Scott Peterson Trial Fast Facts


Here’s a look at the Scott Peterson trial. In November 2004, Peterson was convicted of the 2002 murder of his wife, Laci, and their unborn son, Conner. Prosecutors alleged that Peterson’s motive for the murders was to escape married life and impending fatherhood. The death sentence was overturned, and he is serving a life sentence without parole.

December 24, 2002 – Laci Peterson has been reported missing from Peterson’s home in Modesto, California.

January 24, 2003 – Amber Frey, a Fresno massage therapist, appeared at a police press conference and said she was having an affair with Peterson. She says the affair began on November 20, after Peterson said she was single.

April 18, 2003 – California Attorney General Bill Lockyer has confirmed that a body found on the shores of San Francisco Bay on April 13 is Conner and another body found on April 14 is Laci.

April 18, 2003 – Peterson is being held in San Diego pending capital murder/double homicide charges and is being held without bail.

April 21, 2003 – Peterson is charged with two counts of premeditated and aggravated murder. Peterson has pleaded not guilty.

May 2, 2003 – Mark Geragos becomes Peterson’s lawyer.

June 12, 2003 – A gag order is placed on the participants, saying the restrictions are necessary to preserve Peterson’s right to a fair trial amid “massive” publicity.

August 18, 2003 – Judge Al Girolami has ruled that news cameras cannot enter the courtroom during the preliminary hearing.

September 26, 2003 – Laci’s family files a civil suit against Peterson to prevent her from receiving money for selling her story.

December 19, 2003 – Laci’s mother, Sharon Rocha, is suing Peterson for more than $5 million for the murder of her daughter and unborn grandson. As executor of Laci’s estate, Rocha is filing two separate lawsuits, a wrongful death action and a survivorship action.

January 20, 2004 – The trial has been moved to San Mateo County.

February 2, 2004 – Judge Alfred Delucchi banned the cameras for the entire trial.

March 4, 2004 – The selection of the jury will begin.

May 27, 2004 – A jury of six men and six women is sitting in the case. There are also six alternates.

June 1, 2004 – The trial begins.

June 21, 2004 – Judge Delucchi told the jurors to be careful not to misunderstand the actions in and around the court. The warning comes after Juror 5 spoke with Laci’s brother, Brent Rocha, during a courthouse security checkpoint on June 18.

June 23, 2004 – Juror 5, Justin Falconer, is removed from the jury.

August 10, 2004 – Frey testifies that Peterson told her she was a widow and lied about where she lived and where she traveled. Jurors listen to tapes of Peterson and Frey’s conversations after the police themselves discover the truth.

November 3, 2004 – The jury’s deliberations begin.

November 12, 2004 – Peterson has been found guilty of first-degree murder in Laci’s death and second-degree murder in Conner’s death.

December 13, 2004 – The jury recommends that Peterson be sentenced to death.

March 16, 2005 – Judge Delucchi follows the jury’s recommendation and sentences Peterson to death.

October 21, 2005 – A judge who comes out of the $250,000 life insurance policy that Peterson took out on Laci will go to Laci’s mother.

April 2009 – Laci’s parents dropped their wrongful death lawsuit against Peterson.

March 13, 2019 – Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed an executive order to put a moratorium on executions of inmates on death row in California prisons, including Peterson.

August 24, 2020 – The California Supreme Court has overturned Peterson’s death sentence. The case is taken to a lower court to determine Peterson’s sentence.

October 14, 2020 – The California Supreme Court has ordered the San Mateo County Superior Court to reexamine Peterson’s murder convictions because a jury failed to disclose his involvement in other legal proceedings, including being a “victim of a crime.” The latest ruling is part of an ongoing appeal case.

December 8, 2021 – Peterson was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole by Judge Anne-Christine Massullo.

October 2022 – Peterson has been transferred from death row at San Quentin State Prison near San Francisco to Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, California.