Peterson: Preliminary Trial

August 9, 2003

Peterson defense to conduct exam

Scott Peterson's defense team may send experts as soon as Monday to examine the remains of Laci Peterson and her unborn son, Conner.

The Contra Costa County coroner's office already has performed autopsies on their bodies, which washed up in April on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay near Richmond.

Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Al Girolami ruled July 24 that Scott Peterson's team would be allowed to conduct its own examination of the remains.

Another order, issued Friday, spelled out where, when and how that will be done. It is an agreed order, signed by all parties -- in this case, Deputy District Attorney David Harris, Peterson lawyer Kirk McAllister and the judge.

The examination can take only one day, the order states, and must be done at the Contra Costa coroner's office in Martinez. It will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday unless the defense, prosecutors and coroner all agree otherwise.

The only people who can be present are eight people from the defense team, four people from the district attorney's office, two coroner's officials and a doctor chosen by the coroner's office.

The examination is limited to visual inspection, which includes photos, videotapes, X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging and an autopsy, and removal of "reasonable amounts" of tissue and fluid samples for testing.

Peterson's defense team must pay for the exam and furnish its own equipment, but it will not be charged for use of the coroner's office.

Bee staff reporter Blair Craddock can be reached at 578-2385 or

Related content