Scott Peterson's lawyer claims new evidence will exonerate convicted killer

Scott Peterson trial jurors speak out amid resentencing

Laura Ingle reports on the Scott Peterson case, a California man convicted of murdering his pregnant wife and unborn son, on ‘America Reports’

Attorney Pat Harris, who is representing Scott Peterson — a California man convicted in 2004 of murdering his wife, Laci Peterson, and their unborn son on Dec. 24, 2002 — claimed on Thursday that new evidence will exonerate his client.

Harris’ comments came after Peterson was resentenced to life in prison without parole Wednesday after the Supreme Court overruled his death sentence in August 2020 amid allegations of juror misconduct.

Scott Peterson listens to Stanislaus County Deputy District attorney Dave Harris speak during a hearing at the San Mateo County Superior Court in Redwood City, Calif., Dec. 8, 2021. (Andy Alfaro/The Modesto Bee via AP, Pool)

Peterson’s defenders have theorized that Laci caught burglars across the street from her Modesto home before her Dec. 24 disappearance, and that she was kidnaped and killed for being witness to the act. Peterson’s sister-in-law previously alleged in an interview with CBS News’ “48 Hours” that neighbors saw Laci the morning she disappeared after her husband had already left their home for a fishing trip.

“We now know that the burglary that occurred across the street, which the Modesto police originally stated occurred on December 26,” Harris told the TODAY Show on Thursday. 

“We now can present evidence that it actually occurred at the time Laci disappeared. The Modesto police initially, and when they were questioned in court, stated that the burglars told them that it happened on the 26th. The problem with that is…by the 26th, the entire street was covered with media who were covering Laci Peterson’s disappearance.”

Journalists at the scene said there was “no way” the burglary could have occurred amid the media’s large presence in the neighborhood at that time, Harris explained.

“In the last 17 years, we’ve gathered a lot more evidence. We can prove that that burglary occurred on the 24th,” the California-based attorney said. “…And we believe we have evidence that the people who were actually involved are people who have very violent, criminal history. And we believe we can prove that that is much more likely as to what happened…rather than Scott having killed his wife.”

Harris also said his client was not allowed to speak Wednesday, but if he had been allowed to do so, he would have stated that he is “not a monster,” as some have implied, and he “did not commit this crime.”

Scott Peterson is led into Stanislaus County Superior Court for arraignment in the deaths of his wife Laci Peterson and unborn son, Conner, April 21, 2003 in Modesto, California. . REUTERS/POOL/Ted Benson TB/gn/ME

“I think it’s been difficult for him because his lawyers, myself included, have asked him [to] just let the process play out, and eventually, you’ll have your opportunity, and I believe it’s been frustrating for him,” he explained. “He’s been sitting in a jail cell now for 18 years, and he wants the opportunity for people to know that he is innocent and that he never would have hurt Laci and [their son] Conner.”

A new trial in Peterson’s case has been scheduled for February to address allegations of juror misconduct.

Prosecutors say Scott Peterson, 49, murdered Laci and dumped her body in the San Francisco Bay from his fishing boat on Christmas Eve. Her body washed ashore in April 2003. In his 2004 trial, prosecutors also pointed to Scott Peterson’s affair with massage therapist Amber Frey, who testified she did not know he was married.

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