Peterson: Preliminary Trial

June 26, 2003

No room at the inn since TV comment

The manager of a Modesto hotel said he turned away Scott Peterson's parents after his father criticized Laci Peterson's family on a nationally televised talk show.

"I didn't want to take care of them anymore," said Brad Saltzman, general manager of the Red Lion Hotel. He made it clear that his stance did not reflect that of hotel ownership.

Saltzman said he was disturbed when Lee Peterson, Scott Peterson's father, complained on TV that his daughter-in-law's family burglarized his son's home. On May 30, her family removed truckloads of items that they said belonged to her.

Police, calling it a civil matter, did not intervene.

Sharon Rocha, Laci Peterson's mother, was not seen at the house that day.

Lee Peterson said on "Larry King Live," in part, "Instead of grieving, Sharon apparently planned this break-in."

That touched a nerve, Saltzman said. When Jackie Peterson, Scott Peterson's mother, called later to book a room, he said he suggested another hotel would have a better rate. They haven't spoken since.

Lee Peterson has said that his son's defense team has asked him not to talk to reporters.

Saltzman had provided a banquet room for a search command center for three weeks in late December and early January and continues to provide interview rooms for TV networks.

Saltzman said he had allowed the Petersons, who live near San Diego, to stay for free at the Red Lion until their son was charged with the murders of Laci and Conner Peterson. After that, they paid a discounted rate, said Saltzman, who has been at the hotel 18 months.

He said the Petersons stayed about a half-dozen times for a total of about 10 nights. Members of their extended family also stayed, Saltzman said.

"I look at the hotel like my house; I opened my doors to them," Saltzman said.

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