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Peyer Plea Denied; Sentencing to Proceed

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In a terse, two-sentence response, a state appellate court Monday rejected an appeal by convicted murderer Craig Peyer that might have led to a new trial. The move clears the way for Peyer’s sentencing Wednesday in San Diego Superior Court.

The ruling by the 4th District Court of Appeal said the justices had read and considered Peyer’s 27-page appeal. It ended with four words: “The petition is denied.”

Peyer’s attorneys had argued that he was deprived of his constitutional right to a fair trial when someone leaked the results of a polygraph test given to Peyer to the San Diego Union. During jury selection the newspaper published a story on the test results, which reportedly showed that Peyer had attempted to deceive investigators about his knowledge of the death of college student Cara Knott.

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Peyer, a former California Highway Patrol officer, was convicted of first-degree murder in Knott’s death after a second trial in June. His attorneys tried unsuccessfully to obtain a new trial for Peyer, arguing that the leaked documents unfairly influenced the jury.

The attorneys initially asked Superior Court Judge Richard Huffman to find the Union reporter who wrote the story in contempt of court for refusing to answer questions about the leaked papers. When Huffman refused, the attorneys asked for a sentencing delay to appeal the judge’s decision to the appellate court.

Now that the 4th District has denied the appeal, Peyer is expected to be sentenced to 25 years to life when he appears in court Wednesday.

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