The Scott Peterson murder case: Key moments over the past two decades


    Scott Peterson’s death sentence was overturned Monday, but the California Supreme Court upheld his convictions for the Christmas Eve 2002 murder of his pregnant wife, Laci, and their unborn child, Conner.

    The Chronicle has been covering the high-profile case for almost two decades. Here are key moments from that coverage:

    April 19, 2003: Scott Peterson is accused of killing his wife and their unborn son; the state attorney general says DNA analysis identifies two bodies.

    April 19, 2003: This timeline chronicles the four months from Laci Peterson’s disappearance on Dec. 24, 2002, until her husband’s arrest on April 18, 2003.

    March 7, 2004: In a rare interview, the family of Scott Peterson sheds light on the life and times of the “perfect” son.

    Aug. 12, 2004: Jury hears some of hundreds of calls recorded by Scott Peterson’s ex-lover, Amber Frey.

    Nov. 13, 2004: From jury selection to key testimony to the jury’s verdict, here is a timeline of the trial’s major developments as they unfolded.

    Nov. 13, 2004: Jurors find Scott Peterson guilty of first-degree murder for Laci Peterson’s slaying and second-degree murder for the death of their unborn child. Jurors also find that Peterson committed the special circumstance of multiple murders, making him eligible for the death penalty.

    Nov. 13, 2004: Chronicle reporters break down the trial and how prosecutors told “a coherent, powerful and satisfying story” in their bid to secure a guilty verdict.

    Dec. 13, 2004: Jurors take 11 hours to decide that Scott Peterson should die in San Quentin’s death chamber for murdering his wife and their unborn child.

    Dec. 14, 2004: Members of the jury say no one issue or piece of evidence swung the panel toward conviction, but the cumulative weight of Scott Peterson’s deceptions and even his courtroom demeanor worked against him.

    July 6, 2012: Scott Peterson asks the California Supreme Court to overturn his convictions and death sentence, saying his jury was soaked in hostile publicity, the case against him was flimsy and the judge allowed prosecutors to introduce unreliable dog-sniffing evidence.

    March 23, 2015: Geraldo Rivera’s weekend program delves into the post-conviction life of Peterson at San Quentin State Prison.

    Aug. 12, 2017: A controversial six-part docuseries called “The Murder of Laci Peterson” premieres on A&E.

    June 2, 2020: Scott Peterson’s lawyers tell the California Supreme Court that he could not have gotten a fair trial.

    Aug. 24, 2020: The state Supreme Court upholds Scott Peterson’s murder convictions but overturns his death sentence because the trial judge had dismissed jurors who opposed capital punishment without asking them whether they could put their views aside.


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