On Christmas Eve, 2002, at around 2:00 in the afternoon, Scott Peterson left a message for his wife Laci on her cell phone.
She was eight months pregnant at the time, and the couple was expecting a baby boy, whom they planned to name Conner.
“Hey beautiful,” the message begins before cheerfully going through the mundanities of domestic life, shopping and family obligations.
That evening, Scott would tell a friend, “Laci’s missing.” In April of 2003, the remains of Laci Peterson and Conner would wash up on the Northern California shoreline, and Scott would eventually be sentenced to death for their murder.
The new A&E six-part docuseries "The Murder of Laci Peterson" goes inside the Laci Peterson murder case, re-examining the crime that shocked a nation. It’s premiere episode, which aired last night, played that final message Scott left on his wife’s cell phone, presumably after he had already murdered her.
“I just left a message at home,” Scott says. “Uh, it’s 2:15. I’m leaving Berkeley I won’t be able to get to Vella Farms to get that basket for papa. I was hoping you would get this message and go on out there. I’ll see you in a bit sweetie. Love ya, bye.”
Despite his nonchalant delivery on the phone message, prosecutors say it was a ruse. At trial, in 2004, they convincingly argued that by the time Scott left a message on Laci’s cell phone, he had already killed her, dismembered her body -- which included removing the fetus of his unborn son -- and taken them out to sea in his fishing boat, where he dumped them into the Pacific Ocean.
Despite his 2015 conviction and the significant circumstantial evidence which led to it, Scott Peterson has never wavered in his insistence that he is innocent. He claims he loved his wife and said goodbye to her that morning before he went fishing and then never saw her again. He says he has no idea who would murder her.
He currently sits on death row at San Quentin Prison in California.
[Photo: California Department of Corrections, handout]