Peterson Jury Reaches Penalty Verdict

Crime, Law and JusticeCrimeJustice SystemDeathHomicideJails and Prisons

The jury considering whether Scott Peterson should die for the murder of his pregnant wife or spend the rest of his life in prison today has reached its verdict.

The jury's recommendation was to be read in court at 1:30 p.m.

The sequestered jury had deliberated about eight hours over three days. Earlier today, San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Alfred A. Delucchi announced that the jury had requested to see 13 items of evidence and then resumed its deliberations.

The evidence requested included photos of the bodies of Peterson's wife, Laci, and her fetus, and a photo of Laci Peterson in a Christmas outfit lounging in a chair, said Jim Hammer, a court analyst.

Some of the evidence is sealed. Twelve of the 13 items requested were presented by the prosecution, Associated Press reported.

The jurors, which convicted Peterson of murder on Nov. 12, took the weekend off, but they remained sequestered at a hotel.

If jurors recommend a death sentence, Delucchi has the option of sending Peterson to prison for life at formal sentencing Feb. 25. However, if the jury recommends life in prison, Delucchi cannot change the sentence.

Peterson's attorneys worked to persuade the jury that killing him "serves absolutely no purpose." But prosecutors have argued that death is an appropriate sentence.

Peterson, 32, was convicted of first-degree murder for the killing of his wife and second-degree murder for the killing of their unborn son, Conner. Laci Peterson disappeared on Christmas Eve 2002, and her body and that of her fetus washed up on the shore of San Francisco Bay four months later.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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