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A judge has ruled that Scott Peterson will be re-sentenced to life in prison in November for the death of his pregnant wife, Laci.
Peterson has been imprisoned without a sentence ever since the California Supreme Court overturned his initial death sentence in the highly publicized case in August of 2020, while still upholding his overall conviction.
Peterson will be re-sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in November after the Stanislaus County District Attorney announced that she had no plans to re-try the death sentence portion of Peterson’s case, local station KRON reports.
Peterson’s defense attorneys had been trying to delay the sentencing because of an ongoing legal fight to get Peterson a new murder trial due to what they have alleged was juror misconduct during his first trial.
However, Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo said she was not willing to hold off on re-sentencing Peterson as the other legal issues play out in court.
“This case has become more complicated,” she said. “Sentencing Mr. Peterson should not be delayed.”
The California Supreme Court ruled in August of 2020 to overturn the death sentence, determining that the initial trial judge “made a series of clear and significant errors in jury selection that, under long-standing United States Supreme Court precedent, undermined Peterson’s right to an impartial jury at the penalty phase.”
One of those errors was that potential jurors were dismissed from the jury pool in the case after saying they disagreed with the death penalty but would have been willing to impose it under California law.
Peterson was convicted of murdering Laci and the couple’s unborn son Conner in 2004; both bodies washed up along the San Francisco Bay, according to local station KPIX.
Laci disappeared on Dec. 24, 2002 while eight months pregnant. Peterson—who continues to maintain his innocence—had claimed to be out fishing in the San Francisco Bay the day his wife disappeared, but as the search for her gained publicity it was discovered that he had been carrying on a secret life.
Peterson was arrested after Amber Frey, a massage therapist living in Fresno, told police she had been dating Peterson for a month before his wife disappeared. He had told her at the time that his wife had died.
Peterson’s attorneys are now seeking a new trial after allegations surfaced that one of the jurors had committed misconduct by failing to disclose that she had been the victim of a crime herself.
The woman allegedly failed to disclose that she had been beaten by a boyfriend while pregnant in 2001 and also didn’t disclose that during another pregnancy she had obtained a restraining order against a boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend, who she feared would hurt her unborn child, local station KNTV reports.
Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager has accused the defense team of going on a “witch hunt” against the juror, KRON reports.
Masullo ordered Peterson to appear in person for his upcoming re-sentencing. It’s likely the first time he will come face to face with Laci’s family—who are expected to give victim impact statements in the case—in person in more than a decade.
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