Modesto’s gripping tale of Scott and Laci Peterson featured in new cable TV series

Scott Peterson listens to prosecutor Rick Distaso in court Nov. 3, 2004. He is pushing for a new trial in the killing of his wife.
Scott Peterson listens to prosecutor Rick Distaso in court Nov. 3, 2004. He is pushing for a new trial in the killing of his wife. Modesto Bee file

Modesto’s most notorious murder will come to life on the small screen Saturday as REELZ cable channel examines the story of Laci and Scott Peterson in the next installment of its new “Murder Made Me Famous” true-crime series.

The mysterious Christmas Eve 2002 disappearance of the expectant mother and her husband’s subsequent trial spawned countless headlines, two made-for-TV movies and more than a dozen books.

In a case that unfolded like a Hollywood script, millions were engrossed in the investigation of Scott Peterson’s missing wife, Laci, only to find that confident and charismatic Scott was also a cold-blooded killer.

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The series format has actors recreating and dramatizing events, with insights from victims’ loved ones, journalists, jurors and authorities. The Modesto Bee’s Garth Stapley, who covered the 2004 trial, is featured in Saturday’s episode.

“A beautiful, young wife vanishes. Her handsome husband grieves but hides secrets,” a narrator says in a trailer promoting the show. “Meet Scott Peterson – the husband next door, until murder made him famous.”

Peterson, convicted of double murder, remains on death row and his legal team recently filed the last expected court brief in an appeal of his execution sentence. Oral arguments before the California Supreme Court could come in the next two or three years.

The premier episode in the “Murder Made Me Famous” series aired last Saturday and focused on Jodi Arias, who is serving a life sentence for the brutal shower killing of her former boyfriend. Others to follow will feature the Menendez brothers, who claimed years of sexual abuse after murdering their parents in a Beverly Hills mansion; serial killer Ted Bundy; Drew Peterson, a former police sergeant convicted of murdering his third wife and suspected when his fourth went missing; and Joran van der Sloot, a Dutch killer suspected in the Aruba disappearance of American teen Natalee Holloway.

“Murder Made Me Famous” is produced by Texas-based AMS Pictures. Other REELZ true-crime series include “Women Behind Bars,” “Snapped” and “Gangsters: America’s Most Evil.”

Saturday’s episode on the Peterson case is scheduled to air at 6 p.m. REELZ is seen in the Modesto area on AT&T U-Verse 1799, DISH Network 299, DIRECTV 238 and Charter HD 817.

For more information, go to http://www.reelz.com/murder/.