More than a decade after he was first convicted of murdering his wife and unborn child, Scott Peterson's death sentence has been overturned. His conviction was reaffirmed, but he is now allowed to re-enter the general prison population. The news left many wondering whether Peterson had ever confessed to the crimes he has been convicted of, or whether he still says that he's innocent.
What was Scott Peterson convicted of?
Peterson was convicted of murdering his wife and unborn child on Christmas Eve in 2002. Laci Peterson was missing for months, and eventually resurfaced in the San Francisco Bay. The case received national attention in part because of its gruesome details. Days after the bodies were discovered, Peterson was arrested. He was convicted in 2004, and has been on death row ever since. Although he was convicted, Peterson has never confessed to killing his wife.
Scott Peterson says he's innocent.
In a 2017 interview for The Murder of Laci Peterson, Peterson said that he was a victim of an incomplete investigation.
"I wasn't the last one to see Laci that day. There were so many witnesses who saw her walking in the neighborhood after I left,” Peterson said. “The police failed to find my family.” Peterson also said he was shocked by the verdict that sent him to prison.
"I couldn't feel my feet on the floor, I couldn't feel the chair I was sitting in. My vision was even a little blurry,” Peterson said, explaining his reaction to the verdict. Peterson has cited the lack of witnesses and DNA evidence in the past, suggesting that he was the prime suspect in spite of a lack of physical evidence connecting him to the crime.
Scott Peterson was having an affair with Amber Frey at the time.
Although there wasn't an abundance of physical evidence against Peterson, the revelation that he had been having an affair with a woman named Amber Frey only increased suspicions that he had killed his wife. In interviews, Amber suggested that Peterson never revealed to her that he was married. The affair ultimately led some to the conclusion that Peterson had wanted his wife out of the way.
Laci Peterson's family is "devastated" by the death penalty reversal.
In a recent interview, legal analyst and TV host Nancy Grace suggested that Laci Peterson's family was "devastated" by the news that Peterson's death sentence had been overturned.
"Remember, Sharon Rocha, Laci's mother, went out and tried to keep the death penalty," Nancy said. "The majority in California voted not to repeal it, but Governor Newsom has put a moratorium on it. That means Scott Peterson will soon be in the general population."
Meanwhile, Peterson's family wants him removed from San Quentin because of an outbreak of the coronavirus at the facility. TMZ has reported that as much as two-thirds of the facility may be infected with the virus. Peterson's attorney has said that his goal is to have his client placed in the safest possible prison conditions as the outbreak continues to intensify.