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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Encore Presentation: Interview With Peterson Jurors
Aired December 18, 2004 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, members of Scott Peterson's jury takes you inside the trial that had America riveted, and we'll take your phone calls.
Steve Cardosi, the jury foremen a fire fighter.
Greg Beratlis, juror number 1, a you football and baseball coach.
Richelle Nice, juror number 7, mother of four.
And Michael Belmessieri, juror number 4, a former police officer, now a project manager.
How they reached their verdict. Why they recommended the death sentence and more. Members of Scott Peterson's jury. We'll take your calls, too, next on LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: Joining us as well is Ted Rowlands, our CNN journalist who covered this case from the get go. We thank all four jurors for being with us.
We start with Steve Cardosi, by the way, during this, Ted can throw out questions too.
Steve, how would you describe jury duty?
STEVE CARDOSI, SCOTT PETERSON JUROR: Well, Larry, it's a very difficult process. It's harder than I ever really imagined. It takes a lot of commitment and time and coming to the decisions we have in this capital case was not an easy task, I don't think, for any of us.
KING: Richelle, if you never had to do it again, would that bother you?
RICHELLE NICE, SCOTT PETERSON JUROR: No, no, Larry.
KING: This -- once is enough?
KING: How did you regard it, Greg? GREG BERATLIS, SCOTT PETERSON JUROR: For me, and everybody around me that knew me, the effect -- I can't describe it, Larry. It was tough. It was tough. It was one of the hardest tasks I've ever had to take in my life.
KING: And you would not look forward to any other -- you don't want to be a juror again, do you?
BERATLIS: If I don't have to. If I don't have to.
KING: Michael, did you look forward to this at all when you first got called to jury duty?
MICHAEL BELMESSIERI, SCOTT PATERSON JUROR: No, sir, I did not. As a matter of fact, I was confident that I wouldn't serve on this jury because of my previous background.
KING: Being a police officer?
BELMESSIERI, Yes, sir.
KING: So you were surprised when you were selected, right?
BELMESSIERI, Yes, I was, sir.
KING: OK, let's run it down.
Steve, how do you think -- what's most puzzling about this is how do you think this crime was committed? What happened?
CARDOSI: Can you be a little more specific?
KING: No. You were the jury, you should be specific. How did he do what you judged he did? What did he do?
CARDOSI: Well, at some point he decided he wanted to kill his wife. He killed his wife. He put her in a boat and dumped her body in the bay.
KING: Greg, does it bug you that you don't know where he did it, when he did it or how he did it?
BERATLIS: I would have to say, yes. That will gnaw at everything in this. But the fact where he was the last time he had seen Laci, and where the bodies washed up, I think that speaks for itself.
KING: So that's the key. Just the location. No location and it don't work, right?
BERATLIS: There's no bodies, it don't work. I spoke yesterday and I explained that if these bodies had been found any where else other than San Francisco Bay and, for that matter, right where Scott Peterson had describe head had been fishing on Christmas Eve, we wouldn't be having this conversation now.
KING: Therefore, Richelle, why -- and many have asked this today -- we understand all that.
Why the death penalty with just that one piece of information?
NICE: Well, Larry, I don't think it's just that one piece of information. There's a lot of information, a lot of pieces that we looked at and a lot of pictures, a lot of evidence. A lot of testimony. There's so much more that we all considered.
KING: As a former police officer, Michael, did it annoy you that you had no physical evidence at the scene?
You don't know where this crime was committed?
BELMESSIERI: Well, physical evidence probably would have made it a lot easier. And the puzzle would have went together a lot faster, but much like my fellow jurors have stated, it was a puzzle. And it was something we needed to put together.
KING: Steve, how do you think he accomplished this without witnesses?
CARDOSI : Well, more than likely, this was done in his home. And the only witness there that I'd be aware of were perhaps the dog or the cat, and it doesn't appear that they have any comments.
KING: Greg, was there any dispute among the jury at all during the guilt or innocence phase?
Was there anybody saying, I'm not sure or convince me.
BERATLIS: Throughout the whole deliberation, yes. Yes. As a matter of fact, I think we all played that out in our minds and out to each other. Because, like we stated as a group earlier and yesterday, there was no one damning piece of evidence. It was so many things you had to put together to come to this decision.
KING: Was a vote ever taken where the vote was 9-2 or 10-3?
BERATLIS: I think that we didn't take a vote until the very end. I think what happened was -- and if I remember right -- because I got to tell you, Larry, it's been overwhelming. I'm exhausted. I've only got two hours of sleep, that's my issue, but -- there were questions that were brought up in the deliberation constantly. And people had to answer -- have those questions answered. And if there was something that somebody wasn't clear on and they had asked, where was this or what was that, in the transcripts or in the evidence log or in the evidence that we had brought in or the pictures. We went through all of that, every piece of that. It wasn't, let's take vote 9-3, and now we'll start from there. No, we listened to everybody's concerns, and then after we went through all that, then is when we finally made that decision.
KING: Richelle, there was a lot of talk about Scott Peterson's attitude, the way he looked. The way he handled himself. Did that matter to you in court?
Did that pertain to whether he was guilty or innocent?
NICE: I think it played a part for me. Even in his overall attitude in some of the interviews that Scott did. And his attitude when first verdict came down, his attitude when the second verdict came down. Yes, his attitude played a big part in it, I think, for me.
KING: Michael, isn't it possible as a police officer, you've seen lots of suspects. Some suspects are nondescript. Some don't get emotional, right. Should attitude count?
BELMESSIERI: Well, attitude is pretty subjective.
BELMESSIERI: Behavior is kind of what I try to look at. And behavior of any individual, necessarily a suspect or whatever, does play a big part in how we size people up. But to me it plays a part, but a very small part. And the issue that was to be decided before us, the facts as presented in evidence were the most overwhelming of all the things that affected me. And again, those facts presented in evidence were very small pieces or large pieces of yet a bigger puzzle.
KING: We'll take a break. And when we come back, Ted Rowlands will have some questions. We'll also include your phone calls. You're watching Larry King live, don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We the people of the state of California vs. Scott Peterson. We the jury in above entitled caused, fix the penalty at death. Dated December 13th, 2004. Foreperson, number 6.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with our jurors. We thank all of them for being with us tonight. Ted Rowlands, our CNN correspondent, has a question as well. We'll also be including your phone calls -- Ted.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Larry. First off, sorry to all of you for staring at you for the last 5 1/2 months and taking notes on your every move. Steve, you seemed to hang around with Justin Falconner. It seemed like you all got along quite well. I'm sure that helped in the deliberative process. Justin Falconner when he left obviously had only seen just a bit of the case, which was, quite frankly, not very compelling. He came out and said, from what I've seen Scott Peterson is completely innocent. But one of the other things he said later was that during his discussions with some other jurors that he compared himself and you all compared yourself to the O.J. jury. Was that true, and was there a sense of responsibility to not do what the O.J. jury did?
CARDOSI: Well, the comparison to the O. J. jury, to my understanding, was just simply, we were staged in a hallway. We were there for a long period of time. We knew we were going to be there for a long period of time. For the majority of the period in which Justin was on the jury, we spent our breaks and our morning gatherings prior to going into the courtroom in the hallway of the third floor as opposed to a deliberating room or a conference room or anything that was designated to us. To my recollection, the comparison to the O.J. jury was, I wonder if the O.J. jury sat in a hallway, or did they actually have a room? And that was more of what it was about. We actually took it upon ourselves to clean up the clutter in the hallway and organize some chairs or request chairs then organize the chairs so we had somewhere to sit down. Because for a couple weeks we had nowhere to sit down. We just stood in the hallway. That was the comparison. It had nothing to do with how the verdict came out or anything of that nature.
KING: Greg, did you -- I'm sorry, I'll get right back to you, Ted. Greg, what happened to the other foreman, the doctor/lawyer foreman who left the jury? What happened?
BERATLIS: You know, Larry, I wish I could tell you exactly what happened. I know that he put in a request with the judge and that he -- the bailiff took him out of the room. He came back. I know that our future foreman was brought back into the judge's chambers and then we sat in there on pins and needles not knowing what happened. What was wrong? What was going on here? I don't remember if it was minutes later or if it was a half hour later the bailiff came in and said -- actually, they took the juror number five back out, I remember. And they came back in and said we're taking his books, but he won't be here.
KING: But was he saying things that led to this?
BERATLIS: He put in a request.
KING: Was he saying the guy's innocent? Was he disagreeing with you? Was he unhappy? You were all together in one setting. You had to know something about what happened to him?
BERATLIS: You know, I wish I could tell you. I just know that he requested off. And when I had heard that, the only thing I said was, you know, we've been through this for 5 1/2 months, almost 6 months now. And when he made the statement that he wanted out of there, I said I just can't believe that you would go this far, listen to all this testimony and now all of a sudden at this time, you want to be out of here and that was his choice. He -- that's what I got out of it. I was dumbfounded that he wanted out of there.
ROWLANDS: Larry, one of the things that came out in the transcript from Gregory Jackson, the original juror number 5, when he was being interviewed by the judge -- this was part of a filing that was filed in the appeals court. Is he said he didn't want to be part of a verdict where he wasn't sure if it was his verdict or the community's verdict or something else. That was his concern. I wonder is that surprising to this group that he thought that the way things were going was not proper to the point where he thought that he would be part of the community's verdict? And that's the phrase he used.
KING: In other words, Richelle, were you being influenced by community opinion?
NICE: No. Not at all, Larry. Not at all.
KING: You're absolutely certain of that?
NICE: I'm absolutely certain. 100 percent certain. Not at all.
KING: Michael, were you?
BELMESSIERI: Sir, I really don't care enough about the community's opinion to really matter in a case like this. I was concerned about whether a man was guilty based on what I saw. I really don't give a gnat's behind what anybody else feels. I'm the juror.
KING: Steve, when a case -- when all the evidence is circumstantial, does it bother you at all to give the death penalty when you know, for example, that over 150 people have been released from death row in the United States with DNA, people who were convicted to death and didn't do it? Was there any lingering doubt that maybe we're wrong?
CARDOSI: Well, as I said on my questionnaire in the beginning, in the voir dire, it really does for me, it depends on the circumstance. And the circumstances of this case led me to believe that the death penalty was appropriate for this case. It doesn't mean that it will be appropriate for another circumstantial case. As far as the death penalty, people being cleared with DNA evidence and everything else, to my understanding that is before DNA evidence was actually introduced into courts. And now that DNA evidence is available, it's a new thing to be used. But we were not allowed to consider any of that information in deliberations. We could not consider it. And therefore, it wasn't considered and wasn't part of the deliberative process.
KING: Greg, therefore you have no, what they call, lingering doubt? You'll sleep well?
BERATLIS: Larry, I don't think I'll ever sleep well. I don't think that's an option. I think after you go through something of this magnitude to sit there and say I sleep well? Larry, you know, we came to a judgment and a decision after six months and nobody -- and I've stated this before, nobody is the winner in this. Nobody. You know, you may think -- they may think that the Rocha family won and the Peterson family lost. They both lost. They all went through this for the last two years. There's no winner in this. There's no winner.
Am I going to sleep well? No. I don't see how. I don't see how. This -- I -- this was very hard, as I expressed earlier. This was the hardest decision I ever had to make in my life. And I had to go in there with an open mind the whole time and come out of there whole with myself and my decision. And I believe that everybody else here and everybody in that jury room -- excuse me in the arbitration, the jury, came up with the right decision in their mind. Because we had to be a whole. How could you come up with death if you had lingering doubt?
KING: We'll take a break and come back. Ted Rowlands will ask some more questions. We'll include your phone calls, too. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON GRANTSKI, LACI PETERSON'S STEPFATHER: Number one, we have to get within ourselves and each other. So we'll be happy to give more interviews after the first of the year. And besides that you all need to enjoy your families. And think about what you have. That's all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Ted Rowlands, before we go to some calls, do you have a question?
ROWLANDS: Yes. I'd like to know from anyone or everybody, one of the things that's bothered me throughout this is Peterson's Internet usage on the 24th at his house in the morning and then at his warehouse. If you believe that he killed his wife, he had to lug her, obviously, to the car, transport her. Physically, emotionally, you would think very taxing. And then he's on the Internet. Not only at his house, but then again he gets to the warehouse and starts to assemble this mortise or goes to a Web site as to how to do it.
How do you explain that?
Was this calculated by him, do you think or how did you guys reconcile that bit of evidence?
KING: Michael, do you want to start?
ROWLANDS: Mike, I guess.
KING: Michael. Michael.
BELMESSIERI: Yes. Well, you know, right now I'm trying to look back at that particular testimony when that was called up on the computer. And I don't recall right offhand what exactly that was.
KING: Does anybody remember?
BELMESSIERI: Was that the sports fishing?
BERATLIS: I believe he was looking for directions to a mortise. If I am correct, if I recall. Wasn't that?
BELMESSIERI: That was at -- that was at the warehouse, right. BERATLIS: Well, yes.
BERATLIS: But Larry -- well, one thing -- or Ted, the thing is this...
CARDOSI: Yes, who's testimony.
BERATLIS: Who stated that that's what they were doing? I know we have the evidence of the computer, but.
ROWLANDS: Right. Well, that's what I'm talking about. Some of it was on the Internet, we assume...
BERATLIS: Was the mortise put together that day? I don't...
BERATLIS: There were so many contradictory statements made by Scott Peterson and we listened to this on tape, we listened to this in the conversations with Amber Frey. His comments to his family, his in-laws, what credence to you put to that?
What says that that's when he went back there, he put together a mortise.
KING: That's one of the key things. Steve...
ROWLANDS: I'm not saying he put it together.
ROWLANDS: He didn't put it together, necessarily. Well, yes, he didn't necessarily put it together. But someone was on the Internet at his warehouse going to that Web page. And that was the -- that was one thing, that really stuck out in my mind. Just the emotional and physical condition one would be, one would think, if he had killed his wife in his house. Surfing the Internet wouldn't be on the list of things to do.
BERATLIS: Correct. And we played that one through our minds. We played that one out, too.
KING: Steve, how important was the mistress, Amber Frey, to his conviction?
CARDOSI: Well, I think for each one of us, it bears different weight. To the conviction itself, to me, I mean, it wasn't as significant for me to the conviction other than to alert me to the fact that Scott Peterson wasn't necessarily the most honest and truthful individual out there. For me, it weighed a little bit more heavily in the penalty phase where, you know, here's a man who just lost his pregnant wife and, you know, the baby, of course, Conner. And we had convicted him of murder and he had just done that and he's romancing his mistress on the night of her vigil. I mean, that's really hard for me to stomach. I mean, it's very cold. It seemed very, very calculated and very cold.
KING: Let's take a call. Abbottsford, British Columbia, hello.
CALLER: Yes. Good evening.
KING: Yes, speak up. Go ahead.
CALLER: Thank you for taking my call, Larry.
KING: Sure. Go ahead.
CALLER: Yes. I just have something that's been on my mind for quite a while since the beginning. And the fact that you would think that someone who had just committed this murder like this and went and dumped bodies and stuff, that the last place in the world you'd ever put yourself is anywhere near those bodies. And being, I'm sure he seems to be intelligent. I mean, being -- you know, did anybody consider this, because I mean, he was such a liar, yet he was supposedly told the truth about this. Could get some comment on this.
KING: Richelle, why do you think he did such a dumb thing?
NICE: I -- can you ask that again?
KING: Yes. In other words, why would a guy who commits a murder, go to the scene of the murder?
NICE: You mean when they were looking for her or...
KING: I mean, he took his boat there, right?
CARDOSI: Larry, are you referring to the Berkeley Marina?
CARDOSI: On the 24th. I think what she was asking is why would he tell the police he went to the Berkeley Marina when he knew he dumped his wife's body there?
NICE: Oh, I...
CARDOSI: If that's the question, I think all of us could answer that, we brought this up in deliberations.
CARDOSI: Because one of the maintenance men at the Berkeley Marina saw him back his boat into the dock, and they were laughing at him. So I think he was an intelligent guy. He knew that somebody saw him there. And he better admit to being there. And I don't think he ever thought his wife's body and the body of his baby would ever be found.
KING: Did you ever ask yourself, Greg, why did he do this? Why not divorce?
BERATLIS: Oh, oh, in my mind, yes. I asked that question. I asked that question...
KING: And what do you think his motive was?
BERATLIS: You know, Larry, I think if we all knew the motive, if there was this one thing that stuck out, we'd probably have the answer to the whole thing. One thing to me and listening through this whole case is -- I got the feeling that he lost in his mind, his soul mate. Because he'd made that statement. And I really believe in his heart and in his mind that Laci was dead to him.
When he told Shawn Sibley in October, you know, he was down at a convention in L.A., that -- or the Southern Cal. area, that he told her, I lost my soul mate. And that he was looking for somebody that he could be with in a really truthful relationship, something that, you know -- I remember Shawn Sibley asking him in the testimony. I want to make sure, because I don't want you to hurt my friend because she's been hurt before. I want somebody who is legit about this. And he assured her, yes, I'm looking for somebody else in my life because I've lost my soul mate. That happened in October.
KING: We'll take a break and come back with more. Ted Rowlands remains, our jurors remain on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID HARRIS, PROSECUTOR, STANISLAUS COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: I want to thank and recognize Laci and Conner's family. They have been through this incredibly long, hard journey with us. Without your support, without your encouragement, day in and day out, it wouldn't have been possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back. Let's meet our panel, all in Redwood City. Steve Cardosi. He's the Peterson jury foreman and the firefighter in the Half Moon Bay area of California. Greg Beratlis, Peterson juror number 1, a youth football and baseball coach from Belmont, California. Richelle Nice, Peterson juror number 7, mother of four, Palo Alto, California. Michael Belmessieri, Peterson juror number 4, project manager from south San Francisco, former police officer. And Ted Rowlands, CNN correspondent, who has been covering the Peterson case since the beginning and had one of the few on-camera interviews with Peterson. That interview, portions of which was played during the trial.
Rockford, Illinois. Hello.
CALLER: Hi. Did the jury feel that some of the most damning evidence against Scott Peterson was his own erratic behavior, such as dyeing his hair, growing a beard, preparing to leave the country?
KING: Yes, what did all those things mean, Steve, if anything?
CARDOSI: Well, just for myself, it spoke mostly towards like a consciousness of guilt. He dyed his hair -- well, the dyeing of his hair, to me, looked like he was trying to look perhaps like his brother. And for some reason to flee or to just be able to be a recluse and disappear for a while. But I would say that it definitely contributed. Erratic behavior was something that we considered. A lot of his behavior didn't appear to make sense.
KING: Richelle, did you have any sympathy for Scott Peterson?
NICE: You know, in the beginning, yes. I mean, I did. I went in there with an open mind like we all were supposed to do. So, yes, he was an innocent man in the beginning, Larry. And he's a human being.
KING: Michael, when you walked back into the jury room with the verdict of death, was it hard to look at him?
BELMESSIERI: No, Mr. King. I looked him straight in the eye. It wasn't hard to look at him at all.
KING: So you have contempt then for him?
BELMESSIERI: No, sir. I have no contempt for him. I pity him. I just looked at him because, you know, Mr. King, we had just gone through a very difficult time and a very, very lengthy trial. I'm going to sentence a man to death, the least I can do is look him square in the eye.
KING: Yes. Well said. Go ahead, Ted.
ROWLANDS: Greg or anybody, the boat. You had a couple of chances to look at the boat. I know a couple of you got in the boat. Would you have liked to have either gone to the San Francisco Bay and seen the boat in the bay or would you have liked to have seen a video demonstration? One was not done by the prosecution, but the defense tried to put one in, but the judge ruled against it. Would that have helped? Was the boat a problem for you that you had to discuss at length?
BERATLIS: Are you talking to me or Mike?
KING: Greg. Greg.
BERATLIS: Was the boat an issue?
ROWLANDS: Yes, the size of the boat. Throwing the body over into the bay.
BERATLIS: Well, I wasn't sure who you were talking to at first. You said my name and they were looking over at Mike. The boat was an issue to some of the jurors. They wanted to understand what was going on. They wanted to better understand what the expert witnesses were trying to say. But you know, we couldn't talk about that the whole time. We weren't able to -- that was at the early part of the trial. You know, that was in the early third of the trial, I believe. And we didn't get to even talk about our concerns till six months later. So I can't say that that would have helped other people. I think it would have. Personally, it would have been nice to see that as a possible evidence feature. But we didn't have that. Or we couldn't use that.
KING: You also, Greg, as I understand, you praised Geragos, didn't you, Greg?
BERATLIS: I have praised Mr. Geragos throughout this whole ordeal at the end here. Yes, I have. I believe that he handled us professionally. He handled us in a kind manner. I think he understood. I think almost to a fault. Because, you know, he had made some remarks hoping that he could lighten up the tension in there. I think he understood the stress that we were under, let alone the whole jury room. The courtroom, it was tense. And he tried to liven it up. And I don't believe it was a show of disrespect. I don't think he was trying to show a disrespect to the Rocha family. I don't want to read more into that, but I think he handled himself professionally. I believe his partner, Mr. Harris and his whole staff, I think they did as good a job as I would want them to do for me. That's why I praised them. Because if I were in that situation, I would want him.
KING: Port Richey, Florida. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, good evening, Larry. I just want to ask one of the jurors, what do they think about Mr. Geragos not being there for the reading of his verdict and his father?
KING: Richelle, what did you think of that?
NICE: I was a little thrown by that. I didn't understand why he wasn't there. And I didn't want to speculate. It wasn't for me to do. It would have been nice if he was there. His father, that I just -- I don't know. You know. And that was his own decision. Exactly. That was his own decision. And whatever he was doing at the time or wasn't doing is really not any of my business.
KING: Mesquite, Nevada. Hello.
CALLER: Hi. I have a question about it seems that the defense wanted to introduce some evidence that wasn't allowed in which was just talked about a second ago. Is there anything that you have heard since the trial has ended that has made you question whether or not to convict him or whether your death sentence was appropriate?
KING: Steve? CARDOSI: Well, keep in mind that most of us have been awake since the morning of the verdict. And we haven't been left alone. So we've heard a lot of things. But we haven't had time to hear all of these things. I was informed that there were numerous things that we were not aware of. But, you know, part of the judicial process in putting faith in that is that you do as you're told. And you consider what you can consider. And there's a reason that we're probably not aware of that those things weren't allowed in. So you just -- you have to have a little bit of faith in the system. And I do.
KING: And you can absolutely say, Steve, that while you knew public opinion was very much in favor of your decision, that played no part in it?
CARDOSI: The public opinion played no part in my decision, my individual decision in this case, any of them. I honestly -- I didn't know -- I was tuned out. I had no idea really what the public opinion would be. The only thing I could do is, like you said before when you asked did we speculate and did we come up with a decision based on kind of what happened with the O.J. jury. But that never even entered my mind until I've been asked these things a couple of times now in interviews. So.
KING: All right. We'll take a break. And when we come back, we'll be joined by Michael Cardoza and Chuck Smith. Our jurors will remain for another segment. Michael will remain through the rest. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
KING: And now, before the bulk of the jury leaves us, we are joined by Michael Cardoza, the local defense attorney, former Alameda County prosecutor. He was here with us last night. He's with us in San Francisco. And in Redwood City is Chuck Smith, the former San Mateo County prosecutor, including six years homicide prosecutor.
Michael Cardoza, do you have a question for the jurors?
MICHAEL CARDOZA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I do. When you brought that guilty verdict back, I would imagine you were looking at Scott Peterson to see if he had any reaction to your guilty verdict. I saw no reaction from Scott. Did you see the same thing, and if you did, did that affect you in the penalty portion of this case?
KING: Greg, you want to start?
BERATLIS: I looked right at Scott Peterson when I gave my decision, and you're correct in what you saw, I believe. I saw the same thing. I did not see a reaction. I looked right at him. It wasn't a matter of defiance. It was a matter of respect. And there was no reaction.
Did that play in me in the guilt -- or I mean, in the penalty phase?
KING: Did that affect it? BERATLIS: No, we had to start all over with the aggravating and the mitigating. That, you know, how he handled it, I can't speak for him. I don't know why, and like I say, I would be speculating and that wouldn't be fair. Because we heard throughout this whole trial how stoic this man was. And he never wore his emotions outwardly. You know, he kept everything inside. So to read something into it, I disagree. He did not show no emotions.
KING: All the witnesses who spoke for him, Richelle, during the penalty phase, didn't they make any impression on you?
NICE: I felt for them. My heart went out for them. But that was his family and his friends. I wouldn't have expected them to do anything other than what they did. And it was tough for them.
KING: Chuck Smith, do you have a question?
CHUCK SMITH, FORMER SAN MATEO COUNTY PROSECUTOR: Sure, I did. And let me say first, folks, that as a fellow San Mateo County resident, you have all reflected very well upon our county.
On the decision to impose the death penalty, how powerful and how emotional was the testimony of Sharon Rocha? It seemed like you were all crying when you listened to her. And likewise, did it bother you in the Peterson testimony, learning about what a privileged upbringing he had, the golf, the trips, and he had everything and he threw it away.
CARDOSI: I think the Sharon Rocha testimony was probably the most -- not even probably -- for me definitely the most moving testimony of the penalty phase. She said things in there that I will never forget, such as Laci, you know, doesn't have arms to hold her baby. Laci got motion sickness, and Scott placed her in basically a watery grave. She's going to be seasick for eternity. Just thing like that, you're never going to forget those things. And I will never forget those things. And my heart goes out to her.
The privileged upbringing, the only thing I can say about that is, I really didn't understand why golf was constantly being brought up. I think they could have brought up some things that probably carried a little more weight other than golf.
KING: Richelle, the fact that the dead party's family wanted revenge, or did it appear to you that it was revenge they wanted?
NICE: No. I mean, I don't think in the later part of the trial, when they got up, I didn't -- I think some of us even tossed that around and may have struggled with that. You know, we didn't -- we heard -- of course, we heard hurt, we heard anger, but we never -- I didn't hear revenge. I just heard they wanted justice. That's what I heard. It wasn't about revenge.
KING: I want to thank -- I want to thank Richelle Nice and Greg Beratlis and Steve Cardosi for being with us. Michael Belmessieri will remain. Ted Rowlands will remain, so will Michael Cardoza and Chuck Smith. We thank all of our jurors, and we'll be back with our remaining segment after this. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON GRANTSKI, LACI'S STEPFATHER: I instantly thought of December 24th, that night in the park when a helicopter was flying over looking for Laci. What a nightmare. It hasn't changed. It's still a nightmare. It should never have happened. It hurts too many people for no reason. But justice was served.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back. What you see in the background there is the jail which houses Scott Peterson, will through the end of February when the judge will then either leave the sentence at death or reduce it to life in prison.
Michael Belmessieri, do you think that judge might change that decision?
BELMESSIERI: Well, Mr. King, the judge is the judge. And I'm sure if he does, there will be good reasoning for it. But we'll see what we'll see. I have no idea.
KING: Michael Cardoza, what would influence him to reduce it?
CARDOZA: I can't imagine. If there's some sort of new evidence that would come in, Larry, that may do it. If it were a case where the judge really didn't think the death penalty should be imposed, that the jury went beyond the bounds of the instructions, then he'd do it. It's not going to happen in this case. Judge Delucchi has done what, 22, 23 death penalty cases. He's never done it before. There's enough in this case by evidence to let this verdict stand and the death verdict stand. He's not going to do it.
CARDOZA: But I do have a question for Michael when you get a chance.
KING: Yeah, sure, but Chuck, and then Michael, come back to you. Chuck?
SMITH: Sure. If I can ask Michael, our juror, a question. Michael, let me follow up on a question that Larry King asked you earlier. And just let me preface it by saying, a prosecutor doesn't have to prove exactly how the murder was committed, exactly where, exactly when. But I got to believe that you folks talked about that. Did it happen on the evening of the 23rd, the morning of the 24th? Was she smothered, was she strangled, why wasn't there any blood? What did you folks talk about along those lines, Mike?
BELMESSIERI: Well, there was some speculation, but we tried to stay to the facts, because the facts are what we needed to weigh. Sure, you know, you take into consideration what she was wearing the night before. One may conclude that perhaps she met her demise the evening when they came home after speaking with Sharon Rocha.
But then again, you know, that would only be speculation. The bottom line is we know she met her demise. We know she was murdered.
KING: Ted Rowlands may have another question. Michael Cardoza said he had a question -- Michael.
CARDOZA: I do. Michael, during this trial as I sat in there, there were times -- and I had the luxury of getting up and walking out, taking breaks even while the evidence was going on. But I found myself getting really frustrated with some of the evidence. It took so long to put in. Even Judge Delucchi would take over questioning at times. Did you guys get to that point? And then my next question would be, are you guys going to have a reunion? Do you have any plans to get back together as a jury in a year or so?
BELMESSIERI: Mr. Cardoza, I don't know that I quite understand your first question.
CARDOZA: Did you ever get frustrated during the trial with the evidence going in so slowly?
KING: About every day?
BELMESSIERI: Well put, Mr. King. Yes, at times it was very frustrating. At times, it just didn't seem to move along very quickly. At times just didn't seem to make very much sense.
You know, when we sat down again and we put the puzzle back together, yeah, you know, we connected the dots.
Regarding the reunion, let me tell you this: That long ago I grabbed hold of certain core values, and that was honor, courage and commitment. And I will tell you this, that is my privilege to have worked with these people on this case, as displeasurable, if you will, that it was. But those particular virtues were certainly displayed by all. And I will tell you that -- would I want a reunion with these people? These people are absolutely just very nice people. I mean, they're very understanding. Things got very heated in the heat of deliberation, but nobody ever lost respect for one another. I just didn't see that happen.
KING: That's good to hear.
I'll tell you what we'll do. We'll arrange it. We'll bring all 12 of you and the alternates to Los Angeles. We'll have a weekend, we'll go on this show, we'll reminisce.
I got to ask Ted Rowlands, the public has gotten to know you so well. What are you going to do now? Are you coming to L.A.? What's your assignment?
ROWLANDS: Yes. I'm working out of the Los Angeles CNN bureau. And Monday morning, I'll be at opening statements for the Robert Blake trial and whatever else comes up.
KING: So we'll be seeing you at the Blake trial.
Cardoza, what's next for you?
CARDOZA: I'll tell you, I have to do that nasty thing called earning a living. It is back to work defending people and doing my civil cases. A lot of jury trials backed up. So I'll be in jury trial, I think, from now until forget about it, I'll tell you.
SMITH: Well, Larry, my dream is to be the trial lawyer in one of these cases. So rather than being the analyst talking about it, I'm one of the trial lawyers that you're reporting upon.
KING: And, Michael, what are you going to do now? Back to project managing?
BELMESSIERI: Well, Mr. King, I have some vacation. And I'm going to use that vacation for the rest of the year to try to sort things out. I'm also going to see my son graduate from Marine Corps boot camp, sir.
KING: Oh, congratulations.
BELMESSIERI: Thank you, sir.
KING: Another Marine. Thank you all very much. Thank our jurors earlier. Semper fi. Thank you, Michael Belmessieri. Ted Rowlands, we'll be seeing him in L.A. on Monday. Michael Cardoza, Chuck Smith and our other jurors as well.
This ordeal, that's the only way to term it, is finally just about over. I'll be back in a minute to tell you about tomorrow. Don't go away.
KING: A man and woman have authored the hottest book in the country. The book is called "He's Just Not That Into You." They're our guests tomorrow night.
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