Peterson: Preliminary Trial

June 20, 2003

Peterson's attorneys denied files

The San Francisco city attorney is sharply rebuffing a demand from Scott Peterson's lawyer for copies of documents in an unsolved murder.

The case is that of Evelyn Hernandez, who was eight months pregnant when she disappeared in the spring of 2002 with her 5-year-old son, Alex.

Her body washed ashore in San Francisco Bay, where it was found July 24 along the Embarcadero near Folsom Street. Alex has not been found.

Peterson lawyer Kirk McAllister contended in a May 29 subpoena that he was entitled to see the police file on the Hernandez case because it could point to "the actual perpetrators" of Laci Peterson's killing.

McAllister and Mark Geragos are Scott Peterson's attorneys.

Scott Peterson is accused of double murder in the slayings of his wife, Laci, and their unborn son, Conner, and could get the death penalty if found guilty.

In documents filed Thursday in Stanislaus County Superior Court, San Francisco authorities say that opening the Hernandez file would not solve the Peterson case.

All it would do is make sure that Hernandez's murder -- and the mystery of what happened to her 5-year-old son -- never gets solved, they say.

"I do not believe that there is any information in the file that could link the death of Ms. Hernandez with the death of Laci Peterson," San Francisco police Investigator Holly Pera wrote.

The file contains information that only Hernandez's killer could know, and disclosing that information could tip off the killer so that he is never found, Pera wrote in an affidavit.

It would scare off witnesses, who might stop cooperating with San Francisco's investigation, Pera continued.

California law makes the file's contents confidential, the San Francisco city attorney's office argued, and Peterson's defense team has not furnished evidence that the contents are necessary for their client's defense.

No date has been set for a judge to rule on access to the Hernandez file.

Bee staff writer Blair Craddock can be reached at 578-2444 or

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