- The Washington Times - Monday, November 1, 2004

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP) — Scott Peterson’s own claim that he was out fishing near where his pregnant wife’s body later turned up is proof enough to convict him of murder, prosecutors said yesterday in closing arguments.

Desperate to escape a “dull, boring married life with kids,” Mr. Peterson strangled or smothered Laci Peterson and dumped her body in San Francisco Bay, prosecutor Rick Distaso said.

Mr. Distaso showed jurors an aerial photograph of the Bay, pointing with a laser to the rocky beach where Laci Peterson’s body washed up with that of her fetus, a boy the couple planned to name Conner, and the nearby area where Scott Peterson says he went on a solo fishing trip the day his wife disappeared.

“The only person that we know without any doubt that was in the exact location in the exact spot where Laci and Conner washed ashore … is sitting right there. … That alone is proof beyond a reasonable doubt in this case,” Mr. Distaso said. “You can take that fact to the bank and you can convict this man of murder.”

Jurors are expected to begin deliberations as early as tomorrow.

Mr. Distaso said Mr. Peterson killed his wife on the night of Dec. 23 or the morning of Dec. 24, 2002 — adding that he does not have to show exactly when or how Mr. Peterson committed the crime, “I only have to prove that he did it.”

Jurors were shown a split-screen image, one side showing Laci Peterson alone at a Christmas party and the other showing Scott Peterson and his mistress, Amber Frey, embracing at a different party that same night.

Mr. Peterson craved “the rich, successful, freewheeling bachelor life” that Miss Frey represented, Mr. Distaso said. Weeks before Laci Peterson disappeared, the 32-year-old former fertilizer salesman said he “lost” the woman he loved.

“Laci Peterson was dead to Scott Peterson a long time before he killed her,” Mr. Distaso told the jury.

Some jurors nodded as Mr. Distaso spoke. Mr. Peterson looked down, sometimes scribbling notes.

The defense will probably present its closing arguments today. Mr. Peterson’s attorney has said someone else abducted and killed Laci.

Mr. Distaso also attacked Mr. Peterson’s alibi that he had been fishing the day his wife disappeared. On Dec. 20, Mr. Distaso said, Mr. Peterson bought a two-day fishing license, lures and his first salt-water fishing pole.

“There’s the lures. They’re not even open,” Mr. Distaso said, holding up the lures for the jury. “I don’t know anyone who’s caught a fish … with a lure that’s still in the pack.”

When he got home, Mr. Peterson told neighbors that he had been golfing. “He just screwed it up, screwed up his alibi,” Mr. Distaso said.

Prosecutors are seeking two murder convictions, for Laci Peterson and the fetus.

Judge Alfred A. Delucchi ruled Friday that jurors will be allowed to consider a lesser murder charge that would spare Mr. Peterson a possible death sentence if convicted.

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