Why is Scott Peterson getting a new prison sentence?

California

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KRON) — Scott Peterson is slated to break his silence for the first time in nearly two decades when he receives a new prison sentence on Wednesday.

One of California’s most notorious convicted killers will be re-sentenced at 10 a.m. in the San Mateo County Courthouse to serve life in prison without possibility of parole. Peterson plans to make a statement in the courtroom, his defense attorney said.

The court will livestream the re-sentencing hearing on its YouTube channel here, and one media pool camera will be allowed inside.

Peterson was sentenced to death 16 years ago for the murders of his pregnant wife, Laci, and their unborn son, Connor. But the California Supreme Court overturned Peterson’s death sentence because of an error made by a judge during his 2004 murder trial.

Judge Anne Christine Massullo will preside over Wednesday’s re-sentencing hearing. About 12 family members from both Laci’s family and Peterson’s family will be making statements.

Scott Peterson
Scott Peterson listens in court in 2003. (Getty Images)

“You always know, at a sentencing hearing, they are very emotional,” Peterson’s defense attorney, Pat Harris, told KRON4.

With tensions high, there is also going to be a big elephant in the courtroom.

That’s because Peterson is very close to being granted a whole new murder trial based on juror misconduct.

Peterson claims he did not receive a fair trial because of a “stealth juror,” Richelle Nice. She is accused of lying to be selected for the jury and ensure he was found guilty.

Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager accused Peterson’s defense attorneys of going on a “witch hunt” against the juror. Fladager said Nice was already traumatized from the grisly murder trial and now she’s being “dragged through the mud” again.

Laci Peterson
Laci Peterson

Judge Massullo will make her decision for the retrial after listening to testimony and seeing evidence presented at a hearing in February. Nice plans to plead the fifth when she is called to testify.

Legal experts who looked closely at Peterson’s habeas corpus petition told KRON4 that he has a strong case for proving juror misconduct occurred.

“I think there is a great likelihood that he is going to get a new trial,” legal analyst and former prosecutor Michele Hagan said.

Peterson has always maintained his innocence. To this day, he says he did not murder his wife.

A group of burglars were in the neighborhood the same day Laci vanished. Peterson’s defense team says Laci was walking her dog when she was kidnapped and murdered by the burglars.

Harris said newly-uncovered evidence will prove it in court if he is granted a retrial.

Prosecutors said Peterson killed his 27-year-old wife in their Modesto home on Christmas Eve 2002, and dumped her body into San Francisco Bay from his fishing boat. She was eight months pregnant. The bodies of Laci and her unborn son washed ashore four months later.

Peterson told police that he indeed went fishing on Christmas Eve in the San Francisco Bay, but he left his wife at home alone in Modesto.

Peterson is currently an inmate at the county jail in Redwood City with no bail.

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