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CNN BREAKING NEWS
Scott Peterson Sentenced to Death
Aired December 13, 2004 - 16:02 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're continuing to watch what's going to happen within a half an hour. The judge Alfred Delucchi expected to announce the jury's decision. The jury has already informed the judge that they have reached a unanimous decision. 12 jurors, 6 men, 6 women. We're expecting to hear that announcement live here on CNN at 4:30 p.m. Eastern. What, about 27 minutes from now. CNN's Rusty Dornin has been covering this story, this very sad story for almost two years. It was Christmas Eve 2002 when Laci Peterson disappeared and now we're about to hear whether the convicted killer, her husband, Scott Peterson will get life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death sentence. Set the scene for us a little bit, Rusty.
RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the tension here is mounting. There are already a couple hundred people here, anxious to hear what the final judgment will be against Scott Peterson. Will it be life in prison without parole or will they sentence him to death? This jury deliberated for about 11 hours. That was about four hours more than they deliberated when they convicted Scott Peterson of first degree murder and the killing of his wife Laci and then second degree in the killing of their unborn son, Conner.
So very, very curious people here. The court-watchers, some of them have been here for 100 days, coming to court, watching the proceedings, others have just heard there's a verdict and gathering here today. The reporters are gathered outside the courtroom waiting for the doors to open so they can go inside and hear. We will be hearing as we did with the announcement of the verdict of guilty. We will only be hearing what the judge has to say. He did not want a television camera in the courtroom. He wanted to respect the rights and feelings of both families in case any one of them broke down when they heard what that verdict was. We will only be hearing what the verdict is -- Wolf.
BLITZER: The judge also will have until February 25, to consider this verdict by the jury. Explain what the options will be before him.
DORNIN: Well, only -- he will only be considering changing it if it is a death sentence. If they sentence Scott Peterson to death in California, the judge will automatically review the case. He'll come back on February 25 and he will announce whether or not he's sticking to that decision.
Apparently in California it's very rare for judges to reverse the jury's decision about sentencing. So it's unlikely if they came back with a death sentence that he would reverse it, but he has that option. If they come back with the sentence of life in prison without parole, than that is the way it will be. He could not elevate that to death. But he would not sentence Scott Peterson today. Again, he would wait until February 25. Meantime, Scott Peterson will remain in jail here at San Mateo County until his sentencing. Before that, there will be several motions before the court. Some of it involving defense attorney Mark Geragos, filing motions for mistrial on the basis possibly of jury misconduct.
BLITZER: Rusty, another quick question. The jury asked for, what, 13 pieces of evidence to review before they reached their verdict. And we know that some of them were autopsy photos, aerial photos from the scene of where she was found. What, if anything, should we discern from that?
DORNIN: Well, there were actually seven pieces. Most of them were photos. As you said, aerial photos of San Francisco Bay. There was -- Laci Peterson's original medical file and autopsy photos of both of the bodies. Now, there are some legal analysts here, including Chuck Smith who we'll be talking with in a moment, who believed that because they're showing the autopsy photos that perhaps it was the folks who were in favor of the death penalty saying, look, this is what happened to her, take a look again at to what happened to Laci Peterson and then let's come back and decide. It was very soon after they asked for these pieces of evidence that they came back and said, we do have a verdict.
BLITZER: All right. Less than 25 minutes from now we'll be hearing from the judge and the jury. Stand by, Rusty. I want to bring Jeffrey Toobin our senior legal analyst in. He's been watching this trial for almost two years. This case for almost two years. The trial over these past many months. The fact that they deliberated over three days for 11 hours or so, Jeff, what, if anything, does that say to you?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it says they had a harder time on the penalty phase than they did on the guilt phase. This was an extraordinarily fast deliberation, less than a full day of deliberation. Over five months of testimony over guilt or innocence. This jury just had no trouble finding Scott Peterson guilty of first degree murder of Laci Peterson and second degree murder of their unborn son Conner.
Here, they not only went over three days, but including over a weekend, to -- in the penalty phase. As many people know, jurors often come back on Fridays. They don't like to have the issues hanging over their heads over a weekend. Here you have the situation where they knew they would be sequestered and no jury likes to be sequestered. Obviously they felt it was important. They weren't ready to give a verdict last -- two days ago. But relatively promptly, after less than a full day of deliberation on Monday, they came back today. So they found agreement pretty quickly.
BLITZER: The fact that there were six women and six men on this jury, is there any historic evidence that men or women are more inclined to go with the death sentence based on the research you've done?
TOOBIN: You know, actually not. One of the interesting phenomenon that we've seen in recent years is that women have been every bit as tough as men both as jurors and judges. I wrote a story several years ago about the Texas judicial system which as everyone knows is one of the toughest in the country. There are more women judges per capita in Texas, including the head of the court of criminal appeals than in any other state. It is very female-dominated court system and that's, as everyone knows, a very tough system. I don't think you can draw any conclusion from the fact that jurors are men or well, especially here when you have six of each.
BLITZER: Jeffrey, we're going to have you stand by as well, because we have a lot to talk about in the course of this decision, this verdict unfolding over the next 20 minutes or so. Joe DiGenova is a former U.S. attorney here in the District of Columbia. He's a proponent, a supporter of the death penalty. Does this case cry out to you as a former federal prosecutor one way or the other, life without the possibility of parole or the death sentence?
JOE DIGENOVA, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, I think obviously the choice is here, as far as the public is concerned, are good choices. Now that there has been a verdict of guilty by a jury. I think this is clearly a case where the death penalty is wanted. And it clearly is one which would be accepted by the public. We have had some indication of that from the reporting that your people on the ground are already doing out there. I think, though, that given the fact that a pregnant woman was murdered and that obviously the child that she was bearing was killed as a result of that creates the kind of aggravating circumstance that the Supreme Court said was appropriate for a jury to consider to determine whether or not to impose death penalty. I would certainly favor it if I were a juror in this case, without any qualms.
BLITZER: If you were voting, even though it was all circumstantial evidence, it wasn't direct evidence, no hard evidence, physical evidence right there, even though it was circumstantial evidence, you would go for the death sentence?
DIGENOVA: Well, circumstantial evidence is, of course, some of the strongest evidence in the law. Footprints in the snow is circumstantial evidence but it shows that somebody walked there. And there is pretty much irrefutable evidence.
I think the answer is, yes. There was lots of evidence in this case. And the defendant's conduct was some of the most powerful evidence in this case. What he did, what he didn't do, what he said, what he didn't say. And of course, one of the incredible things for the defense here, and it's really their own making, he never took the witness stand in his defense during the guilt or innocence phase.
BLITZER: He didn't have to.
DIGENOVA: He didn't have to. He didn't take the stand during the penalty phase. And what that means very simply is this jury never got to hear him say, I'm sorry. They never got to hear an expression of remorse because his claim was that he never did it. He is resting his future on the fact that he thinks he's going to win on appeal, a highly unlikely set of circumstances.
BLITZER: All right, Joe, we're going to get back to you, stand by.
We're going to take a quick break. We're standing by to hear from the judge, Alfred Delucchi. He's going to be announcing the verdict, the verdict from this jury, 12 people on the jury, six men and six women. You're looking at a live picture of the courthouse in Redwood City, California.
When we come back, we'll also hear from Scott Peterson himself. He spoke with our own Ted Rowlands shortly after Laci Peterson disappeared Christmas Eve, almost exactly two years ago. We'll take a quick break, we'll be right back.
BLITZER: Welcome back. We're only about 15 minutes away from hearing this verdict in the Scott Peterson case, whether he lives or whether he dies. A crowd has gathered in Redwood City, California, anticipating the verdict, whether he gets the death sentence or life without the possibility of parole. Chuck Smith has been watching this trial unfold over these many months. He's joining us now. He has been analyzing this case for us.
Chuck, what's your sense going in to these final minutes before we get the verdict?
CHUCK SMITH, LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Wolf, I think it's going to be a death verdict. The events this morning really foretold that because when that jury asked for the autopsy photographs, those gruesome, awful photographs of the bodies when they were located on the bay, what it appeared to be is that there were a couple of people who were reluctant to impose the death penalty, and so the jurors asked to bring those most awful pictures back, put those in front of those jurors and say to them, hey, look at what he did, look how horrible his conduct, look at the results, how can you let this guy live?
Shortly thereafter, within an hour or so, we were advised that there was a verdict. I mean, I think based upon those series of events, it's going to be a death verdict.
BLITZER: And what happens, assuming it is the death sentence, is he immediately transferred to San Quentin, that's where the death row inmates are housed?
SMITH: No, not immediately. He will stay here until February 24th, when Judge Delucchi has set a formal date. This is the sentence, though. This is not a recommendation. This is the sentence, these 12 people issue the sentence. And that's the way the verdict reads, we fix the penalty of death.
What will happen though after the verdict today is Mark Geragos can file a motion for a new trial, which will be filed early next year and then heard. He will argue the removal of the jurors during the guilt phase was improper. And he should get a new trial. There will be a formal probation report prepared for the purposes of the folks in prison. And then after a death want is signed -- if I'm correct in my prediction, after a death warrant is signed by Judge Delucchi on February 24th, he will then be taken to San Quentin, which is about hour-and-a-half ride north of here on the San Francisco Bay, and he will be walked in just as the Broadway play, the movie says, it's dead man walking. They escort them in and it's announced to the prison "dead man walking." And he will be put in a dealt row cell.
BLITZER: All right. Chuck Smith, stand by because we're going to be getting back out to you out in Redwood City, California, as well. CNN's Ted Rowlands interviewed Scott Peterson shortly after his wife, Laci Peterson, disappeared. That was in January 2003. Ted at the time was working for KTVU. Here's a portion of that interview with Scott Peterson.
SCOTT PETERSON, CONVICTED MURDERER: It is entirely too selfish for me to defend myself amongst these accusations when Laci is missing and all the media time should be spent towards finding her and all of our energy should be spent towards finding her. Unfortunately, suspicion about me has risen to such a degree that I think people have stopped to look for Laci, they have stopped.
And that's why I'm interested in being in the media now. You were here the night of her disappearance if I'm not mistaken, or at least the next day. At that point I recall asking you, please don't photograph the family. And that was our first couple of days when she went missing that we asked not to have any family photos and press conferences. Simply as a privacy issue and not exploiting the obvious grief. You know, mom couldn't stand up and, you know, just so in shock and unable to function, that we asked not to be on camera.
Past that point, it was a conscious decision for me not to appear in the media, decision made by all of us sitting down. And, you know, people go missing and it's up to the family to keep the story out there and keep it alive to bring them home, make sure it doesn't fall through. Not to insult the media in any way, but I think that the story may have fallen through the cracks and not been covered as much if I had come out immediately and spoken. But frankly, I didn't so that the media would keep on coming back and want to.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Was that intentional or...
PETERSON: It was an intentional decision made by all the last names in our families, the Rochas, the Petersons, the (UNINTELLIGIBLE), everything, to not have me speak until it became necessary, to keep her name or picture, tip lines out there.
Unfortunately suspicions arose to such a degree now, people are looking for Laci, so now is the time for me to speak and get her picture out there. Now is the time that I get a chance to come out and ask for help, which is something that I've learned to do this month. And I ask people to -- if they have any information, call the tip lines. If they can go to lacipeterson.com and print out the fliers and get those out in their local areas because the next one you put on a hospital door come February 16th or somewhere around there, February 16th is her due date, could be the one that brings her home.
So, you know, my objective by doing this interview is to get people to start looking for her again. And I'm not going to waste the time defending myself. I don't really care what those people out there think. When people accuse me of some involvement, I had nothing to do with her disappearance, but people still accuse me of it, my response is the same to all of them, thank you for being aware of her missing from our family.
BLITZER: Scott Peterson speaking with our Ted Rowlands shortly after his wife Laci Peterson disappeared Christmas Eve, almost exactly two years ago. That interview together with other televised interviews that Scott Peterson gave at the time, this before he was arrested, this before the body of Laci Peterson was found, was later submitted as evidence in the course of the trial. Chuck Smith is still with us. Chuck, why was Scott Peterson's interviews with Ted Rowlands and others evidence in this trial?
SMITH: Part of the circumstantial evidence in this case was the behavior of Scott Peterson. He was portrayed through interviews such as that, interviews that he gave and also through his telephone conversations as a manipulative, lying, deceitful, despicable human being. It was some of the most powerful evidence. He lied to Ted Rowlands, lied to other people, lied to the police. Lied to everyone, which the prosecution argued there's only one reason that you lie, it's because you're guilty, you're trying to cover something up.
BLITZER: Chuck, stand by. Geoffrey Fieger is a criminal defense attorney well-known to many viewers. He's joining us from Michigan. You've been watching this case. What are the prospects do you believe he will get the death sentence versus life without the possibility of parole.
GEOFFREY FIEGER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I agree it's going to be the death sentence. I said that since last Friday when the jury retired early, I think they had decided on their sentence. They wanted to consider it over the weekend. They knew they were sequestered. If there were any lingering doubts with any of the other jurors, Wolf, they wanted those jurors to think about it over the weekend. And let me just correct one thing. The jury verdict that is read today on sentencing isn't the be all and end all. Judge Delucchi can still at the date of sentencing deviate down to life imprisonment without parole. He is not required to follow the recommendation of the jury. He cannot go up if they recommend life in prison. He cannot sentence him to death, but he can deviate down. And I guarantee you Geragos will be asking him to do that quite forcefully in addition to all of the other appellate issues that Geragos has.
BLITZER: As we await the decision, verdict to be announced eight minutes or so from now, what do you believe? Do you think the prospects of the judge reversing that, moving it down from death to life without the possibility of parole would be realistic?
FIEGER: Yes, it's always a possibility. Remember, the death sentence is by and large a political as much as a legal decision. Judge Delucchi is a retired judge. I can tell you a little bit about his background. He is considered a moderate. He is a Catholic. Although he may not let his own personal religious views impact upon his decision, it is not without the realm of possibility, Wolf, that he does deviate down. I am positive that the defense team will focus on that and argue for it quite forcefully. However, Delucchi sat through five months of trial and this is a pretty hideous case. The facts, as shown and as substantiated by the jury verdict are quite serious. The killing of a woman and her unborn child. If there is ever a case that warrants the death penalty, this is probably it.
BLITZER: Geoffrey, we're showing video, live pictures of the family members, of Scott Peterson's family walking in. They just walked into the courthouse right there.
Let's bring in Joe DiGenova, former federal prosecutor, supporter of the death sentence. Do you believe that the judge in this case, if the jury comes down unanimously, and they have to come down unanimously in favor of the death sentence if there's going to be a death sentence, would move it down to life without the possibility of parole given perhaps his personal views or his religion?
DIGENOVA: I think that's highly unlikely. I think in a case of this nature where there has been intense public attention, press coverage unless there is some reason on the record that the judge could identify, which I do not see at this point, it could develop, we don't know if there's any problem with any of the jurors. I don't believe it's very likely a judge -- that this judge would depart downward and change the sentence from death to life, if the jury returns a death sentence. Of course, as Mr. Fieger says, is a possibility as is anything in this life, but I think that it is exceedingly unlikely in this case.
BLITZER: Stand by, Joe. Rusty Dornin is outside the courthouse. Fill us in with some details, what's been happening, who's been going in, what's happening there -- Rusty.
DORNIN: We just moments ago saw Scott Peterson's mother and father and sister-in-law, a couple of his brothers, go inside the courthouse. They cleared an area right near, cleared a pathway for them so they could get in because as you can see behind me, the crowd has grown immensely over the last hour. We've got 200 or 300 people there. Ted Rowlands is inside the courtroom and he did say the D.A. did go back in the judge's chambers just now, the D.A. from Stanislaus County which is where the crime occurred and the people that have been prosecuting this case.
So tension is mounting here. We do know that at 4:30 Eastern, 1:30 local, they are only opening the doors to the courtroom for the reporters and everyone to go in. We're not going to expect to hear it exactly at that time. It's going to be a few minutes after that, after people get settled and after they bring the jury in that they're going to be hearing what the announcement is -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And the crowd. Are they pretty quiet right now? Are they murmuring? Give us a sense of the mood of these people who have gathered outside the courthouse, Rusty.
DORNIN: They've been murmuring, as you said, I watched as Scott Peterson's family came in because, as you know, when the Peterson family left after the verdict was announced that Scott Peterson was guilty, many folks here taunting his family, his mother, saying, you know, very rude things to them as they left. There was none of that here. The crowd quieted a bit as they walked in. As I said, they have taped off an area so no one can get near them. They were surrounded by deputies who did escort them into the courthouse. So people are just talking about this, but it's -- you know, everyone's anxiously awaiting the word.
BLITZER: Rusty, we're going to be watching those doors open in about four minutes or so from now. And then we'll be standing by to hear the announcement, the verdict announced in the courtroom. Geoffrey Fieger, you're still with us, you've been involved in death penalty cases. What kind of appeal does Mark Geragos have, assuming he's going to go forward with an appeal and certainly he will?
FIEGER: He's got a sinking feeling right now but I can also promise you a couple there things, Wolf. Geragos will not be handling the appeal of this case. Geragos will be nowhere near this case after today's sentencing. He wasn't even actually at the verdict, which is almost inexcusable and I think is just a dereliction of his responsibility.
BLITZER: Why wasn't he there?
FIEGER: He said he had to be in another courtroom. I find it difficult to believe that there's another judge in California that would not have let him out in light of a first degree murder verdict pending in Redwood City.
So he will not hand the appeal. The appeal will be sent to an appellate attorney within the California appellate, public defender's office. It may take as much as a year to get up to an appellate attorney. But this is the last time you will see Mark Geragos besides at the sentencing in February before Judge Delucchi. This will be the second of an ultimate appearance of Mark Geragos in this case.
BLITZER: In less than two minutes from now, the doors to the courthouse will open. People will be walking in to listen and be eyewitnesses to the reading of this verdict. You agree, Joe DiGenova with Geoffrey Fieger that Mark Geragos should have been there when the verdict was announced?
DIGENOVA: Wolf, it was one of the most unbelievable derelictions of duty I have ever seen in American law for an attorney not to be present for the return of a verdict in a case like this could be for only one reason, he didn't want to be there, because I think he knew what the verdict was going to be in his soul. I think he chose not to be there. You do not not show up for the verdict in a case like this. It is a sign of lack of support for your client. The jury looks in this room and for over a year or two, they've been watching Mr. Geragos be there for every bit, and he doesn't have enough respect to be there to hear what they have decided about his client. I think it was beyond belief.
BLITZER: Let me let Jeffrey Toobin, our senior legal analyst weigh in on this point. Then we'll move in. Jeff, what are your thoughts?
TOOBIN: It was appalling that he wasn't there. Keep in mind, it's not just symbolic, the importance of being there. The issue of taking a verdict often has great legal significance. The polling of the jury takes place. Sometimes jurors hesitate during the polling of the jury. That's when the jurors state whether they agree with the verdict. That becomes a critical moment in the trial. He's the lead defense lawyer. He wasn't there for that. I share Geof and Joe's astonishment that he wasn't there. I think one of the many questions Mark Geragos is going to have to answer when he -- after this verdict when the gag order is lifted is where the heck were you?
BLITZER: All right, let's move on.
We're -- right now, we're showing you live pictures of the courthouse in Redwood City, California. The doors are expected to open momentarily. And, in fact, they may be opening right now. And people will be going into the courtroom to hear the verdict, whether Scott Peterson will get life without the possibility of parole in prison or whether he will get the death sentence.
Justin Falconer was one of the jurors who was dismissed. He was juror No. 5. He's joining us now from Kansas City.
You know these jurors, Justin. What do you think they're going to do?
JUSTIN FALCONER, FORMER PETERSON JUROR: You know, I don't think it looks too good for Scott right now.
You know, I think there's a lot of doubt that I could have raised, you could have hung your hat on, and I think they could have, too. But I think with those -- the evidence that they brought in to look at, those pictures, I think those were a pretty good sign that they might be going death with this one.
BLITZER: There are six men and six women on this jury. You got to know them, I guess fairly well, during this process. What can you tell us in general about them?
FALCONER: Well, I mean, they're just, you know -- they're your average everyday people. And I'm sure they were all moved very passionately by the testimony.
And, you know, I think, when they come out, there's going to be a lot of questions as to what they -- you know, how they came to their verdict and how they came to the sentencing. But when they do come out, like I said, there will be a lot of hard questions. We'll see what they say.
BLITZER: Justin, correct me if I'm wrong, but when you were dismissed from the jury, you came out and suggested you would have voted not guilty based on the information you had at the time. Is that right?
FALCONER: Well, yes, that was also, you know -- it was pretty early in the case. But, yes, I did say that.
And then, after getting all the evidence that I've gotten and watching the case ad nauseam with everybody else in the country, I still don't think there was enough to -- I think there was a lot of reasonable doubt. I feel like there was a lot of opportunity that, you know, that it could possibly be that Scott didn't do it. And I don't think that was -- I thought there was just plenty there.
So, you know, we'll see what they hung their hat on when they come out there and we'll see what they say.
BLITZER: Was that the prevailing view among the jurors? Did you get a sense that they agreed with you at the time when you were dismissed?
You know, there was a lot of things, you know, when we were in there, reading each other's body language or whatever. You kind of get the sense that people were kind of like, what's going on with this? It was the same thing over and over and over again. And you know, it got pretty boring, you know, towards the beginning. But, you know, I felt like that was what everybody else felt. But obviously I was wrong.
BLITZER: All right, now, Justin, stand by, because I want to bring you back.
Right now, let me set the scene for our viewers. You're looking at that live picture of the courthouse in Redwood City, California. These people are awaiting permission to go inside, to go inside that courtroom to hear the verdict announced, whether Scott Peterson will get life without the possibility of parole in prison or the death sentence.
Chuck Smith is outside the courthouse. He's watched this trial unfold over these many months.
Give us a little flavor, Chuck. What's happening where you are right now? Apparently, a little bit of a delay in letting these people go into the courtroom.
SMITH: Well, Wolf, right behind us, what you could see on the plaza, these folks will not be going into the courthouse, because, the way the security works, they're going to be out here in the plaza with us.
There will be a live audio feed broadcast out here. They will all hear the verdict. The courtroom itself is on the second floor right behind me just past the entrance. And, as you know, there's been a ticket lottery for the public and press. So only 65 or 70 people will actually be in the courtroom.
They already have their passes. The crowd behind us and on this plaza will remain right here. They will hear the verdict as it's read by courtroom clerk Marilyn Morton.
BLITZER: She will read the verdict.
Walk us through a little bit of the process. What happens when the judge walks into the courtroom. The jury is there. How does that work? Because you've seen these kinds of situations unfold before.
And these are tremendously dramatic. The jury will be brought in. They will be seated. The judge will say, I understand the jury has arrived at a verdict. The foreperson will say, yes, your honor. Have you dated and signed the forms? Yes. Hand them to the bailiff. The bailiff will take them, walk them over to the judge. He will review them. It's only two pieces of paper. We set the penalty at death. We set the penalty at life without parole.
Once he makes sure it's properly filled out, hand it to Marilyn Morton. She will then read, in the Superior Court, state of California, County of San Mateo, we the jury in the above and titled case affix the penalty at -- and at this point, of course, everyone's heart is in their mouth. And it will either be death or life without possibility of parole, date and signed, foreperson. And it's over.
SMITH: Then the jury will be polled.
BLITZER: Go ahead. Go ahead. Talk -- finish your thought.
SMITH: Yes. Sure.
Then the jury will be polled. Each juror will be asked, is this your individual verdict? And, at that point, if there is anyone who has a second thought about executing Scott Peterson, they must speak, because if they don't, if all 12 of them say, yes, this is my verdict, the verdict is then recorded. It is final. That's it.
BLITZER: And, immediately, the gag order is lifted and the prosecutors, the defense attorneys, others will be allowed to walk outside and speak with reporters. Is that right?
SMITH: I understand that that's true. I'm sure Judge Delucchi will also spend a few moments thanking the jury for their service. And it was an extraordinary service, an extraordinary time, an extraordinary trial. And he will probably have some very nice things to say. He will also remind them that they may not accept compensation. They may not, you know, accept gratuities for their role. There's a formal rule that he has to read to them. So there will be a few minutes in the courtroom. But then we all expect that the prosecution will come out and have a press conference and that also the defense is entitled to have a press conference, and they can speak at that time.
BLITZER: And when they walk outside and speak, if, in fact, they do so, CNN will carry that live.
Do you mean to say, Chuck -- and I'll let you go after this -- that these jars will not be able to write books and get compensation for their work over these many months?
SMITH: They cannot do that for a period of time. And I think the law says 90 days. They can't accept anything. They can't sign any deals. They can't do anything for 90 days. I don't know why we have that artificial time period.
Perhaps the courts thought that, by that point, interest will die down and people won't be selling their story. But this was all in the aftermath of the O.J. case. This is the way the law works here in California.
BLITZER: All right, Chuck, stand by.
We're standing by to hear from the courtroom, the clerk and Judge Alfred Delucchi. They're supposed to be getting ready to bring in the jury and to make the announcement of the verdict momentarily. We're standing by for live coverage of that.
Joe DiGenova, practically speaking, knowing California and its record on executing death row inmates, the practical significance if he does get the death sentence is what?
DIGENOVA: That, if a death sentence is imposed by the jury and not rescinded by the judge, it will be years, if ever, before Scott Peterson is executed, because California law has a very slow appeal process. It's an automatic appeal. It could be as long as five years before that process even gets under way in earnest.
BLITZER: There are more than 600 people on death row right now. And the record is such that they execute probably one a year, if that. So that's a long time if he gets at the end of that line.
DIGENOVA: That's correct. And so no one should be under the impression that there's going to be an execution any time soon, if that's what the jury decides.
But that's not what this is about. This is about the jury rendering a verdict and a communal judgment about what the appropriate sentence is, whether or not it is carried out.
BLITZER: Geoffrey Fieger, who is also joining us, the criminal defense attorney, there is this element that there is a different kind of lifestyle he would have if, you could call it a lifestyle, in a maximum security prison, if he's not serving, awaiting the death sentence, as opposed to serving life without the possibility of parole. Are you familiar with what the situation is in California on that regard?
And, coincidentally, he probably will be a little safer if he gets the death sentence. He's housed separately in a separate administrative unit with other death row prisoners. There's, as you indicated, Wolf, over 600. They are kept segregated. They are kept in individual cells. They exercise. And they assign those prisoners based upon their relative risks and they keep them together.
Scott Peterson obviously is a marked man from the moment he goes in anywhere. But he will be safer on death row. If he's put into the general population, eventually, he would be, as a lifer without parole, he's in much more danger. He will eventually be vulnerable at some point. And there has been a lot of discussion about whether they can keep him safe. They cannot isolate him forever.
And that's going to be a significant problem for the California penal system.
BLITZER: So, Geoffrey, what I hearing, suggesting, is that, if you're one of Scott Peterson's family members who love him still, despite his conviction, you may sort of want him to get the death sentence because he would be safer over the next 40, 50, 60, 70 years, depending on how long he lives, as opposed to being at a regular federal, at a regular California state prison where he could be subject to attack?
FIEGER: Based on the way things are right now, that's exactly right, at least for the next 20 years, because, on average, the death sentence in California, as Joe just indicated, is not carried out within approximately 20 years of the date of sentence.
So you're absolutely right. If he's put into the general population at any time, he's probably, for all intent and purpose, if California can make a deal with somebody, he's going to have to be shipped somewhere else. It's going to inevitably be too dangerous for him, at least in the near future, to be in the California penal system.
So you're absolutely right. I mean, it's coincidental. It's almost ironic. But if you're a member of his family, in the next 20 years, if he's going to be kept in the California system, he's safer on death row.
BLITZER: All right, stand by, Geoffrey. Chuck Smith is outside the courthouse in Redwood City, California.
Chuck, I understand the family members from both sides, the family of Scott Peterson, the family of Laci Peterson, they are now sitting in the courtroom awaiting this verdict.
And we will have live coverage, audio feed coming in of the verdict once it happens.
Do you want to weigh in on what we were just talking about, the nature of the practical difference between life without the possibility of parole and the death sentence, how Scott Peterson would fair over the next coming years?
And Geoffrey, with respect to him, he's wrong. Life is measurably worse on death row. No question about it. He's by himself. He's in a cell 22 1/2 hours a day, no -- very little human contact. It is miserable and it's worse than life without parole.
BLITZER: What about from his personal security, that he could be killed by another prisoner, whereas, if you're on death row, you don't meet other prisoners? Is that right?
SMITH: You can get killed by your fellow death row inmates, who have nothing to lose by killing you.
If he goes life without parole, he will be in a level three or level four prison probably in a special needs yard, which is what they call protective custody. He will be like police officers who have been convicted of crimes and sent to prison. He will have freedom. He will be able to walk around a yard, recreation, do other things.
Life is much better if he gets life without parole. No question about that. No issue about that. I'm in these prisons all the time. Life on death row is much worse.
BLITZER: All right, Geoffrey, do you want to respond to that?
FIEGER: Yes, I didn't say that life on death row is better. What I said is, he's safer. And you don't hear of California death row inmates being killed by other death row inmates, because people who have a life sentence without parole, they are the real dangerous prisoners.
So, in the California system, as well as every other state that has death penalties, you're safer if you're a marked person like he will be because of the killing of a child on death row. That doesn't mean it's better. I didn't say it's better. It's a hideous existence, but he's safer.
BLITZER: Chuck, do you want to respond? And then I'll move on.
SMITH: Well, I don't think he's safer. I just disagree with Geoffrey.
BLITZER: All right, that's fair enough.
SMITH: I've been there.
BLITZER: Let's bring back Justin Falconer. He was one of the jurors until he was dismissed. He's joining us from Kansas City.
The emotion of sentencing someone to death, did you feel that when you were a juror and did you sense that your fellow jurors felt the enormity of this responsibility?
FALCONER: Not initially.
Initially, the judge told us that we weren't even to think about that until we actually came up with a verdict. So, initially, we were more interested in just getting the information, getting the evidence and seeing what -- the testimony and whatnot.
So I don't really think it was setting in, in the -- early on. I think, you know, after the verdict came out, I'm sure once they got into the deliberating room, that's when it really sank in that they're actually negotiating this man's life.
BLITZER: And based on what you know, based on the -- because you have a unique perspective on this, Justin. Your were one of those jurors until you were dismissed. What do you think they're going to do?
FALCONER: Like I said, I don't think it looks good for Scott right now.
I think that, you know, with the evidence that they brought in, I think they're going to come back with a death verdict, you know, but we'll see. I mean, I was wrong before, so...
BLITZER: We should know in the next few minutes. We're standing by to hear the verdict announced by the court clerk, Judge Alfred Delucchi waiting to get everyone in place. We will have live coverage of that.
Here's a quick question for you, Jeffrey Toobin, our senior legal analyst.
Assuming -- assuming that Scott Peterson gets the death sentence and lives another 50, 60 years, what's more expensive from the U.S. taxpayers' point of view, to keep him alive in prison over these next 60 years or to execute him and to have to spend all that money for appeals and the legal process? Have you done any research on that?
TOOBIN: Well, I have seen study of that. And they are somewhat counterintuitive.
Most of the studies I've seen say that the death penalty process is so expensive, with all the lawyers involved and the years and years of litigation, that it is, in fact, more expensive to execute someone than it is to keep them in prison, in prison for life. It doesn't sound that way, but that's the information I have.
BLITZER: Let's ask Joe DiGenova. He knows a great deal about this.
What, the estimate is, to keep a prisoner in a maximum security prison, it could cost $40,000, $50,000, $60,000 or so to taxpayers?
DIGENOVA: Yes, that's true.
It's very expensive, the prison system itself, even for average prisoners. It actually depends upon the state. A state like California, with the imposition of the death penalty and then the attendant perhaps 20 years of litigation, can be very, very expensive. In other states, like Texas, where the death sentence is imposed relatively quickly by any standard, those costs are not attendant.
So it's functionally different in different states. In California, it will be very expensive, if, in fact, this jury returns the death sentence.
BLITZER: It will very expensive to keep him alive as he appeals this process?
BLITZER: And, quickly, just as expensive as keeping him alive without the possibility of parole.
Jeffrey, go ahead.
TOOBIN: Well, I just wanted to say that one of the -- one of the peculiarities here as well is, I think, if Scott Peterson is sentenced to life without parole, his appeal will disappear very quickly. I don't think any appeals court will have any trouble affirming his conviction and life sentence.
If he's sentenced to death today, I think appeals court will look very hard at that and this litigation will drag on for quite some time. And he really may have a chance of getting that death sentence overturned.
BLITZER: All right, I'm going stop you.
The audio feed is starting. Let's listen to the courtroom.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
JUDGE ALFRED DELUCCHI, CALIFORNIA SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE: ... prosecution will remain in this courtroom. And Mr. Geragos, Mr. Harris will be in the courtroom next door if they're inclined to talk to anybody. So, that's the way it's going to be. So I'm going to ask everybody, respectfully, to please remain seated until I leave the bench, OK?
All right, Lee (ph), bring the jury in.
BLITZER: The jurors are now in the room. Scott Peterson is in the courtroom. The families are there. We're going to hear Judge Alfred Delucchi give some final instructions. And then we'll hear the court clerk announce the verdict of these 12 men and women. Once again, this is a live audio feed that we have from the Redwood City, California, courtroom, Judge Alfred Delucchi presiding. The jurors are walking in right now. And they will be seated. They will give their verdict to the clerk, who will read it on behalf of the jurors.
While we're waiting for the process to formally begin, Rusty Dornin is outside the courthouse in Redwood City, California.
Rusty, give us a little flavor of what's happening outside as we await word on this verdict.
DORNIN: Well, you can see, there are just -- people are 10 deep here out -- lined up outside of the courthouse.
We've been hearing from Ted Rowlands, who is inside the courtroom. He says it's very somber, very tense in there. Scott Peterson walked in, gave a slight smile to his family and a nod and took like a deep breath and sat down. The Petersons have been talking among themselves. Also, Sharon Rocha, Laci Peterson's mother, her -- Ron Grantski, the stepfather, and her brother and sister are there in the front row by themselves. They've been talking among themselves.
The jury is filing in. And it should be any moment that we are going to be hearing what the final judgment in this case is. Ted Rowlands did say that the courtroom is lined with security. There are bailiffs everywhere. Here we go.
BLITZER: All right, let's little.
DELUCCHI: So, Mr. Foreperson, has the jury arrived at a verdict with respect to the penalty phase of this case?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Your Honor. (OFF-MIKE)
DELUCCHI: Would you hand the verdicts to Jenae (ph), please?
Read the verdict.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people of the state of California vs. Scott Peterson. We the jury in the above entitled cause fix the penalty at death, dated December 13, 2004, Foreperson No. 6.
DELUCCHI: No. 6, is that if an unanimous verdict?
BLITZER: All right.
What we're hearing are -- cheering going on from outside the courtroom. We just heard the clerk announce that the death sentence has been unanimously supported by the 12 men and women of this jury. Guilty of first-degree murder, Scott Peterson now gets the death sentence. The judge will have the option at the end of February, February 21 -- 25 -- to lower that to life without the possibility of parole. A lot of analysts suggesting that is unlikely that he would do so, but that option does exist. Scott Peterson gets the death sentence.
Let's bring in Jeffrey Toobin, our senior legal analyst.
This is not necessarily a huge surprise, is it, Jeffrey?
TOOBIN: Well, certainly, it's not a surprise today, on Monday. And what I mean by that is, if you saw how the jury deliberated, it looked like they were heading this way.
But I've got to say, I would not have predicted this on -- last week, when the case went out. I just -- this didn't seem like a death sentence -- death penalty case to me.
BLITZER: Jeffrey, hold on. We're getting some more audio from inside the courtroom.
DELUCCHI: You've heard a lot of evidence. You heard the arguments of the attorneys. And you know how difficult a decision we asked you to make in a case like this.
We bring you out of the community. You have come in here cold turkey. We run the voir dire by you. We select you and we put you through this ordeal.
You were very diligent. There was never -- nobody got sick. Everybody was here on time. And I just can't believe how well you performed. I know it's a hard decision for you to make. It's hard for me. It's hard for you. It's hard for the lawyers. It's hard for the families, but it's something that you saw -- this is the way you saw it. And this is the way it is, OK?
Now, I have an admonition for you before you leave. Members and alternate members of the jury, you have now completed your service as jurors in this case. On behalf of the Superior Court, I want to thank you for giving your time and efforts to the administration of justice in this community.
You have the absolute right to either discuss or not to discuss the jury deliberations or verdict with anyone. However, be advised that, one, following discharge of the jury, the defendant or his or her attorney or representative or the prosecutor or his or her representative may discuss the jury deliberations or verdict with any member of the jury, provided that the juror consents to the discussion and that the discussion occurs at a reasonable time and place.
Two, any reasonable contact with the juror by a defendant or his or her attorney or representative or by the prosecutor or his or her representative without the juror's consent must be immediately reported to me, the trial judge. Any violation of what I have just told you will be considered a violation of a lawful court order and shall be subject to reasonable monetary sanctions. I have already sealed all the jury information, your home address, your telephone number. All that has been sealed and will remain sealed pending a review of this case by the Supreme Court.
There's one other thing I want to tell you about here. You're free to talk about the media, if you are so inclined. And we have made arrangements if you want to. We will take you to a place. You just let Jenae know and she will make arrangements for you to talk to the media. Those of you who don't want to talk will be returned to the hotel, so you can go about your business, OK?
Now, as you know, this case has engendered a great deal of interest by the public and therefore the media. If you are interested in speaking with the media, please advise the bailiff, Jenae. The bailiff will take you to a courtroom where the media will be present and you may respond to questions.
Now, we're going to give you a handout. If you choose to speak with the media, you need to be aware of the following. Penal Code Section 1122 states that, within 90 days of discharge, jurors shall not request, accept, agree or accept to discuss with any person receiving or accepting any payment or benefit in consideration for supplying any information concerning the trial.
And a juror shall promptly report to the court any incident within their knowledge involving an intent by any person to improperly influence any member of the jury. Those would include things like limousine rides to and from interviews, for example, gift baskets, food, other items, satchels, shirts, transportation, including air and hotel accommodation, and vacations.
So, for 90 days, you can't accept any monetary benefit as a result of your service as a juror. After 90 days, you can do whatever you want, OK? Now, as I said, you can talk to the media today, if you want to. You're not compelled to do so unless you want to, OK?
So, I want to thank you all very much. And you are excused now. Thank you. (OFF-MIKE)
BLITZER: And there you have it, Judge Alfred Delucchi reading instructions to the 12 men and women of the jury.
They have decided unanimously that Scott Peterson should be executed for killing his wife, Laci, and their unborn son almost exactly two years ago. She disappeared Christmas Eve. Now, almost exactly two years later, he's not only convicted, guilty; he's sentenced to die as a result of that murder.
Let's bring in our legal analyst, our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.
We were talking to you, Jeffrey. And we see the crowd outside. There was an audible cheer that went up by the hundreds that had gathered outside the courthouse in Redwood City, California. This jury came around after three days, about 11 hours of deliberations, decided unanimously this man should die. What are your thoughts? TOOBIN: Well, there's no doubt that this will be a popular -- a popular verdict.
I think it will have a chance of being set aside on appeal. I think the conviction has almost no chance of being set aside on appeal. But the death sentence here will be studied carefully by an appeals court. But, boy, you know, in Northern California, where death sentences are less common, in this county, where there hadn't been a death sentence for 10 years, it's just a testimony to the fact that this juror, these jurors really were revolted by this defendant and this crime. And they -- they gave it everything they had.
BLITZER: Let's bring back Rusty Dornin.
She's just outside the courthouse in Redwood City, California.
There was that audible cheer that we heard. Was that pretty loud? Was there anyone who was booing, based on what you could tell, Rusty?
DORNIN: There wasn't any booing, but it was not the cry that we heard when the verdict, the guilty verdict, came down, I don't think. And it's still -- there's a very somber mood here. It's not the elation that, you know, justice was done kind of thing.
People are very serious here. And inside the courtroom, Ted Rowlands has been sending us some notes, talking about that there was no reaction from either family, the Peterson family, nor the Rochas, when the verdict was read, that Mark Geragos put his arm around Scott Peterson afterwards and was talking to him. There were no tears. Scott Peterson showed no emotion, very, very stoic, very somber in that courtroom, but none of the emotion that we did see when the verdict of guilty was read -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And we're waiting for Ted Rowlands to walk out from inside the courtroom. Once he does, we'll bring him to our viewers. We'll speak with him live as well.
Chuck Smith, what happens now? You know this legal procedure in California quite well. What happens now between now and February 25, when Judge Delucchi must decide whether to lower that sentence from death to life without the possibility of parole? What happens in the immediate weeks?
SMITH: Scott Peterson returns to his jail cell here at the San Mateo County jail right across the street. His lawyers, Mark Geragos, Pat Harris, will begin to prepare their motion for a new trial, arguing that there was juror misconduct, that it was improper for the judge to remove the jurors during the guilt phase of the trial, and any other argument that he can make to ask Judge Delucchi for a new trial.
During that same period of time, the Adult Probation Department will gather, you know, statistical data about Scott Peterson, his family, etcetera, etcetera. And then we'll come back to court. The judge will rule on the motions on February 25, and there will be at that time asked also by Mark Geragos to review the sentence and reduce it. That's probably the most significant thing that will happen.
It's not expected that that will occur. It should also be remembered that if Judge Delucchi or any judge reduces the jury's sentence, that decision to reduce it is subject to appeal. The prosecution can appeal it. So it's not given the same deference as most other decisions are made by judges. This jury's sentence is final.
This judge does have the power to change it, but, if he does, he can be appealed and that can be elevated back to death by the appellate court.
BLITZER: All right, Chuck, stand by.
For our viewers just tuning in. This was the announcement made just a few minutes ago inside the courtroom by the clerk of the verdict.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people of the state of California vs. Scott Peterson. We the jury in the above entitled cause fix the penalty at death, dated December 13, 2004, Foreperson No. 6.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: That's it, only 11 seconds, but 11 seconds with profound impact for Scott Peterson.
Robert Talbot is a professor of law at San Francisco University. Were you surprised by this decision, Professor?
ROBERT TALBOT, LAW PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO: Yes, I was.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bob. Bob is on. He's talking to Bob.
BLITZER: Bob, tell -- I don't know if you can hear me.
But, if you can hear me, I was asking if -- were you surprised by this verdict?
TALBOT: I was.
Up until this morning, it looked to me like it was going to be a hung jury. But, right at the end, when they asked for that evidence, to see those autopsy photos, it looked like somebody was having a pretty strong argument for the death penalty and was trying to convince others and might have done it.
But I'm still surprised, because, in my mind, there's still a lot of lingering doubt in this case. And that would have given the jury a lot of room to come in with that life without possibility of parole. BLITZER: And we're going to stay with this story here on CNN's WOLF BLITZER REPORTS. Robert Talbot, when you say there was lingering doubt, the words "lingering doubt" have legal significance because the judge admonished the jurors, you must have no lingering doubt whatsoever. Can't be a reasonable doubt, must have no lingering doubt whatsoever. But you say you still have some lingering doubt?
TALBOT: I have lingering doubts because I have not seen a first- degree murder case where the prosecution was out -- was not able to show how it happened, where it happened, when it happened and why it happened without the kind of certainty that you usually see. Now that to me leads in the direction of a compromised verdict. So I was somewhat surprised even by the first-degree murder, but I thought that at least in this penalty phase that lingering doubt, that somewhere between absolute doubt and beyond a reasonable doubt would have controlled and the jury would have found life without parole.
BLITZER: We're standing by waiting to hear from jurors, waiting to hear from the prosecution, the defense, we expect they will be emerging, perhaps family members from both sides, Laci Peterson's family members, Scott Peterson's family members.
Let me bring back Joe DiGenova as we wait for all these people to come speak at the microphones. We'll carry that live here on CNN. Joe, this notion of lingering doubt. You heard Professor Talbot say he had some lingering doubt because it was all circumstantial evidence. I take it you had no lingering doubt?
DIGENOVA: Well, I must say, I thought this was a very compelling case that the prosecution put on. The analysis of Scott Peterson's behavior before, during his marriage, after his wife's disappearance, the "fishing expedition" quote-unquote, his statements, his conduct on selling property, et cetera, et cetera, and his bizarre presence to go fishing in the very spot in the bay where his wife and his unborn child's bodies were found was to me, some of the most compelling evidence that could have ever been produced in the courtroom.
Now the professor may have lingering doubt about his sense of whether or not a jury would return a death sentence, but in terms of guilt or innocence, this was by far an absolutely superb case under all of the circumstances. And I must say, as I think any reasonable juror could have reached the conclusion that this was a death penalty case, but I would not have been surprised if they had compromised and said life without parole. I'm not shocked by either result. I'm certainly not shocked by a death sentence.
BLITZER: All right. CNN's Ted Rowlands was inside the courtroom. He has been covering this story from day one and had one of those early interviews with Scott Peterson, a portion of which we aired just a little while ago here on CNN.
Ted, set the scene for us, what was it like inside before, during and after the verdict was read?
ROWLANDS: Well, Wolf, it was very somber, as you can imagine. Both sides feeling the weight of what was going on. The security was very tight. There were bailiffs along both sides of the walls, there were police officers that had been part of this investigation on the side, near the prosecution seating.
The families had a much different type of seating. The Rocha family was there and then in force were friends and supporters of the Rocha family, people that have known Laci all of her life. On the other side it was just the Petersons and it was only Jackie, Lee and Janie Peterson. There were three empty rows behind them.
And the Petersons seemed resigned from the minute they walked in that they knew what was coming and there was no visible reaction when the verdict of death was read. In fact, the jurors were most likely the most emotional people in the courtroom as far as showing their emotions. But you could feel the emotion, obviously, before, during and after.
Very somber, when the verdict was read, that there was no, as you might imagine, cheering or not even a reaction at all from the prosecution side. And like I say, it looked like the Petersons were resigned to what was coming. They knew it was coming given the evidence that was asked for earlier today.
Mark Geragos talked to the Peterson family just before the verdict was read. And then after the verdict was read he talked to them as well. Jurors filed in. A couple apparently looked at Scott Peterson, I did not see that, but for the most part they looked away and then they filed out and looked away.
It will be interesting to see how many jurors if any will talk to the media to discuss what they've been going through for the last five-and-a-half months.
BLITZER: And if they do come to the microphones that have been set up there outside the courthouse, we'll bring that to our viewers live. Ted, was there any reaction that you could discern whatsoever from Scott Peterson, body reaction, facial reaction?
ROWLANDS: No. When he walked in he does the same thing most times. Walking into court, he gives a little bit of a quirky smile as he gates in to his family. He did that again, but this time he took a deep breath when he sat down. It was an obvious sigh. And then when the verdict was read there was no reaction.
However, when they were polling the jurors he was intent on trying to make eye contact with each and every juror as that individual juror got up. It didn't appear as thought made eye contract with any of the jurors as they acknowledged their verdict in the case.
But he didn't show any outward emotion. Obviously, he, too was prepared if you will by Mark Geragos because of the evidence that was asked for from this jury. He most likely told Peterson, get ready for it, it's probably coming. We're still on your side and we're still going to fight this.
And then you talk to family members, that's their feeling, is that this isn't over. They feel like that they're going to find the person who was really responsible for this. In their mind they truly still believe that their son is innocent. So that is what got them through the reading of this verdict.
BLITZER: Was he wearing his suit as usual? What was he dressed up in?
ROWLANDS: He was wearing one of his normal suits that he wears. He's got a half dozen suits that he wears. And for all practical purposes he looked the same as he does walking in every day which he's well-dressed, walks in and he doesn't appear down ever. He never really shows any negative emotion. If there's any emotion at all coming from him, it's positive reinforcement with his family. His family is always in the front row when he walks in and he usually gives them a little nod and a quirky smile.
And again, he did it today even though he most likely knew what this jury had come up with. I think that this verdict was much different than the guilt phase verdict in that it didn't seem to be as much of a question of what this jury was going to do. And for the Peterson family, quite frankly, you talk to them, they say they've been beaten down so much. It really didn't matter what this jury came back with. When they came back with guilt that's what really hurt this family and that was when the emotions were just off the charts in terms of inside that courtroom.
BLITZER: So there was no visible emotion, no visible reaction from Scott Peterson and you say there was no visible emotion, no crying, no screaming, no sort of expressions of concern even from his family, is that what you're saying?
ROWLANDS: Yes. That's exactly what I'm saying. Not even a shake of the head or anger. It was just like they had been told you're going to have to go through this exercise. It was as if they had prepared for this exact scenario. They came in stone-faced, sat there. Jackie Peterson held hands with Janie. Janie Peterson, Scott's step-sister -- sister-in-law. And Lee Peterson just sort of scanned the room. He looked at some of the detectives that investigated the disappearance of Laci, that first fingered his son in this early on.
He didn't say anything and there was no outward expression, but obviously he was looking at everybody and internally he was most likely going through a lot of emotions, because these were the players that he hadn't seen in a long time, the folks that were first on- scene. They came up from Modesto to witness the reading of this verdict and they all were standing along the back wall of the courtroom. They were not sitting so they were visible.
In fact during those sort of awkward three to four minutes before the jury came in it was dead silent and I noticed that Lee Peterson was scanning this group, this group including the police chief that investigated his son.
But otherwise, it was really difficult to see any outward emotion that wasn't coming from jurors. One juror wiped away a tear at one point. Obviously, this jury had a very, very difficult decision to come to and I think they are the ones that felt the most emotion coming to this decision and then announcing it.
BLITZER: There may not have been any emotion expressed or seen or felt inside that courtroom, but there was lots of emotion expressed immediately after the verdict was announced outside. I want our viewers once again to hear the sounds of what happened outside from the crowd that had gathered immediately after the clerk read the verdict.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: You heard some applause there, you heard some cheering, but not as excitedly as was the case when he was convicted last -- in a few weeks ago -- a few weeks earlier before the same jury. Ted Rowlands, what happens now based on what you -- on what you know, and you've covered this story now for almost two years exactly. Walk us through the process. Do you think these jurors will come to the microphones, for example, and speak to reporters, speak to the public?
We have some live pictures of the microphones that have been set up outside the courtroom if the jurors do want to come out and speak. We'll show that to our viewers. Well, it's actually inside. These are the seats for the 12 jurors if they want to make a statement or answer reporters' questions, they will go and speak there and we'll be able to bring that to our viewers.
Do you -- this is an adjacent courtroom, not the courtroom where the verdict was announced. Also, do you think that the prosecution and the defense attorneys will come forward, and what about the family members? Based on what you know, Ted, what do you think's going to happen right now?
ROWLANDS: Well, the prosecution is -- we understand they're going to read some statements from the Modesto police department and also the prosecution team members. Whether they'll entertain questions we don't know. As far as the jury's concerned you can imagine they must be going through a lot of emotions and I'm sure they know that they know that in fact the judge told them there's a lot of interest in this and people, they want to talk to them right now, whether or not they'll do it right now or wait a little bit I think will be an individual decision.
Logistically where the jury is set up to speak if they're so inclined is not in the same building. So they'll have to be taken, walked across the street and down a little bit to an old courthouse. Logistically it will take them a while to get into place. I'm sure they're saying their good-byes. You should expect the prosecution to make a statement. Whether or not Geragos will make a statement or whether the Peterson or Rocha families will make a statement it's hard to tell. The Peterson family are ready to talk and ready to come out and blast this jury, blast everybody that disagrees with them, really, because they are so confident in their own hearts that there's been an injustice here. On the other side, I think the Rocha family most likely is at peace with what's happened here. They went along with prosecutors and went through tough times during this trial when prosecutors were getting beat up quite frankly in the courtroom and outside the courtroom as well. I'm sure that they will either make a statement or say something whether it's today, right now or in the days to come. We'll have to wait and see.
BLITZER: Ted, I'll alert you and I'll alert our viewers that we have just been told that Mark Geragos the criminal defense attorney representing Scott Peterson expected to make a statement within five minutes. We'll bring that to our viewers live once he goes to the microphone and makes his statement.
Geoffrey Fieger is also a criminal defense attorney from Michigan. What do you say if you're a criminal defense attorney in a high-profile case like this, what do you say to your client? You did the best you could but you lost in a slam dunk across the board. He's convicted and he's sentenced to die. What do you tell your client?
FIEGER: It depends. Realistically, Scott Peterson is guilty. I mean, I -- find it difficult to believe that Geragos, despite no matter what he says publicly and expect, Wolf, he'll do come out there and do exactly what you said, blast the public, he'll blast the media and proclaim his client's innocent despite the fact that his client is so obviously guilty. Under the circumstances, I think Geragos cab say we put up a good fight. There are a number of issues on appeal and Jeff Toobin is right. There are so many issues on appeal and so many we don't know about because every evidentiary issue was dealt with in secret by the judge in his chambers. We don't even know what happened with the two excused jurors during the deliberations. So there are a lot of issues on appeal and because this is a death penalty case now the courts will examine it very, very closely. That's Scott Peterson's solace and that's what Geragos is going to say to him about that.
BLITZER: And what you're suggesting, Geoffrey, is there will be a new team of lawyers representing Scott Peterson once this appeal process begins?
FIEGER: Unquestionably. Let me give you some insight. Geragos, despite what anybody says, was by and large not paid. Jackie and Lee Peterson may have put up a small amount of money, but Geragos did this primarily for the publicity. I'm not saying that he didn't do as good a job as Peterson could expect under the circumstances because he got him essentially for free, but he ain't staying around, Wolf. He's gone. This was not good for his career. He lost the Michael Jackson case during the time period that he had to be with Scott Peterson. Jackson wanted a full-time lawyer, Geragos couldn't give him that attention and this was not good for Geragos. He is gone.
BLITZER: Geoffrey Fieger, thanks very much.
Ted Rowlands is outside the courthouse. He was inside. Here's Mark Geragos, let's listen to him.
MARK GERAGOS, PETERSON DEFENSE ATTORNEY: 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 and the family's privacy for the next week or so. At some point shortly they'll make a statement or do a press conference and at that time they'll agree to field whatever questions that they will. In the interim, I hope you can understand that it's a very difficult time and that's all I've got to say, thank you very much.
BLITZER: Mark Geragos, the criminal defense attorney who has represented Scott Peterson throughout this process, making it very, very short statement, refusing to answer reporters' questions, so many questions that could have been asked during the course of a formal news conference, Mark Geragos, simply saying that he's got nothing to say. It's a difficult period for all concerned.
Ted Rowlands is outside the courthouse. Normally, Mark Geragos is a very talkative kind of criminal defense attorney, someone who had a gag order imposed on him, but that gag order has now been lifted. Were you surprised, Ted, that he made such a brief, terse statement?
ROWLANDS: Well, yes and no. This has really hit him hard. The verdict for the guilt phase I think surprised him to some extent. He was down in southern California when it was read. The timing definitely surprised him and I'm a bit surprised that he didn't come out and say something to his client's innocence because that's what he has maintained throughout this entire process, but we've seen a little bit of a different Mark Geragos in the past few days since this guilty verdict came down.
The "San Francisco Examiner" has a p.m. special edition out. This gives you an idea of the media attention in northern California. It has been worldwide on this case and people debate the reasons for that, but this is a -- an example of right here and right now, this paper out within minutes of the death penalty verdict, the recommendation coming back from this jury. The same thing happened during the guilt phase. Two local newspapers came out with special editions and you saw the reaction outside the courtroom of people milling around here, the crowd is dissipating now, but people came down when they heard there was a verdict. People have been coming down here throughout the entire trial interested in this case and interested what happened to Laci Peterson and interested to see what would happen to her husband Scott.
BLITZER: Ted, stand by. David Mattingly is getting reaction in Modesto, California, the town where Scott Peterson and Laci Peterson lived before she disappeared Christmas Eve almost exactly two years ago. What's the reaction so far, David, there?
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we talk about surprises that we've had today. We've had one here as well. This is Modesto, a place where people have had to live with this case, with the pain, the sorrow, the loss, the anger, all of the emotions for two years now. There was a great deal of satisfaction here when Scott Peterson was found guilty, but when this decision was read to give Scott Peterson the death penalty, we were in a deli halfway down the block and we have some video to show you, it looks unremarkable but there was no reaction whatsoever when this decision was read.
This place where there's been so much emotion, people at the deli and out here on the street telling us today that this decision means only more death and more sadness for the Peterson family that's involved here. So no cause here in Modesto for celebration. And people here telling me pretty much -- what you saw when you heard the verdict. You found that there was no reason to be celebrating here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not at all. I don't feel there's a reason to celebrate for death. I mean, in spite that this was someone else's killing someone, I don't believe in that.
MATTINGLY: Laci Peterson was able to connect with so many people after she died. So many people involved and looking for her, did you feel an emotion connection to her as well?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I feel very sad for her and her family due to the fact of the baby and her, just as well, a life was taken.
MATTINGLY: Now that Scott Peterson is going to get the death penalty what will happen as for as your emotion goes as this case continues to linger in the court?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll pray for Scott Peterson and his family. I don't feel anyone has the right to judge on killing anyone. I don't believe in death. I believe we should leave it to God.
MATTINGLY: We also have Terry Crilly, a social worker here in Modesto. You've had a lot of professional work with people dealing with grief and there have been some grief counseling with people who didn't even know Laci Peterson, is that correct?
TERRY CRILLY, SOCIAL WORKER: It certainly is. Those of us in the community got to know Laci far more through the media, many of us got to know her through the media than got to know her in person.
MATTINGLY: People I talked to, it seemed like such a personal connection they had with her. There was a great deal of satisfaction, some celebration when Scott Peterson was found guilty. Did that help people sort of get through these emotions?
CRILLY: Certainly being able to be honest about our feelings and being able to express our feelings is incredibly value and the first step toward the healing process.
MATTINGLY: Now that we have a decision that he's going to face the death penalty, what is that going to mean in terms of the people of Modesto, the people you've had dealings with in trying to get on with their lives and put this behind them?
CRILLY: The conviction and certainly the death sentence, that brings a certain amount of -- that brings closure to that. There isn't true closure because now there's the appeal process and what not, so it continues to linger with the resurfacing of the grief that will come at each anniversary and each step in the legal process.
MATTINGLY: What do you think we'll see in the short term, will we see people wrestling with some of the emotions about this position as well?
CRILLY: We'll see people wrestling with the sense of closure, the sense of loss. We talked so often of Laci Peterson's family and I can't even imagine the grief they must go through, but certainly Scott's family as well. His parents are now looking at their son facing the death penalty.
MATTINGLY: Terry Crilly, a social worker here in Modesto, thank you very much for your insights on this.
Wolf, we'll go back to you and we'll continue to get reaction here from a town seemingly not reacting much to this decision.
BLITZER: David Mattingly in Modesto, California, where Scott Peterson and Laci Peterson lived before she disappeared Christmas Eve two years ago.
It was almost exactly 30 minutes ago, we heard the clerk announce the verdict. Let's listen one more time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: That was it. Now we're standing by awaiting to get reaction. We heard Mark Geragos, the defense attorney, make a brief statement, basically saying this is a difficult period for the family of Scott Peterson. He really didn't want to say anything beyond that, other than the appeal process will go forward. He also said the family wouldn't have anything to say for the time being.
We're waiting to hear from the prosecution side of this case. We're also waiting to hear from jurors. The judge has lifted the gag order. We should be getting further reaction in the minutes to come.
Let's bring in some of our analysts who we've gathered here to help us better understand what we are seeing. Joe DiGenova is a former prosecutor. I want to get your reaction to the process, to the prospect that the appeal, the appeal of the verdict, the conviction, as well as the death sentence, either one of them could be reversed upon appeal.
DIGENOVA: Well, that's true. That's the nature of our system. That possibility exists, and we won't know much about the legal issues, because many of those rulings, as Geoffrey Fieger noted, were in secret. They were not put on the public record, although there is a transcript of them. What I think -- what I found stunning is the brevity of Mark Geragos' comments. That is very telling. He knows very well that he overpromised at the beginning of this case, when he said he was going to prove his client stone cold innocent. A choice of words that I think will haunt him forever, because it evokes the notion of death. It was such a bizarre choice of words to a jury.
And second of all, I must go back to this point where he was not present at the verdict. That may very well be part of the defendant's appeal. Mark Geragos may have been told by other lawyers, you can no longer say anything about this case, because one of the issues they may raise is the ineffectiveness of the defense in this case and the conduct of Mr. Geragos himself.
So I think the appeal questions are many. I don't pretend to believe that they're going to be sufficient to overturn the verdict, but the death sentence, of course, is always open to various types of challenges, and anything that happened in the trial can be the basis of that.
BLITZER: And given California's history as far as implementing the death sentence, even if it goes forward, it could be decades...
DIGENOVA: That is correct.
BLITZER: Before he is executed.
Ted Rowlands is outside the courthouse with word we might be hearing from some jurors. What are you hearing about that, Ted?
ROWLANDS: Wolf, we understand that all 14 jurors, the 12 on the panel and the two alternates will walk over to where the press conference is, and then three of them will do the speaking. Eleven, the other 11 are expected to leave, but they wanted to show solidarity in their decision. So that's what we should expect to see when the jury makes it over there.
At this point, there are no jurors in the room right now. They're getting the cameras ready and getting everything set in terms of audio and the positioning. We do understand the foreman, who is a fireman and has a family who lives in a community near here, called Halfmoon Bay, will be one of the folks that is speaking. We also understand that juror number seven possibly will address the media as well. We do not know if the -- who the other juror who may speak is going to be. We'll have to wait and see in just a few minutes, but we are expecting at least three folks to answer some questions as to how they came to the verdict of guilt in the penalty phase or in the guilt phase, and then how they came to this verdict, which seemed to be, at least in terms of timing and deliberation, more difficult decision for this group, to come to the penalty of death.
So we'll find out momentarily. We are also expecting the prosecution to at least read some sort of statement.
BLITZER: We will have all of that live for our viewers here. The chairs that our viewers are seeing, those are live pictures of the courtroom. The old courtroom in an adjacent building where the jurors will show up, all 14 of them, 12 jurors, two alternates. Three of them will speak, and presumably answer reporters' questions as well. That's coming up.
In the meantime, we are getting reaction from Frank Rocha, who is joining us now live on the telephone, Laci Peterson's uncle. Our condolences to you, Frank Rocha. Give us your reaction to this decision, this verdict by the jurors, to go ahead with the death sentence.
FRANK ROCHA, LACI PETERSON'S COUSIN: Well, obviously, I have great respect for those jurors that have been through all this, and, you know, I'm obviously happy with their decision. I think they made the right decision. They've listened to all the evidence, and I believe they did -- they did justice.
BLITZER: Would you have been severely disappointed if they would come -- if they would have come forward with life without the possibility of parole, if that would have been their verdict?
ROCHA: I personally would not have been that much disappointed, because I believe either way Scott Peterson's life is going to be totally different from what he's known it to be.
BLITZER: How is the Rocha family handling all of this right now?
ROCHA: I haven't spoke with any of them at this time.
BLITZER: No, but in the last several days and weeks you've spoken to them. You haven't spoken to them since the verdict was announced, but give us a little sense of how the family has been dealing over these very difficult weeks with awaiting the announcement of the sentence?
ROCHA: The only one that I've spoken to was my cousin, Dennis, Laci's dad, and I just spoke with him very briefly after the guilty verdict was reached. And obviously, he was very, very happy with that verdict. It was something that he felt, I believe, probably from almost day one, and he was very, very happy with that guilty verdict.
As far as waiting for this verdict, I've not discussed that part with him.
BLITZER: Frank Rocha, you're Laci Peterson's uncle.
ROCHA: I'm her...
ROCHA: I'm her cousin.
BLITZER: Her cousin, all right. Well, you knew Laci Peterson. Remind our viewers briefly a little bit. Tell us a little bit about her.
ROCHA: Oh, from what I remember her, I mean, she was very bubbly. I mean, everybody's seen her pictures on TV. They've seen the videos of her. They've read all the articles. I mean, it's, you know, it's all true to Laci. She was very bubbly, very happy.
You know, I didn't spend a lot of time in Laci's life, but, you know, we were cousins, and what has happened to her and her unborn child was a terrible tragedy. And I just am very tremendously happy with what the jury has come up with today.
BLITZER: Frank Rocha, once again, our condolences to you, to the entire Rocha family, Laci Peterson's family. Thank you very much for spending a few moments with us.
Robert Talbot is with us, professor of law at San Francisco University. You still had some lingering doubt. You were surprised that the jury went ahead and gave him the death sentence, but you know California law very, very well. What are the prospects of this death sentence to be reversed down the appeals process?
TALBOT: There's certainly a lot stronger to be reversed than if there wouldn't have been a death sentence. If there wouldn't have been a death sentence, maybe the chance would be 1 percent of reversal. Because there is a death penalty, it's going to be looked at by so many courts -- by federal courts, by state courts, by just every single possible angle as this case is going to be looked at, and the chances of some kind of reversal or some kind of new trial, either on the penalty phase or the guilt phase, are probably 10 times greater than they would be if it wasn't a death penalty.
Now, that's not saying that that 10 times greater makes it more likely than not, but at least it's a much stronger possibility than if there wasn't a death sentence.
BLITZER: We're waiting to hear from the jurors, 14 of them, 12 jurors, two alternates. They're standing by. They're going to be having a statement, answering reporters' questions. That's coming up momentarily. We are told those are the chairs where they will be seated. We'll bring that to our viewers live, get the inside story on why they decided that the death sentence, the death sentence is appropriate in this case. It's the first time we're hearing from them, as well as the prosecution and the defense attorneys, given the gag order that had been imposed by the judge over these many months.
Jeffrey Toobin, do you agree with professor Talbot, that this case has lots of potential opportunities for appeal right now?
TOOBIN: It does when you talk about the sentence. Yes, it is very possible, I don't know if it's likely, but it is certainly possible that the sentence will be overturned and a life sentence imposed.
Scott Peterson's conviction, I think, has almost no chance of being overturned. I don't think he will get a new trial. This case, given the length of it, given the opportunities to the defense, given the judge's rulings, I don't think there is any chance to speak of that the conviction will be overturned. But the death sentence, there is a reasonable chance it will be knocked down to life in prison. BLITZER: But, Jeffrey, what about the removal of those two jurors in the final -- the final days as they were deliberating, the two jurors who were removed? There's been widespread speculation that maybe those two jurors were holding out that didn't think he was guilty. And, as a result, they were removed. If there's evidence that would support that, that would seem to suggest the entire verdict could be overthrown.
TOOBIN: Certainly, that is something an appeals court will look at closely.
But as I understand it, with one of those jurors, Mark Geragos agreed that the juror should be excused. So that's not going to be an issue on appeal. It's only one -- an excusal of one juror that will be contested. And Judge Delucchi is an experienced judge. He knows how important that sort of thing is, dismissing a juror during deliberations.
He undoubtedly made a very clear record of why he did it and it could not have been simply because this was a juror who favored acquittal. So, yes, it's something an appeals court will look at, but certainly everyone knew at the time how significant the legal ruling is, and they didn't make it lightly. So I would be surprised -- I don't know for sure, but I would be surprised if there was anything in the dismissal of the juror that was an obvious cause for reversing the conviction.
BLITZER: All right, Jeffrey, as we await the arrival of the jurors into that adjacent building, that adjacent old courthouse for their news conference, three jurors expected to speak, two reporters. We will carry that live.
If you weren't paying attention, if you weren't watching or just tuning in at this time, let's play once again for our viewers Mark Geragos, the defense attorney representing Scott Peterson, his reaction only moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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. At some point shortly, they'll make a statement or do a press conference and at that time they'll agree to field whatever questions that they will. In the interim, I hope you can understand that it's a very difficult time.
And that's all I've got to say. Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Jeffrey Toobin, that was about 10, 15, 20 minutes ago or so, when Mark Geragos made that short statement. Looking back, there's going to be a lot of second-guessing of the way he dealt with this case, the way he represented Scott Peterson.
A lot of people are going to be raising questions, wondering if another criminal defense attorney could have had a better strategy, could have done a better job. What's your sense looking back at this case? And you watched it closely.
TOOBIN: Scott Peterson's big problem was not that he had the wrong attorney. Scott Peterson's big problem was that he was guilty. So I think that is the larger message that you need to think about.
Certainly, there were questions about the way Mark Geragos handled this case. To me, the oddest thing that the defense did was staking so much of the case on an expert witness who claimed that Laci Peterson had actually given birth at the time she was killed, which would have interfered with the prosecution's timeline.
But that witness was so bad that jurors were laughing. And I think that it was obvious the problems with that juror -- that expert witness' testimony. And I think staking so much of the case on really flimsy evidence, I think that's one of the tough questions that Mark Geragos is going to have to answer.
But it's important to remember, he didn't have an unlimited pool of good evidence to choose from to present. There was no good evidence to present because all the evidence pointed to his client. So you have to have some sympathy for him in that regard, but do I think that expert witness was a really peculiar and poor choice.
BLITZER: Let's bring back Ted Rowlands, our correspondent on the scene, who's covered this case for nearly two years.
Ted, as we await the arrival of the jurors to make their statements to reporters in the adjacent building in that old courtroom -- and we see the chairs -- we're showing our viewers live pictures of the chairs. They should be emerging. They should be coming into that room momentarily for this news conference.
Is there already a lot of second-guessing of Mark Geragos, the way that he dealt with this case, unfolding out there?
ROWLANDS: Well, I will tell you, he was doing so well throughout the prosecution's case at cross-examination that it was amazing to see. I mean, I think that anybody, even prosecutors, will agree that he has a gift when he cross-examines a witness. He was able to turn a lot of the prosecution's witnesses around to his side.
And I think that expectations were very high for his case when he brought it on. And, as Jeffrey said, the main witness that he brought on was a complete flop. We understand that Henry Lee, Dr. Henry Lee, was here in town. He didn't call him. He didn't call a number of the people that lived around the Peterson house that saw Laci Peterson or thought they saw Laci Peterson that morning.
I know I interviewed one of those individuals, the surviving husband of one of those individuals, who is a very compelling person. But Geragos chose to not bring all these people in. And I think what happened was is, I think that the defense misread this jury. And I think that they thought they had the case. And then when their medical examiner flopped, they were worried that they were losing ground and they didn't want to give up any ground.
And they thought that they didn't want to damage themselves by continuing to preach. And they were completely wrong. This jury was not on the same page. This jury needed reinforcement. They were, yes, able to bring out certain points during cross-examination, but I think that there was an expectation for the defense's case to hammer those points home, flush them out and bring in more doubt, something they were not able to accomplish.
I think it was a severe miscalculation on their part.
BLITZER: And so, Ted, we're still waiting to hear from the prosecution. They'll be reading some sort of a statement, as well as the jurors. We're waiting for them to show up in that old courtroom for their news conference.
Anyone else expected to speak as far as family members, based on what you know right now, Ted?
ROWLANDS: At this point, we're just not sure.
Obviously, this day has been expected by folks covering this trial. People have tried to line up interviews in advance and both families have been resolute to not really agree to much in terms of speaking. We do expect to hear from Amber Frey at some point. We expect to hear from her attorney, Gloria Allred, momentarily here. But we also do expect to hear from Amber Frey in the coming weeks or early next year.
That has been indicated by Gloria Allred, that she will talk. In fact, she may even be writing a bock. I do think that eventually everybody will speak. But, in terms of right now, I think we can bank on these jurors and that's about it -- and a prosecution statement. I was told by a representative of the Modesto Police Department that they'll be reading something.
BLITZER: All right, Ted, stand by.
I want to show our viewers this live picture. This is another adjacent courtroom, where we do expect now to be hearing from Laci Peterson's family. They're setting up the microphones right there. We'll go back out to that courtroom as soon as they emerge. Laci Peterson's family expected to make a statement as well. So we're waiting to hear from Laci Peterson's family. We're waiting to hear from the prosecution and we're waiting to hear from the jurors. CNN will bring all of that to you live.
Joe DiGenova, I think a lot of the second-guessing as far as Mark Geragos and the way he handled this case is going to focus around this notion, this decision they made not to have Scott Peterson testify and come before that jury and proclaim his innocence. Most people, average people, while they know that there's no requirement that he must do so, if you're innocent and you feel you're innocent, you're going to be screaming and shouting, I didn't do it, and most jurors who are laypeople are going to say, well, why wasn't he professing his innocence throughout this case?
DIGENOVA: Well, that is precisely the kind of question that any normal human being asks. And, of course, our system does not require a defendant to testify. And the judge instructed the jury that the defendant does not have to produce any evidence and certainly is under no obligation to testify and they can draw no inference from that.
But what happened here was, you can bet, if Mark Geragos thought that Scott Peterson would have been a good witness, he would have put him on the witness stand, but he knew that there would have been ravaging cross-examination of him to explain his presence, the fishing, where the body came up, what he did, why he sold the objects, why he had an affair with Amber Frey.
The truth is Scott Peterson could not take the witness stand during the trial, the guilt or innocence phase. But during the penalty phase, he absolutely had to take the stand and say, I'm sorry. By not doing that, by demonstrating no remorse, other than the family -- the awful feelings that his family was going through, their penalty phase defense was, please don't punish my mother. That's what it boiled down to. Don't hurt my mother anymore.
That's not going to work in a case like this, where a man has murdered his wife and an unborn child. The strategy not to put him on during the guilt or innocence was determined by the fact that he would have been destroyed on cross-examination. Their only hope was to use him during the penalty phase. But if you do that and he admits that he did it, then your appeal is gone because you've already admitted your guilt.
BLITZER: It couldn't have turned out, from his standpoint, any worse than it turned up.
DIGENOVA: That's what happens when you're really guilty.
BLITZER: That's what -- because he was convicted and he was sentenced to die. Had he testified, under the worst of circumstances, it would have been the same thing.
DIGENOVA: Probably, but he also would have had a chance to get life without parole. I think, if he had testified, I think they would have spared his life.
BLITZER: Well, that's interesting.
Let's bring in Gloria Allred. She's the attorney representing Amber Frey, the mistress of Scott Peterson.
What's your reaction, Gloria to what has happened today?
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY FOR AMBER FREY: Well, I think Scott Peterson took two lives and I think he got what he deserved. He showed no mercy to his victims. And the jury found that he deserved none himself. I think this was a just result. BLITZER: Do you agree with Joe DiGenova that, had he testified, even if he had been brutally cross-examined, the jury might at least have had some sympathy and spared his life, given him life without the possibility of parole, as opposed to the death sentence?
ALLRED: I think, after those tape recordings were played, the tape recordings that were made by my client Amber Frey at the request of law enforcement, telephone calls that he made to her and that she made to him after Laci disappeared, after those calls were played for the jury, I think it was impossible for Scott Peterson to take the witness stand, because he was shown for what he is, a person with a cold and malignant heart who even telephoned his girlfriend, Amber, from the vigil for his missing pregnant wife and was talking pillow talk on the telephone with her and who continued to call Amber and talk about a future with her and being with her forever.
He was shown to be such a liar. He lied to the police. He lied to Diane Sawyer. He lied to Amber. He lied to Sharon Rocha, lie after lie after lie. There was no way he would have had any credibility if he had taken the witness stand.
BLITZER: Gloria, since the death sentence was announced, have you had a chance to speak with your client Amber Frey?
ALLRED: Yes, I have. I called her immediately and told her of the sentence. It's a very emotional time for her. She's always said that she has confidence in the judicial system, in the judge and in the jury, who would be the ones who would hear all of the evidence in this case and that they would reach a decision that they thought was just. That's what's happened.
She has constantly had in her thoughts and in her prayers Laci and Conner Peterson and the family of the murder victim. They have been hurt just beyond description, but she also feels that this case has had a ripple effect on so many families, on Jackie and Lee Peterson, and on her own family.
And I just want to say how proud I am of her, of her courage and her integrity in this case.
BLITZER: Can you tell us, Gloria, what she said to you once you told her that he is going to get the death sentence?
ALLRED: I'm going to leave that for her to say when she feels it's appropriate to speak out.
But I will just say that it's emotional, an emotional day for her. She's always said her feelings toward Scott Peterson are very complicated, but I'm very proud of her role in all of this and of the integrity that she's displayed throughout. I think -- I hope one day soon, she'll be able to tell her story, because I think it's an inspirational story and she's a witness who did the right thing and contributed to the cause of justice.
BLITZER: As you know, Gloria, there's been lots of speculation out there she's going to be writing a book, signing a contract to write a book fairly soon. Can you confirm that?
ALLRED: I will only say that I do hope and expect that she will tell her story.
There's so much that she has to say that she's gone through with Scott Peterson and throughout this case that she didn't have an opportunity to talk about on the witness stand because, of course, the prosecution decided that not all of it might be relevant to their presentation of this case. But there is so much more, so many conversations, more conversations that she had with Scott and his actions towards her that I think people need to know about to really understand who Amber Frey really is and who Scott Peterson is.
And I think, after they hear all of that, they will be more reassured than ever that there has been a just result in this case.
BLITZER: Gloria Allred, the attorney representing Amber Frey. Gloria, thank you very much for spending a few moments with us.
ALLRED: Thank you. Thank you.
BLITZER: Jeffrey Toobin -- let's go back to Jeffrey Toobin, our senior legal analyst.
I suspect, as we wait to hear from the jurors now -- and we have live pictures coming in. We'll hear from the jurors. We're going to hear from Laci Peterson's family. We're going to hear from the prosecution. As we wait for all of these news conferences to begin -- oh, here come the jurors right now, Jeffrey.
We see them walking in. We were told that three jurors would be speaking. All 14, 12 jurors, two alternates, would be all in the room, a show of solidarity, but they've designated three of those jurors, including the foreman, who happens to be a fireman, to speak on behalf of all 14. They are being brought into this old courtroom in an adjacent building from where Scott Peterson was sentenced to die just a few moments ago.
We want our viewers to be able to listen to their statements and to the questions and answers that will follow. We will presumably get their introduction once they begin to speak, but three of these jurors have been designated as the spokesmen for the jury.
Let's listen in.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And, Steve, I believe that you're going to do that, correct?
STEVE CARDOSI, PETERSON JURY FOREMAN: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir.
CARDOSI: The jury and the alternates would like to thank Judge Delucchi, Jenne Carnevale (ph), Marilyn Morton, and all the many sheriff's deputies and staff of the San Mateo County Superior Court. We also would like to express to the media that we appreciate their efforts to honor our privacy these past six months and we'd like to request that you continue to honor our individual privacy and respect those juries who do not wish to speak with the media. Thank you. That's it.
QUESTION: Those of you that do not make a statement can step out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And while they leave, we are going to continue. Greg, Steve and Richelle, may we ask just one thing to help us? We obviously have your first names. Can you just tell us one or two things about yourselves, maybe where you live or your occupation, to give us a sense of who you are.
Greg, why don't you go first. We'll just work that way at the table.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I presently live obviously in the Peninsula, Belmont, California. I've been doing this for six months. My life has been changed. I can tell you that much right now. It says that I'm a high school coach. I'm not a high school coach. I coach youth football and youth baseball. This has been tough. That's all I can say right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, good. Thank you.
Richelle, may we ask you the same question, please?
RICHELLE NICE, PETERSON JUROR: I live in east Palo Alto. I'm unemployed, four kids. And it's been very tough.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Richelle, thank you.
Steve, may we ask you that same question just for identification, sir?
I live in Half Moon Bay. I'm a firefighter paramedic out there. And that's about it. It's been a very difficult six months.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good. Thank you, sir.
Let me come around.
There are two questions that we wanted to ask each of you.
And, Steve, we'll just start with you. And I'll give both questions to you to give you some -- well, let's do the first question. This is -- and this will be for each of you. Steve, we'll go with you first, though.
What convinced you that Scott Peterson was guilty, sir?
CARDOSI: It's hard to narrow it down to one specific issue or topic. There were many. Collaboratively, when you add it all up, there doesn't appear to be any other possibility.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Richelle, may we ask you that same question, please? What convinced you that Scott Peterson was guilty?
NICE: When you look at everything and you put it all together, it spoke for itself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Greg, that question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, six months ago, I didn't know anything about this, other than maybe some scuttlebutt around the copy machine and never, ever thought I'd be in this situation.
I never realized the magnitude of this. Because of it, I came in with an open mind. I did not know anything about this man. I didn't know anything about the situation. I took the information that I received in that courtroom. I followed the letter of the law and did not let outside forces or information possibly get to me to taint this, because I realized that this was an important decision.
There were not just Scott Peterson's life, but the lives of many people. And I wanted to make sure that I made a conscious effort to do what was right in my heart. There were many things. The way they stated it, as the rest of them, it wasn't one thing. It was all the information. And to try and say one thing did it, no, it wasn't one thing. It was many, many things that happened in that courtroom that were brought to our attention.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Richelle, we'll start with you and just move our way across from you to Steve to Greg. The question for each of you is, what convinced you to choose the sentence of death?
NICE: It was a tough decision, very tough.
The first part, you thought it might be a little easier going in the second time, but it was everything. I just -- I can't pinpoint one thing. I just -- and, obviously, this is right after. And it's very hard. There were so many things, so many things, and one being that Scott Peterson was Laci's husband, Conner's daddy. Someone should have -- the one person that should have protected them. And for him to have done that -- that's it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Steve, same question.
CARDOSI: As Greg already stated, I went into this with a pretty open mind. And I really didn't know very much about this. I'd heard about it from you all.
But that was only kind of in the onset. And then I just didn't really pay attention at all. Once the process in court started and everything else, through listening to testimony, the evidence, everything in court, as well as listening to the fellow jurors while deliberating, 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.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And, Greg?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.
I went back and forth on this the whole time. This wasn't a decision that, when I walked out of there that day, that this was the way it was going to be. I think the fact of the mistrust, the fact that this person, as they stated, was Laci's husband, a person that, you know, married her until death do her part, do we part.
And the fact is that there was just -- there was a lot of trust issues in this, and the fact that, 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. It was not -- this wasn't an act of he flipped out and he went and he did something. I can understand that, but, you know, this was planned. And that's what really is part of this, just the trust.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely, Steve. Please.
CARDOSI: For all of us, I'm sure the three of us here and everybody, we haven't been allowed to speak of these things amongst ourselves or with anybody since this started.
So we're just a little bit on the spot here with a room full of people staring at us waiting for answers to questions that we haven't been able to discuss with you all. So, until now and through the deliberating, we've only been allowed to basically talk to people with -- who you begin to trust and you understand their mannerisms through talking. And we spent six months together, almost like another job.
So it's -- I can tell just by them and myself that just sitting up here with you guys asking us these questions, we're all kind of choked up on it, because it's very new. You guys get to talk about it every day. We haven't.
NICE: We don't.
CARDOSI: And so, sitting up here, it's very difficult for us while on the spot to turn around and give you, you know, an answer that I'm sure that you'd want to hear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're doing a great job. I know that you thought you'd be able to hang in for about 15 or 20 minutes. These are 100 of your newest, closest friends.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why don't we turn -- I promise to go print and then electronic. And John and the hometown paper, do you have the first question? OK.
Then, why don't you just say your name and where you're from? JOHN COTE, "THE MODESTO BEE': Sure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And who are you speaking for?
COTE: Yes. I'm John Cote with "The Modesto Bee."
I guess my first question would be, much of the deliberative process was shielded from the people in the audience and the media. Was there at any point in the deliberations, either in the guilt phase or in the penalty phase, where you felt there was a rift in the jury and you were going to be split and possibly a hung jury?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are you asking (OFF-MIKE)
COTE: The entire panel.
CARDOSI: Go ahead.
NICE: Go ahead.
CARDOSI: Any time you put 12 people in a room together and you expect them to agree, to think that that's going to happen easily would be very naive. It doesn't. It takes discussing. It takes emotion. It's incredibly draining. And, of course, there were -- you know, debating. And that's what deliberating is. So I don't think much more needs to be said than that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anyone else want to add to that? If not, I'll go to another question because I know there are lots of questions. All right.
Beth Karas of Court TV. (OFF-MIKE)
BETH KARAS, COURT TV: Beth Karas from Court TV.
I'd like to take you back to the guilt phase. I have a lot of questions about that, but let me just start with this one. Why your split verdict of first and second degree, as opposed to two firsts?
CARDOSI: I'll start.
See, now, remember when I said there was different opinions amongst people? This was one of the topics. I'd say the different opinions, when we -- we came together with this split verdict because for everything the defendant said stating that he didn't want children, he also showed examples where he was good with kids, he played with children and everything else.
We did not, I don't think, collectively, as a group -- I'm not speaking for everybody. But given by the verdict, it couldn't be concluded that there was definite premeditation on the killing or murder of his son. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stacy, would you identify yourself and ask your question.
STACY FINZ, "THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE": Hi. I'm Stacy Finz from "The San Francisco Chronicle."
And I know that, for every one of you, what made you decide guilt was very individual. What evidence you saw was extremely individual, but -- and I know Peter already asked the question, but could you expand a little bit more on what were some of the things that really made you decide for guilt?
NICE: Inconsistent statements from the beginning, Scott's inconsistent statements.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you start again? You were a little faint and I don't think everyone in the back heard. Please (OFF-MIKE)
NICE: Scott's inconsistent statements and those puzzle pieces that were thrown out we put back in to the puzzle, and it spoke for itself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you repeat that because my head is swimming right now with all this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure.
FINZ: I just wanted to know what -- I know we asked the question before, and I'm just repeating it a little bit more. What was it for you specifically that made you decide that he was guilty?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think, in my mind, I said one thing. And this is -- one thing to me was, if those bodies had never been found or had been found in the desert or, let's say, in Yosemite National Park, we wouldn't be here.
But those bodies were found in the one place he went prior to her being missing by anybody else or knowing when she was missing. That was the one place. And I played in my mind over and over conspiracy. Was somebody trying to set up Scott? Was somebody after Laci? It didn't add up for me.
And if I was trying to -- I think I went through this. 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 her, to leave her in the bay? Why not just have her show up on the beach there?
And it could have happened that day, two days, that would have been more than enough to do something like that, but that didn't -- eye didn't see that. That didn't -- that just didn't follow any of the information.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ty (ph) from ABC.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. Ty Ronan (ph) with ABC.
This is a similar question, but when Justin Falconer came out, it surprised a lot of us he really thought Scott Peterson was innocent. Was there ever a time when any of you felt the same way, or were there any holdouts in that jury room?
What was the turning point, also? Was it the Amber tapes? How did they affect you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are you addressing?
I think every single one of us went in there with the perception that they need to prove that he's not innocent. I know I did. I think Greg did. Michelle did.
The -- there's a lot of -- for every individual person, the turning point is going to be different. So for us three we can answer that for you. I think they kind of answered, you know, the question with the previous question.
But for the rest of the people, I can't speak for the rest of the jurors.
But for me, it's -- I mean, it's everything. The bodies washed up where he was. Long before the bodies washing up, it was predicted by one of the tidal experts that if he dropped them in this general area, this is the general area where they would wash up. And that's where they washed up.
His consciousness of guilt by, you know, various different things. There's very -- there's a lot of things that speak to that. But one of them is driving to the marina to kind of check on what's going on and leaving right away.
Not being there when they're found. Not coming back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not calling.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not calling. Nothing. And there's -- like I said, it's not just one thing in this. It was a circumstantial case. It's everything put together making the whole picture, for me anyway.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. Jason Bennett, Bay City News Service. And first, of all on behalf of all of us, I want to reiterate what Peter said, thank you very much for doing this. It really helps us try and understand the process you went through. And obviously, there's a lot of interest.
My question is for Steve. Could you talk specifically about how you became foreman? Why Greg Jackson was removed as foreman and what went on leading up to getting the verdict of guilt seven hours of deliberations afterwards?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we spent a large amount of time in the beginning, just figuring out -- they don't give you instructions on how to deliberate. They don't give you any clue of how do you go about this process?
So one person doesn't then say, well, this is the process, and this is the way it's going to be. Twelve people have to agree on a process that you're all going to stand by. That took a significant amount of time.
As to why -- I don't even know who you're talking about. I'm assuming you're talking about foreman No. 5, the doctor/lawyer. Sorry. We've been locked up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've all had stage names for the last six months. We just found out everybody's name today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. So we didn't know anybody's name. So like I said, we've been sheltered.
We went through quite a bit of time that was very ineffective. And he was, I think -- the group unanimously agreed to change the foreperson to try and become a little more effective in deliberating.
Shortly after we changed -- I don't remember what day. We changed one day, and the next day I think he was removed. And I don't know why, the exact reason why he was removed. But I believe that's...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell us what you know?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I do know? What I do know is sealed. So there's a key word for you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He -- he mentioned that he was no longer comfortable in the process. So -- but that, again, is for him to tell you. Not for us to tell you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys are doing wonderfully. Can you hold on for a few more?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're hanging in there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could I get you some water or anything? I'll get you water at the next break here right now.
DORNIN: Rusty Dornin from CNN.
And as you said you haven't had -- been able to talk to one another. But there is the one person who was dismissed from your panel that has been talking a lot about this, and that's Justin Falconer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me guess, juror No. 5.
DORNIN: He spent a lot of time on our air today. Former juror No. 5. The first juror No. 5. But he spent a lot of time talking about that he felt that this jury was pressured by the public for a popular verdict from the very beginning, that when you all would walk up to the courthouse you would hear everything that we said and that you felt that like in an O.J. jury, you didn't want to be like the O.J. jury. And therefore you felt so much pressure to vote for guilt. I just wanted you guys to respond to that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is absolutely wrong. He spent how many weeks on this trial? He knows nothing. Maybe this much. I mean, he doesn't know the half, the beginning, the end. He just -- he just doesn't. So you can take that for what it's worth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And other follow to that? Greg?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can follow?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, can I tell you, we -- nobody, nobody in this room or outside influenced my voting on any of this. It had -- no, no. I went by the facts.
I gave -- I believe this person had a fair right to that. And not to be turned around and make this into a circus atmosphere. That's why I avoided all this.
My wife would laugh about the things that I would tell her. Oh, turn off the television. Got to put the newspaper out. Got to throw it away. She can't wait.
And my friends -- her co-workers go, "What has he said? What has he said?"
And she goes, "He doesn't talk."
"No way." They don't believe it.
Because you know, we owed this to this defendant. Going, like Steve said, believing this man was innocent. I wanted to go by the facts. I didn't judge this man. I wanted to have the same fair treatment I should get.
And to turn around and say that I was swayed by public opinion? That's not fair.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not fair to all the jurors and all the alternates that spent the last six months in there. It's not fair. Because we did what was right.
And I played both ends. I'm tell you, I sat there with the balancing act every day.
And we talk about -- the things we talk about was: how much weight did you gain? And boy, how are you sleeping? And how come you're eating like this and you can't do that and whatever. Our lives have changed. It wasn't changed -- it wasn't like this six months ago.
And we weren't swayed. We wanted -- if this person had been innocent, he would have walked out of there innocent. We did not -- we did not go in there with the opinion that we were going to let somebody sway us. I didn't. I can only speak for myself, but I don't -- I didn't pick that up.
These people, everybody in there were honorable. And you know what, you get 12 people -- I told them it was "Jury Survivor." And we didn't want -- nobody wanted to kill anybody. So obviously, we hung in there for all that time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, I'm Julia Prosulac (ph) from the "San Jose Mercury News." Thank you so much for being here.
Could you please tell us, each one of you, what was the most dramatic or critical moment in deliberations for each of you? Both phases?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For me, today. By far.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think -- I'm sorry, I don't mean to be rude in any way, but that is a huge question. There's thousands of little moments in there where things that are brought up, where somebody feels very strongly one way, and it elicits emotions out of you.
I mean, that's very hard to answer.
The -- the most difficult day for me would be today. It doesn't get any harder than today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You speak of the deliberation or the whole process? Because for me...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm speaking of the deliberations but whatever it was...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most difficult day was the day we found the verdict of guilty. Because I'm going to tell you what, it was a -- a lot of you were out there, the atmosphere. I -- I had to make a decision by the information I had. And I made that decision.
And people running around and clapping and screaming and all that, that -- that was not a happy event for anybody. I -- I was not happy. When we walked out of there, it wasn't a joyous occasion. This was -- this wasn't going to bring back people that are gone. This wasn't going to change that.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: Greta Van Susteren from Fox News Channel.
What attitude did Scott Peterson convey to you in the courtroom -- and I notice, Richelle, you roll your eyes, so I want you to answer it first -- and, secondly, did you want to hear from him? NICE: We heard enough from him.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you want to elaborate a little more?
NICE: 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.
CARDOSI: Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You asked the questions. Could you say them again? I'm sorry. I -- my -- I'm...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take your time. You're doing wonderful.
VAN SUSTEREN: I tried to sneak the two questions in, I should tell you. I think there's a one-question rule, so -- first is what kind of attitude did Scott Peterson convey to you during the course of the trial, and, secondly, did you want to hear from him on the witness stand at either stage?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll answer the second question first. I would have been -- I would have liked to have heard something out of his mouth, yes, anything, a plea for his life or just his opinion on everything that went on in the last two years, but I never got that and I couldn't use that for any decision-making, and I realize that.
But I would have liked to have heard something out of his voice, at least some kind of -- maybe tell -- even if he said to me I was -- we were wrong as a group. I would have respected that, but there was no emotion on that.
In the courtroom, for the last six months, I didn't see much emotion at all. When I looked over there, I -- it was a blank stare, and I don't know why. I can't -- I couldn't read into that, but I didn't -- we'd see him laugh at certain situations and then sit there and shake his head as if in disbelief of what was going on.
That's what I saw. The only time -- couple of times I saw emotions was with his cousin coming from Alaska who had come down -- then he had cried -- and his niece -- or I guess they were both nieces. Excuse me. But those are the times.
I mean, the word "stoic" -- we kept hearing that, and it was true to form pretty much the whole time.
CARDOSI: I disagree a little bit with the stoic analogy, is -- I did see emotions in him, most of which were anger. I mean, you could tell -- he didn't get upset and cry very often at all until the penalty phase. You saw a couple of tears coming down his face. I think once or twice in the guilt phase.
But the -- you did know if somebody said something that he didn't like. I mean, he -- his facial expressions changed. He looked angry, and, I mean, that's -- part of me understands that, though. I mean, you have people -- a bunch of people, millions of people, saying -- attacking you, basically, and it must feel that way when you're on trial because that's basically what's happening. And you have 12 strangers staring at you. I can understand that.
I still would have liked to see -- I don't know if "remorse" is the right word, 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 he didn't -- seem to faze him.
And, while that was going on -- they're looking for his wife and his child -- he's romancing a girlfriend. That's -- that doesn't make sense to me at all. I mean, it just doesn't make sense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to move to this side of the room just for a few more questions, so I don't get...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you able to share with us at all why you requested certain pieces of evidence just before lunch -- I understand, photographs of Laci, autopsy possibly -- and what kind of influence did that have on your decision?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And are you asking...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Steve Cardosi.
CARDOSI: Well, I requested them. That was kind of -- I think that was my feeling, my thing. I needed -- I thought that, you know, before we made a final vote -- we didn't know where everybody stood per se, but before we made a final vote, that, you know, people really need to look at that.
We never had the opportunity to hold those pictures, to look at that. It was -- they're very difficult to look at, more difficult I think for some people than for others, but seeing those on the screen, on a big screen, when it's, you know, 40 feet away from you, is a little different, or seeing them from 10 feet away as they're paraded in front of you is a little different than sticking them down on a table in front of you and looking at them and -- where you can really see that, you know, that is a baby -- or was a baby -- and that is a person lying there and that there is an individual out there who made that outcome happen for two people. He caused it.
And it's very important in -- it was very important for me to see that, to be sure in my decision, to look at those things, and, in deliberating, you know, you kind of share things, and we all passed them along, and everybody looked at them.
SUSAN SIRAVO, NBC 11 REPORTER: OK. This next question is for Richelle. I'm Susan Siravo with NBC 11.
We observed you to get emotional during some of the testimony. For you, what was the most difficult part of the evidence for you to see and the testimony for you to hear? And, also, were you aware of having the family sitting in front of you all the time? Did that weigh on you also? NICE: Little man was the hardest for me. Little man. That's what I call him. Conner. That was the hardest for me because, as I said, that was his daddy who did that, you know. His daddy should have been the protector of him, and, instead, he took his life. So that was hard for me.
And Laci. And, yes, his family and -- and both families. My -- I mean, my heart goes out to both families, and -- it was hard. It was hard seeing the families.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (OFF-MIKE) Lyndon (ph) with People magazine.
Some of you mentioned that you had changed during this six months. I wonder if you could talk about how this has changed you, in what ways.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Me? I think I appreciate life a lot more. You know, your family -- you take for granted they're going to be there, and then you go through this, and -- and my family stuck with -- in through this, never giving me any flak or anything. My sons -- I have two teenage sons -- and -- never, ever gave me -- you know, they knew they couldn't give me an opinion. They hung in there.
Many sleepless nights because you want to make sure you make the right choice. You listen to it, you hear it all, and you can't talk to anybody. You can't bounce off. You know, you've got six months to bottle this up in you, and it's like -- like probably any of you trying to hold on to a secret, and you're sitting there, and you've got six months, but this secret is -- you know, it's a man's life, and you want to make sure you make the right decision, and you play with that constantly all the time.
I didn't -- I -- three hours sleep, I'm happy. You know, trying to sit in there -- and my thing was -- is I -- no emotion. Show no emotion. Just keep it so nobody knows, nobody's sitting there reading into what you're doing, and that's what I hung in there trying to do the whole time.
And you listen to all these things that are going on. You see the information. You see the pictures. You listen to the information, and you try -- like I said, I went in there thinking innocent the whole time. I listened to it all the way to the day of the closing arguments. And you want to make sure you make the right decision, and this is a man's life through all this, and it's not easily taken.
I put this -- I guess my analogy is this -- it would be easy for me to turn around and say that person over there did something bad, here's a gun, you shoot them. Now you make that decision. Is it easy? It's not easy. And people who sit there and can sit there and say, oh, I could do this or I could do that -- you know what? It's not easy. And that's what you've got to toy with every day.
You know, I don't care if it's in battle or whatever. That's a person's life. You know, they're -- it's not tomorrow. It's over. That's how it changed me. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we implore you to take a couple more? Are you hanging in there? OK. Thank you. I just wanted -- I promised you that I would sort of guide you through it. As long as you're holding on, you have a lot of questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This deflects a lot of the stuff we...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It obviously does. It -- as I promised, it would help. There's a lot of interest in what you have to say, you guys. All three of you are amazingly articulate. We appreciate it. I'm just trying to go back and forth across the room. But, if you can hang in there for a few more, I know there's a lot more out here. And NBC is next.
ANTHONY CALLOWAY, NBC "TODAY" SHOW: Hi. Anthony Calloway from NBC's "Today" show and "Dateline NBC." A couple of weeks ago, you folks decided that Scott Peterson was guilty of two murders. This morning, you decided that he should die for his crimes. What emotional toll do you think that's going to have on you as you go about your life now?
NICE: As you can see, I'm an emotional wreck and have been. I've changed. I've changed, and I look at life a lot differently. And I hold my family close. That's all I'm going to say.
CARDOSI: I think it's probably too early for any of us to tell you what emotional toll this is going to have on us. Please don't get me wrong when we smile or we kind of chuckle at something. It's been very difficult for all of us, and I don't mean to make light over anything that has occurred here. This is very serious. This isn't a funny matter at all.
But, you know, it's -- emotionally, you know -- you don't know where you're going to be tomorrow. I can tell you where I am now, I mean, a little uptight and thankful I get to go home and have a semi- normal life again. I mean, it's been hard to -- it's been like working two full-time jobs for me, and a lot of people -- most of us actually go to work when we're not at court.
So I've worked many a weekend, straight back to court, so -- for six months. So I -- emotionally, I'm drained.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Emotional toll in the future?
GALLOWAY: (OFF-MIKE) ... for his crime, but you have to live with that decision as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're correct. You're correct. That's why it had to be sure in our hearts and our souls that it was the right decision. I said that the whole time. Otherwise, I couldn't have come to that decision.
What's going to happen? I can't tell you. But I can tell you right now that it's -- it's tough. I don't -- the day of the guilty -- of -- to the day -- to the penalty, there's nobody in here that was -- that walked out of there, and nobody was giving nobody high fives and nobody was all jumping up for joy.
We were all -- it was like a big mass...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... right in our hearts and hang in there, and, you know, I've got respect for -- of these people because I'll tell you what, when you meet people six months ago and you don't know them and you're sitting there going who the hell are these people, you know, and then you're in there, and you -- and you can't talk about something.
It's like you going to work, and, when you get off of work, you can't talk about work.
CARDOSI: You don't even know us. You just met us today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what -- you know what I'm saying? I mean, it's tough, and it's been tough, and then -- now all this burden for us is going now to -- we're going to be able to go home and have my wife ask me a question I can tell her. It's -- I don't know what to expect. I really don't know.
I don't know where I'm -- when am I going to finally melt down because we've managed not to be sick in six months, really sick, and I don't know how many people -- my work would be happy if I didn't come to work for six -- or didn't get sick in six months, and we've managed not even to do that.
And I know emotionally I've been through this, where you're high like, you know, a season, and, as soon as the season ends, the next day, you are sick. You just -- and I'm expecting that to come. I hope not, but I'm -- emotionally, yes, we've gone through it.
We've gone through hell ourselves, and I'm not -- not shorting anybody else because there's a lot of people in that courtroom that went through hell just like we did, both families.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Richelle...
NICE: And just one more comment on that. I think that all of us -- I mean, it was a difficult decision, and we took our time, and all of us -- I'm going to be OK with it because I -- it's a difficult decision, but I know I made the right decision, and I don't second- guess myself at all. So that makes it a little easier.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Richard Cole.
RICHARD COLE, THE REDWOOD CITY DAILY NEWS: Hi. Richard Cole from The Redwood City Daily News and all those other little daily newses up and down the peninsula. Just one question: Why do you believe that Scott Peterson killed Laci and Conner? All three of you.
CARDOSI: Why? I don't -- I can't speak to -- like are you looking for a motive? Is that...
COLE: Well, what do you think the motive was? Was it freedom? Was it divorce? Was it -- what was it?
CARDOSI: I have no idea why somebody would kill somebody. It's -- I can't even fathom why somebody would kill somebody.
I mean, I can give you a canned answer. Maybe he was mad. Maybe he wanted freedom. Maybe he wanted -- you know, he was too scared to ask for a divorce, didn't want to let his family down.
I have no idea. But, I mean, I -- anything that I would say would be pure speculation as to why he did it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it was -- personally, after getting through all of this, I think it was freedom, and I don't think divorce was an option. I -- prior to that, I -- the why -- I did not know the why.
I know that -- you know, I don't think that Amber Frey was the issue. I think that this had been planned before Amber Frey had even gotten in the picture. So I don't think it was because of lust. It wasn't, I don't think.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Up here?
LAURA INGLE, KFI REPORTER: Hello. I'm Laura Ingle, KFI News, Los Angeles. As we were waiting for your decision today, obviously -- and we've already talked about it -- you requested to see some of those items of evidence.
Can you tell us what was going on in the room, as far as was there a split, did you guys take a -- I mean, was there a hold-out? Obviously, there was. Can you speak to that and how you got through that and over the hump?
CARDOSI: It's just part of the deliberating process. I mean, you want to look at everything. You want to basically -- you want to finish or seal your thoughts.
For me, it was just firming up how I felt and then sharing that with everybody else. For somebody else, you know, it may or may not have -- it may have firmed up what they thought. Or, for somebody else, it might have, you know, made them realize they wanted to switch, or it's...
I think kind of what happens in there is everybody's own story to tell. For me, it was just firming up the way that I felt, and I expressed that with them. So how did you feel?
NICE: How dare you put me on the spot.
DEAN MURPHY, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I'm Dean Murphy from The New York Times. Kind of a follow to that, I'm going to put you on the spot because you are the foreman. Can you tell us when you got into the jury room for the first time last week and you took a poll of the people in the jury room, what was the vote?
CARDOSI: We didn't take a poll. MURPHY: You didn't take a poll.
MURPHY: When you took your first poll, when you all decided to first express how you stood on the issue, what was the breakdown in numbers. I don't need to know individual people.
CARDOSI: I don't believe we -- took a poll on Friday, I think...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
CARDOSI: And we had six people one way, four abstaining because they weren't ready, they didn't know, and then two people another way. So we had -- sorry -- six people for death, two people for life, and four people abstaining, and that was our first poll.
MURPHY: That was on Friday?
CARDOSI: And that was the end of the day on Friday before leaving.
MURPHY: And then could you just me the same thing on the -- in the guilt phase, the same breakdown?
CARDOSI: I don't -- I don't recall, actually.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't -- we didn't take a poll the whole time until the very end. We -- we processed, like he said, for over two days just trying to get some kind of idea of how we were going to do this. As he stated earlier, nobody gives you a paper and says this is how you do it.
So we had to lay down ground rules. Respect. One vote, one juror. Let one person speak. We limited people to two minutes because we had a bunch of people jump on soap boxes and take almost half an hour. We said, we can't do this. Twelve people, we'll be here forever listening to that. The fact that we weren't able to talk for those six months, or the months, everybody wanted to be heard, finally. When they could finally talk to 11 other people. That's what -- we respected that. We didn't take a poll. We didn't want to do that. We didn't want that to be the -- kind of dividing people and getting people stuck on where they were.
We said, let's go through all the facts. We owe this to both families. And that's what we did. We went and broke this whole thing down all over again. Granted, it's been six months. But we spent a lot of time in that deliberation room, making sure. And then when we got down to it, that was when we decided to take the poll -- the vote when everybody had no more questions. Because we all picked three questions, and we kept doing that. And every time, if that was three -- if those were answered adequately, then we moved on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was going to say, one more thing on this is the guilt phase is more complicated than this phase. You have more decisions to make. Instead of two verdict forms, you had six. And you had to decide on a verdict for Laci, for Conner, and then the initial verdict is guilty or not guilty.
So it was almost broken down for us into two phases. One is, did we think he's guilty? Once we decided if he was guilty, we went and almost started -- well, we started over a couple of times, actually. As we added new people, we tore everything off the walls and started over again. But we saved time to answer a question that was asked quite a while ago. We saved time when we started over, the seven hours. We didn't have to make a process. I mean, the process of respect, it was very basic. We already agreed. We explained it to the newcomer, basically. You know.
Does this seem like a fair process for you? And that's all it is. We rewrote it down on paper. We put that on the wall. That took probably ten minutes as opposed to all day the first day. But once you decide on guilt, you then have to go into premeditation or not. First or second degree. For Laci and for Conner. And so it kind of got broken into two phases.
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