National News

District attorney files response opposing a motion by Scott Peterson’s defense team for DNA testing

todayApril 24, 2024



(NEW YORK) — The district attorney in Stanislaus County, California, has filed new paperwork in court opposing a motion by Scott Peterson’s defense team — the Los Angeles Innocence Project — for DNA testing in the murder case of Laci Peterson and Conner Peterson.

In a more than 300-page filing on Monday, the DA’s office addresses the 14 items the defense is requesting DNA testing for and why they say these have already been tested, litigated, are unrelated, or the burden has not been met to retest them.

Last month, Scott Peterson, who was convicted of killing his wife and their unborn son 20 years ago, appeared in court virtually after the Los Angeles Innocence Project filed three motions in the murder case earlier this year, including one seeking evidence from the original trial.

Laci Peterson, who was 27 years old and eight months pregnant, disappeared on Christmas Eve in 2002. Her body was found in San Francisco Bay in April 2003.

Scott Peterson, 51, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife and second-degree murder in the death of their unborn son. He was convicted in 2004 and sentenced to death in 2005. He was later sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Attorneys with the LA Innocence Project have claimed that Scott Peterson’s state and federal constitutional rights were violated, including a “claim of actual innocence that is supported by newly discovered evidence,” according to court documents filed in January.

The LA Innocence Project is also seeking DNA testing of more than a dozen items of evidence, including items from the burglary and van fire. A motion seeking a court order directing the testing of the evidence for the presence of DNA will be discussed on May 29.

Scott Peterson is serving a life sentence in San Mateo County’s Mule Creek State Prison.

Scott Peterson, who pleaded not guilty, has long maintained his innocence. His previous attempt for a new trial was denied in December 2022.

In 2020, the California Supreme Court overturned Scott Peterson’s death sentence, citing that during the penalty phase, his jury was improperly screened for bias against the death penalty, according to court documents.

He was resentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in December 2021 and moved off death row from San Quentin State Prison to Mule Creek State Prison in October 2022.

The LA Innocence Project — which provides pro bono legal services to people incarcerated in Central and Southern California who may have been wrongfully convicted — previously said in a statement that it is representing Scott Peterson and “investigating his claim of actual innocence.”

Scott Peterson’s attorney, Pat Harris, previously said in a statement to ABC News that they are “thrilled to have the incredibly skilled attorneys at the LA Innocence project and their expertise becoming involved in the efforts to prove Scott’s innocence.”

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