2:12 p.m., PDT: REDWOOD CITY - Scott Peterson told police he made a concrete anchor in his warehouse, a detective testified this morning as the prosecution tried to bolster its theory that Peterson made multiple anchors to weigh down his wife’s body in San Francisco Bay.
The detective, Dodge Hendee, testified last week that a pitcher found in the warehouse was not used as the anchor mold, despite police once describing it as “a perfect fit.”
“This particular anchor,” prosecutor Dave Harris said this morning, holding up the cylinder of concrete found in Peterson’s fishing boat, “Who made it?”
“Scott Peterson,” Hendee replied.
The detective testified there was nothing else in Peterson’s warehouse beside the 1-gallon pitcher that was consistent with the size of the weight.
The detective also insisted that there were five roughly circular “voided areas” in a field of cement scattered on a flatbed trailer in the warehouse, despite defense attorney Mark Geragos’ description of the debris field as Hendee’s “personal Rorschach test.”
Prosecutors have accused Peterson of murdering his pregnant wife, Laci, and unborn son, Conner, late Dec. 23 or early Dec. 24, 2002, then dumping her body in the bay. He could receive the death penalty if convicted.Peterson’s attorneys maintain his wife was abducted while walking the couple’s dog.
Suspected bloodstains on the tailgate of Peterson’s truck and on a storage box in the bed both tested negative for blood, Hendee testified this morning.
Only one suspected bloodstain - on the interior driver-side door - tested positive for blood during field tests, the detective said.
Geragos told the jury in his opening statement that the stain on the door was Peterson’s blood.
“It was an old scab,” Geragos said in his opening statement. “It wasn’t Laci’s blood and it had nothing to do with Laci.” Police also found no tissue, blood or bodily fluids to indicate Laci Peterson had been placed in the storage box, Hendee testified.
Hendee said he initially suspected a single 7½-inch brown hair found in the box was Laci Peterson’s, but it appeared from questioning that tests showed it was not. It is unclear whose hair it was.
Prosecutors have suggested Peterson transported his pregnant wife’s body to the bay in the box, which measures 4 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet, according to schematic diagram shown in court.
The jury was previously shown photographs of a pregnant employee of the district attorney’s office; the woman, roughly the same size and weight as Laci Peterson, was able to fit in the box.
Geragos peppered Hendee on why a videotape of that demonstration didn’t contain footage of the employee trying to get into the box, asking whether it was edited out or if the detective ordered that part not be filmed.
Hendee said he didn’t order the recording switched off and to his knowledge the tape wasn’t edited. Under questioning by Harris, Hendee said the same person was videotaping and shooting still photos, and the tape would stop when the person was taking pictures.
Hendee also said he was unaware of prosecutors ever trying to re-create their theory that Peterson must have dumped his wife’s body from his 14-foot aluminum boat. The defense maintains such a move is impossible without capsizing the boat.
The detective also said he was surprised to find two hair fragments from what he originally thought was a single hair in the teeth of needle-nose pliers in the bottom of Peterson’s boat.
“I just had a puzzled look on my face,” Hendee said, describing how two hair fragments slid out of the evidence envelope when he and a detective later checked out the item from the police evidence room. “It looked like one on the pliers.”
DNA testing shows the hair could not be Scott Peterson’s and may be his wife’s, according to prosecutors. If accurate, it could give authorities a key piece of physical evidence to tie Laci Peterson to her husband’s boat.The defense contends the two hair fragments are not simply part of a single hair that broke apart in the evidence envelope, saying the two are different colors and taper the wrong way.
A prosecution expert testified at Peterson’s preliminary hearing that the two hairs could have come from the same person.
Hendee suggested there might have been two hairs clasped in the pliers when he thought there was one.“It could be two hairs coming together,” he testified.
“Perfectly right at the tip of the pliers?” Geragos asked skeptically.
“It’s possible,” Hendee said. “I don’t know.” He is scheduled to retake this stand when testimony resumes this afternoon.