By Dave Andrusko
Although nearly 20 years ago, it seems like only yesterday when Scott Peterson was sentenced to death for the Christmas Eve murder of his eight-months-pregnant wife, Laci, and Conner, her unborn baby boy. Now, 16 years after receiving the death sentence, “He was moved off death row last week after the California Supreme Court overturned his death sentence because his trial judge had excluded potential jurors opposed to the death penalty,” Scott Stump reported. On Wednesday, in a 103 page opinion, the California Supreme Court re-sentenced him to life in prison without chance of parole.
A jury convicted Peterson of first-degree murder in the death of Laci and second-degree murder in Conner’s death.
Laci’s and Conner’s murders were the driving force behind the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, also known as “Laci and Conner’s Law,” which President George W. Bush signed on April 6, 2004.
President Bush’s action culminated a five-year campaign by the National Right to Life Committee to win enactment of the legislation, which recognizes unborn children as victims when they are injured or killed during the commission of federal or military crimes of violence.
In remarks before signing the bill, the President said, “As these and the other families understand, any time an expectant mother is a victim of violence, two lives are in the balance, each deserving protection, and each deserving justice. If the crime is murder and the unborn child’s life ends, justice demands a full accounting under the law.”
The state supreme court found that the trial court made “significant errors in jury selection.”
“Here, there was not just one error; there were many. We are therefore required to reverse the death judgment,” Associate Justice Leondra R. Kruger wrote for the unanimous court. “Contrary to Peterson’s argument, however, we are not also required to reverse the judgment of guilt.”
Peterson has professed his innocence. There is a “slim” chance for a new trial. His lawyer are “claiming that his previous trial was flawed due to juror misconduct,” Stump wrote.”They claim one of the jurors lied in order to get selected on the case and convict him.”
Sharon Rocha, Laci Peterson’s mother, gave a new victim impact statement on Wednesday,
“I’ve seen no sorrow or no remorse from you at all,” she said. “I know you’re going to say you have no remorse because you’re innocent, but you haven’t shown any grief or sorrow either for them. I still feel the grief every day after 19 years.
“No matter what happens, no matter what transpires in the future there are two things that will never change: Laci and Conner will always be dead and you will always be their murderer.”