'An evil murderer'

Scott Peterson was formally sentenced to death Wednesday -- a scene marked by bitter words from his murdered wife's family and an angry exit from court by his parents

March 17, 2005 

  • Scott Peterson has been sentenced to die by injection, but years or even decades of appeals may pass before he is executed.

    In the meantime, the convicted murderer will endure a grim life trapped behind the huge concrete walls of San Quentin State Prison, on the edge of San Francisco Bay in Marin County.

    "It's a difficult environment," said Fred Renfroe, an attorney with the Habeas Corpus Resource Center in San Francisco. "They live in 6 (foot) by 10 (foot) cells, single-celled. It's crowded. It's loud."

    Peterson joins 643 men and women who have been sentenced to death in California, including 29 men from the San Joaquin Valley and nearby foothills.

    His conviction will be automatically appealed, at the taxpayers' expense, but Peterson may have a long wait before the California Supreme Court appoints an attorney.

    More than 120 death-row inmates are waiting for court appointed attorneys, Renfroe said, because there aren't enough qualified attorneys who want to take the cases.

    Peterson cannot waive his initial appeal, in which an attorney will pick through the trial record, looking for evidence that the 32-year-old former fertilizer salesman was denied his constitutional rights.

    Second appeal open

    A second appeal is optional. If the high court affirms his guilty verdict and death sentence, Peterson can file a habeas corpus petition, asking the court to consider facts outside the trial record.

    If the high court rejects his appeals, Peterson can take his case to the U.S. District Court in Fresno, then the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, then the U.S. Supreme Court.

    As a result, appeals can take decades.

    Douglas Ray Stankewitz, who kidnapped and shot a 21-year-old Modesto woman in a Kmart parking lot, has been on death row since Oct. 13, 1978.

    Blufford Hayes Jr., who stabbed a Stockton motel mana-ger 22 times to steal $50, has been on death row since Jan. 22, 1982.

    Keith Adcox, who shot a Mi-Wuk fisherman for $20 during a camping trip along the north fork of the Merced River, has been on death row since July 13, 1983.

    Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1978, 11 people have been executed in California. The first of those executions occurred in 1992. A 12th inmate had dual convictions in California and Missouri and was extradited to Missouri for execution there in 1999.

    The average length of stay on death row for those inmates was 16 years, one month, according to data from the California Department of Corrections.

    Opponents like slow process

    Critics of capital punishment applaud the lengthy appeals, saying they help ensure that the state does not make an irrever-sible error.

    "This is how we discover that somebody has been wrongfully convicted," said Stefanie Faucher, program director of San Francisco-based Death Penalty Focus.

    She said 119 inmates who were wrongly convicted have been released from prisons across the nation since 1976, including six in California.

    Two of those people — Jerry Bigelow and Troy Lee Jones — were from Merced.

    Bigelow was sent to death row in 1981, after a jury convicted him of kidnapping and murdering a Merced College official. The state Supreme Court ordered a new trial, due to errors.

    A second jury said Bigelow was guilty of kidnapping and robbing the college official, but believed an accomplice shot the man.

    The court said the split verdict amounted to an acquittal.

    The court said Jones deserved a new trial because he did not have adequate representation when a jury convicted him of murdering his girlfriend to keep her from implicating him in another murder.

    Prosecutors dropped the charges, saying they no longer had evidence to retry the case.

    Another inmate, Jesse Cianez Hernandez, is awaiting a new death penalty trial in Stanislaus County. Hernandez was convicted of murder and sentenced to die for killing a woman in Grayson. The court affirmed the jury verdict but reversed the sentence, citing errors on the part of prosecutors.

    Linda Carter, a professor at the University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, said there will be appealable issues in the highprofile Peterson case.

    "In any case, there are issues to raise on appeal, legitimate issues to raise on appeal," she said. "No trial is perfect."

    Bee staff writer Susan Herendeen can be reached at 578-2338 or sherendeen@modbee.com.

  • REDWOOD CITY — The scene outside the San Mateo County Courthouse on Wednesday was a shadow of the frenzied atmosphere that surrounded the jury's sentencing three months ago, when the crowd cheered and wailed as onlookers learned Scott Peterson would be put to death.

    This time, the few people who came showed little emotion as they learned that Judge Alfred Delucchi would not overturn the jury's decision.

    It was a subdued epilogue for an emotional case that began on Christmas Eve 2002, when a pregnant Laci Peterson was reported missing in Modesto.

    "What's left to say?" asked Gayle Church, 58, a Redwood City woman whose curios-ity drew her to the courthouse.

    Lori Rivas of San Carlos said she had similar feelings: "He did it. He's guilty. He's going to die. Let's try and move on."

    As the television trucks packed up, many of them bound for the Michael Jackson trial in Santa Barbara, Redwood City residents expressed relief that their time in the spotlight had passed.

    Alicia Hamilton, 41, said she won't miss navigating the media corral that obstructed her walk to court. Richard Williams, 36, said he won't mourn not having to spend 30 minutes looking for a parking spot. And one San Mateo County worker said she won't miss getting stampeded by cameramen in pursuit of footage.

    Although the San Mateo County Tourism and Convention and Visitors Bureau speculated that hosting an internationally covered trial would provide an economic boon, that didn't pan out, said Malcolm Smith, Redwood City's public information officer.

    Downtown business owners said the media presence kept regular customers away. And since few who covered the trial actually stayed in Redwood City, hotels didn't reap much benefit.

    For its part, Redwood City shelled out about $150,000 for security, street closures, police overtime and other costs but only got about $50,000 in return through increased parking fees, Smith said.

    He said Redwood City and San Mateo County were proud to fulfill their duty to justice. But, "I think most people are happy the spotlight will turn elsewhere and we'll be able to get back to business as usual."

    While it lasted, the trial provided drama inside and outside the courtroom. The scene drew opponents of the death penalty, flower vendors, trial obsessives and a man with a picket sign claiming the existence of 12 galaxies.

    Ginger Hood-Akers, 49, a Redwood City nurse on medical disability, said she started attending the trial for "noble reasons" like wanting to inform the Rocha family that everyone in her church was praying for them.

    As she befriended other "regulars," attending the Peterson trial became a social event. Her newly formed clique chatted about the trial over lunch, dinner and e-mails, she said.

    "I'll miss some of the people; some I'll keep in touch with," Hood-Akers said. "We had the same interest and a common bond. It was kind of like taking a class together."

    Trial observers weren't always in agreement.

    "I didn't like people cheering and clapping on the penalty day," said Hood-Akers. "This is not a football game. This is a sad occasion."

    Helga Mees, 60, a Woodside woman who helps her husband restore old speedometers for a living, said she was lucky enough to sit in on the trial 25 times.

    "It's closure for us," Mees said of Wednesday's sentencing, "but it will never be closure for the family. I just keep thinking about how much Sharon Rocha will miss Laci and she'll never see her grandson, ever."

    She described Wednesday's outcome as "stressful, sad and emotionally draining."

    Leslie Jones, 51, a Redwood City nurse and friend of Mees, agreed that justice was served.

    "He doesn't deserve to live. He deserves to die. He showed no emotion," Jones said of Peterson. "He doesn't regret what he did. He just sits there stoic, he doesn't cry. He's an undiagnosed sociopath."

    Church said she was glad the trial was over. She said the murders were "very tragic," but the attention they received, especially on television, served as a distraction from more pressing issues.

    "I empathize with these families," said Church, who said she came to the courthouse just to see what was going on. "It's just you wonder why we have to know everything about a case when there are so many other things going on in the world — things that we could do something about."

    Bee staff writer Todd Milbourn can be reached at 578-2339 or tmilbourn@modbee.com.

    Bee staff writer Julissa McKinnon contributed to this report.

  • Modesto residents interviewed Wednesday after a judge affirmed Scott Peterson's death sentence expressed no shock or indignation.

    Most said Judge Alfred Delucchi simply supported what they thought was right: For killing his wife and unborn child, Peterson deserves to die.

    "You play, you pay," said Efrem Martinez as he drank an afternoon coffee at the Queen Bean coffee shop. "I think that justice was served."

    Almost every person who talked to The Bee made similar statements. They believed Peterson was guilty.

    "I feel like he got what he deserved," said Kris Perry, a cook at P. Wexford's Pub. "He wasted a lot of time and taxpayer money, so I'm glad this is done with."

    Andrew Kalbanos, a customer at that restaurant, summed up his reaction in one word: "Cool."

    A few were upset only because Peterson probably won't be executed for years or even decades, if ever.

    "Give the guy his appeals, but don't stretch this out over 20 years," Gary Parham said as he ate lunch at Meal On A Bun. "We have two victims in this case who will never see another day. Take him out as soon as possible."

    Fiona Macpherson didn't watch or listen to live news feeds of the sentencing Wednesday, though she followed the case closely for more than a year.

    "I would have tuned in live, but I was at work," she said. "But I'm not surprised by the death sentence."

    Hair stylist Rachel Arviso heard live reports of the decision, but only because a nearby radio was tuned in to a news station, she said. She was pleased with the sentence.

    Arviso admitted she had a small bias. She works at Richard's Beauty Salon, next to Village Yoga Center in McHenry Village. Laci Peterson attended classes at the Yoga Center a few months before she was killed.

    "I saw her go up and down the stairs for the yoga center and remember how beautiful she was," Arviso said. "The sooner they execute him, the better."

    Her customer, Mel Sargent of Modesto, believes Peterson probably won't survive long enough to make it to an official execution date.

    "I hear he probably will have a rough time in prison," she said. "But I think that's normal for anyone convicted of killing women and babies."

    Modesto resident Bridget Ludy said she was convinced for some time that Peterson was guilty. She cited the tape recordings of him talking to girlfriend Amber Frey, his inconsistent stories about where he was the day his wife was reported missing and his public demeanor. Together, she said, they pointed to guilt.

    As a result, she was pleased to hear he was sentenced to death.

    "It's too bad he didn't know he had a good thing going," Ludy said. "But I also think it's sad for both his and her family and for everyone else around."

    Bee staff writer Patrick Giblin can be reached at 578-2347 or pgiblin@modbee.com.

  • TURLOCK — It probably is the most famous case to pass through the Stanislaus County court system, but retired Judge Al Girolami doesn't have anything to say about the trial of Scott Peterson.

    "I don't know any more about it than what you see in the newspapers," he told members of the Turlock Historical Society Tuesday night. "Most of what happened in Stanislaus County happened in open court."

    After the meeting, where he recounted highlights of nearly 150 years of court history, the judge said he had no comment on the Peterson trial.

    "As I judge, I'm prohibited from talking about an active case," he said the night before Peterson would be sentenced to death. "And this case will remain active for a very long time."

    Appointed to the bench by Gov. Deukmejian in 1984, Girolami retired Jan. 31. He said he's not like some judges who retire only to return to the courts on a fill-in basis.

    "I haven't worked for a while now and I don't miss it," he said. At 63, Girolami said he has filled his days and nights with many of the activities he didn't have time for as a judge.

    He's more active in Rotary, Sons of Italy and volunteer work. He skis. He works on cars. He enjoys woodworking.

    A new member of the Tuolumne River Woodworkers Association, he has carved rocking chairs for his grandchildren, a butcher-block table and a walnut holder for wine glasses.

    He also is a bit of a judicial history buff. Throughout the state's history, he noted, California has had colorful jurists engaging in scandalous and illegal acts — but Stanislaus County's judges have been a hard-working, focused group.

    He admires the tenure of Judge Loren W. Ful-kerth, who served as a judge from 1902-34, the longest in the county.

    Nowadays, most judges get to the bench on appointments by the governor, he said. In the earlier days, almost all judges first came on board when they were elected. H.W. Wallis became the county's first judge after he was elected in 1854.

    During the years, more judges have been added and now there are 17 serving in the county, presiding over matters from the mundane to the momentous.

    "Judges handle anything from traffic to (a) death penalty case — from small claims to $2 million claims," he said.

    Girolami presided over 500 jury trials, the longest a marathon session that lasted 57 days in court. "That gets a little stale after awhile," he said.

    Another memorable case was a lawsuit over a head-on auto accident. The family of the man who was killed sued the surviving driver.

    "It was a battle of the experts," he said, because the evidence indicated that the victim was actually across the center line when the vehicles collided.

    The experts contended that the other driver drifted across first, and the man was trying to avoid a collision. The jury awarded the victim's family $9 million.

    "I felt that was a little high," he said, "so I cut it to $6 million."

    The Court of Appeal disagreed with Girolami and reinstated the $9 million verdict.

    Before the case went to trial, the judge said, "The defendant could have settled for $300,000."

    Bee staff writer Mike Conway can be reached at 667-1227 or mconway@modbee.com.

  • REDWOOD CITY — Her voice became more intense, her contempt and hatred building with each word.

    Sharon Rocha looked into the eyes of the man who murdered her daughter and unborn grandson. She glared at the man who gutted her heart, who deprived her of being able to hold her baby's baby.

    Scott Peterson appeared to stare back, but you never know with that guy. Throughout the trial, he seemed to look at the prosecutors, witnesses, judge and jury as if it were all happening to someone else.

    This was perhaps Rocha's last chance to speak her mind, to tell Peterson exactly what she thought of him and to try to crash through the dull gaze he wore so routinely.

    Peterson will go to San Quentin's death row within the next 10 days, if he isn't already there. He'll rot in prison until he dies by injection or a successful appeal gives him the new trial Judge Al Delucchi would not.

    So Rocha, as did several other family members, walked to the lectern Wednesday to show Peterson the anguish and hurt he's caused, to paint a picture of the lives he's destroyed — including his own.

    "I entrusted him with her," she told the audience before locking in on Peterson. The rest of her comments were more like a private conversation, except that they took place at the sentencing in a death penalty case. She spoke directly to Peterson, and to him alone.

    "You made a conscious decision," she told him. "You planned and executed this murder. … You decided to throw Laci and Conner away."

    Peterson said nothing, acting more as if he were listening to the keynote speaker at a fertilizer convention than the mother of the woman and grandmother of the son he killed.

    Over the next few minutes, Rocha called him spoiled, self-centered and a coward.

    "Above all, you're a murderer," she said, her voice growing in volume and rage.

    "I trusted you," Rocha said. "You betrayed me. You betrayed her. You betrayed everyone. I know you're nothing but an empty, hollow shell. No heart, no soul, no remorse."

    And no emotion. Peterson just stared in her direction. She tried everything she could to elicit a response, and he just stared.

    "Did she know you were going to kill her?" Rocha asked.

    No reaction.

    "Was she alive when you threw her in the bay?"


    "It's time for you to take responsibility for murdering Laci and Conner, your own flesh and blood. You need to be put to death as soon as possible."


    She couldn't shock him into a blink.

    "For a time," she told him, "I couldn't look at (Laci's) pictures. I had to convince myself to see her body how it was — not as it is."

    And still nothing.

    Rocha then besieged him with questions that left many onlookers dabbing their eyes. She asked him about Laci and the horrific shock and fear the young mother-to-be must have endured as she realized her husband was going to kill her.

    Did Laci say, "Scott, I want to live. I don't want to die?" Rocha asked.

    He didn't flinch.

    Did he hear the voice of Conner saying, "Daddy, please don't kill us! Daddy, why are you killing us? Please … stop. We don't want to die," Rocha pleaded.

    Nothing. No reaction whatsoever.

    Not that she really could have expected one — not after he turned away so quickly from her family after Laci Peterson disappeared Christmas Eve 2002. Not after he called his girlfriend just before a candlelight vigil in Modesto, telling her he was in Paris as others were out looking for his pregnant wife.

    Not after he went to Southern California to hand out fliers about the missing woman he'd already killed.

    And not after sitting in court day after day, month after month, expressionless or worse yet, smiling.

    No, Sharon Rocha, her family and many of Laci's friends realized long ago — within weeks of Laci's disappearance — that the man Laci thought was so right for her was so horribly wrong.

    Rocha probably didn't expect anything more than she got from Peterson. Stares. Blank stares. No tears, no words, no denial, no nothing.

    So the last words, like all the others in their one-sided conversation, belonged to the mother whose grief will outlive the man who killed her daughter and grandchild.

    "Scott," she said. "You deserve to burn in hell."

    He didn't argue.

    Bee local columnist Jeff Jardine can be reached at 578-2383 or jjardine@modbee.com.

  • Excerpts of courtroom statements by Laci Peterson's family members to Scott Peterson:

    "I know you're nothing but an empty, hard shell. You have no love, no feelings, no compassion. You have no soul and no remorse. I never met my grandson. I wonder what color his hair would be, what color his eyes would be. Would he have (Laci's) long, dark eyelashes? Would he have her dimples? What kind of person would he be?"

    — Sharon Rocha, mother

    "You are truly a loser. You lost your golf scholarship, you ruined your marriage, you spent all the money your parents gave you and the business you opened failed. You should take a look at why. Everything was handed to you. The anger you displayed to Laci and to Conner wasn't their fault, but your own."

    — Brent Rocha, brother

    "(Conner) was your blood. He could have brought you love so great you could never imagine. Now you have to be held accountable."

    — Rose Rocha, sister-in-law

    "You have broken my heart and the whole family's heart. You're a selfish and evil person. You put the whole family through hell. You are a sick person with no heart. The only comfort I have is knowing you will suffer."

    — Amy Rocha, sister

    "You're in love with yourself, that's your problem. You are going to burn in hell for this. You're not going to lie to God."

    — Dennis Rocha, father

    "How can your family look at you and say you're such a great kid? Something is wrong with you and your family because that is not right. You're a lying chicken s--- and that's it."

    — Ron Grantski, stepfather

    Comment by Peterson's parents from the courtroom:

    "What a liar!"

    — Lee Peterson, Scott Peterson's father, yelling at Brent Rocha from the audience before Judge Alfred Delucchi admonished him and he left court

    Other comments from the courtroom:

    "The murders were cruel, uncaring, heartless and callous."

    — Delucchi

    "It is hereby ordered, for the offense of the murders of Laci Denise Peterson and Baby Conner, that the defendant Scott Lee Peterson shall be put to death."

    — Delucchi

    Comments from outside the courthouse:

    "I spoke the night of the (Dec. 31, 2002) vigil, and Dennis (Rocha) said, 'Where do you think Scott is? I'm telling you, he did something.' Dennis knew it right away. The next day, he came to our house and said, 'He did something. He won't look me in the eye, he won't talk to me.' He firmly believed something had happened."

    — Addie Hansberry, a Rocha relative from Oakdale and godmother to Brent Rocha

    "At the vigil I told Scott, 'If you need a place to go to get away from the media, you can come to our place.' I'm damned glad he never took us up on it."

    — Don Hansberry, a Rocha relative from Oakdale

    "(Lee and Jackie Peterson) have as much right to speak because they are derivative victims of this, too. Their daughter-in-law and grandson are gone. And they are completely heartbroken because they feel the system failed their son. You have to understand these people in their heart of hearts feel their son is not guilty."

    — Paula Canny, legal analyst

    "(I came) to finish it. After 7½ months, this group has formed a strong bond."

    — Fairy Sorrell, juror

    "It's the end of this process, but it's the beginning of a long process for us (jurors). We just sentenced a man to death; you think we can be normal now?"

    — Richelle Nice, juror

    "Our family is going to make it. We're stronger because of this, and Scott got what he deserved. … I can't speak for the Petersons. Who can?"

    — Ron Grantski

    "The defendant's crime is horrific and it is difficult to comprehend the full viciousness of his actions. Unlike many victims of domestic homicide, Laci Peterson had no reason to suspect that her husband would kill her since the couple had no history of violence or known marital problems. This was a calculated, cold-blooded act of violence, which was planned and carried out in a method devised to avoid detection."

    — deputy probation officer Rosalia A. Carpio, in a report released Wednesday

    Comments from elsewhere:

    "If anybody deserves to die, Scott does. There's a time people need to be put to death. If it's your family member, I can't believe you'd want anything but the death penalty."

    — Ron Frey, father of Amber Frey, Peterson's former girlfriend

REDWOOD CITY — A judge affirmed Scott Peterson's death sentence Wednesday, moments after his victims' heartbroken yet furious family members denounced him with pained and poignant curses.

The 32-year-old Modesto man, dressed in a dark suit but with his wrists shackled to a belly chain, showed no emotion other than to slightly shake his head from side to side as his mother-in-law called him "a coward," "an evil murderer" and "a baby killer."

"You deserve to burn in hell for all eternity," Sharon Rocha, wracked with sobs, thundered at the unruffled defendant. The man she entrusted her daughter to when they married eight years ago no longer exists, Rocha said.

Judge Alfred Delucchi invited Scott Peterson to speak. After conferring with his defense team, Los Angeles attorney Mark Geragos declined on Peterson's behalf.

Ten jurors who condemned Peterson to death, and two alternate jurors, attended Wednesday out of curiosity and in search of closure. Some praised the dramatic family statements.

Delucchi rejected a last-minute bid for a new trial by Peterson's lawyers, saying jurors acted within the law and came to the right conclusion. The judge said Peterson will be transferred to California's death row at San Quentin Prison within 10 days.

His parents, Lee and Jackie Peterson, did not hear many of the comments from Laci Peterson's family. Soon after the first — Laci's brother, Brent Rocha — launched into a scathing rebuke, Lee Peterson blurted from the gallery, "You're a liar." The judge sternly cautioned all members of the audience, after which Lee Peterson stalked from the room. His wife followed minutes later, and neither returned to hear Delucchi formally sentence their son to die for his crimes.

The two went to a cafe in the courthouse basement and refused to speak with The Bee.

The elder Petersons wouldn't have been allowed to plead for their son's life even if they had stayed. Statements at formal sentencings are reserved for members of victims' families.

Delucchi declined Geragos' request to let his client's parents speak as grandparents of the murdered Conner Peterson.

Scott Peterson murdered his 27-year-old pregnant wife and unborn son just before Christmas 2002 and dumped her body from a newly purchased boat into San Francisco Bay. He played golf and continued trying to romance his girlfriend as thousands scoured the bay, lakes and the countryside looking for Laci Peterson.

Jurors didn't believe her husband's fishing alibi or theory that someone put her body in the bay to frame him. They found him guilty Nov. 12, and decreed a death sentence Dec. 13.

"He's a jerk," juror Richelle Nice said outside the courthouse. "I think his reaction was horrible. Her family members were speaking to him and he couldn't even make eye contact. Justice won't be served till they put the needle in his arm."

Legal analyst Paula Canny said automatic appeals for death sentences all but guarantee more than a decade of waiting for the conclusion of the Peterson saga.

'He betrayed a trust,' judge says

In his ruling, Delucchi acknowledged that Peterson had no criminal past, has "aboveaverage intelligence," comes from "a caring family" and appeared to be a productive member of society. But he agreed with jurors that nothing positive in the defendant's persona overcomes the gravity of his crimes.

"The murders were cruel, uncaring, heartless and callous," Delucchi said, his voice wavering ever so slightly. "He betrayed a trust between the defendant and his wife, Laci, who was bearing his baby. … Baby Conner was not even permitted to take a breath on this Earth."

All eyes in the crowded courtroom were riveted on Sharon Rocha as she role-played her daughter's envisioned reaction to an attack by the man who should have protected her.

"Scott, why are you killing me?" Rocha sobbed, putting herself in her daughter's place. "You know how much I love you. I trusted you, believed in you and you promised to take care of me. You're my partner, my best friend. I want to live."

With several family members and Laci Peterson's close friends breaking down in tears, Rocha pushed on, assuming the role of her tiny grandson.

"Daddy, why are you killing Mommy and me? Let us live long enough and I know you'll love me, too. Let me live and I promise I won't take her away from you. Daddy, please, please stop. We don't want to die."

Brother-in-law bought a gun

The heart-rending effusion capped others delivered by Laci Peterson's closest family members.

Brent Rocha called his brother-in-law "just a spoiled child living a delusional life," and said he suspected his guilt by Jan. 4, 2003. At that point, Rocha said, he bought a gun.

"I chose not to kill you myself for one reason, so you'd have to sweat it out," he said.

Brent Rocha reminded the crowd that no skull was found with his sister's remains. Also missing were her hands and lower legs, which authorities said were probably weighed down with Scott Peterson's homemade concrete anchors.

"Every time I go to the Bay Area, I think, 'Oh, my sister's head is probably floating around in the bay,'" he said.

His distraught father, Dennis Rocha, drew a warning from the judge when he used a vulgarity.

"Dennis is just the saddest person," juror Julie Zanartu said after the proceeding. "I feel so sorry for him."

Renee Garza said after the hearing that she and other close friends of Laci Peterson had braced for the family's painful, public statements.

"I knew it was coming," Garza said. "I knew their words were going to be tough." She added, "I have no comment about Scott."

His former girlfriend, Fresno massage therapist Amber Frey, was busy Wednesday giving TV interviews, said Gloria Allred, her attorney. Of Frey, Allred said, "I'm sure it's somewhat painful for her.

"I don't think any of us wants to trade places with Scott Peterson, where every day he'll have to think about how he killed his wife and baby," Allred said.

Now that the trial is over, she said, Frey likely will turn her attention to "being a great mother" and contributing to a CBS television movie about the case.

Geragos had served Allred with a subpoena to testify Wednesday, but Delucchi rejected it because information Geragos wanted revealed could violate attorney-client privilege.

'Scott got what he deserved'

Much of the buzz outside the courthouse revolved around the family's passionate statements.

Alternate juror Mike Church, who became opposed to the death penalty in the course of the trial, said he wasn't quite prepared for the intensity.

"It was more emotional than I thought it would be," Church said. "That was pretty emotional stuff."

Gwen Kemple said she was proud of the way her cousin, Sharon Rocha, handled herself at an unbelievably stressful moment.

"You bet, anybody would be (proud)," Kemple said. "She did a wonderful job. This was a long time coming."

One juror said the panelists are thinking about writing a book together. Others questioned whether attending Wednesday's formal sentencing will bring the closure they sought.

"I'm glad it's over," said juror Tom Marino. He paused and asked, "Is it over? It's over for me."

Outside the courthouse, Sharon Rocha's longtime companion, Ron Grantski, told reporters: "Our family's going to make it. We're stronger because of this. And Scott got what he deserved."

Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at 578-2390 or gstapley@modbee.com.

Bee staff writers Julissa McKinnon and Jeff Jardine contributed to this report.

Modesto Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service