Attorney for Scott Peterson asking for death penalty to be dropped

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- More than 15 years after Scott Peterson was convicted for the murders of his wife Laci and their unborn son Conner, his attorney asked that his conviction and death penalty sentence be thrown out.

Laci Peterson's 2002 Christmas Eve murder drew national attention.

During an appeal before the California Supreme Court, Scott Peterson's attorney argued the trial should have been moved out of San Mateo County due to prejudicial publicity.

The trial initially was moved from Modesto to Redwood City.

Cliff Gardner explained, "The pre-judgment rate in Los Angeles and some of the larger counties was significantly lower than Stanislaus, where the case was originally set."

Oral arguments were conducted by video conference due to the pandemic. The state countered there was no evidence another change of venue was needed.

Supervising Deputy Attorney General Donna Provenzano said, "As the trial judge said here, the only place where this case could have gone where no one would have heard about it was Mars."

Gardner also claimed prospective jurors were improperly discharged because they were opposed to the death penalty.

He said, "And that removes a voice, a perspective of jury deliberations that I believe is essential to a reliable result."

Provenzano dismissed that argument. She said, "The prosecution marshaled and presented a mountain of evidence the pointed the finger of guilt squarely at Scott Peterson."

The California Supreme Court has 90 days to issue an opinion on the appeal.

The 47-year-old Peterson did not appear. He was convicted in November of 2004 and is on death row at San Quentin State Prison.
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