Scott Peterson Five Years Later

Jurors say they still think of Laci, feel effects of trial

Richelle Nice
Richelle Nice

Modesto Bee staff writer Garth Stapley talked with six jurors Dec. 13, three years to the day after they deemed Scott Peterson worthy of death. Topics ranged from keeping alive the memory of Laci Peterson to attending her husband's execution.

Interviewed at a Pacifica restaurant in San Mateo County were Mary Mylett, John Guinasso, Mike Belmessieri, Fairy Sorrell, Richelle Nice and Tom Marino.

Below are some excerpts. You can view the full videos at

On Sharon Rocha, Laci's mother

Sorrell: I really admired her, being in that courtroom under those circumstances every day, keeping that beautiful smile. I'd just like to say to her, "Keep the faith and hold on. Laci will never be forgotten. She was too beautiful a person for anyone to forget her."

On Scott Peterson

Nice: He sat there like some big-time rich boy detached from everything. He was going to walk away from this and he was going to go off and have his happy little life. He was an arrogant son of a bitch.

Mylett: As far as I'm concerned, I do my best not even to speak his name. I don't think he's worthy of one any longer. I think he's an abomination of mankind. ... He lives in his own world, which is not reality. I believe he's been in that world since he was a child. He knew how to manipulate, he could be a chameleon, everyone loved him and he just knew how to stroke everyone. He did that all his life and throughout the trial, and I think he believed he could kill his wife and child and he could get away with it because he lives in Scotty's world.

Belmessieri: If I was to talk to Scott, first thing I'd ask is, "Why, Scott, why? At times I want to shoot you." Other times I sit back and say, "Scott, I feel sorry for you because of what you did and what you missed out on. You had a chance to be a father and have a family and you threw it away. And don't waste your time trying to tell me you didn't do it. The game's up for us. Save your stories for your fan club. Save your stories for the idiots who believe you and those people who want to waste their time and money sticking up for you."

On Mark Geragos, Scott's attorney

Marino: I thought during the trial that Mr. Geragos was an excellent attorney. I found out after the trial, talking to prosecutors, exactly how good he was. They even admired him.

Belmessieri: Geragos is a magician. Like many attorneys, he understands smoke and mirrors. He did an excellent job for Scott. But as good as he was and as much money as he makes, the beauty of it was, in the end, justice can't be bought.

On Scott's future execution

Marino: As hard as it was three years ago to make the decisions, if I'm still alive at the time and Scott does receive the (death) penalty, I probably will feel just as bad or maybe worse than I did three years ago. It's going to be hard because I know I had a piece of this decision.

Guinasso: I think it will be closure. That's the price you pay for the ultimate betrayal, killing your own wife, who you're supposed to protect, and your unborn son. I wouldn't be sad. Just closure for me, knowing it's been done.

Belmessieri: If I'm mad at him that day, like I sometimes am, I'll not only be there, I'll help them (execute Peterson). I know we did the right thing. I'm at peace with it. I didn't put him there -- he put himself there. I'm sorry you did it, Scott, but you did it and I can't change it. God forgive you.

Mylett: I don't care. I don't hate him at all. I'm indifferent. He means nothing to me. I've done my job and made my decision. I don't need to put another nail in my heart or bring myself more pain to go and watch his mother watch him die.

On Laci Peterson

Guinasso: I think people don't realize how being a juror, you become that much closer to the victim. Seeing the video of her on the Fourth of July, so vibrant and smiling. Five years later, she should be enjoying Christmas with that 4½-year-old son of hers. It's just sad. ... We're here today (interviewing) because of Laci. Her smile was infectious. It affected us all in such a way that we're not the same people. You lose a bit of yourself.

Sorrell: For the rest of my life, I'm a different person because of what happened to Laci. What I did learn from this trial is to appreciate your family, appreciate your friends, because at any given day something could happen to them and change your life for the rest of your life. I've been a totally different person. This affected me in ways you could never imagine, but in a good way, too, because I learned to appreciate life more.

Nice: For the last couple of days I haven't been able to talk about this without crying. Ultimately, it's a loss of three lives, two that definitely didn't have to. I have four boys. I know what a joy they are. I know how much fun it can be. I know what little pissants they can be. I think of myself and I think of Laci. I get to see my kids graduate and move on to bigger and better. I get excited when he brings home a little bean in a bag that's wet and it starts sprouting. I get to enjoy all that. Laci doesn't and she never will. We're all victims now. We're all Scott's victims. It didn't stop at the trial three years ago when we convicted him. It obviously affects all of us.