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Judge to Resentence Scott Peterson to Life Term

A California judge plans to resentence Scott Peterson to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Wednesday in the 2002 murders of his pregnant wife and unborn son.

Peterson was sentenced to death in 2005 and has spent more than 15 years on death row, but the California Supreme Court tossed out his sentence last year and prosecutors say they won’t again seek to have him executed.

Family members of 27-year-old Laci Peterson, who was eight months pregnant at the time of her killing, are expected to make statement during the resentencing hearing.

Peterson has appeared in previous hearings through a remote link from San Quentin State Prison, home to California’s death row, but will be present in person for his resentencing. He was transported to San Mateo County Jail last week from San Quentin ahead of the resentencing hearing.

The high court ruled last year that jurors who personally disagreed with the death penalty but were willing to impose it were improperly dismissed.

It separately ordered Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo to decide if Peterson must receive an entirely new trial because of juror misconduct.

An evidentiary hearing is scheduled in February to determine if Peterson will receive a new trial, the Modesto Bee reported.

Peterson’s lawyers contend the woman known as Juror 7 falsely answered questions during the selection process as she sought to join the jury. She later coauthored a book on the case.

Supreme Court justices said there was considerable circumstantial evidence incriminating Peterson in the first-degree murder of his wife and the second-degree murder of the boy they planned to name Conner.

Prosecutors said Peterson took his wife’s body from their Modesto home on Christmas Eve 2002 and dumped her in San Francisco Bay from his fishing boat. The bodies washed ashore in April 2003.

Defense attorneys say they have new evidence that nearby burglars may have committed the crime, though investigators say they were ruled out as suspects.

To get the chance to prove it, Peterson’s attorneys must persuade Massullo that the juror was biased because she had been a crime victim, something she did not disclose during jury selection.

It was later learned that the woman had been beaten by a boyfriend while she was pregnant in 2001. She also didn’t reveal that during another pregnancy she had obtained a restraining order against a boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend because she was fearful the woman would harm her unborn child.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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