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Analysis of Scott Peterson Murder Trial, Day Nine

Aired June 15, 2004 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: Day nine of Scott Peterson's murder trial, and his attorney, Mark Geragos, grills police on the stand. How is he attacking their case? And how could the same thing that made Geragos demand a mistrial end up helping Scott?
No cameras in the courtroom, but CNN's Ted Rowlands was there. He'll give us an eyewitness account of today's action. Also with us, Court TV's Nancy Grace, the former prosecutor; high-profile defense attorney Chris Pixley; Michael Cardoza, top defense attorney in the area, who was in the courtroom today. And also in that Redwood City, California, courtroom, Chuck Smith, former San Mateo County prosecutor, six years prosecuting murder cases. They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

As per usual, we start with CNN correspondent Ted Rowlands. What happened today, Ted?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Larry, the bulk of today's testimony was taken up by officer Jon Evers. He was the first Modesto police officer to have any interaction with Scott Peterson on the night that Laci Peterson was reported missing, the evening of Christmas Eve.

And he basically did as others have done before him in these nine days, and that is, set up exactly what happened that night. He sort of talked about the scene at the park and then at the house, how people were frantic, and how police went about their job. He also talked about things that were suspicious. Most notably, he is the third officer to talk about a conversation that Peterson had with Modesto police officers on that first night, where they allegedly say that Peterson had trouble talking about his fishing trip, saying he wasn't sure, or he mumbled and was inaudible and seemed surprised when he was asked what he was fishing for that day, and then had trouble again when they talked about what type of bait.

The last three witnesses were all from the OB-GYN clinic where Laci Peterson was being treated or monitored during her pregnancy. One person talked about her due date being February 10. The other two were receptionists, which basically testified to the fact that nobody called on December 24, 25 or 26 and left messages as to where Laci Peterson might be. And the reference, or inference here is that Scott Peterson, looking for his wife on that first night, should have logically made some of these calls but didn't. The defense obviously argued that away, saying Well, "nobody" means no police, no other family members, either.

KING: Nancy, I know you weren't there, but what did you hear about the cross-examination of the police by Mr. Geragos?

NANCY GRACE, COURT TV: Well, Mark Geragos is great on cross- examination, and he's tripping the police up in a lot of little details. The reality is that those little details may not add up to a not guilty verdict, but it can make the police look sloppy.

But here's the problem with what Geragos is doing. On one side of his mouth, he's arguing that these cops were overzealous, that they targeted Scott Peterson from moment one and they planned their case around him from the very beginning. On the other side of his mouth, he's arguing that they are sloppy, that they cut corners. So he can't really have it both ways. They can't be overzealous and doing everything they can to frame Scott Peterson, and on the other hand, be sloppy. The reality is that they're probably right down the middle of the road, basically doing the best they can.

But today, again, Larry, we saw more what is called behavioral evidence. And the biggest thing in my mind that happened today is we heard more about Scott Peterson not being able to give his alibi, screwing up his alibi. And No. 2, the first thing, Larry, the husband of a pregnant woman would do is call the doctor! It didn't happen.

KING: Chris Pixley, can you be sloppily zealous?

CHRIS PIXLEY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, you can't, Larry. And that's what's hurting them throughout all this. And I would disagree with Nancy absolutely. In fact, what the police are doing here is talking out of both sides of their mouth. On the one hand, the police officers that have given testimony so far, say, Look, the house was overly neat. This was a model home. On the other hand, there were these things that stood out to us, that didn't seem to make sense. And the things that they point to are really outrageous -- a rumpled rug by a door, some rags that were left on a dishwasher as though, Oh, my God, you don't leave rags on a -- excuse me -- on a washing machine.

So they seem to be saying that this may have been a sanitized crime scene, where Scott Peterson cleaned up, but on the other hand, left things out of place. Well, if you want to say it's a sanitized crime scene, the one thing that you've got to have is some DNA or blood or forensic evidence of some kind. They don't have any of that, and it's what continues to trip up the police.

KING: Chuck Smith, you were there. You're a former prosecutor. How does this case look to you?

CHUCK SMITH, FORMER SAN MATEO CO. PROSECUTOR: Well, you know, the most telling point in this whole case, Larry, is the fact that on the day his wife and child disappear, Scott Peterson does something that he has never done in his whole life, gone fishing. And Scott Peterson has no human contact the whole day. He doesn't talk to anybody. He doesn't see anybody who could verify his conduct that day. It's too much of a coincidence. It points very strongly to his guilt. I mean, there is a reason that he did something very odd that day. There is a reason he had no human contact that day. That is, he killed his wife, and he was getting rid of her body and the body of his unborn child.

KING: Michael, if that's the way it's viewed, will he have to take the stand to explain this sudden interest in fishing?

MICHAEL CARDOZA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, there's a lot of unanswered questions here, Larry, an awful lot. In my opinion he's getting closer and closer to that witness stand. Most defense attorneys are loath to put their client on. But as I say, they're putting enough questions out there, unanswered questions, they're going to put him on.

But in answer to what Chuck just said about Peterson going fishing that day -- Chuck, remember that Ron Grantski, his father-in- law, got on the stand and said, Hey, I went fishing that day and I went about the same time. So why is it good for Ron but not good for Peterson? That's the type of evidence that's coming in.

I'm telling you, the momentum is swinging to the defense in this case. The police officers that testified today talked about that scrunched-up rug, talked about the rags, but they said, Gee, we didn't notice it when we first walked in. We didn't pay any attention at all. We sort of peripherally noticed it after about the third or fourth time through the house. So now all of a sudden, that's important? Why?

KING: Ted Rowlands, how did the demeanor change? What did the jury seem to be looking at here? How did Geragos handle things?

ROWLANDS: Well, you know, the jury has done a good job, it seems, and have been looking at them constantly, of keeping awake, if you will, and really focusing on every bit of detail that they're being given by the prosecution. This is a very deliberate style that the prosecutors are using. They're going slowly, and it's a bit mundane at times because they're really setting up, it seems, their entire case. And they're just going very, very slowly to familiarize the jury with every aspect of the home, the area, the neighborhood the park. And it is a bit mundane, but jurors seem to realize the gravity of this case, and they are doing a good job of staying focused.

Of course, when Geragos is up there, his demeanor is much different. His style is much different. He's more engaging. And jurors seem to give him, and both sides, really, the same amount of attention, but over the long haul, it sure seems as though Mr. Geragos's style does work to his advantage because he is so engaging.

KING: Nancy, should the prosecution be emotional?

GRACE: You're darn right, Larry, they should. Very often, you hear people argue, This is about the facts, it has nothing to do with emotion. I could not disagree more. Larry, this jury is made up of 12 human beings, not 12 robots you feed data in and get a response. But the reality is, Larry, after Sharon Rocha took the stand and after they finally hear from the medical examiner about what was left of Laci Peterson and baby Conner, I think there will be plenty of emotion in that courtroom. But back to Geragos. Yes, he's charismatic. I've never said he wasn't. But let me just remind everybody on the panel tonight, this is no popularity contest. Nobody's going home crowned homecoming queen. This is about the facts. And yes, Geragos may have the charisma, but I think the state has the facts.

KING: Chris, does the state have to, in your opinion, prove this -- is there going to be a bit of doubt here?

PIXLEY: I think there's going to be a great deal of doubt. There's no question about that. The storyline is one that's devoid of murder weapons. Obviously, we're hearing a little bit about the gun now from the opening statement for the prosecution. But that's going to be an awfully tough case to sell to the jury when you don't have a head and you don't have any bullet wounds, any markings on the body of any kind.

There are going to be a great many doubts at the end of the day here. And really, the question is, will the jury be able to put together all of these disparate facts? And they're -- you know, they're parading out -- it's interesting. Ted tells you, and it's very true from what we're hearing in the courtroom, that this is moving along slowly. And yet they're putting on six -- five, six, seven witnesses a day. With each new witness, Larry, they're presenting new facts, facts that are essential to their case. And when you have all of these disparate facts and all of this different testimony, it gives the jurors more opportunity to find reasonable doubt at the end of the day. I think that's what's going to happen.

KING: Let me get a break, and we'll come back with more. Of course, we'll be including your phone calls. Don't go away.


KING: Chuck Smith, is either side hurt or helped by some of the ridiculous media coverage? One of the tabloids having a headline, "Did Scott shoot her in the head?" And we don't have a head.

SMITH: You know, I think -- I think that the -- the media, I think, is a wash in this case. I think the jury's really focused on what's going on in the courtroom. Judge Delucchi has done a beautiful job of telling the jurors not to read, not to pay attention, to stay away from the media coverage. I think Mark Geragos is playing a little bit to the media and playing a little bit to the crowd, but I don't think it's going to matter at the end of the day.

But Larry, the question you asked Nancy a few moments ago about does emotion play a role -- absolutely, it plays a role. There's been a couple of beautiful emotional moments for the prosecution. Sharon Rocha broke down in tears during her testimony. Harvey (ph) Grantski gave some great, heartfelt emotional testimony. This is a human drama. It needs to be a human drama. And the enormity of the loss to that family is overwhelming. They are really a quality family. I was so struck by watching family member after family member take the stand. They are a good, hard-working middle-class, California family. And their loss is just indescribable, and that needs to be part of the trial.

KING: But Michael, wouldn't that loss be the same no matter who did the crime?

CARDOZA: Oh, absolutely. And I saw both Amy and Sharon testify in court. Yes, there was some emotion shown. But I'll tell you, not to the point that I thought it really affected the jury. There were really quiet tears. I thought the DA really missed an opportunity there.

And in answer to the question about they're putting on a lot of witnesses -- they're putting on a lot of nothing witnesses, and I'll give you an example today. One of the receptionists is put on the stand. The DA asks her, Were you working the day after Christmas? No. Well, I have nothing further. Geragos gets up and says, Why weren't you working? I was sick. Well, were you really sick? Got a pretty good laugh from the audience. But why did the DA put that witness on? The judge looks down at Geragos and asks him, Do you have any other questions? He said, No, but I'd sort of like to ask her what she's doing here. And I'll tell you, everybody in the audience wanted to know why did the DA put that witness on? They're going to lose the good points with these minutiae witnesses.


KING: How can that happen, Nancy?

GRACE: There's a very simple answer to why that witness was there, although a lot of defense attorneys don't want to admit it. There's a period of time in which the prosecution was asking, Did Scott Peterson call to find out about his wife? No, that particular assistant wasn't there the day after Christmas. But remember, according to Scott Peterson, his wife went missing the day before Christmas. And I think it was established very soundly in the courtroom today that when he got home from "fishing," his wife's pocketbook, wallet, keys, car, everything was there, just as it should be. The only thing missing was Laci. She's about to give birth. And he never, during 24 to 26, called her doctor and said, Has she gone to the hospital? Where is she? That was the significance of these witnesses today.

KING: Chris Pixley, isn't that weird? Wouldn't a husband with a late pregnancy wife, first place he'd call be the doctor?

PIXLEY: I still think the first place you call and the first person you call is family. You know, you call and -- you make the logical calls first. Have you seen her? You call the friends. You call family. That's, in fact, what he did. He then went out to the park. He knew she was going for a walk that day. He went to see where -- if she still might be there. And of course, we've heard through the course of the preliminary hearing -- hasn't come up yet in the trial -- that there was a reason he went out to the park. He believed that maybe she had passed out there. She was late-term. Did he -- you know, has -- did he make mistakes? Are there more people that he could have called? Certainly, there are, but that's what you find in every single trial. It's what you find in every human circumstance.

KING: Chuck Smith, what counts more, the attitude of the accused or the forensic evidence?

SMITH: Well, the forensic evidence obviously counts a lot more. All this testimony about Scott acted oddly, Scott acted strangely, he acted suspiciously -- it's not very important because that's just people's impressions. There has to be some solid evidence behind that. And that's the most important thing.

But on this point about Scott Peterson's testimony, or the testimony about his conclusion that his wife was missing -- this is very important. This is critical. He gets home at 4:45. By 5:20, he's calling Sharon Rocha saying, Laci is missing. That's the term he uses. He doesn't say, Hey, I can't find Laci. Is she over there? Is she at the neighbor's? He tells Sharon Rocha, I haven't called the neighbors, I haven't called the friends, my wife is missing. Well, how did he conclude she's missing? This is critical testimony. He apparently concludes she's missing before he calls her friends, before he calls the neighbors, before he calls the doctor. This is very incriminating that he uses the term "missing." He knew she was missing because he did something.

KING: Michael Cardoza, isn't that logical? Why say "missing"?

CARDOZA: Oh, absolutely. That's one of the biggest things they have, Larry. I'll tell you the three things they have. They have "missing." They have his statement to the neighbors where he said, I went golfing, not fishing. And where the bodies were dropped in the bay. They have an expert -- the people have an expert that's going to come in and say the bodies had to be dropped at the island where Scott was fishing. But the DAs haven't put that evidence on, and they didn't hit the missing or the golfing very heavy. That's the biggest evidence they have in this case, and they're sort of floating by it. I don't understand what they're doing in this case.

KING: Ted Rowlands, does anyone at this point, just from a reportorial standpoint, appear to be ahead?

ROWLANDS: Well, it's tough to say. You know, the legal experts would be able to gauge that better than I. I think that the prosecution is just going very deliberately. And it doesn't mean that they're maybe doing a good or bad job. I think that that's their style. And I think that the jury realizes that it's an important case and they're focused right now. I also think that a five-month trial -- this is just my opinion -- would be too long. And it does seem to be going faster than that. In fact, I heard somebody in the know estimate it's now going to be about three months, rather than five, probably something that'll help the prosecution.

KING: We'll take a break and come back. We'll be including your phone calls for our outstanding panel on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


KING: Ninth day of the case. Let's include your calls. Yorkstown, Virginia. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Thanks for taking my call.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: My question is directed to Nancy Grace, and Ted Rowlands, in specific, since he's in court every day. Last week on Nancy's show, they mentioned that there's one male juror, and when he comes in every day, he's making eye contact with Scott Peterson, where the other jurors are all averting their eyes. And I'm wondering, this man they said is coming in every day and nodding towards Scott -- and I want to know, in particular, if Nancy, or specifically, Ted Rowlands, since he's there today -- is this the same male juror who previously had a restraining order against him or not?

KING: We'll let Ted go first because he's there. Ted, did you notice this?

ROWLANDS: Yes. I know who she's talking about because I heard the report. But I tell you, I have seen every one of those jurors throughout the day all take extended looks at Peterson. It's a natural thing. And they all do it at different times. This one individual seems to carry himself in a bit of a boisterous way. The answer is no, to the restraining order situation. That is another juror. But this is a -- I wouldn't read anything into it.

It's -- I think every one of those jurors is acting naturally now, as they're starting to settle into this long trial. And they are getting much more comfortable, and they're making little inside jokes. In fact, one juror was sick today, had some sort of stomach ailment. The judge had to end court early in the morning to give him an extended break. And then in the afternoon, the other -- one of the other jurors was ribbing him a bit. But I wouldn't read too much into that.

KING: Nancy, do you jury-read?

GRACE: I certainly do. And it's just what we do, what we all do every day in our life. It is instinctual. You don't think it through, you feel it. It's a gut reaction when the hair stands up on the back of your neck. And this juror, for about a minute, had me worried because every time -- it wasn't during the trial...

KING: How do you know, if you weren't there?

GRACE: Because my reporter is there...


GRACE: ... every single day and observes the jury. I have two reporters in the courtroom every day. And both of them observed this male juror, not the one with the restraining order, come in the courtroom, and then he sees Peterson -- it's not during the evidence, but it's when they come in and out -- he's, like, Yo. But today, he didn't do that. That has ceased.

KING: Pleasanton, California. Hello.

CALLER: Hello. My question is for Ted Rowlands. I happened to be there last Thursday and sat in. I was one of the people that got to get in. And I would like to know if Scott Peterson has any visitors, other than his family and attorneys? And also, is he instructed not to look at his parents? Because I didn't notice that he even looked at his parents when he came out. He had his head down the whole time. Thank you.

ROWLANDS: Typically, he does look at his parents. He acknowledges them as he walks into court for the first time. Maybe the day you were there, he didn't do that. But usually, on every break, he'll make a quick eye contact and smile to his parents or someone from his family. As to the visitors, it has been restricted, I do believe, probably at Geragos's orders, to just family, a very short list. Nobody from the outside is coming in except for family members.

KING: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. My question is for Nancy. First, Nancy, let me quickly say that Court TV message boards love you. Nancy, do you think the prosecution will present a one-trip or a two-trips-to-the- bay theory by Scott Peterson?

GRACE: I think, given what we know right now, they'll have to present a two-trip-to-the-bay because, when he went to go fishing in the afternoon, believe you me, if he is, in fact, guilty, he did not dispose of Laci's body at that time in plain view in the middle of the day. Now, another thing we were talking about earlier about what's the strongest evidence -- I say it's the timeline. We have Scott Peterson, based on triangulation of cell phone records and cell phone towers, in his own neighborhood at 10:08. At 10:18, the neighbor finds the dog running free with a muddy leash. He's narrowed it down to 10 minutes for an unknown assailant to grab his wife. And he happens to be in the neighborhood at the same time. I think they've got to go with a two-trip-to-the-bay.

KING: Chris, you agree?

PIXLEY: No, I don't agree at all. First of all, I don't think there's any basis for a second trip to the bay. The other thing that I point out, Larry, is that the defense doesn't have to be bound by this timeline that the prosecution's trying to sell right now -- the idea that Scott Peterson was in the area at 10:08 and that the dog was found and put back in the yard at 10:18. The fact is, Scott left the home sometime between 9:00 and 10:00 that day. Maybe the prosecution convinces everyone it's 10:08. He's gone until 4:30, 4:45. That's at least six-and-a-half hours for Laci to go missing. And if the dog in the driveway is the only evidence of the fact that she had gone missing before 10:18, then they're going to have trouble because, look, you know, the dog's standing in the driveway. She could have gone out to take it for a walk, gone back in for a second, left it there, and the neighbor finds it. There are any number of reasonable explanations. They're not going to be tied down by the timeline.

KING: Chuck Smith, what do you think?

SMITH: No, no. I disagree with Chris. They're not. The timeline is very important. If Scott Peterson was in that neighborhood at 10:08, he killed his wife and he killed his baby child. There's no question about that. Karen Service (ph) was a powerful witness, and she found that dog running free at 10:18. If Scott Peterson was in that neighborhood, he's guilty. He did it. I mean, the timeline fits. No one else could have done it. There could not have been an abductor. There could not have been a stranger.

I disagree with Nancy. I think the prosecution is going to go with a one-trip-to-the-bay theory. He took the risk of dumping the bodies in broad daylight, and he simply got away with it. I don't think it was two trips, it was one. But he left that morning with his deceased wife and her unborn deceased child, and he had killed them.

PIXLEY: Larry...


KING: Let Michael say something. Michael?

CARDOZA: The two-trip issue? No, I absolutely agree. One trip to the bay. Why would he go back? It doesn't make any common sense at all. And I agree with Chris, that's a DA timeline. That's not the defense timeline. She could have gone missing at any hour that morning, absolutely any hour.

GRACE: It's not the DA!

CARDOZA: That's why -- that's -- you guys are trying to tie that. If he's home at 10:08 or in the neighborhood at 10:08, he's guilty. That's wrong. There are a lot of other reasonable explanations for that. And remember, the mailman said if that dog was home, the dog would stay within the perimeters of that house and not be out in the street. The defense is going to do something with that, and that's that maybe she took him walking earlier. Maybe Scott left a little bit earlier. Maybe Scott looped back to the neighborhood and hit that one cell tower. We don't know.

But getting back to your earlier question, Larry, that begs the question will Scott take the stand to explain why he might have been in the neighborhood and made that call?

KING: Let's take a break and come back with more. I'll reintroduce the panel when we do. Don't go away.


KING: Welcome back. Let's reintroduce the panel before we go back to phone calls.

In Redwood City is Ted Rowlands, CNN correspondent. He's been covering the Peterson case since the beginning. And had one of the few on-air interviews with Peterson.

In New York is Nancy Grace, Court TV anchor and former prosecutor.

In Atlanta is defense attorney Chris Pixley.

In Redwood City is Michael Cardoza, local defense attorney and former Alameda County prosecutor who was in the courtroom today.

As was Chuck Smith, also in Redwood City, former San Mateo County prosecutor including six years as a homicide prosecutor now in private practice. Also in the courtroom.

Let's go to Abilene, Texas, hello.

CALLER: Hello. I appreciate you taking my call.

KING: Sure. Go ahead. Go ahead.

CALLER: My call is really for the entire panel. Was the blood- seeking chemical used in the Peterson home and at the warehouse where Scott's boat was kept?

KING: Nancy.

GRACE: I think she's talking about luminol. And it's my understanding that blood was found in Peterson's car. But it was Peterson's blood, and in fact, he openly volunteered that to witnesses before they even asked him. Oh, yes, they're going to find my blood in my car. Shakespeare says me thinks thou doth protest too much. But regarding luminol, I think it was used in the car. Not used in the home. If it was used in the home they did not find any blood in the home or believe me we would have heard about it in the opening statements.

KING: Chris you agree?

PIXLEY: That's right. Whether they used luminol in the home or not they didn't find anything, and that's why we haven't heard anything about it.

KING: Angels Camp, California. Hello.

CALLER: Hello. My name's Deborah (ph) and I'm calling -- my question is directed towards Chris Pixley.

KING: Yes.

CALLER: How effective do you think it would be, considering how treacherous the water is between Alcatraz Island and Berkeley to do a re-enactment of a 14 foot boat, and this man trying to put his pregnant wife, and an anchor over the side without submerging the boat, or flipping it over?

Thank you.

PIXLEY: This is one of those questions, it's actually a wonderful observation and a very interesting question. What you're talking about, though, is really having the defense take, because the prosecution certainly isn't going to do it or at least try to make the demonstration that you're describing, having the defense take the jury down this path to show them that the prosecution's theory is impossible. I don't expect them to go that far. It is overstepping, in most cases, and it smacks of the glove incident in the O.J. Simpson trial.

Unless you've done it hundreds of times, unless you can convince the judge that it's necessary, and a necessary element to your case, and I don't think that they're going to be able to do that, you just don't go through with it.

And on the other hand, if the prosecution wanted to demonstrate that this was something that he could have done, something he could have carried out, you've got a lot of problems right now. Remember that they had side-scan sonar going through the bay for months. And if, in fact, a witness is going to get on the stand and say, well, the bodies came directly from this island where Scott says he was fishing, the logical question is going to be, why have we still not found the anchors?

Why have we still not found the missing body parts?

I don't expect any of those kind of re-enactments.

KING: Chuck Smith, comment?

SMITH: You know, that kind of experimental evidence, that's a good observation. And you know, the prosecution ought to touch upon that. They haven't done such an experiment. But they ought to present evidence about, you know, Laci's weight, the size of Scott Peterson. Laci was a tiny woman, even pregnant she wasn't that heavy. And the prosecution should address the question that the listener asked. And they should present evidence that he certainly physically could have done what they contend he did. That's an important fact.

KING: Michael, you agree?

CARDOZA: Well, no, they should not do this. The defense certainly shouldn't do the demonstration. For the district attorney, maybe, but I don't think the judge would let that in because they couldn't duplicate the same circumstances. So, I don't think any type of experiment like that would be allowed to happen in the courtroom. It's not going to happen. So...

KING: Columbia, South Carolina. Hello.

CALLER: Hi. My question is for Chris Pixley.

KING: Yes.

CALLER: You keep referring to reasonable explanations. Can you give me a reasonable explanation for Scott being at the marina and Laci's body washing up so close to there?

For me, that's the smoking gun in this whole case. PIXLEY: Yes, I think it's the smoking gun for a lot of people. I think it's a very good question. Here's the reasonable explanation, the fact is, within days of Laci's disappearance, it was being reported that Scott Peterson was, in fact, at the Berkeley Marina at the time of her disappearance. And images of his boat were being flashed. It was something that the local community knew of. So, if, in fact, she is abducted by someone else, and they want to get away with the crime, one of the best things to do would be to dump the body in the bay. Maybe you leave it at Scott Peterson's doorstep, but you dump it in the bay and you've left it where Scott last places himself.

KING: That's another point. Vancouver, British Columbia for our panel. Hello.

CALLER: Yes, hello. My question is for Nancy Grace or Chris Pixley.

First of all, Nancy, I think you're absolutely wonderful. I'm just wondering, all the defense has to offer in this case is Satanic cult and we don't have to prove a thing. I'm really tired of this parody now, of hearing this.

But anyway my question is, how many murder convictions come down on first-time offenders with no prior history of violence?

And what do you think the outcome will be?

Thank you.

KING: Nancy.

GRACE: No. 1, very often when you have a murder case the defendant on trial does not have a murder rap sheet. If they do, they're behind bars. So most times, you try a murder case, your perp has never committed a murder before. Once in awhile you'll get a violent crime in their past, but not another murder. And I'm happy to inform you, that the theory is no longer the Satanic cult took Laci. The theory is now being geared toward some burglars from across the street took Laci. But to foil that, I expect the state to bring the burglars into the courtroom to defuse that theory.

But back to what the state has going for it in this case, and we're talking about reasonable theories. The theory put out in the defense is that in a 10-minute time period, an unknown assailant accosted Laci Peterson, carved the baby out of her stomach, for what?

To sell it on the black market, no. To adopt it, no. To raise it as their own, no. To kill the baby. They must watch a lot of Larry King and Cable TV, because then they decided to frame Scott Peterson, because they knew where he went fishing. That is not reasonable.

KING: You want to comment, Chris?

PIXLEY: Well, if that's not reasonable, then I think you have to have a hard time understanding why the police believe that Scott Peterson was the logical suspect, because they found a rumpled rug, or some dirty rags on top of a washing machine. I mean this is the kind of evidence that they have now testified to that raised their ire, that made them question this man. The other thing, the caller's question about first-time offenders is a logical question. But, of course, in most cases they would be behind bars. One of the things, though, that comes out with respect to a capital murder case is this -- in the process of committing your first murder, you make mistakes. You leave evidence behind. Scott Peterson has made a number of mistakes in how he's dealt with the media and the things that he said, and those mistakes are all being paraded through the courtroom. But one of the things that will be absent from start to finish in this 3 and half month or 5 and half month trial is any physical evidence, and murders aren't this clean.

KING: Ted Rowlands, how is Scott looking, by the way?

ROWLANDS: He's thin and he's lost weight petty much steadily since his incarceration. But he seems to be upbeat. He comes in and usually smiling. He smiles with his family and he's in on little jokes that Geragos will tell. And he seems to react very positively, whether or not that helps him in the eyes of the jury is questionable. But, he definitely seems upbeat, considering.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with more calls. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's not really any bombshells coming out but we're very happy with what we're hearing right now.

QUESTION: But they've been criticized a lot. You feel good about what they're doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very good. Very good with what they're presenting.


KING: We're back. Back to the calls.

Winfield, Louisiana. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, Larry.


CALLER: My question is for the panel.

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: My call is for the panel. If, in fact, her keys, her watch and her wallet were all at the house, and Scott Peterson felt that calling the family was enough, why didn't he call the emergency rooms?

Why didn't he find out if she was in there, if she had fainted at the park, or went into labor at the park?

SMITH: You see -- this is Chuck.

Can I take this one, Larry?

KING: Yes, sure. I was going to address it to you.

SMITH: Sure, this is a great question. And some of the most compelling evidence the prosecution has is this, at 4:45 Peterson gets home. At 5:20 he's calling Sharon Rocha, Laci's mom, and saying, Laci's missing. He has not done any of those logical things, checked the park, went to the neighbors' house, called her friends, called her relatives. You know, my wife and I lose track of each other all the time. I don't, after half an hour when I can't find her, call her mom and say, my wife's missing. I might say hey, where is she, she's not around. He didn't do those things. The term missing, as I said earlier, is critical. And those things are the important questions that the prosecution has to focus on more than they are focusing on. Because that is powerful evidence of his guilt.

KING: You want to comment, Michael Cardoza?

CARDOZA: Sure. I mean, I agree with Chuck. That word "missing" is going to be one of the biggest phrases in this case. The district attorney should pound that home to this jury, they certainly haven't done it so far. But going back to the questions about phoning the O.B. Remember this was Christmas Eve, 5:00, 5:30, by the time Scott gets home.

He does phone the O.B., but he doesn't leave a message.

Why should he?

I mean would you expect the OBGYN to be in their office at that time, would you really expect your wife to be there?

It's certainly one thing to check. I think the real question, as Chuck said, why isn't he phoning around to other places, which leads right back to are you going take the stand Mr. Peterson and explain those things away? That's the big question here, because those are the questions the jury (AUDIO GAP).

ROWLANDS: Larry, can I clear something up real quick?

KING: Sure.

ROWLANDS: I should clear something up real quick. One of the initial sergeants on scene that night called hospitals in the area. And he threw that out. So the family was aware that that was being done. And one would presume that Peterson either partook in that, or was aware that that had been checked off the list, if you will. And he did, to his defense, he did call friends in that immediate time period when he first did come home.

But the hospitals were checked. And they were checked right away. It was the Modesto police sergeant who thought of the idea. But of course they're trained and they're calm in that state of mind. So it was done. It wasn't as if they totally forgot about it.

KING: Thanks, Ted. Blue Ridge, Georgia. Hello.

CALLER: hello. My question is for Nancy. The first question is, did they find a hair of Laci's in the boat? And, how would the prosecution handle witnesses that say they actually saw Laci walking?

GRACE: Two great questions. And two questions the prosecution's got to deal with if they want to win this case.

A hair was found in the boat. A hair that the state says is consistent with Laci Peterson's. Now, the state has told this jury Laci did not know about the boat, had never been on the boat. The defense is going to contest that.

But this jury's got to reconcile if this is all true, how Laci's hair got entwined in needle nose pliers on a boat she had never been on. A boat that had only been purchased for about three weeks, in cash, and kept at his office. Nobody knew about it.

So that's going to be a very difficult problem for the defense.

Now, as to these witnesses that say they saw Laci, let me remind you, she was seen everywhere from Tempe, Arizona, to Santa Cruz, all over. And she was always wearing black pants, white top. That's what Peterson told the cops she was wearing. The reality is, that's not what she was wearing. And these witnesses did not see her.

KING: To San Diego. Hello. San Diego, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. I love your show.

KING: Thank you, what's the question?

CALLER: My question is for Nancy. Nancy, you're great. I admire you so much. My question is, aren't the police damned if they do and damned if they don't in bringing up evidence? I mean, if the police had the crumpled rug by the door and the rags on the washing machine, wouldn't the defense bring up more sloppy police work?

GRACE: Oh, yeah. I was losing you just a little bit, but I think what you're saying is can the defense use that as sloppy police work? Sure. They can say, yes, the cops didn't notice something until their fourth walk-through. Yes, that's sloppy police work.

I really don't think that's going to go so far. And Chris Pixley keeps saying that all the state has is a crumpled rug and a neat place with some rags on the washer. No. They've got Scott Peterson in the location when Laci was kidnapped, in the location where her body was found. A timeline that doesn't fit. And a guy that can't keep his story straight for even one day. He can't keep his alibi straight. KING: Which makes you think, Chris, he's going to have to take the stand. Don't you think?

PIXLEY: I think it may be necessary. It's awfully hard to successfully defend a case with this kind of evidence, where most of it's based on your own statements, your client's own statements, without putting him on the stand. Quite honestly, it's hard to win any major felony case without putting your client on the stand.

So there is reason to put him on. Of course, as we know, he has not performed well with the media. I think -- and there are a lot of very tough questions he would have to answer.

At this stage right now, I know we've heard the best spin on the evidence so far from the prosecutors on the panel. But at this stage I would say Scott Peterson does not need to take the stand. Most of the witnesses against him have been neutralized. And many of them are family members.

You know, Michael pointed out that Ron Grantski was neutralized because his main point was Scott shouldn't be fishing midday, and, in fact, he was. Amy Rocha was neutralized in the same way. Her testimony was about the pants that Laci was wearing, and it turns out she admitted it's not the same pants that she washed up in that she was wearing when Amy last saw her on the 23rd. That kills or at least undermines the theory that Laci was killed in the home.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with our remaining moments. Get a few more calls in right after this.


KING: Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Hello.

CALLER: Hi. My question is, does anyone know if baby Connor's umbilical cord was still on him, or had it been taken off or cut off?

KING: Chuck?

SMITH: Well, that's one of these issues that's going to be contested. The prosecution medical examiner indicates that the bodies were too decomposed to determine whether that occurred or not. That is, whether there was a human action to cut the umbilical cord. Apparently the defense expert is going to testify that there was some human intervention, or at least evidence of that.

Obviously if that's believed, Scott Peterson didn't commit the crime. So this is very critical testimony. We got our first glimpse of this medical issue regarding how old was Connor when he died today, with some foundational witnesses. But that is going to be critical. And the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that that child was still in his mother's stomach when they were killed, and there's other reasons for the bodies being found apart in the bay.

KING: Delray Beach, Florida. Hello. CALLER: Hi. My question is for Nancy. Nancy, we love you in Florida. You're wonderful. I was wondering if you've heard about Scott writing love letters to a Laci look-alike?

GRACE: Yeah, I heard about that.


GRACE: I heard about that. I read it in one of the tabs over the weekend, Larry.

KING: Oh, that makes it a fact.

GRACE: And -- and you know what? I don't know if it's true or not. But if it is true, and he's in the middle of a murder trial for his wife and baby's murder, and he's writing a love note to an aide that is bringing clothes for him to wear in the courtroom, let me tell you, the lid's going to blow off that courthouse. We'll have to wait and see if she's added on as a witness.

KING: Port Richey, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Yeah, hi, Larry. Yes, we do love you, Nancy, in Florida. And I love your suspenders, Larry.

Now, my question is, how come none of the family members knew nothing of this boat? And I'd like to know where he got the time to wash his clothes he told the police, after fishing. Thank you.

SMITH: You know, I can answer that. This is Chuck. First of all, his story is that the boat was to be a surprise. He was keeping it deliberately a secret because he was going to surprise the family at Christmastime with the fact that he bought a boat and he was going to join in the family's tradition of fishing.

Regarding his washing his clothes, this is another suspicious fact. He gets home at 4:45; by the time the police get there around 6:00, he has already taken some wet rags out of the washing machine, and put his dirty clothes in the washing machine. Well, why is he doing that if he can't find his wife? What is the explanation for that conduct? Granted, they were not able to find any forensic evidence in his clothes or in those rags. But that is just suspicious, odd behavior.

GRACE: I agree, Larry. I agree. And the other thing about the boat, Larry, why do you buy a boat, in cash, and keep it hidden at your warehouse, tell nobody about it, and then the irony, on its maiden voyage, the first time you put it in the water, dang if you don't go fishing right on top of where your wife's dead body turns up.

KING: It sure looks troublesome, doesn't it, Michael?

CARDOZA: Well, it does. Here's what this case boils down to, Larry. There are three things. Scott saying that she was missing. The second is his story where he said golfing instead of fishing. And where the body was dropped was right where Scott went fishing. If people believe those bits of evidence prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, then he will be found guilty of first degree murder.

But that's all the prosecution has. That's it. And as Chuck said, the boat, it was going to be a surprise. I hear there may be a witness that's going to testify that Laci actually was at the boat. That would be interesting.

ROWLANDS: Larry, in opening statements Geragos said they'll produce a witness that says that Laci was at the warehouse and actually used the bathroom of another warehouse while she was there to see the new boat. And she was in on it and in on the surprise, and that's the defense theory.

KING: And we're out of time -- quickly one other quick thing.

PIXLEY: The good news, too, is all the spin that Chuck's putting on this case will not go on in the courtroom. This was not Scott Peterson's new avocation, fishing. This is something that he had done for some time. A lot of what's being said here tonight is going to be disproven.

KING: Thank you all very much, Ted Rowlands, Nancy Grace, Chris Pixley, Michael Cardoza and Chuck Smith. We're just at the start of things. This was the ninth day.

I'll be back in a couple of minutes to tell you about tomorrow. Don't go away.


KING: We will be in New York next week. The prime reason, on the night of Thursday, June 24, the first prime, live, exclusive with phone call interview with former President Bill Clinton. That's Thursday night, June 24. The second reason, we get a chance to see Aaron Brown, the host of "NEWSNIGHT."


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