By Dave Andrusko
Scott Peterson, convicted of murdering his eight-month-pregnant wife and her unborn baby, may get a new trial. The ugly irony is that California Judge Anne-Christine Massullo may hear his request on December 24–20 years to the day since Laci Peterson disappeared.
Judge Massullo announced on Wednesday that she had “noticed a clerical error and temporarily suspended her decision over whether Peterson would be granted a new trial,” Stephanie Pagones reported.
“In preparing the decision in this matter, which is not final, and reviewing the record again, it came to my attention that a rule of court has been violated,” Massullo said in court. Pagones added that “During the hearing, Massullo specified that court filings, which would eventually be unsealed, included an unredacted Social Security number and a driver’s license number.”
Laci’s badly decomposed body and that of her unborn son Conner was found in San Francisco bay. Authorities said Peterson killed his wife on Christmas Eve in 2002 and then threw her body into the Bay.
The brutal murders of mother and unborn child captured the public’s attention for months. A jury eventually 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.
Peterson was sentenced to death but was moved off death row in 2021. “The California Supreme Court overturned Peterson’s death sentence in 2020, after news that prospective jury candidates were improperly dismissed came to light, but maintained his conviction,” according to Pagones.