12:04 p.m., PST: REDWOOD CITY -- Scott Peterson's attorney confronted a potential juror this morning who allegedly said she thinks the defendant is guilty and she would lie to get on a jury that would "give him his due."
The Redwood City woman, a retired government secretary, denied the accusations under oath during a spirited exchange with defense attorney Mark Geragos.
No potential jurors made the cut this morning for final selection in May, prompting the judge to declare, "My optimism just went down the toilet."
Regarding the woman, Geragos said a man overheard her while on a bus to Reno sponsored by the Redwood City Veterans Memorial Senior Center. The man phoned Geragos' office, he said.
The witness said the woman told others on the bus that she had "passed the first test" - a reference to jury questionnaires filled out by 1,000 people, only 317 of whom advanced to one-on-one questioning.
She said she would do her best to not appear biased, to become the jury forewoman and "get him" (Peterson), Geragos said.
Judge Alfred Delucchi arranged to have the witness tell his account May 10 and ordered the woman to return May 11.
The judge and attorneys on both sides spoke in hushed tones at one point, preventing reporters from hearing clearly. A prosecutor appeared to assure Geragos that investigators would not scare away the witness.
Delucchi said wryly, "Maybe when the person finds out he may be a witness, he may have a lapse of memory."
While no jurors qualified this morning to sit in judgment of Peterson, 11 were excused: questionnaires of eight showed bias, one would not be paid during an expected six-month absence from work, one would not consider a life-in-prison verdict if Peterson is found guilty of killing his family, and one had formulated a theory regarding Laci Peterson's death.
"She probably found out about (her husband's) affair, got mad (and he killed her)," the female juror said this morning.
Questioning resumes this afternoon.