Defense, prosecutors seek file on case in SF

July 4, 2003 

San Francisco police investigators in January gave information to Modesto officers about the unsolved murder of a pregnant woman whose body was found in San Francisco Bay, according to documents filed Thursday by Scott Peterson's defense attorneys.

San Francisco authorities have refused to turn over the case file to Peterson's defense team, which maintains that the information "directly relates to identifying the actual perpetrators in the abduction and killing of Laci Peterson and her unborn son."

Stanislaus County prosecutors also have requested the case file, according to the defense documents.

Chief Deputy District Attorney John Goold said he could not confirm that, citing a gag order in the Peterson case.

A hearing on the issue is scheduled for Wednesday.

Peterson, a 30-year-old fertilizer salesman, is accused of murdering his wife and their unborn child, who was to be named Conner. Peterson has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty if Peterson is convicted.

Defense attorneys want to see the case file in the death of Evelyn Hernandez, a 24-year-old single mother who disappeared in May 2002, with her 5-year-old son, Alex. Hernandez was eight months pregnant.

Her body was found July 24 in San Francisco Bay, along the

waterfront in San Francisco.

Laci Peterson was almost eight months pregnant when she was reported missing Dec. 24. Her body and that of her unborn son were found in mid-April along the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay.

The San Francisco city attorney's office is seeking to have a judge throw out a defense subpoena for the Hernandez file, arguing that the material is confidential and part of an ongoing investigation.

"I do not believe that there is any information in the file that could link the death of Ms. Hernandez with the death of Laci Peterson," San Francisco police Investigator Holly Pera wrote in an affidavit.

But Thursday's defense filing maintains that the documents are not privileged because, among other things, they have been provided to Modesto police.

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

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