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Scott Peterson has once again been sentenced for the 2002 murder of his pregnant wife Laci Peterson and their unborn child — only this time he got life in prison instead of a death sentence.
Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole for Laci’s death and another 15 to life for the death of their unborn baby Conner, NBC News reports. The sentences will run concurrently, the judge said.
Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager had opted not to seek the death penalty a second time, Los Angeles CW affiliate KTLA reported.
Wednesday marked the first time that Laci’s family got to address her killer directly.
"I've seen no sorrow or no remorse from you at all,” Laci’s mother, Sharon Rocha, told Scott Peterson before the resentencing. “I know you're going to say you have no remorse because you're innocent, but you haven't shown any grief or sorrow for either of them. I still feel the grief every day after 19 years."
She called her former son-in-law a "coward" and told him to admit to killing her 27-year-old daughter and their child, whom she was carrying for eight months.
“Your evil, self-centered, unforgivable selfish act ended two beautiful souls," she said, California outlet KCRA reports. "And for what reason? There was no reason other than that you just didn’t want them anymore. You didn’t want a baby nor the responsibility of being a father. You’re a coward."
Amy Rocha, sister of Laci, broke down in tears as she told Scott Peterson that he has “broken all of our hearts by taking Laci and Conner’s life."
“There have been so many special occasions that Laci and Conner should have been here for,” she said in court on Wednesday, according to NBC News. “It makes me sick being here today in front of you again."
Peterson was initially sentenced to death for the high profile murders in 2005, but the California Supreme Court overturned the sentence last year after determining that the jurors had not been properly screened for bias against the death penalty.
Peterson’s defense attorneys had been trying to delay this sentencing because of an ongoing legal fight to get their client a new murder trial due to what they have alleged was juror misconduct during his first trial. A hearing on those allegations before Judge Massullo is scheduled for late February. She opted to hold the resentencing hearing first, KTLA reported, because Peterson had been incarcerated on California's death row, and she determined it was legally impermissible to keep him there.
Peterson’s defense has been planning on arguing at any new trial their theory that Laci was killed by burglars who then framed her husband. (Investigators contend those men were ruled out as suspects, KTLA reported.)
In court on Wednesday, Peterson’s attorney Pat Harris said that his client was described as a loving husband across the board until it became known that he was cheating, KCRA reports.
“He quickly became the most hated man in America,” Harris said. He had a billboard outside the courtroom that asked if his client was “man or monster,” according to KCRA.
Peterson was only arrested after his mistress, Amber Frey, told police that Peterson had claimed his wife was dead at least a month before she vanished. Laci Peterson vanished on Christmas Eve 2002 and during Scott Peterson’s trial, prosecutors argued that he murdered his wife inside their home the night before or early that morning. Investigators said that Peterson, who went on his fishing boat the morning after Laci's death, used the opportunity to dump her remains frnto San Francisco Bay, where they surfaced in April 2003.
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