2:07 p.m., PDT: REDWOOD CITY - Two days after lying to conceal his marital status from his girlfriend in December 2002, Scott Peterson researched wind and tide information on his computer, prosecutor Rick Distaso said this morning.
The next day, Peterson bought a fishing boat, Distaso added.
Less than two weeks later, Peterson’s pregnant wife, Laci, was reported missing. Her badly decomposed body was recovered from the shoreline of San Francisco Bay almost four months later - two miles from where authorities believe he launched the boat to dump his wife’s body.
In today’s opening statement, Distaso painted a picture of a man coolly plotting to rid himself of his wife while cavorting with Amber Frey of Fresno. Peterson and Frey spent the night of their first date - Nov. 20, 2002 - at the Fresno Radisson Hotel, Distaso said.
On another three-day stretch the same year, Dec. 2-4, Scott Peterson worked in Fresno during the day and spent nights at Frey’s home with her and her toddler daughter, Distaso said. And Dec. 14, Peterson attended a Christmas party with Frey - reneging on plans for another party in Modesto with his wife, who went alone, Distaso said.
Outside the courtroom, Jackie Peterson, the defendant’s mother, said she is confident “the truth will come out” later in the trial.
Additional revelations in Distaso’s opening statement this morning:
Scott Peterson told Frey he contemplated getting a vasectomy because he wasn’t interested in having children.
Laci Peterson’s stepfather, Ron Grantski, and mother, Sharon Rocha, talked at length about fishing together while dining with Scott and Laci Peterson Dec. 15. Scott Peterson said nothing about buying a 14-foot aluminum fishing boat six days earlier, Distaso said. “Not a single person knew about him buying the boat,” Distaso said, including members of Scott Peterson’s family.
Laci Peterson called her mother and doctor to complain of dizziness, saying she nearly passed out while walking her dog Dec. 6 and 8. The doctor recommended that she quit exercising, according to medical notes Distaso showed jurors in a PowerPoint presentation.
Scott Peterson told police he made one concrete anchor at his shop, using cement from a 90-pound bag, Distaso said. He said police found no evidence of the bag - but did find what appeared to be evidence of several anchors being made.
In Peterson’s boat, police found no rope or chain that could be used with an anchor, Distaso said. Professional anglers will testify that no one could hope to catch fish with the equipment found in Peterson’s boat, Distaso said.
Laci Peterson appeared to be in the habit of wearing a cream-colored scarf outside in December 2002, according to several pictures Distaso showed in the courtroom. But the scarf remained in her closet when police searched her home the day she disappeared Dec. 24, casting doubt on her husband’s story that she planned to walk the dog that morning.
A specialist will testify that the fetus, a boy the couple planned to name Conner, was about 33 weeks old when Laci Peterson was killed, according to measurements of his femur bone, Distaso said.
Scott Peterson pushed his wife in a wheelchair around Disneyland’s California Adventure during a Nov. 26-30 trip to Southern California, Distaso said, because of Laci Peterson’s discomfort while walking. Scott Peterson refused several invitations from Grantski to go fishing, Distaso said.
At the Christmas Party she attended alone, Laci Peterson told friend Terri Western that she was frequently tired and had trouble walking.
Though Distaso last week estimated needing two hours for his opening statement, Judge Alfred Delucchi announced just before noon that prosecutors likely will take all day. That would mean defense attorney Mark Geragos won’t begin his opening statement until Wednesday.