5:39 p.m., PDT: REDWOOD CITY - Scott Peterson told his sister-in-law he was “kind of hoping for infertility” when asked about impending fatherhood and told a family friend the night his pregnant wife disappeared that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if police found blood on his truck, witnesses testified this afternoon.
“He put up his hands and said, ‘I wouldn't be surprised if they find blood on my truck because I cut my hands all the time,’” Sandy Rickard testified.
She held up her hands to demonstrate Peterson’s position when the two talked in front of his home the night Laci Peterson was reported missing.
Peterson said he cut his hands because he was a “hunter, sportsman” or some similar term, said Rickard, who had driven her best friend, Laci Peterson’s mother, to search for the pregnant Modesto woman.
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Prosecutor Dave Harris asked Rickard if she had said anything to elicit the comment about blood on Peterson's truck.
“No,” Rickard replied. “I was perplexed why he said it.”
She was one of three witnesses prosecutors called in the final afternoon court session today to testify about potentially damaging statements Peterson allegedly made either before or shortly after his wife was reported missing Christmas Eve 2002. She was almost eight months pregnant at the time.
Her remains and that of her unborn son were found separately in April 2003 less the two miles from where her husband said he fished the day she disappeared.
Peterson, 31, has pleaded not guilty to charges he murdered his wife and unborn son on or just before Dec. 24, 2002. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Peterson’s sister-in-law, Rose Rocha, testified she had asked Peterson if he was ready for fatherhood.
“I said something to Scott like, ‘Are your ready for this?’ and he looked at me and said, ‘I was kind of hoping for infertility,’” said Rocha, who is married to Laci Peterson’s brother, Brent Rocha. Defense attorney Pat Harris questioned Rocha about an account of that exchange in a police report, which indicated she said Peterson might have been joking because he was “hard to read.”
“He was not laughing; he was not smiling,” Rocha testified. “So when I heard that, it kind of surprised I was kind of shocked at what he said. I didn’t know how to read him at that point.”
Pat Harris countered by questioning Rocha about whether she knew that Laci Peterson had trouble getting pregnant and that her husband would rush home from work when an ovulation calculator indicated she was most fertile.
Rocha testified she hadn’t been told Peterson rushed home, but acknowledged she knew Laci Peterson was having difficulty getting pregnant and that it required effort by both husband and wife.
Gwen Kemple, a cousin to Laci Peterson’s mother, Sharon Rocha, testified that Peterson told her his wife was watching Martha Stewart’s television show when he left the morning of Dec. 24, 2002, to go fishing.
Sharon Rocha previously testified that Peterson told her his wife was styling her hair when he left. Peterson told police his wife was mopping the floor when he left, a detective testified at his preliminary hearing last fall.
The defense is slated to cross-examine Kemple Wednesday morning.