Presumed Guilty  

 Murder, Media and Mistakes in Modesto 

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FOREVER AMBER (1947) The post WWII screen scorcher based on Kathleen Winsor's novel is a progenitor of the modern romance novel.

"Love, Betrayal, Justice"
San Francisco Chronicle EDITORIAL
August 12, 2004

"Amber Frey's tale of a romance with
the smooth-talking fertilizer salesman
had all the cheap lines and implausible
turns of a disposable paperback novel."

Click to read the
shocking lies and
salacious secrets

Looking for Laci

Looking for Laci

August 17, 2004

Is anyone at the Modesto Police Department still looking into Laci Peterson's disappearance? Are any of the DA's detectives continuing to dig? Or is the investigation over?

As horrifying as the "Amber Tapes" are, they fail to advance the prosecution's theory of Laci Peterson's death. Far more fruitful would be a thorough review of the victim's conversations, concerns, habits and hang-outs.

As PETERSON WEST drifts into it's third month of circumspect evidence, disappointment is giving way to anger over the fact that police and prosecutors have steadfastly refused to investigate the victim in this case -- Laci Peterson.

Mistress Amber's sorta - secret sex tapes are titillating, but missing from this trial are the items that would almost certainly yield substantial details of evidence if properly probed:

The star witness' attorney, Gloria Allred, can hold all the press conferences she wants, but the truth is -- Amber Frey is NOT a heroine. The heroine of this story is Laci Peterson.

If the case is to be won, it will be won by dismissing the dazzling nonsense of the defendant and the frantic phone fantasies of his girlfriend, and embracing the verifiable and reliable evidence supplied by Laci Peterson. It's there. It always is. She left it for us. And it may not be too late to collect it.

I hope somebody is still looking for Laci.

Where is Laci Peterson?

If you thought CourtTV's website was fun,
get ready to play the

Poetic*Justice -- PETERSON WEST QUIZ!

1. What was Laci Peterson's favorite movie?
2. What was Laci Peterson's favorite book?
3. What poems were recited for her?
4. What poems or stories did she write?
5. Name the last ten people Laci Peterson called?
6. Who phoned or visited Laci Peterson at 9:00 on
Christmas Eve morning, 2002?
7. Who phoned or visited her at 10:00?
8. At 11:00?
9. At 12 Noon?
10. At 1:00?
11. What was Laci Peterson wearing on 12/22/02?
12. What was Laci Peterson's favorite, special item?
13. What had Laci Peterson said about crimes or
murders in the news?
14. What was Laci Peterson's greatest fear?
15. What was her greatest joy?
16. What was her top priority?
17. What moral values did she hold most sacrosanct?

18. What projects were Laci Peterson's students
working on?
19. What did her co-workers notice about Laci
Peterson the month she went missing?
20. What was Laci Peterson's demeanor during
the 2002 Christmas party?


How did Laci Peterson respond when challenged?

The jury's willing, but the case is weak.

Birgit Fladager and Rick Distaso

Birgit Fladager to the rescue

Guilt Beyond a Reasonable Gender Gap

To the pro-prosecution pundits currently pulling out their hair, complaining that NO defendant can EVER be proven guilty if jurors continue to insist on giving him the benefit of the doubt -- I say, welcome back to December 24, 2002 and an eerily empty house on Covena Avenue.

Welcome back to the reality that the "presumption of innocence" isn't a courtroom technicality to be tacked on at the end of a big, juicy media event. Now you again see what the victim saw: the monster unleashed, coming toward you, attempting the murder of an innocent person.

When little Danielle van Dam's mummified remains were located after her disappearance -- discarded near a trash heap at the side of a road -- investigators found very specific hairs and fibers still clutched in her hand.

There are no perfect murders.

Carol Neulander, the Rabbi's wife, remarked to her daughter on the phone that, "the bathroom man" had strangely appeared in her driveway for a second time.

Murder isn't simple. Murder is not clean and it's not fast. It involves unforeseeable variables, and by definition, involves at least one other person. Even if that person is dead -- evil will tell on itself.

Slain business executive, Kathleen Peterson, was found with fatal head injuries identical to those of her husband's murdered best friend.

Once detectives know the truth of what happened, proving it beyond a shadow of a doubt is very easy. The truth is the truth, it's not good or bad -- suspicious or normal -- it's obvious. There should be no difficulty finding evidence of what's evident.

And this is how good prosecutors remove the defendant's presumption of innocence -- by overwhelmingly proving otherwise.

On Christmas Eve, with an 8-month pregnant wife at home, Scott Peterson wasn't where he should've been: at or near his house, ready to offer help and support.

There's no gender gap in that argument.

It's reasonable to conclude -- the attentive husband and loving father-to-be, went missing at the same time his wife went missing.

Beyond those two co-incidents, the suspicious details of Peterson's alibi are presumably irrelevant to the immediate question of Laci Peterson's whereabouts. As of December 24, the nervous husband claims he went fishing. Fine. He's stuck with that story should it later fall apart.

Presuming Mr. Peterson to be innocent, the focus stays on Covena Avenue and finding the missing wife. Since Peterson was the last person to see her alive, his cooperation is critical.

He must stay here in this house with us.

Looking guilty, and seeming guilty, and acting guilty -- isn't the same thing as BEING guilty. (Danielle van Dam's parents can testify to that conundrum in the court of public opinion.) Sometimes, bad things happen to bad people.

Presumably, in the days following a pregnant woman's kidnapping, a worried, anxious, scared, innocent husband doesn't need an attorney -- he needs a detective. Why treat him like a defendant in a murder trial and force him to get all lawyered up?

Modesto detectives publicly claiming Scott Peterson was not a "suspect" in the first weeks following the disappearance -- while in reality, rushing to the judgment that he'd already killed and disposed of his wife -- was skirting the rules, hoping the end would justify the means. It hasn't.

Leaking guilty gossip to the press for months, and spreading rumors about finding damaging proof against Peterson, when in fact, investigators were coming up empty -- was a pre-emptive strike, sure to backfire if hard evidence wasn't eventually discovered. It wasn't.

A year and a half after Laci Peterson's death, her family and friends, the State of California, and the entire nation are forced back to that agonizingly empty house -- staring at a monster about to pay the enormous price for his own prejudice, presumption of guilt, and abandonment of principles.

The Other Woman's Other Tapes
Allred and Frey hiding

August 16

Word has it that, beyond the tapes handed over to authorities, Amber Frey made several other secret recordings of dialogues with Scott Peterson.

Newsweek is reporting that there are conversations in which Frey becomes unhinged and screams at Peterson, "What about me?"

It's rumored that phone records will reveal a "pattern of stalking" by Frey. On Christmas Eve, Frey apparently left 14 messages for the accused murderer, and she continued to make recordings weeks after police had stopped.

evidence fatigue
Rodney King Video
Otherwise known as the
"Rodney King Video Syndrome,"
evidence fatigue is that point

when too much is not enough.

the spin cycle

"This tape to me is the A-Bomb -- for Amber."
-- Gloria Allred

"Amber Frey is a heroine."
-- Gloria Allred

"Gloria is an officer of the court. She should be more concerned with the administration of justice than having press conferences to bolster Amber Frey, her client."
-- Ted Williams, defense attorney

"This is the end for Scott Peterson. A thinking person could not accept a person, a human being, acting like this while his wife and unborn child are missing in the days immediately afterwards. You'd have to be a monster in order to do this -- a monster, a killer."
-- Geoffrey Fieger, defense attorney

"This guy -- If he really missed his wife, if he really missed his unborn child he wouldn't spend hours, every night, talking about books and movies."
-- -- Jim Hammer, former Prosecutor

"The most telling thing about these tapes … is what Amber COULDN'T get Scott to say. … It's what he DIDN'T say and what he DIDN'T confess to, and of course you know we're all gonna find out on cross that the police coached her. … They tuned her up on how to get as much information out of him as she possibly could -- and she didn't get it."
-- Yale Galanter, defense attorney

Star Witness Shines in

Premeditated Testimony

Week #11
Friday August 13

To be sure, there was no evidence of premeditated murder caught on tape, but after three days of listening to the MPD's secret wiretaps, no one in Redwood City -- or any where else in America -- could have a reasonable doubt that both Amber Frey and Scott Peterson purposely premeditated the stilted dialogue in their supposedly "candid" conversations.

Over the course of countless hours of previously recorded testimony, Fresno's Frey actually proves herself to be a far slicker attorney than either Rick Distaso or Dave Harris. Peterson's self-effacing self portrait as "pudge boy" is a somewhat successful -- though sappy -- performance, but as a secret agent who's deep behind enemy lines in an under-cover sting, Amber is "amazing."

Peterson's girlfriend giggles, gushes, cajoles and complains, doing everything she possibly can to lure the defendant into a confession. Of course, he never bites. Frey casts her net wide, and despite coming up empty -- keeps on fishing, sometimes for an hour at a stretch. Still, Peterson simply will not swallow the bait, and instead, uses Amber Frey's recording sessions much as he used the tender traps of the Gloria Gomez and Diane Sawyer interviews -- as an opportunity to display what a fine catch he is.

It's likely Mr. Peterson suspected his calls were being monitored. If so, the paranoid playboy never lets on and neither does Frey, but in light of the tragic events occurring in Modesto during the dates and times of the wiretaps, the question, "Who's zoomin' who?" matters very little.

The ludicrous lies Frey was able to massage out of her perfect paramour are nothing short of shocking. Reportedly, jurors were gawking, glaring, sneering and openly staring at Scott Peterson as the weird words on the wiretaps were played aloud in court.

Amber Frey phoned in most of her performance, nonetheless, media commentators and World Wide Web Peterson West watchers seemed generally in agreement -- DA Brazelton's slinky, sexy, star witness successfully made herself over and came off as a quiet, cautious, conservative, perhaps even courageous young lady.

Considering how smoothly the irrelevant but damaging testimony poured into the record, one can't help but wonder if Stanislaus prosecutors haven't themselves been lured into a tender trap of some sort.

Theatrical wizard, Mark Geragos waits in the wings, tracking every bit of Amber Frey's dialogue, listening for his cue -- poised to take the stage in a completely un-scripted, un-rehearsed scene with the star witness on cross-examination.

The Other
Woman's Wear Daily

Amber Frey's Clothes Call

Day 1 - black pant suit
Day 2 - black pant suit
Day 3 - gray skirt w/ black blazer
Day 4 - gray skirt w/ gray blazer
Day 5 - black suit
Day 6 (cancelled) - white pant suit
Day 7 - gray skirt w/ gray blazer
Day 8 - black skirt w/ black blazer

the People call Amber Frey


Rick Distaso calls Dave Harris

August 10

Whatever his motives, lead attorney Distaso chose not to question star witness, Amber Frey, opting to give the top assignment to soft-spoken, second-string prosecutor, Dave Harris.

Frey -- wearing a conservative, black, pant suit -- spent her first day on the stand detailing the lies Scott Peterson told her at the beginning of the month-long sexual affair.

HARRIS: Notice if he was wearing a wedding ring?
FREY: He did not have a wedding ring on.
HARRIS: At any time during dinner [Nov 20] did the defendant mention he was married?
HARRIS: Did he tell you he lived in Modesto?
HARRIS: Did he tell you he had a child on the way?

There was no testimony about murder, but late in the day, Harris got the witness to recount how Peterson reacted when confronted with lies about his marital status.

HARRIS: Did he explain what it was he was lying about?
FREY: He said he lied to me about ever being married. He said sometimes for himself it was easier to say he was not, or never had been married.
HARRIS: Did he say why he lied about not being married?
FREY: It was painful for him -- that he had lost his wife.
HARRIS: Did he use those words?
FREY: Yes. He said it was entirely too painful for him to talk about.

Through June 2004, the Peterson case has cost prosecutors and police over $2 million, according to state and local officials.

"I -- am you."
-- Linda Tripp,
emerging from her 1998 Starr testimony

"Nobody can quite figure out why Ms. Frey needs a lawyer."

-- Geragos

"I don't run from battle. I'm fully prepared for battle. Let the games begin."

-- Gloria Allred, (who is the mother of Court TV anchor Lisa Bloom)

"I'm so sorry I lied to you earlier. I had been married. I lost my wife."
-- Peterson according to Shawn Sibley

"Ours is a monogamous relationship."
-- Peterson on 12/14/02 according to Frey

On January 13, 2003,
Modesto police had a meeting to discuss:

"The Amber Problem"

"Amber Frey is no longer telling us the truth in this investigation."

"Amber Frey still has a desire to have Scott Peterson in her life. She may even lie or conspire with him to withhold evidence."

"I suspect she may be disseminating information to Scott Peterson concerning what law enforcement knows about this investigation."

Ken Starr

obsessed with sex

Dirty Dish

In the most important case of his career, Rick Distaso seems determined to play trivial pursuit.

Distaso had a witness from a satellite TV company take the stand and swear under oath that, just a few cold weeks after Laci Peterson's Christmas disappearance, Mr. Peterson added the "Playboy Channel" and other X-rated stations to his previously R-rated package.

Making Dish Network employee, Donald Toy, the nation's first "forensic grief specialist," Mr. Distaso fought tooth and nail to get the single strand of information entered into evidence, and the signal sent by this tawdry tidbit of testimony is clear: ordering pay-for-view porn is behavior inconsistent with a man whose wife has gone missing.

Recalling the twisted, sin-spin of Clinton special persecutor, Kenneth Starr -- Rick Distaso represented to the court that Scott Peterson's switch in home entertainment choices was a TV guide to his guilt, since the defendant felt free to make X-rated changes as early as January 8, 2003, knowing his murdered wife was never coming home.

Of course one could always argue that the "horny bastard" planned to cancel his porn movies if and when his wife returned. In fact, the subscription was cancelled on February 18 -- but, the DA implied the cancellation was suspicious as well, coming on the same day police showed up for a second search of the defendant's home.

Far more telling than Scott Peterson's attempts to hide his dirty movies from the government, is the fact that his paranoia was completely justified.

evidence of confusion

Contrary to the State's anchor and fishing boat theory, evidence suggests Laci Peterson's body may have been wrapped in plastic and possibly tossed off the Richmond Bridge.

A clear, plastic bag, totally intact with no tears, and marked with a "Target Products" emblem was found near the victim's remains. East Bay Regional Park District police noted duct tape attached to the bag -- which is larger than 5 feet by 5 feet by 4 feet -- and apparently made detectives in the Peterson case aware of the bag's death smell.

"There's been some newly discovered evidence that requires an investigation on both sides. We can't go further until this situation is resolved."
-- Judge Delucchi


August 9

DA Brazelton's "Trial of the Century" is deeply submerged under rumors of newly tested evidence, prosecutorial misconduct, sneaky defense tactics, the Richmond Police force, plastic tarps, duct tape and Dr. Henry Lee.

"I really don't care what people think of me as long as it continues to keep Laci's picture, description, tip line in the media. Make me the biggest villain if you want to, as long as it keeps her picture in the press."
-- Scott Peterson

Peterson West Goes Missing

August 6, 2004

Two and a half months into the highest high-profile murder case since the O.J. Simpson circus, Stanislaus County's slam-dunk Scott Peterson trial has suddenly vanished. Right before our very eyes... gone.

The press and cable news networks are buzzing with suspicious rumors about the probable guilt of the most likely person behind the strange disappearance.

CTV - Karas
CTV's Beth Karas gets into her work

CourtTV's Mute Button

August 5

Why have the gossip-giddy anchors at CourtTV, "the investigation channel," remained silent on the latest investigation in the Peterson case?

Stanislaus County's DA Brazelton says Scott Bernstein, a private investigator hired by CourtTV to snoop for exclusive scoops, is being charged with: five felony counts of impersonating an officer, four misdemeanor counts of fraudulent use of a badge, one misdemeanor count of fraudulently using identification, and one misdemeanor count of simulating an official inquiry.

Talking Heads

Although continually judging and jaw-boning about Scott Peterson's guilt, neither Lisa Bloom, Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsome nor Catherine Crier have muttered a single word about the guilt of their own Scott -- Scott Bernstein.

Well, the answer is obvious: the non-stop Talking Heads at CTV are pleading the 5th.


Judge Alfred Delucchi

DELUCCHI: "I'm getting sick of this. I've had it about up to here with these violations."
DISTASO: "Hold on, hold on..."
DELUCCHI: "Don't tell me to hold on! I'm about to impose some sanctions."

August 3

Judge Alfred Delucchi excused jurors and severely reprimanded Rick Distaso after learning he had failed to share evidence with the defense about witness #100, Lissa McElroy, who had just testified that when she tried to help the defendant select pictures of Laci Peterson for the press, Scott picked inappropriate photos.

On cross examination, it was revealed that no such photos could be located, but that the DA presented the witness anyway.

"I have no excuse," Distaso confessed.

Delucchi tore into the prosecutor in open court:
"There comes a point where I just lose my patience and this is that point. So, you can just sit down now and be quiet . . . Enough's enough . . . I've had it. This has been a constant refrain in this case. This is going to have to stop."

After the normally jovial judge finished screaming at DA Distaso, he called jurors back and instructed them to discount and strike Lissa McElroy's entire testimony.

"I had a dream last night that there was a jury rebellion. I hope it doesn't come to pass."
-- Judge Delucchi apologizing to jurors for repeated delays

recovery site

the other victim

August 3

If Scott Peterson killed his wife, Laci, "on or about and between December 23, 2002 and December 24, 2002" -- as the State maintains -- then he murdered her while she was 8 months pregnant and not due to deliver her baby until February 10. Putting religious debates aside, the medical and scientific implications of the State's contention lead to the reasonable conclusion that Laci Peterson's pregnancy was terminated as of December 24 and the person who was to be "Conner" never separated from his mother.

The evidence suggests otherwise.

Laci Peterson's December 23 check-up proves that Conner Peterson was about 31 weeks along, but when his body was recovered, he appeared to have been a full-term baby. Also, the corpse may have been subjected to human manipulation.

DA Distaso will need to approach Count II of the Peterson murder indictment with the solemn dignity that Baby Conner's situation demands. At the same time, Distaso will have to vigorously argue against the mountain of direct and circumstantial evidence that contradicts the state's theory of what happened to Conner Peterson.

Rushing past the reality of Baby Conner's autopsy, prosecutors apparently intend to call scientific and medical forensic experts who will introduce information to jurors about a rare phenomenon sometimes called "coffin birth" -- a spontaneous, postmortem separation through the birth canal. The defense team plans to have those same witnesses tell jurors there are many, many reasons for doubt. The State's experts will be forced to testify that, considering the condition of his remains, it's reasonable to conclude the baby could have advanced as far as 38 weeks -- which is to say, beyond the projected due date.

Reversing their traditional roles, while the Defense points to the facts, the State will insist the entire matter is a mystery and flatly argue that we have no way of knowing what happened to Conner Peterson, or why or how or when -- therefore, the notion of a Christmas Eve termination of pregnancy cannot be completely ruled out.

Assuming Laci Peterson was killed the same day she went missing -- the law can make no distinction between her and her unborn baby. What Laci suffered, Conner suffered. But other than Scott Peterson's lies and his perfect parking stub -- not one shred of proof will be presented to jurors that supports Count II of the State's indictment.

Plenty of evidence, including Baby Conner's age, indicates Laci Peterson was not murdered in her home on Christmas Eve, but rather, that she was lured out of her home and whisked away in a vehicle where she was transported to an unknown location and lived for weeks. Evidence, including the tape found knotted about Baby Conner's neck, suggests Laci Peterson and her baby were separately disposed of at the Bay, in separate locations, perhaps at separate times -- in late February and early March.

Ignoring the facts surrounding Baby Conner's journey from his Modesto home to Brooks Island, simply to support the prosecution's theory of his mother's death, is not justice. The DA's determination to try this case as a purely circumstantial double-murder, precludes any other prosecutor from using the discarded direct evidence in a separate trial for Conner Peterson.

Ronald Goldman
Nicole Simpson and
the other victim,
Ron Goldman


During the commission of the murder of Laci Denise Peterson, the defendant, with the knowledge that Laci Denise Peterson was pregnant did inflict injury on Laci Denise Peterson resulting in the termination of her pregnancy, a violation of Section 12022.9 (a) of the California Penal Code.


Being tried twice for the same offense;
prohibited by the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

"The Double Jeopardy Clause protects against three distinct abuses: [1] a second prosecution for the same offense after acquittal; [2] a second prosecution for the same offense after conviction; and [3] multiple punishments for the same offense."

U.S. v. Halper, 490 U.S. 435, 440 (1989)


Not one trace of murder could be found at any of the prosecutor's proposed five crime scene locations.

"Scott Peterson would be the last person to harm anyone."
-- Amy Rocha

"They never argued.
I remember one of her girlfriends said,
when the girls would get together they'd
complain about their husbands, but Laci never did.''
-- Brent Rocha

"Scott's just as worried as we are.
He is sick at heart about what has happened to Laci.
We're all looking for Laci. We all want her back."
-- Sharon Rocha

Before you may draw an inference of guilt:

  • that inference must be the only one that can fairly and reasonably be drawn from the facts
  • it must be consistent with the proven facts

  • it must flow naturally, reasonably, and logically from he facts

If there is a reasonable hypothesis from the proven facts consistent with the defendant's innocence, then you must find the defendant not guilty.

"Obviously Amber Frey is no longer telling us the truth in this
investigation. I suspect she may be disseminating information to
Scott Peterson concerning what law enforcement knows."
-- Detective Jacobson

"We believe these telephone conversations, if intercepted,
will show Scott Peterson's further involvement and possibly
the involvement of Amber Frey in Laci Peterson's disappearance."
-- Detective Jacobson

Friday, July 30, 2004

DA Disappointed

Distaso, Geragos
Distaso, Peterson, Delucchi

Delucchi Denies Defense Mistrial Motion #3

Forensic Fishing Expert


"You know, actions speak louder than words."

FREY: Why should I not go to the police with this?
PETERSON: It's your decision.

Jan. 6, 2003 Wiretap

FREY: Really?
PETERSON: Of course.
FREY: And at that point -- I go to the police with this... What do you see happening?
PETERSON: I imagine, that ...
FREY: Go ahead -- what?
PETERSON: Well, I mean, they would, you know, I don't know. I don't know if they would -- release it to the media or -- you know, obviously they would question you. They would want to know everything.

"What Role did I Play?"

"And you still have the audacity to call me sweetie right now? First, let's see, first Dave... My friend Dave lies to me about his wife and I cried to you and tell you about this.

And then you have the audacity to say how do you handle something like this. Are you kidding me? And to put me in the position -- and you want to protect me from the media?

Why did you involve me in this? What role did I play? How long were you looking for me, Scott? How long were you looking for me?"

The Swan

HENRY HIGGINS: Eliza, you are to stay here for the next six months, learning how to speak beautifully, like a lady in a florist shop. If you're good and do whatever you're told, you shall sleep in a proper bedroom, have lots to eat, and money to buy chocolates and take rides in taxis. But if you are naughty and idle, you shall sleep in the back kitchen amongst the black beetles... At the end of six months, you shall be taken to Buckingham Palace in a carriage, beautifully dressed.

-- My Fair Lady, Act One


I've Grown Accustomed to her Faces




The World According to Amber

In a letter to her father, Ron -- Amber Frey reveals how she sees her choices in life:

"You can choose to remain a virgin until your married -- and then never be asked, or you can have consensual sex and get pregnant."

Beyond the obvious absurdity of the statement, Frey's comments offer a frightening insight into her desperate world-view. She continues: "Then you have two choices -- terminate the pregnancy, or thank God for the blessing. I've chosen to give thanks for the two wonderful children I love very much."

Interestingly enough, when Modesto police demanded Amber Frey produce evidence to confirm her story of an affair with Scott Peterson, she turned over several
unused, wrapped condoms which she said were certain to have Peterson's fingerprints on them.

July 22

Anyone who's followed this case knows the State is hiding more evidence than it's showing.

Ingenious Internet detectives and obsessed Cyber-Sleuths have combed through and catalogued every incriminating item and damning bit of dialogue in this affair, and the list is endless. It may be taking the People months to prove their case, but a few hours on the Web is all any juror would need to find Scott Peterson guilty as hell.

More maddening to the message board prosecutors than the State's awkward introduction of evidence, is the State's withholding of evidence. Complaints are being lodged all over the World Wide Web.

Mr. Distaso's flailing campaign has turned his biggest fans into his boldest critics. Not surprisingly, the same feverish folks who dismiss the concept of "innocent until proven otherwise" as legalistic mumbo-jumbo, have now decided they don't need to wait for a closing argument to declare that DA Rick Distaso is GUILTY.

After months of making dire predictions about the miserable disaster PETERSON WEST was sure to be -- I must say, there's one thing about this mistrial of the century I never anticipated: the public tide of opinion turning so quickly and so sharply against the prosecutor bringing Laci Peterson's case.

Peterson nursery

American Echo
N a r c i s s u s

The widely-held and dearly clung to myth of Scott Peterson's "perfect" murder has always involved his boat and similar elements: the tarp, the anchors, the warehouse tools, the fishing web sites and the six or seven repeat visits to the San Francisco Bay -- simply to stare out at the water.

There is no evidence that these things were actually connected to the disappearance or death of Laci Peterson -- it's all pure conjecture -- but the nautical theme of the myth exactly recalls the instructive tale of the beautiful boy, Narcissus, whose one and only flaw was a fatal attraction to his own perfection.

Modesto's modern version of the Greek fable starts beyond the point of the narcissist's selfish rejection of his partner -- the lovely and selfless lady called, "Echo."

The Peterson plotline does not address the method or manner of Laci Peterson's death. Perhaps there was a brief confrontation, followed by suffocation or a drugged cup of tea, but the victim is still wearing the beige pants she had worn all evening when she is effortlessly and bloodlessly murdered between 10 PM and midnight.

The wholly unsubstantiated story of the next
12 hours of PETERSON WEST is so well known across the country, it rises to the level of contemporary folklore.

At around 1 AM, Peterson manages to get his wife's corpse out of the house, leaving only a scrunched up rug as evidence of his crime. He puts the corpse in his truck and, after stopping at his warehouse to get his
secret boat, drives to the Berkeley Marina.

He dumps and secures the body under the mud in the waters then returns to the warehouse to clean up any evidence.

Around 5 AM, Peterson goes home.

Peterson's alibi was to be light office work, golfing and shopping. He finished preparing the house for inspection and around 10 AM, packed things in his truck and went back to the warehouse.

Shortly before noon, Peterson for whatever reasons, decided to return to the scene of the crime. Perhaps he was compelled to take a second look at his perfectly hidden murder. At any rate, the narcissist immediately realized his mistake.

Peterson abandoned the secret boat idea and scrapped the golfing alibi. He got proof of his second trip to the Bay and purposely allowed himself to be seen in various places on the way back to his warehouse and Modesto home.

Tired, hungry, and overdosing on the narcotic of his own murder, Scott Peterson's myth ends with him drowning in his own paranoid mistakes and Freudian slips -- as he can't remember if he'd been golfing or fishing, whether he told his wife about his girlfriend or told his girlfriend his wife was dead, and can't explain why he had a gun in the cab of his truck or an overwhelming desire to do loads of laundry that day.

The media-inspired Modesto saga includes almost
no information about Laci Peterson except to say that her body "washed up" in the very place her husband claimed he went fishing, and that her unborn son's remains miraculously surfaced at the same time, in that same place -- the San Francisco Bay.

From Bulfinch's Mythology:

He pined away and died;
and when his shade passed the Stygian river,
it leaned over the boat to catch a look of itself
in the waters . . .

Detective Coyle

Modesto Police Detective Ray Coyle was forced to admit that at least 40 of the 300 registered sex offenders and parolees who lived near the Petersons' home were never contacted or located.

"As far as I'm concerned, I'm the only guy who I know for sure didn't do it."
-- Detective Coyle



: "Is that Detective Brocchini holding the anchor inside of the pitcher?"
Hendee: "Yes."
Geragos: "It was your understanding it was a perfect fit?"
Hendee: "Mistakenly so."
Geragos: "Why mistakenly?"
Hendee: "We sent the anchor out to a concrete expert who stated it was not made in the plastic pitcher."

(Detective Brocchini also wrote in a report that the anchor was a "perfect fit.")

Now You See It...

Stone Cold

July 17

Standing in front of the jury box, magic man, Mark Geragos dramatically dropped the five-pound anchor police had located in Peterson's boat into a plastic pitcher, which was recovered from the defendant's warehouse.

Detective Henry "Dodge" Hendee had earlier testified that the MPD believed they had found the water pitcher Scott Peterson used to mold cement anchors.


In an instant, the DA's concrete proof that Peterson made anchors to weigh down his wife's dead body, completely disappeared -- right before the juror's eyes.

The anchor was about half the height of the pitcher and much smaller in diameter.

Now, You Don't.

Heads Talking

If the anchors don't fit --

Geragos / Nancy Grace

You must acquit.

"Well, I think today they're in the best form that they have looked the entire trial."
-- Nancy Grace during a June 21 broadcast of CNN's "Larry King Live"

Larry King: "If you weren't there, what are you judging it on? ...transcripts?"

Nancy Grace: "I am judging it on reporters in the courtroom and what I believe the argument was by Mark Geragos."

Fairly Imbalanced

"I hope it's not Scott Peterson all over again."
-- Nancy Grace on July 22,
about the husband of a Utah woman who went missing on July 19


"Two days ago, the district attorney attempted to convince the court and the jury that the anchor fit the pitcher. They were clearly arguing that the anchor was made in the pitcher. Today, we learned not only that it doesn't fit, but the police and district attorney knew it didn't fit. . . . It borders on unethical conduct."

-- Jim Hammer

"Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams, this may be madness...and maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be."

Miguel de Cervantes

Geragos Runs Circles
Around the Prosecution

Detective Hendee noted that there were five circular rings in the cement dust identical to the base of a pitcher, indicating that there were four missing anchors that could have been used in the disposal of Laci Peterson's body.

Geragos: "I've got a sixth-grader -- that looks like a triangle to me."
Hendee: "If you look carefully ..."

(Prosecutor Harris objects)
Delucchi: "The jury can see it. They can draw their own conclusions."
Geragos: (pointing to various shapes) "Is this a circle? ... Is this?"
(Harris objects repeatedly)
Delucchi: "Sustained, sustained, sustained."
Geragos: "Ever go out into the fields where they have those circular patterns?"


Distaso and Harris


Miguel de Cervantes

At this point they came in sight of thirty or forty windmills there on the plain, and as soon as Don Quixote saw them he said to his squire, "Fortune is arranging matters for us better than we could have shaped our desires ourselves, for look there, friend Sancho Panza, where thirty or more monstrous giants present themselves, all of whom I mean to engage in battle and slay, and with whose spoils we shall begin to make our fortunes; for this is righteous warfare, and it is God's good service to sweep so evil a breed from off the face of the earth."

"What giants?" said Sancho Panza.

"Those thou seest there," answered his master, "with the long arms, and some have them nearly two leagues long."

"Look, your worship," said Sancho; "what we see there are not giants but windmills, and what seem to be their arms are the sails that turned by the wind make the millstone go."

"It is easy to see," replied Don Quixote, "that thou art not used to this business of adventures; those are giants; and if thou art afraid, away with thee out of this and betake thyself to prayer while I engage them in fierce and unequal combat."

Don Quixote

The Scott Peterson Investigation

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