December 13, 2004

Scott Peterson sentenced to death

REDWOOD CITY, CALIF - Former California fertilizer salesman Scott Peterson has been sentenced to death for killing his pregnant wife Laci Peterson.

The same jury of six men and six women who in November found Peterson guilty of first degree murder in the death of his wife, and second degree murder in the death of their unborn son, delivered their verdict Monday on the third day of deliberations.

Before making their decision, the jury had asked the judge to see 13 pieces of evidence, including autopsy photos and aerial pictures of the bay where prosecutors said Peterson dumped the body.

They also asked to see the publicized photograph of Laci Peterson wearing a red maternity pantsuit with her hands folded.

The sentence follows a five-month trial in which two jurors were removed for unspecified reasons and the judge twice told the panel to start over.

Prosecutors had told the court that 32-year-old Peterson, from Modesto, Calif., strangled or smothered his wife and dumped her body in San Francisco Bay, motivated by an affair he was having with a woman who didn't know he was married.

The defence admitted Peterson was cheating on his wife, but argued there was no proof that he had anything to do with her disappearance and death.

Her decomposed body was found in April 2003, four months after she was last seen.

The remains of the male fetus she had been carrying were nearby, not far from the spot where Scott Peterson had told police he was fishing alone when she vanished.

Once DNA tests confirmed their identity, Peterson was charged with two counts of murder. The case has been making headlines ever since in both the tabloids and in the mainstream media.

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