Service set for Laci, son

April 29, 2003 

Family members are planning a public memorial service Sunday for Laci Peterson and her unborn son, Conner, a spokeswoman said Monday.

Sunday would have been Laci Peterson's 28th birthday.

At the same time, attorneys representing Scott Peterson, who has been charged with the murders, started poring over about 1,000 pages of documents turned over by prosecutors.

The memorial is tentatively scheduled for 3 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Modesto, said Kim Petersen, a fam-ily spokeswoman.

Church officials plan to meet with family members today to work out details of the service, said Paul Zeek, executive pastor at the church.

"We've been praying for all involved," Zeek said. "We wanted the family to know that our facilities would be available to them."

The church, at 12th and M streets in Modesto, can hold about 1,900 people in its main worship hall.

Also available, if needed, to watch the service on closed circuit television are two rooms that can hold 800 and 400 people respectively, Zeek said.

The service likely will include a video tribute to Laci Peterson, who was eight months pregnant when she was reported missing Christmas Eve, he added.

Earlier this month, people walking along the rocky eastern shoreline of San Francisco Bay found the decomposed remains of Laci Peterson and her unborn son a day apart.

The remains are still being held at the Contra Costa County coroner's office, a spokesman said Monday.

Scott Peterson, 30, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder. A bail hearing is set for

May 6 -- two days after the memorial service.

His parents have proclaimed their son's innocence and maintain that the police bungled the investigation.

They did not return calls Monday.

It also was unclear if Scott Peterson would attend the service.

Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department spokesman Kelly Huston said he did not know if Peterson had requested to go to the memorial. He said jail officials do consider requests by prisoners to attend funerals and memorial services.

"It's on a case-by-case basis," Huston said. "It all depends on the request and the circum- stances surrounding the request. The security of the inmate is our top priority."

The decision whether to allow an inmate to attend is usually made by the jail commander, Huston said. Sheriff Les Weidman has the final say.

As Laci Peterson's family was preparing for the memorial Monday, attorneys at the public defender's office were looking at documents in the case, Public Defender Tim Bazar said.

The documents, the first wave of police reports turned over by prosecutors, were given to Deputy Public Defenders Kent Faulkner and Maureen Keller on Friday.

"We're still gathering all the reports," Chief Deputy District Attorney John Goold said. "There's several thousand pages at least. Anybody who's involved writes a report, no matter what they did. If they made an observation that turns out to be nothing, they write a report."

Bee staff writer John Coté can be reached at 578-2394 or jcote@modbee.com.


* THE PETERSON FILE

Monday's developments

MEMORIAL PLANNED -- Laci Peterson's family announced that a memorial service for Laci and her unborn son, Conner, is planned for Sunday in Modesto. That day would have been Laci's 28th birthday.

DISCOVERY BEGINS -- Attorneys Kent Faulkner and Maureen Keller at the public defender's office received the first wave of documents in the case Friday. Monday they were poring over about 1,000 pages of police reports turned over to them.

Upcoming

MAY 6, BAIL HEARING -- A judge must weigh many factors in deciding if Scott Peterson can be released on bail. Granting bail is uncommon in capital murder cases.

MAY 19, PRELIMINARY HEARING CONFERENCE: -- This is a meeting held before the preliminary hearing. At the hearing, a judge will determine if there is enough evidence to hold Scott Peterson for trial.

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