Scott Peterson's Death Penalty Sentence Overturned 18 Years After Laci Peterson's Murder

Scott Peterson was previously convicted of killing his wife Laci Peterson and their unborn baby boy Conner after they disappeared in 2002.

By Mike Vulpo Aug 24, 2020 7:48 PMTags
Laci Peterson, Scott PetersonZUMA Press/

The California Supreme Court has addressed Scott Peterson's future behind bars.

On Monday, Aug. 24, the courts rejected his claim that he received an unfair trial. As a result, they affirmed his convictions for the murder of his wife Laci Peterson and their unborn son, Conner.

However, E! News can confirm that the courts ordered Scott's death sentence to be removed.

"Before the trial began, the trial court made a series of clear and significant errors in jury selection that, under long-standing United States Supreme Court precedent, undermined Peterson's right to an impartial jury at the penalty phase," Justice Leondra Kruger wrote in her decision. "While a court may dismiss a prospective juror as unqualified to sit on a capital case if the juror's views on capital punishment would substantially impair his or her ability to follow the law, a juror may not be dismissed merely because he or she has expressed opposition to the death penalty as a general matter."

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Prosecutors now have the option to retry the penalty phase if they want to seek a death sentence. If they choose not to, Scott's punishment would become life in prison.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Scott is currently serving his sentence at San Quentin State Prison in California.

Laci's disappearance on Christmas Eve 2002 quickly captivated the nation partly because she was eight months pregnant when she vanished. 

Originally, Scott said he had gone fishing the day of her disappearance in the San Francisco Bay. Nearly four months later, the remains of Laci and Conner were found less than two miles from where Scott claimed he was fishing.   

A San Mateo County juror later convicted Scott in November 2014 of one count of first-degree murder for killing his wife and one count of second-degree murder for killing their unborn son.

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Scott has argued that his trial was flawed for multiple reasons including the amount of pre-trial publicity that surrounded the case. According to Justice Kruger's latest statement, "We reject Peterson's claim that he received an unfair trial as to guilt and thus affirm his convictions of murder."

In 2005, Laci's mom Sharon Rocha released her book For Laci: A Mother's Story of Love, Loss and Justice that details her daughter's life.

"I've never been able to fully understand why Laci's disappearance and murder captivated so many people, but I had my own theory," Sharon previously told ABC News. "I believe that Laci wasn't going to allow Scott to get away with murder, so she kept the spotlight shining down on him until he was convicted."