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California high court rejects Scott Peterson's death penalty

California high court rejects Scott Peterson's death penalty
Posted at 2:15 PM, Aug 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-24 14:15:22-04

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California Supreme Court has overturned the 2005 death sentence for Scott Peterson in the slaying of his pregnant wife.

The court says prosecutors may try again for the same sentence if they wish in the high-profile case.

"Peterson contends his trial was flawed for multiple reasons, beginning with the unusual amount of pretrial publicity that surrounded the case," the court said. "We reject Peterson's claim that he received an unfair trial as to guilt and thus affirmed his convictions for murder."

It upheld his 2004 first-degree murder conviction of murdering Laci Peterson.

She was eight months pregnant with their unborn son, which he was convicted of murder in the second degree.

Investigators said that on Christmas Eve in 2002, he dumped the bodies from his fishing boat into San Francisco Bay.

Per the AP, Peterson filed an appeal stating he didn't receive a fair trial, although the proceedings were moved nearly 90 miles from his home to San Mateo County.

The court on Monday said the trial judge made several significant errors in jury selection that undermined Peterson’s right to an impartial jury at the penalty phase.

"The trial court erroneously dismissed many prospective jurors because of written questionnaire responses expressing opposition to the death penalty, even though the jurors gave no indication that their views would prevent them from following the law — and, indeed, specifically attested in their questionnaire responses that they would have no such difficulty," the justices said.

To read the full court documents, click here.