Scott Peterson, who murdered his wife and unborn child in 2002, was denied a new trial on Tuesday after Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo ruled there was no juror misconduct during his original trial in 2004. Peterson is currently serving a life sentence in prison at Mule Creek State Prison.
The decision comes after Peterson’s legal team argued he wasn’t given a fair trial due to a tainted jury. The juror was Richelle Nice and she was accused of withholding details about an incident in 2000 where she filed a restraining order against her boyfriend’s ex, citing her unborn child’s safety as the reason.
Peterson’s legal team claimed that Nice was biased because of her experience with threats against an unborn child. The jury eventually reached a guilty verdict, convicting Peterson of first-degree murder (for killing his pregnant wife, Laci Peterson) and second-degree murder (for killing his unborn child, Conner).
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“The court concludes that Juror No.7’s (Nice) responses were not motivated by pre-existing or improper bias against Petitioner (Peterson) but instead were a combination of good faith misunderstanding of the questions and sloppiness in answering,” said Judge Anne-Christine Massullo on December 20th.
In finding no misconduct on Nice’s part, Massullo was effectively denying Scott Peterson a new trial. His original trial in 2004 landed him on death row after being sentenced to death by lethal injection. He remained on death row until two months ago when he was transferred to Mule Creek State Prison.
The transfer comes after his original death sentence was overturned in 2020 – his conviction remained, but he would no longer be sentenced to death. In September 2021, Massullo re-sentenced Scott Peterson to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In total, he spent nearly two decades on death row.
Despite being denied a new trial, this isn’t the end for Peterson – who still has the option of appealing the ruling. That’s not to say it would result in a different outcome, but it’s one of the few things he has control over right now. As for what the future holds for Peterson, he’ll likely remain in prison for the rest of his life.
Laci Peterson’s Family Offers Thoughts on the Latest Scott Peterson Update
Laci Peterson was about to be a mother and was preparing for the Christmas holiday when she disappeared on Christmas Eve. Several months later, the bodies of a baby and recently-pregnant mother were found near the San Francisco Bay shore in Richmond’s Point Isabel Regional Shoreline park.
The bodies were later identified as Laci and her son, Conner – who reportedly died in the uterus and was expelled from the body after being dumped in the bay. Over the past 20 years, her family has been forced to deal with the non-stop trials, hearings, and legal battles that have ensued – which hasn’t been easy.
Now that Scott Peterson is being denied a new trial, Laci’s family can breathe again. “It’s a tremendous relief to everyone who loved Laci. Everyone was so worried that they were going to have to go through the pain of a trial again, and no one wanted to deal with that,” a source close to the family told PEOPLE.
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“This is the best news we could’ve gotten. It really felt like next year was going to be very difficult, reliving the whole thing yet again. Now that’s not going to happen. This was the best Christmas gift ever,” the source continued, as the family prepares for the 20-year anniversary of their loved one’s death.
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