2:08 p.m.: REDWOOD CITY - A geologist’s testimony this morning supported the theory that Scott Peterson made multiple concrete anchors before his pregnant wife vanished on Christmas Eve 2002.
Police found only one homemade anchor in the boat he purchased two weeks earlier. He must have used the others to help sink Laci Peterson’s body to the bottom of San Francisco Bay, prosecutors contend.
Scott Peterson told police he used a 90-pound bag of concrete to make the anchor in his boat, according to previous testimony. The rest went into a repair job on the driveway to his Modesto home, a detective said Peterson told him.
Robert O’Neill, a petographer who examines concrete with a microscope, said chunks and powder found in Peterson’s warehouse, pickup bed, boat, boat cover and a plastic pitcher matched the material in the single anchor. They also matched a pea-sized pebble police found in his living room, O’Neill testified.
But none matched a sample from Peterson’s driveway, O’Neill said.
Detectives initially thought Peterson used a pitcher, found in his warehouse amid spilled cement powder, to make the anchor found in his boat. Jurors learned several weeks ago that they didn’t match, and O’Neill confirmed that this morning.
But it’s obvious that someone used the pitcher to make something else with cement and water, O’Neill also testified - supporting prosecutors’ theory not only of body disposal, but a plan.
Proof of premeditated murder is required for a death sentence.
“I believe the residue is residue that would come out of concrete when water evaporates and adheres to the side,” O’Neill said.
Former San Mateo County prosecutor Dean Johnson said prosecutors are asking the jury to infer it was “something sinister,” such as an anchor used to weigh down Laci Peterson’s body, Johnson said.
But the defense could offer up plausible counter-explanations as well, like the pitcher was used for a poorly made prototype for the anchor Peterson said he made for his boat, Johnson said.
“It comes down to, do you want to look at the forest or do you want to look at the trees?” he said.
Defense attorney Mark Geragos had only moments to cross-examine O’Neill before lunch recess. In that time, he suggested that his client acknowledged to police from the start that he made a concrete anchor in a small white paint bucket purchased at Home Depot.
Geragos stuck with his theme of portraying police incompetence because it took them a year to track down the correct mold. They were “laboring under the impression,” Geragos said, that Peterson tried to hide the fact he used the pitcher recovered in his warehouse.
The boat’s former owner, Bruce Peterson - no relation to Scott Peterson - testified in July that he didn’t sell Scott Peterson a mushroom anchor he had used in the boat. Such anchors are advertised on the Internet for as little as $19.99, and a commercial fisherman previously indicated that Scott Peterson’s 8.6-pound concrete anchor would be all but useless in San Francisco Bay. Also, police found only a short length of rope in his boat more suited as a dock tie-down.
Also this morning, Dr. Esther Tow-Der said unborn Conner Peterson appeared healthy when she examined Laci Peterson on Dec. 23, 2002.
Authorities believe her husband killed her that night or early the next morning and used a Christmas Eve fishing trip as cover to send her to the bottom of the bay. His attorneys contend someone else kidnapped her and framed her husband.
The bodies of mother and son washed ashore nearby less than four months later.
Geragos will continue questioning O’Neill this afternoon.