A California judge ruled Wednesday that Scott Peterson, who was found guilty in 2004 for murdering his pregnant wife, must be re-sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Peterson was sentenced to death more than a decade ago for the 2002 murders of his wife and the fetus she carried. It was one of the era’s most high-profile cases. But last year, the California Supreme Court overturned the death sentence because Peterson’s trial attorney dismissed jurors who objected to capital punishment without asking them whether they could put their views aside ― therefore interfering with the guarantee of an impartial jury.
Peterson ― who lived with his 27-year-old wife Laci Peterson in Modesto, California, until her death ― has been living on death row without a sentence for more than a year after prosecutors declined to seek his execution again. He maintains his innocence.
Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo ruled Wednesday that Peterson, 48, will be formally re-sentenced in November.
His defense team, meanwhile, is seeking a whole new trial for their client, citing misconduct by a juror who allegedly lied during jury selection about her own experience with domestic abuse while pregnant.
The disappearance of Peterson’s wife, who was eight months pregnant, around Christmas 2002 attracted nationwide media attention. Peterson was arrested in 2003, after passersby found the bodies of Laci and a baby with its umbilical cord still attached floating on the shores of the San Francisco Bay.
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