Laci Peterson’s family and friends removed truckloads of items from the slain Modesto woman’s house Friday.
Soon after, lawyers representing her family and that of her husband, Scott, started haggling over whether the entry was legal.
Attorneys representing Laci Peterson’s family said they had permission to go in and remove some items, while acknowledging that they jumped the gun on a previous agreement with defense attorneys to go through the house on Tuesday.
Her husband’s parents and lawyers, meanwhile, expressed outrage. Jackie Peterson, Scott Peterson’s mother, said those going in the Covena Avenue home Friday had “absolutely no permission to be in that house.” Scott Peterson’s father, Lee, agreed.
Scott Peterson has pleaded not guilty to killing his wife and their unborn son, Conner.
Loaded into seven vehicles were a white rocking chair, a mattress and bed frame, clothing and a box with Graco printed on the outside. Graco produces baby products like strollers, high chairs and car seats.
Laci Peterson’s family announced Wednesday that they had hired attorneys to help retrieve from the house her wedding dress, a baby crib, jewelry and other items.
Scott Peterson’s defense attorneys said prosecution and defense representatives had worked out an agreement to walk through the house on Tuesday, videotaping the location and type of items, which were then to be handed over to Laci Peterson’s family.
Some of the requested items, including what appeared to be gifts, had been moved to the Modesto office of defense co-counsel Kirk McAllister on Monday to transfer to the slain woman’s family, but they had not been picked up by Friday morning, McAllister said.
“I still have things for the Rochas sitting in my front conference room,” McAllister said. “I don’t know why they need to break in.” Albert Clark, an attorney representing Laci Peterson’s family, said in front of the home that it would be “ridiculous” to suggest that the Rochas were breaking into the home.
“I apologize for it coming down to this,” Clark said. “This is not the way we operate. This is for Laci, for Conner and Laci’s family. It is not for the media or Mr. Scott Peterson’s defense in any way shape or form. It’s depressing that it’s come down to this.”
Jackie Peterson said that she had agreed to allow Sharon Rocha, Laci Peterson’s mother, in the house if accompanied by Scott Peterson’s representatives.
“I have a lot of empathy for Sharon,” Jackie Peterson said, “but she does not have a right to go in our house and take what she wants.” Legally, the house is Scott’s, because he inherited Laci’s half when she died. His rights to the house become void if it is determined that he played a role in her death, under the state Probate Code.
Calls placed to Rocha’s home were not accepted.
Brent Rocha, Laci Peterson’s brother, was among several people moving items from the house into four pickups, two sport utility vehicles and a minivan. Asked for comment from a crush of reporters, Rocha said simply: “Thanks, guys,” before driving away.
Bee staff writer John Coté can be reached at 578-2394 or email@example.com. Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at 578-2390 or firstname.lastname@example.org