Scott Peterson Denied a New Trial, Will Remain in Jail for Murdering His Pregnant Wife Laci

Peterson, who is serving a life sentenced, asked the judge to grant a new murder trial

Scott Peterson will not be granted a new trial in the 2002 murder of his pregnant wife, Laci.

In a 55-page decision issued on Tuesday, a San Mateo County Superior Court Judge denied Peterson's bid for a new trial. Peterson will remain in jail to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Laci Peterson was pregnant when she vanished on Christmas Eve in 2002. While Scott initially helped look for her, it soon came out that he had been having an affair, and he became the prime suspect.

Four months later, Laci's body was found in San Francisco Bay, just a mile away from where her unborn baby's body was found.

Scott was convicted in 2005 of two counts of first-degree murder in the death of Laci and their unborn son, who was to be named Conner.

He was sentenced to death row, where he remained for about 15 years.

But Peterson, now 50, scored two major legal victories in 2020. The first victory was in August, when his death penalty sentence was overturned, meaning that he would face a new penalty phase trial. The second victory came in October, when the California Supreme Court ruled that a lower court should take a second look at his case to determine whether his guilty verdict should be overturned.

In court last year, Scott's death sentence was officially vacated. He was resentenced to life in prison.

But Defense attorneys pushed for a new trial, claiming that a juror in the case, Richelle Nice, lied during jury selection when asked if she had ever been a victim of a crime. She said no, but now admits that she neglected to disclose that she had obtained a restraining order in 2001 against her then-boyfriend's ex-girlfriend. She claimed that the woman was stalking and threatening her.

Nice also neglected to mention that she had a fight with her ex-boyfriend that resulted in her arrest.

Peterson's defense asserted that Nice intentionally lied on her jury questionnaire, and that she may have been a pro-prosecution stealth juror.

The defense alleged that Nice's motive was to profit off the case. After Peterson was convicted, Nice wrote 17 letters to him in jail. She also co-authored a book with other jurors and appeared on the Dr. Oz show.

But in her ruling, Judge Anne-Christine Massullo decided that Nice's misstatements were honest mistakes.

"The court concludes that Juror No. 7's (Nice) responses were not motivated by pre-existing or improper bias against Petitioner (Peterson)," Massullo wrote, "but instead were a combination of good faith misunderstanding of the questions and sloppiness in answering."

Although the defense said that the 17 letters that Nice wrote were evidence of her bias, the judge saw things differently.

"The letters also evidence a juror who, despite all she had heard and saw, was trying to get the Petitioner (Peterson) to come to peace with what he did and the impact it had on his life and the life of Laci's family," she wrote.

Peterson's attorneys did not immediately return a call for comment.