boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend. She also didn’t reveal an alleged domestic violence incident involving her ex-boyfriend in 2001, according to court records.
Peterson argued that the juror declined to disclose the incidents because she was biased and wanted to punish him for what she believed he had done to his wife and their child.
Masullo rejected the arguments, finding that omissions on the juror’s behalf were made due to a good-faith misunderstanding of the questions and sloppiness in answering. She found that the juror was not biased.
Peterson received the death penalty after a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder in the death of his wife and second-degree murder in the death of the couple’s unborn son. Authorities found Laci Peterson’s body in April 2003, weeks after the 27-year-old vanished while she was eight months pregnant. Prosecutors said Scott Peterson took his wife’s body from their Modesto home on Christmas Eve 2002 and dumped her from his fishing boat into the San Francisco Bay.
In 2020, the California Supreme Court unanimously reversed Peterson’s death sentence but upheld his conviction. The court determined that 13 prospective jurors were wrongfully dismissed during the penalty phase of Peterson’s trial in a move that “undermined Peterson’s right to an impartial jury.”
He was resentenced last year to life in prison without the possibility of parole.