Peterson Hearing In Review

11/09/2003 10:25 AM

11/19/2007 2:08 PM

So far at Scott Peterson's preliminary hearing:

  • FBI DNA expert Constance L. Fisher testified about mitochondrial DNA testing; prosecutors are seeking to have it allowed as evidence.
  • Laci Peterson's brother, Brent Rocha, apparently won't be called to testify despite family members having said they were all potential witnesses. Rocha attended the entire proceeding Wednesday.
  • Judge Al Girolami ruled that Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred, who represents Peterson's former girlfriend Amber Frey, could remain in the courtroom while other witnesses testify.
  • Defense attorney Mark Geragos said he intends to call a DNA expert from the State University of New York at Syracuse.
  • DAY 2

  • Fisher, the FBI analyst, continued to testify. She said a hair found in pliers in Scott Peterson's fishing boat could not have been his but could have come from Laci Peterson.
  • Geragos attempted to show that the FBI failed to follow its own guidelines. He suggested that mitochondrial DNA analysis is unreliable and should not be allowed in the hearing.
  • Under questioning from Geragos, Fisher said the FBI received one of Laci Peterson's bones but did not extract DNA to compare with the hair.
  • DAY 3

  • Margarita Nava, the Petersons' house cleaner, said she used bleach to clean only the bathroom. Constantly swiveling in her chair on the witness stand, Nava said she used water and "a little Pine-Sol" to clean the kitchen's tile floor.
  • Amy Rocha, Laci Peterson's sister, testified that when she cut Scott Peterson's hair Dec. 23, she learned from him that he planned to go golfing the next day, and he offered to pick up a Christmas gift basket for her from Vella Farms, near Del Rio Country Club. When he did not collect the basket, Rocha tried to reach him at home and on his cell phone, but he did not answer.
  • Amy Rocha testified that Laci Peterson was wearing cream or khaki maternity pants and a black blouse with small cream polka dots or flowers at 5:45 p.m. Dec. 23. Photos of Peterson's remains show the tattered remnants of what appeared to be light-colored pants around her waist.
  • Nava testified that Laci Peterson was wearing "what she almost always used to wear," a pair of black pants and a white blouse, when she saw her earlier in the day Dec. 23. The missing person's report indicated that she had on black pants and a long-sleeved white shirt the last time she was seen. Modesto police Detective Jon Evers said that information came from Scott Peterson.
  • Lee Peterson, Scott Peterson's father, said he spoke with his son the afternoon of Dec. 24, and Scott did not mention being at the Berkeley Marina. Lee Peterson also said he did not know Scott had bought a boat, but that he did not find that unusual.
  • Sharon Rocha, Laci Peterson's mother, testified that she spoke with her daughter for a couple of minutes Dec. 23. She said Laci seemed tired, but said there was nothing wrong. Rocha also said her daughter never mentioned serious marital problems.
  • DAY 4

  • William Shields, the defense DNA expert, testified that the FBI used a substandard database in its analysis of the hair found in a pair of pliers in Scott Peterson's fishing boat. He said the hair was vulnerable to contamination and could have come from roughly one in any nine Caucasians -- not one in 112, as prosecution DNA expert Fisher said the previous week.
  • DAY 5

  • Defense attorney Kirk McAllister suggested in court that police could have planted evidence to frame Scott Peterson.
  • Detective Evers testified that he saw a throw rug bunched up against a door frame, which could support a police theory that Laci Peterson's body was dragged out of the house.
  • Evers said he did not smell bleach when he entered the home and didn't notice any moisture on the floors, undercutting a prosecution theory that someone cleaned the home after the house cleaner worked there Dec. 23.
  • DAY 6

  • Lawyers in the case appeared only briefly in court. The judge agreed to a defense request to delay the hearing until the next morning. Defense attorney Geragos was in Los Angeles to work on another case.
  • DAY 7

  • Scott Peterson denied on Dec. 24 that he was having an affair, Modesto police Detective Al Brocchini testified. Peterson has said in interviews that he told police Dec. 24 he had an affair with Frey.
  • Peterson told police he decided the morning of Dec. 24 to fish alone in San Francisco Bay, changing previous plans to play golf because "it was too cold to go golfing," Brocchini said.
  • Pliers found in Peterson's boat were not included in Brocchini's report, the detective conceded under questioning by McAllister.
  • In a police interview, Peterson agreed to have his hands tested to see if he had fired a gun recently, Brocchini said. He said Peterson asked if exhaust from an outboard motor he operated Dec. 24 would trigger a positive result.
  • Peterson called Brocchini at 2 a.m. to say he wished the detective had told him that he had confiscated Peterson's handgun from his truck, Brocchini testified. Brocchini said he told Peterson it was "illegal to have a loaded gun in the glove box, and I was going to put it into evidence."
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