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Judge denies nearly all DNA retesting requests in Scott Peterson retrial efforts

A California judge will only allow 1 of 14 items presented in the defense's original motion to undergo renewed DNA testing: a 15.5-inch length of duct tape.
Scott Peterson
Posted at 2:33 PM, May 30, 2024

In California there has been a renewed effort to get a retrial for convicted murderer Scott Peterson.

Peterson was convicted by a jury in 2004 of killing his wife Laci Peterson and their unborn son Conner. A judge has now denied most of his new defense team's request to test evidence in the case for DNA. Only one item out of 14 requested will be allowed to undergo new DNA testing, labeled as a "15.5-inch length of duct tape" in court documents, Court TV reported.

The tape was taken from Laci's pants during her autopsy.

Peterson is being represented by the Los Angeles Innocence Project and has filed numerous motions, which secured him Wednesday's hearing to address his request to test items from the original 2002 murder investigation for DNA.

Scott Peterson

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Scripps News Staff
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Attorneys will be allowed to arrange for new DNA testing on the piece of duct tape, while the 13 other items in the motion will not be allowed to undergo testing.

In 2002 Laci Peterson disappeared on Christmas Eve, and her body was found in the San Francisco Bay four months later. Laci was eight months pregnant when she disappeared.

DNA testing that was done on the tape during the original investigation came back inconclusive.

Peterson told authorities he was fishing at the time of his wife's disappearance. He was arrested days later, and soon after pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of murder with premeditation and special circumstances.

The prosecution's case relied heavily on Peterson's extramarital affairs, and alleged his motive was to collect on his wife's $250,000 life insurance policy. The jury agreed, convicting him on the murder charges and later sentencing him to death. Peterson has maintained his innocence and alleged that possible jury misconduct led to the verdict in his case.

A previous attempt for a new trial was denied by a California judge in December, but when the Los Angeles Innocence Project took up his case, the group said his case deserved another chance in court, claiming the original trial violated the now-51-year-old's state and federal rights.