The case of Scott Peterson, convicted of murdering his pregnant wife, Laci Peterson, has been taken up by the Los Angeles Innocence Project.
The nonprofit organization, dedicated to representing individuals convicted of crimes seeking to demonstrate their innocence, is actively pursuing new evidence pertaining to Peterson’s initial trial, according to information reported by ABC News.
The Los Angeles Innocence Project (LAIP) has confirmed its representation of Scott Peterson and is currently examining his assertion of actual innocence.
Eight months pregnant with their son, Conner, Laci Peterson, 27, was killed in December 2002, five years into her marriage with Scott Peterson. In 2004, Peterson was convicted of murder and received the death penalty, a sentence overturned by the California Supreme Court in 2020. Subsequently, in 2021, he was resentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In April 2023, Peterson initiated a petition to appear before a judge, citing juror misconduct and asserting the existence of “new evidence” that could substantiate his innocence, as per details presented in a motion filed on Wednesday and acquired by NBC Bay Area.
New materials to substantiate his innocence in the case are being sought by Peterson and the Los Angeles Innocence Project, with the intention of presenting them in court to potentially overturn his conviction, as outlined in the filing.
Scott Peterson was accused by prosecutors of disposing of his wife’s body in Berkeley Marina on Christmas Eve of that year, attempting to conceal the crime and create the impression of her disappearance, according to online court records. Peterson’s defense contended that his wife was murdered after encountering a burglary.
Efforts were made by his legal team to secure a new trial, asserting that a juror, Richelle Nice, concealed information and was untruthful about her personal life.
Accused of “prejudicial misconduct,” she was alleged to have failed in disclosing that she had been a victim of domestic violence and had sought a restraining order in 2000 due to concerns that her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend might harm her unborn baby.
Nice, who collaborated on a book about the case with fellow jurors, previously refuted claims that her personal experiences influenced her during the trial.
According to court documents, several of her responses in a juror questionnaire were deemed “false in certain respects,” but it was stated that her answers were not “motivated by pre-existing or improper bias against Peterson” and were attributed to a “combination of good faith misunderstanding of the questions and sloppiness in answering.”
Peterson’s request for a new trial was rejected in 2022.
In a statement issued later on Thursday, the LA Innocence Project, which offers pro bono legal services to individuals incarcerated in Central and Southern California with potential wrongful convictions, announced that Scott Peterson is under their representation, and they are “investigating his claim of actual innocence.”
“At this time, we have no further comment,” the organization stated.
Mike Belmessieri, a juror in Scott Peterson’s trial, expressed to ABC News on Thursday that he reflects on the case every day. He voiced support for the LA Innocence Project’s examination of the case, stating, “If they think they’re going to find something different that sheds light on something new, I fully support it.”