Scott Peterson Re-Sentenced to Life in Prison After Death Sentence Was Overturned Last Year

Scott Peterson
Fred Larson-Pool/Getty Images

He was convicted in 2004 of killing his wife, Laci, and their unborn son, Conner.

A San Mateo County judge on Wednesday ruled that Scott Peterson — who has been on San Quentin’s Death Row since his 2004 conviction for the Christmas Eve murder of his pregnant wife, Laci, and their unborn child — will be re-sentenced to serve life in prison without parole.

Peterson appeared via Zoom from the prison for the hearing before Judge Anne-Christine Massullo, who ruled there was not enough evidence to hold a new trial on the murder charges. Only a re-sentencing was required and would take place at a November hearing.

The California Supreme Court had ruled last year upon appeal that the death sentence couldn’t stand because potential jurors were excluded after saying they disagreed with the death penalty.

In the wake of that decision, the Stanislaus County district attorney’s office last May said it would drop efforts to restore the death penalty after consulting with Laci Peterson’s family.

The family has “no doubt” Peterson killed his wife and unborn son Conner and deserves the death penalty, but doesn’t want to pursue that punishment because “this process is simply too painful to endure once again,” District Attorney Birgit Fladager said during her filing in San Mateo Superior Court.

Peterson, now 48, was convicted in the San Mateo court after his trial was moved from Stanislaus County due to the massive pre-trial publicity that followed the Christmas Eve 2002 disappearance of 27-year-old Laci, who was eight-months pregnant.

Investigators say Peterson took the bodies from their Modesto home and dumped them from his fishing boat into San Francisco Bay, where they surfaced months later.

The state’s high court last year said that there was considerable circumstantial evidence incriminating Peterson in the slayings.

This story was originally published by CBS San Francisco on Sept. 22, 2021.