The Web      Powered by
powered by Yahoo!


Return to Transcripts main page


Scott Peterson Sentenced to Death

Aired December 13, 2004 - 19:00   ET


HEIDI COLLINS, HOST: Good evening from New York, everyone. I'm Heidi Collins.
What's next for Scott Peterson?

360 starts right now.

Scott Peterson heads to death row, but, as a marked man, will he be safe in prison? Tonight, what he can expect as a death row inmate.

The Amber factor. How much did the relationship with Scott's lover play in the jury's decision? We're live with Amber Frey's attorney, Gloria Allred.

Does he deserve to die? We're live in the hometown of Scott and Laci for reaction to the final judgment.

And what happened to all that high-priced legal talent? How Mark Geragos went from legal golden boy to goat.

ANNOUNCER: Live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

COLLINS: Good evening once again, everybody. Anderson is off.

(audio interrupt) the Scott Peterson murder case began with Laci's death, and it will end with his own.

After deliberating for 12 hours over three days, 12 men and women made the grim decision late this afternoon that Peterson should pay with his life for taking two lives.

This was the jury's recommendation, that having been found guilty of first-degree murder of his wife, Laci Peterson, with special circumstances, and guilty of the second-degree murder of Baby Conner, Peterson should be executed.

We begin our coverage tonight with CNN's Ted Rowlands, who was in the courtroom when the verdict was announced.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, the jury, in the above-entitled cause, fix the penalty at death.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After hearing five and a half months of testimony and deliberating for 11 hours and 30 minutes, the jury that found Scott Peterson guilty of murder decided his fate should be death.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Scott Peterson was Laci's husband, Conner's daddy, someone should have -- the one person that should have protected them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just seemed to be the appropriate justice for the crime, given the nature, and how personal it really was against his wife and his child.

ROWLANDS: Scott Peterson had no visible reaction when the verdict was read. His family sat silently behind him, seemingly expecting what was to come. Afterwards, jurors said the fact that the bodies of Laci Peterson and her unborn son were found where Peterson was fishing was a key part of the case.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For her to be where she was found, and to go through with what seemed to be, in the end, to me, a charade, it just wasn't, it wasn't fair.


ROWLANDS: Afterwards, prosecutors made a brief statement, saying they did it not for the money, but for justice. They thanked people involved. Laci Peterson's family about 15 minutes ago made an emotional statement. Her stepfather, Ron Grantski, said that it is a nightmare, it has been a nightmare, and will continue to be a nightmare since Laci and Conner have been taken.

Mark Geragos read a brief statement, didn't read one, just had a brief statement basically saying no comment for now, and please, asking the media to leave the Peterson family alone, Heidi.

COLLINS: Yes, understandably exhausted after all of that. Ted Rowlands, thanks so much.

Some legal experts believed Peterson would be spared the death penalty and get life in prison. So what happened?

Joining me now is CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

And Jeff, we had talked about this many times. And just last week when we spoke, you were one of those people who thought, You know, I really don't see this happening, getting the death sentence.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: You had a case with no eyewitnesses, no cause of death, some mystery about it. You had a community that hadn't imposed a death penalty in 10 years. You had a defendant with no prior criminal record. All of which seemed to point towards a life sentence. But to listen to those jurors, they were repelled...

COLLINS: And, and this is...

TOOBIN: ... at this case and at this man. COLLINS: Right. And this is something that we have talked about in the past as well, this term "lingering doubt" really did not seem to be any lingering doubt, at least from those three jurors...

TOOBIN: And, and, they...


TOOBIN: ... they were really a wonderful advertisement for the jury system. I mean, they were conscientious, they were honorable, they had obviously struggled with this case. But boy, they seemed to have no doubts in their mind. They were sure.

COLLINS: Well, this is, obviously, the jury's decision as a recommendation to the judge. And we've talked a lot also today about whether or not the judge will then, on February 25, reduce the sentence, if, in fact, he will. Possibility?

TOOBIN: Very, very unlikely. Judges in California tend to respect jurors' verdicts of death.

However, as we also discussed, there are more than 600 people on California's death row. The state is executing people at a rate of fewer than one a year. Even with the death sentence, the odds are overwhelmingly that Scott Peterson will die of old age waiting for his death sentence, rather than be executed.

COLLINS: Any chance that this is a factor that went into those jurors feeling OK with the decision that they made?

TOOBIN: You know what? They actually were asked that in the news conference, and they said no. They were (UNINTELLIGIBLE), they properly were not following the news coverage. They probably didn't know of the tremendous backlog in California. They viewed this as a true decision to have Scott Peterson executed.

The fact that he probably will not be was something that didn't enter into their consideration.

COLLINS: You know, something else they mentioned in that news conference I thought interesting, all of them said that they wanted to see some sort of expression from Scott Peterson, whether that was remorse or character or something. How badly do you think they wanted to hear from him?

TOOBIN: You know, that was one area where I think the prosecutors were cringing a little bit and listening, because it really...


TOOBIN: ... sounded like they were expecting testimony from the defendant. And as we all know, under the Fifth Amendment, the jury is instructed over and over again that the defendant has an absolute privilege not to testify. But as defense lawyers often suspect, that jury didn't pay that much attention to that instruction, and really wanted to hear him say something.

And also, they were so aware of his reactions in the courtroom and really contemptuous of them. Again, very important that defendants present a nonverbal testimony, even if they never go on the witness stand.

COLLINS: All right, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), emotional day no matter how you look at it.

TOOBIN: Incredible story.

COLLINS: All right, Jeff Toobin, thanks, as always.

Time will only tell if Scott Peterson will admit to murder. All we have now are his lies, including the ones he told Amber Frey, the girlfriend whose testimony may have helped seal his fate.

Here's one exchange between the two that was played in court.


AMBER FREY: How was your New Year's?

SCOTT PETERSON: It's good. I'm just, I (UNINTELLIGIBLE) this bar now, so I came out in the alley, quiet alley. Isn't that nice?

FREY: Yes, it is, I could hear you. Very good.


PETERSON: It's pretty awesome, fireworks there on the Eiffel Tower (UNINTELLIGIBLE) mass of people all playing American pop songs.


COLLINS: Joining me now outside the courthouse is Gloria Allred, the attorney for Amber Frey.

Gloria, thanks for being with us tonight.

You know, I understand that you spoke with Amber after today's verdict. What did she have to say about it?

GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY FOR AMBER FREY: Well, it's a very emotional day for her. She has always had in her thoughts and prayers, and does today, Laci and Conner Peterson, and the family of the murder victim. And she's always said, Heidi, that it was for the jury and the judge to decide, because they were the ones that were hearing all of the evidence in the courtroom, and she had confidence that the jury would reach what it believed to be was a just result.

And they have. I'm very proud of Amber Frey, because of the courage she's shown in this case. I think the fact that she assisted law enforcement and taped those telephone calls, one of which you just played, was extremely important. Because after that, it was impossible for Scott Peterson to take the witness stand, because he was shown on those telephone calls not only to have a cold, malignant heart, because he was making at least one of those phone calls from the vigil for his missing pregnant wife, talking romantic pillow talk to Amber.

But in addition, lie after lie after lie were shown to the jury on those tapes. And I think they got an idea of what Mr. Peterson was all about from those tape recordings.

And I'm so proud of her, because she did that at great risk of harm to herself. If he had found out about those taped telephone conversations, I don't know what Mr. Peterson might have done to Amber Frey. In fact, on the day of his arrest, April 18, in his car, they found a map to Amber's workplace with that date, April 18. I don't know what he was planning for Amber.

COLLINS: Has she spoken to you about that note, and how that made her feel? Was she frightened about that note?

ALLRED: Well, we certainly discussed each and every aspect of this case, and at a certain point, I'm hopeful that Amber will speak, and will tell her story, and tell what her feelings were and are. I think she's displayed an enormous amount of integrity in all of this. And I'm looking forward to her discussing what her feelings are at an appropriate time.

COLLINS: Gloria, we'll talk about the possibility of a book here in just a moment. But back to the tapes, if you will. They were played while Amber was on the stand. Clearly damming, as you've mentioned, one of the jurors even saying that they really did play a big part in his decision to convict. Do you think the prosecution, though, could have won this case without hearing from Amber whatsoever?

ALLRED: That's hard to say, Heidi. But I do think that the hours and hours of tapes did give, you know, strong evidence of what Scott Peterson was all about. On those tapes, he acknowledged having said to Amber, I lost my wife, and these will be the first holidays without her, and that he said that before Laci ever went missing.

And when Amber asked him, over and over again, How could you lose your wife before you lost her? if he had an innocent explanation, he never gave it.

So I think the jury could conclude that any answer he might give might tend to incriminate him.

Also, he kept talking about wanting a future with Amber, wanting to be with her forever. And I think that when the jurors talked about the fact that he wanted freedom, I think maybe part of that was that he was continuing to talk to his girlfriend after Laci disappeared, and seemed to have wanted no relationship with Laci, and a different kind of life altogether, rather than being married and having a child who was a responsibility. COLLINS: Well, speaking of a different kind of life, what is next for Amber Frey?

ALLRED: Well, I'm looking forward to her being able to break her silence and tell what she went through. There is so much to tell that I think is so inspiring to so many people, a tale of courage, and also more about her relationship with Scott, because so much of it didn't come out in court. There were so many tape recordings that weren't played by the prosecution. They, of course, played what they thought was important to their case.

And, of course, so much of what she went through, trying to assist law enforcement, and, you know, whether she felt that she was at great risk of harm. She, I think, is a role model for how to act with integrity during a double murder case. She always recognized what was at stake, life and death, and she took that very seriously.

COLLINS: All right. Gloria Allred, Amber Frey's attorney in all of this. We appreciate your time tonight, Gloria.

ALLRED: Thank you, Heidi.

COLLINS: And we are following a number of other stories tonight, cross-country now.

Washington, D.C., President Bush picks Mike Leavitt to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. The former Utah governor has been in charge of the EPA.

Also in Washington, at the Supreme Court, bowing out. Chief Justice William Rehnquist will not vote on some of the cases he missed last month while undergoing treatment for thyroid cancer. That is, unless the other justices are deadlocked. Rehnquist was involved in just two of the four opinions released today by the court.

On the streets of New Jersey, the purest heroin in the country. The dubious distinction for the second year in a row comes from the DEA, which tested samples bought on the streets there. New Jersey is the first stop for many drug traffickers, so the heroin is not diluted with additives or resold.

Los Angeles, California, Golden Globe nominations. Actor Jamie Fox is a triple threat now, he's nominated three times, one of them for this portrayal of Ray Charles in "Ray." And "Sideways" is nominated in seven categories, the most of any film.

And that's a look at stories cross-country tonight.

360 next, life after the death sentence, San Quentin 101. Find out why Scott Peterson may have many more years ahead of him, along with some of the nation's most notorious killers.

Also tonight, inside the mind of the jury. They speak out for the first time on why they chose death.

Plus, the rise and fall of Bernard Kerik. Was an illegal nanny just the tip of the iceberg that kept him from the head of homeland security? We'll take a closer look.

But first, your picks, the most popular stories on right now.



MARK GERAGOS, ATTORNEY FOR SCOTT PETERSON: Obviously, we're very disappointed. Obviously, we plan on pursuing every and all appeals motions for a new trial and everything else. All I'd ask is that you respect Jackie and Lee's and the family's privacy for the next week or so.


COLLINS: Usually very talkative, defense lawyer Mark Geragos had little to say after a jury recommended Scott Peterson be executed.

Tonight, it's believed Peterson is on his way to San Quentin. After being processed, he will likely be placed in East Block, where death is always a way of life.

CNN's Gary Tuchman explains.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): San Quentin State Prison, the home of California's death row for men.

Scott Peterson has joined the nation's largest contingent of people waiting to be executed. Six hundred forty-one inmates are on death row in California. The state's form of execution, lethal injection.

But actually getting executed is another story. Since the resumption of the death penalty nearly three decades ago, California has executed a far lower percentage of death row inmates than the state that is well ahead of all the others, Texas.

Since California reimplemented the death penalty in 1978, 10 people have been executed, while in Texas, the number is a 336 since it resumed the death penalty.

Peterson likely has many years of life still ahead of him. California has waited an average of more than 16 years to carry out each execution. The last inmate to be put to death was murderer Steven Wayne Anderson in 2002.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The insertion of the fluids began at 12:17, and death was pronounced at 12:32.


TUCHMAN: And he waited more than 20 years to be put to death.

San Quentin has a segregation unit for the worst of the condemned, but most inmates get the right to have care packages of food sent to them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Honey is not allowed because they can make wine with the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) content of the honey.

TUCHMAN: Scott Peterson will now be living a life where the constant thought is death.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.


COLLINS: Peterson has always maintained his innocence, claiming he was fishing in San Francisco Bay the day his pregnant wife vanished from their home in Modesto, California.

CNN's David Mattingly is in Modesto now with late reactions to the verdict.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People of state of California versus Scott Peterson. We, the jury, in the above-entitled cause fix the penalty at death.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): News of the death penalty for Scott Peterson brought a hush to the late-lunch crowd at a Modesto diner, patrons finding no cause for celebration, just a private feeling of justice served.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the justice system works, one way or the other. So that's -- you know, that's what the people wanted, that's what the people chose, that's what it's going to be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of times, we don't have control over anything that happens, and so it's nice to finally hear somebody, you know, getting what I believe they deserve.

MATTINGLY: A block away at a blood drive in memory of Laci Peterson, thoughts of anger toward Scott Peterson, his crime, and his deception continue to linger almost two years after Laci was murdered.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because of what he did. He, I mean, it was just really wrong what he did, and he caused a lot of pain and hurt to her family and this community. So he deserves it.


MATTINGLY: And his hometown anger not likely to go away anytime soon. But there if there is something positive out of this experience, the people of Modesto will tell you that it's brought them closer together, because of all the emotions that they have shared through this episode, not just the anger, Heidi, but the sorrow as well.

COLLINS: Hopefully, that's one good thing. David Mattingly, live from Modesto tonight. David, thank you.

360 next now, inside the mind of the jury. Hear, for the first time, why they found Scott Peterson guilty and decided to give him death.

Also tonight, the rise and fall of a Bush nominee. Did problems more serious than an illegal nanny sink Bernard Kerik? We'll take a closer look.

And in a moment, today's 360 challenge. Do you know the news?


COLLINS: So how long does it take to go from being the toast of the town to just plain toast?

If you are Bernard Kerik, and the town is Washington, takes about a week.

A report now on the rise and sudden fall of a nominee from CNN's Mary Snow.


MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three days after pulling the plug on his own nomination to be homeland security director, Bernard Kerik showed up for work facing questions about business associates and women.

BERNARD KERIK, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY NOMINEE: You know,, after I withdrew, naturally, you know, it was sort of like a snowball rolling downhill. It just gets bigger and bigger.

SNOW: Kerik's surprise withdrawal to be considered for the cabinet post has sparked questions over whether the nanny issue was the real reason he bowed out of the running. A flurry of reports on Kerik's past have been coming out, including one in Monday's "New York Times." That called into question a link to a friend with a questionable background.

KERIK: During my friendship with Mr. Ray, we were extremely close. I never knew him to be associated with anyone that was involved in organized crime or criminal activity.

SNOW: But Kerik's current boss, Rudy Giuliani, indicated he still has questions.

RUDOLPH GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Well, I think that's something I'll explore, you know, privately with Bernie. It's not right to comment on that in a speculative way.

SNOW: Giuliani says he personally apologized to President Bush at the White House Sunday night. Kerik said he had a close relationship with a female subordinate at the Corrections Department while he served as commissioner, and a very close relationship to book publisher Judith Regan. Questions about that tie came up in 2001, while Kerik served as New York's police commissioner. Regan believed her cell phone and jewelry were stolen during a visit to Fox News. Four homicide detectives were dispatched to investigate several Fox employees.

ROBERT SIMELS, ATTORNEY: They sought to have several of my clients submit to fingerprint analysis, polygraphs, in order to find Judith Regan's cell phone.

SNOW: Kerik's lawyer said officers did show up, but that Kerik did not send them.


SNOW: One other issue that is being raised is how much Rudy Giuliani, who's been talked about as a possible presidential contender in 2008, will be damaged by all of this, Heidi.

COLLINS: Well, so where does that stand now? I mean, after the meeting with the president yesterday, and now this news today? There was an apology, but what does this mean for the relationship (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and his possible political future?

SNOW: Right, because Rudy Giuliani is a rising Republican star. He really was focused and showcased at the Republican convention.


SNOW: He did make a call to the White House on Saturday, spoke with Andy Card. And then, yesterday, met with President Bush. He said that meeting was private. Giuliani admits that he was embarrassed. He says that their relationship is still a close one, but, obviously, you know, how much of a stain is this going to be? And did he -- the question is, why didn't he know more about Kerik's past before he lobbied for him to get the job?

COLLINS: Sure. All right, Mary snow, thank you.

SNOW: Sure.

COLLINS: Heading overseas now., Chile's former dictator indicted on human rights charges. And that tops our look at global stories in the uplink.

In Santiago, Augusto Pinochet is under house arrest. He's accused of kidnapping nine dissidents and the death of one of them. The 89-year-old's lawyers say he's physically and mentally unfit to stand trial, but the judge doesn't see it that way.

Lome, Togo, special delivery. These workers are shipping out nearly 1 million mosquito nets, one for each child in the West African nation. The nets are for protection against malaria. Vaccines to prevent measles and polio are also being delivered. London, England, at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, a controversial nativity scene removed after being vandalized. A protester attacked the waxwork, knocking over Joseph and Mary, a.k.a. soccer star David Beckham and his music star wife, Posh Spice, Victoria. The museum hopes to fix the damaged wax and reopen the exhibit, which also features President Bush as one of the wise men, and some Hollywood stars as the shepherds. Some religious groups have called the exhibit blasphemy.

Beijing, China, a new beauty pageant, the search for Miss Plastic Surgery. Twenty finalists from 17 to 62 years of age are showing off their surgical nips and tucks. A winner will be crowned on Saturday.

And that's tonight's uplink. That would be hard to top.

360 next, the death penalty for Scott Peterson. We'll take you inside the courtroom, plus, hear from the jurors themselves. Find out how they made their decision.



RON GRANTSKI, LACI'S STEPFATHER: Our friends, family, country searched for Laci everywhere. There wasn't one place that wasn't searched. They had no -- no reason to doubt that it was Scott who did what he did, and he got what he deserved.


COLLINS: That was the stepfather of Laci Peterson, speaking out for the first time since the jury came back with death penalty recommendation for Scott Peterson.

Our special coverage continues, but, first, tonight's "Reset."

Exactly one year ago today, in a spider hole, American troops captured Saddam Hussein. Today, Iraq's foreign minister says the ousted dictator will stand trial for crimes against humanity after national elections. Those elections scheduled for the end of January.

For one Marine injured in the battle of Falluja in Iraq, the choice was clear -- Lance Corporal David Battle (ph), walking here with his wife, suffered a mangled hand in combat. Doctors were going to cut off his wedding ring to try and save his ring finger, when he told them to cut off the finger and save the ring. Sadly, the ring was lost in the surrounding chaos of saving the lives of other wounded soldiers.

The FBI says overall violent crime dropped 2 percent in the first half of this year. That means less murders, robberies and aggravated assaults. But the number of rapes increased by 1.4 percent.

Christmas, 'tis the season of joy and giving, and also death. According to researchers, more Americans are dying from heart attacks and other natural causes during the Christmas holidays. They say the higher death rate can be blamed on people feeling too busy or too festive to go to the hospital over the holiday season.

And in the holiday spirit, a crowd of carolers turned out at Times Square in New York today, trying to break a record and help raise money for an AIDS charity. The current record -- 1,175 carolers singing for 15 minutes. The official count (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

A draining, difficult, and drawn-out case finally ended today. In the matter of what becomes of convicted murderer Scott Peterson, a jury in Redwood City, California made its decision.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People of the state of California versus Scott Peterson. We, the jury, in the above-entitled cause, fix the penalty at death. Dated December 13th, 2004. Foreperson number 6.


COLLINS: And with more now on this last chapter, we're joined in Redwood City by CNN's Ted Rowlands, who was inside the courtroom during the verdict, and CNN's Rusty Dornin, who was outside. Good evening to the both of you.

Ted, I want to begin with you, if I could. Tell us a little bit about the reaction once that verdict came down.

ROWLANDS: Well, it was silent. The Rocha family was in the front row. They sat together. Sharon Rocha, Ron Grantski and Brent Rocha, Laci Peterson's brother, and Amy Rocha, and they had no visible reaction to this verdict.

On the other side, the Petersons sat alone. The Rochas had a large group of family and friends behind them in support. The Petersons sat alone, and they seemingly knew what was coming. They had no reaction as well. They held hands before the jury came back. But when the jury read -- when the verdict was read, there was absolutely no reaction from them or from Scott Peterson.

That said, there was an incredible amount of emotion in the room, as you might expect when the verdict of death was read aloud.

COLLINS: And, Rusty, as we said, you were outside that courtroom. And I know that there was a small bit of reaction from the people outside. Tell us a little bit about what you saw and heard.

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there were hundreds of people gathered outside, and when the verdict was announced, there was a cry, sort of an enthusiastic cry, but it wasn't certainly not what we heard when the guilty verdict was announced, and then immediately following that, the crowd became very somber and very serious. It was not like they were celebrating this guilt verdict by any means.

COLLINS: You were also inside the room where the three jurors came and talked with the press. Just a fascinating news conference. Give us your take on all of that, Rusty. DORNIN: Very articulate people who really, really took great emotional pains in making this decision. Fourteen jurors came in, including two alternates, initially, and then 11 of them left, leaving three of them. The foreman, Greg Cardosi, Richelle Nice, and also Greg Bertolets (ph), stayed and answered questions for nearly an hour from reporters. They said they were emotionally drained after this, but they felt that they had made the right decision, that Scott Peterson was guilty, that it was powerful that he went fishing where his wife's body was discovered. They said that Amber Frey was only a piece of the puzzle, and the many pieces of the puzzle made up the picture.

It was also interesting that when they were asked did they want to hear from Scott Peterson, had they wanted to hear, a couple of them said yes, they had wanted to hear, they wanted to hear him plead for his life. Richelle Nice said that she had heard enough from him, that she did not want to hear from him.

Also talked about how they thought the prosecutors and also the police maybe had botched it in the beginning of the testimony, that the police had botched the investigation, the prosecutors weren't very good in the beginning. But then complimented both sides. They said Mark Geragos did a tremendous job. It was just a very difficult case.

COLLINS: All right, to the both of you who have covered it from the beginning, we appreciate your insight tonight. Ted Rowlands and Rusty Dornin. Thanks, guys.

Whilst the man who defended Scott Peterson lost in court today, it may not amount to much, compared to what his client is going to lose at some point or compared to what was lost long ago by Laci Peterson's family. But it is a loss, nonetheless, of what was quite a reputation.


MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Obviously, we're very disappointed. Obviously...

COLLINS (voice-over): The statement was surprisingly brief for the usually verbose high-profile defense attorney Mark Geragos.

GERAGOS: That's all I've got to say. Thank you very much.

COLLINS: In the legal calendar, 2004 was supposed to be the year of Mark Geragos. He was Scott Peterson's lawyer in a murder trial that had already grabbed headlines. And was also brought in by the pop star icon Michael Jackson, accused of child molestation in his Neverland retreat, a case that made Geragos the star attorney.

But instead, the ambitious leader suffered a series of legal setbacks. The first came from Michael Jackson, who overnight dismissed Geragos from his legal team, explaining he needed an attorney full-time.

Then it came from the 12 jurors in the Scott Peterson case. He promised to convince them that his client was, quote, "stone cold innocent." Instead, the jury convicted Scott Peterson of first-degree murder and sentenced him to death.

All this after the half-loss in the case of Winona Ryder a year before, and Robert Downey Jr., both of whom he failed to get acquitted, leaving Mark Geragos with the upside of high-profile cases and the downside of high-profile losses.


COLLINS: In "Justice Served" now, to talk further about the death sentence in the Scott Peterson case, we're joined in New York by prosecutor Jeanine Pirro, and in Miami by defense attorney Jayne Weintraub. Ladies, thanks for being with us tonight.


COLLINS: So much to talk about in this case. I think people right now, some of them very surprised, Jeanine? And some of them not? Do you think it's about 50/50 or where do you see this?

JEANINE PIRRO, PROSECUTOR: You know, I think the fact that this jury came back so quickly in the guilt phase, and the fact that they rendered their verdict so quickly today after they looked at those pieces, those exhibits that mirrored the prosecution's request for death, I think kind of sent a signal that this is a jury that is, number one, very convinced of their actions, and number two, really angry with what Scott Peterson did to Laci and Connor.

COLLINS: And yet the sentencing phase was longer than the guilt phase.

PIRRO: It was longer, but you know, I give this jury respect. They said at 3:30 on Friday, look, we want to go back to the hotel. You know they were thinking about it, they were resting and wrestling with the decision. They came back, asked for photos, and rendered a verdict. I mean, think about it. Rendering a verdict of guilty is one thing, but imposing death is more palpable and tangible.

COLLINS: Much tougher. And Jayne, what do you think the strongest grounds for an appeal for Scott Peterson would be?

WEINTRAUB: I think the strongest grounds remain the removal of the juror issue. I think that is a very tough issue for any state prosecutors to overcome on appeal. The Sam Shepard case was reversed, as we all remember, because of the circus-like atmosphere and what was going on. And I think that looking through the sealed transcripts, we'll see the real reason of what happened there. Number one -- I'm sorry?

COLLINS: I was just going to say, but do you think it will happen?

WEINTRAUB: I do think that will happen, because, remember, Heidi, under a death penalty case, this is going automatically to the state supreme court under a stricter scrutiny standard. Those are the legal words, strict scrutiny. They don't want to just examine the transcripts of a capital case, they want to magnify the issues and look at them carefully.

PIRRO: But, you know, the thing is, Heidi, that you had a very experienced judge here who has tried 22 death penalty cases, six where they imposed death, none of them reversed. I mean, you've got a judge...

WEINTRAUB: Jeanine, he was the first one to say he...

PIRRO: Excuse me, who was at the helm...

WEINTRAUB: ... made a mistake by not keeping the jury sequestered.

PIRRO: ... was very much in charge of what was going on, with an excellent appellate record. And I think that once we look at those records that are sealed regarding the removal of that juror, there will be good cause shown.


WEINTRAUB: I disagree completely. He might have a good record, but that doesn't mean he did well here. I mean, he was the first person to say that he made a mistake when he didn't keep the jury sequestered between the guilt verdict and the penalty phase, and exposed the jurors to the polluted mob environment that they had there.

PIRRO: That's because the judge didn't know that the public would be reacting the way they did. None of us did. A judge can't predict that. The only thing a judge can do is deal with the facts that he is dealt with, and in this case, he said maybe I shouldn't have had the jury leave. I should have had them sequestered until the penalty phase. But remember, Jayne, Mark Geragos is the one who wanted an adjournment because he said he never expected the death would -- or the guilt would be imposed.

WEINTRAUB: Both sides wanted an adjournment between guilt phase and penalty phase, and as you well know, Jeanine, that doesn't mean the judge should do that. He should have said from the beginning, no, we're going right straight into a penalty phase.

PIRRO: But that's not grounds for appeal, Jayne.

WEINTRAUB: It was unheard of in this case.

PIRRO: You know that. That's not grounds for appeal.

WEINTRAUB: How about excluding the defense video that showed when you went on that boat, it would have shaken and gone over and that Laci Peterson could have never been the dead weight...

COLLINS: Jayne, obviously, this is not over for you. Let me ask you if you think that when the judge saw this news conference today, I'm assuming that he probably heard what those three jurors had to say, which was very interesting in that they were all at ease and at peace with their decision. Will he take that into consideration?

WEINTRAUB: No. That isn't part of the consideration, Heidi. What I found interesting about the jurors' press conference as a whole was that not one of the three jurors who spoke -- first of all, I can't imagine the jurors would speak after imposing a recommendation of death, and that they would kid around with the press in a public press conference. That was beyond belief.

COLLINS: Oh, I don't know. They looked pretty shaken, Jayne.

WEINTRAUB: Hold on, Jeanine. Hold on, Jeanine.

COLLINS: That was Heidi.

WEINTRAUB: And number two is -- I'm sorry, Heidi. That these jurors, after they recommended death, where are they going next? To their agents for book deals? Not one of them talked about the aggravating factors and mitigating factors. They all said because of the death, they were imposing it.

PIRRO: Because it was clear...

COLLINS: Last word, Jeanine.

PIRRO: It was clear from their analysis of the mitigating factors that they didn't come into play. They didn't believe Scott Peterson. They made it clear that they were a very reasoned, deliberate, determined jury. There was nothing that was said during the deliberation phase as it related to death that in any way suggested that there was mitigation that outweighed the aggravation -- the murder of your wife, your unborn child. The highest betrayal of trust, and the fact that in our society, there is, according to this jury, retribution that is appropriate for that kind of action.

COLLINS: Ladies, unfortunately, that is all the time we have tonight. We certainly do appreciate your thoughts, though, Jayne Weintraub from Miami and Jeanine Pirro, right here in New York.

WEINTRAUB: Thanks, Heidi.

PIRRO: Thanks.

COLLINS: Thanks again.

360 next. The jury speaks. We will hear why it decided Peterson should die for his crime.

Also tonight, the media shift into high gear for this one. A look "Inside the Box" just ahead.

And in a moment, today's 360 challenge. How closely have you been following today's news? Find out next.


COLLINS: Time now for today's 360 challenge. Be the first to answer all three questions correctly and win a 360 t-shirt.

If the judge upholds Scott Peterson's death sentence, where will Peterson be sent to death row?

And what state has the purest heroin, according to the DEA?

Plus, who was nominated for three Golden Globes, including best actor?

To take the challenge, log on to, then click on the answer link. Answer first, you get the shirt. Find out Friday's challenge winner and tonight's answers coming up in just a bit.


COLLINS: He was the one person that should have protected them. That feedback from jurors who said Scott Peterson should die. Some of them spoke out about the most difficult decision they ever had to make.


GREG, PETERSON JUROR: The most difficult day was the day we found the verdict of guilty. I played in my mind over and over conspiracy, with somebody trying to set up Scott, was somebody after Laci. It didn't add up for me. If I was trying to go and condemn Scott, trying to find a way of making him guilty, why would I go to all of the work to bury -- to leave her in the bay? Why not just have her show up on the beach there? It could have happened that day, two days. That would have been more than enough to do something like that, but that didn't -- I didn't see that. That just didn't follow any of the information.

People running around and clapping and screaming and all that, that was not a happy event for anybody. I was not happy. When we walked out of there, it wasn't a joyous occasion.

STEVE, PETERSON JUROR: I still would have liked to see -- I don't know if remorse is the right way, but a little more expression of caring about his loss. I mean, if he was innocent, he -- he lost his wife and his child, and it didn't seem to faze him. And while that was going on, they were looking for his wife and his child, he's romancing a girlfriend. That doesn't make sense to me.

RICHELLE, PETERSON JUROR: For me, a big part of it was at the end, the verdict. No emotion. No anything. That spoke a thousand words. That was loud and clear. Today, the giggles at the table. Loud and clear. I heard enough from him.


COLLINS: Only three of the 12 jurors agreed to speak to reporters after the verdict was announced.

Well, as always, tonight on CNN, you can expect some powerful stories on "NEWSNIGHT WITH AARON BROWN." Miles O'Brien is filling in for Aaron tonight. He joins me now from Atlanta with a preview of what they're covering tonight. Hi, Miles.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, Heidi. Aaron is not here, we're trying to feel the power anyway. We are going to tell you the story about the time-honored tradition in wartime of scrounging for supplies. It's part of wartime mythology and reality, except in this case, some troops who got what they needed, appropriated a few things in order to get the job done are now in a lot of hot water. We'll talk to one of them, Heidi.

COLLINS: All right. Miles O'Brien, we will be watching, 10:00 Eastern. Thanks.

O'BRIEN: All right. Thanks.

COLLINS: 360 next, the media frenzy on the death penalty decision by the Scott Peterson jury. We take you "Inside the Box."


COLLINS: The verdict is in. The sentence has been handed down. The jury recommends the death sentence for Scott Peterson. All around the courthouse, you could cut the tension with a knife in the hours leading up to the announcement.

But when the words were read, the crowd, and the networks, reacted. They know and now so do you, when the important decision hangs in the balance, you get the latest "Inside The Box."


COLLINS (voice-over): Call this the calm before the storm. The public and the press milling around outside the Redwood City courthouse in the halls and in the streets waiting for word from the jury of whether Scott Peterson should live or die. Then at 4:48 p.m. Eastern time, the verdict was read.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, the jury in the above-entitled cause fix the penalty at death.

COLLINS: Words spread and for one brief moment, some of the subdued people outside the courtroom expressed their satisfaction with the jury's decision.


COLLINS: Members of the media scrambled to get the story filed and the networks sprung into action.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Scott Peterson should be executed.

LESTER HOLT, MSNBC ANCHOR: The death penalty for Scott Peterson.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Scott Peterson, I understand, was stone- faced throughout.

COLLINS: News crews have been camped outside the courthouse for close to a year now, but the case captured the public's attention on Christmas Eve, 2002, the night Laci Peterson disappeared. So, there's no surprise that there were several sighs of relief as it sunk in that the trial and the circus surrounding it is pretty much over.

After two years of nearly non-stop coverage, reporters and pundits reporting blow by blow descriptions of every witness in the box, every piece of evidence presented. Some viewers will be sorry to see this one go. Others who said the story isn't real news, it is merely filler for slow news days will rejoice. For better or for worse, we will move on "Inside the Box."


COLLINS: And 360 tomorrow, a new special series. "Ancient cures," modern hope or hoax. Doctors putting hole in a head to treat depression and other ailments. What are they thinking, and does it work?

Now, the "360 Challenge." Here is another look at tonight's questions.

If the judge up holds Scott Peterson's death sentence, where will Peterson be sent to death row?

And what state has the purest heroin according to the DEA.?

And who was nominated for three Golden Globes, including best actor?

Have you been paying attention?

Log on to and click on the answer link to play.


COLLINS: Time now for the answers to today's "360 Challenge."

If the judge upholds Scott Peterson's death sentence, where will Peterson be sent to death row? The answer there San Quentin.

What state has heroin according to the DEA, New Jersey.

And finally, who was nominated for three Golden Globes, including best actor -- ah, they jumped the gun, Jamie Foxx. You know he's in "Ray" right now, depicting Ray Charles.

And the first person to answer all three questions correctly will be sent a beautiful 360 T-shirt. You can see it there. Tune in tomorrow to find out if you are the lucky winner.

And Friday's winner, Rebecca Clark of West Babylon, New York. The envy of West Babylon. Another "360 Challenge," another chance to win, coming up tomorrow.

For now though, that is 360 for tonight. I'm Heidi Collins. CNN continues it's coverage of developments in the Scott Peterson case with "PAULA ZAHN NOW."

Hi, Paula.


International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.