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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview With Sharon Rocha
Aired December 16, 2006 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, Laci Peterson's mother, Sharon Rocha.
Four years ago this Christmas Eve, her pregnant daughter vanished. Her son-in-law, Scott Peterson, now sits on death row for Laci's murder.
Does she think he'll ever confess?
And what if he did?
Plus, her relationship with Scott's parents and a lot more. An intense emotional hour with Laci Peterson's mom, Sharon Rocha, is next on LARRY KING LIVE.
It's a great pleasure to welcome a return visit for Sharon Rocha to LARRY KING LIVE.
She is Laci Peterson's mother, the late Laci Peterson.
Her number one "New York Times" best-selling memoir, "For Laci: A Mother's Story of Love, Loss and Justice," is now out in trade paperback.
You all know the story. Four years ago this month, on December 24th, 2002, her pregnant daughter Laci disappeared and was later found dead. Laci's husband convicted and now serving a death sentence at San Quentin. No death sentence date set.
Were you surprised at how well the book did?
SHARON ROCHA, LACI PETERSON'S MOM: Yes, I was, to an extent. I was very pleased about it. I had a lot of -- a lot of comments about it from different people all over.
KING: And I'm sure the paperback will do even better, because it costs less.
ROCHA: I'm sure it does.
KING: There are a lot of things to talk about.
What was your reaction to the recent controversy over the O.J. Simpson interview and book?
ROCHA: Well, I felt probably the same way as most of the country did. I just thought it was wrong. Everything about it was wrong. It was in poor taste. It was very offensive. Having my daughter, the fact that my daughter was murdered and then listening to somebody say if I did it, this is the way I would have done it, I think it was just pretty disgusting myself.
KING: So you agreed with the outcry?
ROCHA: I did. Yes, I did.
KING: What if Peterson were to write such a book?
ROCHA: I'd feel the same way.
KING: Even though the other side would say it would give you a chance to know what happened.
ROCHA: I don't believe it would. I don't think a person is actually going to write a book and admit and give every detail of what they actually did. I just can't imagine that happening.
KING: When it was canceled, there's still a degree of public fascination, though. People said how would the book have done, how would the -- what do you think it is that we are so...
ROCHA: Maybe morbid curiosity, I don't know. I really don't know the answer to that. I know I had no desire at all.
KING: Why do you think there was such fascination with your daughter's case?
ROCHA: I think a lot of that was -- I think many people felt, as I've said before, that Laci could have been a member of their family. It was something that could have happened in their own family. It could have been their daughter, their sister. And I think maybe just the fact that everything appeared on the surface to be so perfect.
KING: And do you think it was also that it was around Christmas...
ROCHA: Yes, it was.
KING: And that smile and the way she looked, that incredible face? Do you think that all added to it?
ROCHA: Possibly. And maybe that's why so many people could relate to it.
KING: Do you think Scott would ever confess?
ROCHA: No, I really don't feel that he ever will.
KING: So, in other words even if he were to face the ultimate penalty, he'd go saying he was innocent?
ROCHA: I believe so.
KING: Because that's the kind of personality? ROCHA: Yes, from what I've seen and know of him. Yes.
KING: If he did, though, wouldn't it give you closure, as they say?
ROCHA: Well, number one, the word closure I absolutely hate because I don't feel it's an emotion at all. And, number two, I don't think I could believe what he would say. Listening to so many of the lies that he told during the trial, listening to so many of those tapes and completely unaware of the stories that he was capable of telling, I just don't think that I could believe what he might say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMBER FREY: All I know, Scott, is that you told me that this will be the first holidays without my wife. But then you tell me yesterday that you...
SCOTT PETERSON: I lied.
FREY: ... that you lied to me because you weren't going to be able to be with me during the holidays because you were going to have to be with her.
How does that make sense, Scott?
Explain that one to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: How would you -- is there any way to explain him, the ability to stand in Modesto and say I'm at the Eiffel Tower? Where does that come from?
ROCHA: You know, I don't have any idea.
KING: Is that sociopath?
ROCHA: I don't have any idea. I can tell you how I felt about listening to that.
ROCHA: It was -- it was shocking to me. And to hear the tone of voice, you know, and the attitude while he was saying all these words and while every one of us were right there in the park waiting to start the vigil for Laci because she was missing. And he was there, also. It was just shocking to hear that.
KING: And that's when you were still believing him, right?
ROCHA: Oh, you know, I was having, like I said...
KING: Doubts? ROCHA: ... little twinges, you might say, you know, different things that were just not quite right. But at that point, yes, of course, I still wanted to believe him.
KING: You write in your memoir that you think Laci fell in love with Scott at first sight.
ROCHA: She told me that.
What was it about him, do you think?
He obviously was a charmer.
KING: I mean, forget (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...
ROCHA: And I think that was probably the biggest part of it. I'll back up. She didn't say she fell in love with him at first sight, but what she did tell me was that she's met the man that she's going to marry.
So she was absolutely bowled over by him.
KING: During the happier days, the marriage, the subsequent pregnancy and the like, what was he like?
ROCHA: He was just, you know, like anybody else would be. Perfectly normal. I didn't notice that there was any issues or any problems. You know, when you look back at things, you can kind of put a few things together. But on a normal, everyday basis, nothing unusual.
KING: So when you look back, you can't say now that was a sign?
ROCHA: Well, I can on...
KING: You can?
ROCHA: ... on a few, just, you know, very minute things. At the time when it happened, it was anything significant. But looking back and I think well, maybe that did mean something.
KING: Was he a good son-in-law, then?
ROCHA: I loved Scott. I used to tease him and tell him that he was my favorite son-in-law all of the time. Of course, he was my only son-in-law, and that was the joke.
KING: Do you ever talk to his parents?
ROCHA: No, I haven't spoken to them at all.
KING: You were close at one time? ROCHA: When all of this was happening -- they lived in San Diego, we lived in Modesto. So prior to this, you know, you might say we were friends because we knew each other by, like, for example, Mother's Day we were at Laci's house and so were they.
So it wasn't as though we were great friends, is what I'm trying to say. We didn't know them well, they didn't know us well. But, no, I haven't talked to them. I haven't seen them or heard anything about them since the sentencing.
KING: What's life like for you? I mean is it...
ROCHA: You know...
KING: Are you, might you say, back to normal?
ROCHA: No. It's kind of funny. Just -- it was just a few months ago that I had this realization. It's like life slowly comes back to you. But I was getting ready to go into the office one day and I realized well, first I have to go to my attorney's office and then I have to stop at the police department and then I have to make another stop.
And all of a sudden it was just like this eye opener. I realized that almost everything I do, almost every single day, is related to what has happened to Laci. I mean I would never be going to the police station. I would never be going to my lawyer's office. You know, I wouldn't be doing these things. I wouldn't be here today if it hadn't been for this.
KING: What are you going to the police station for?
ROCHA: I think I was picking up some paperwork or taking some paperwork to them.
KING: We'll be right back with Sharon Rocha.
Her book -- it was a number one "New York Times" best-seller in hardcover -- is "For Laci: A Mother's Story of Love, Loss and Justice."
We'll be right back.
KING: We're back with Sharon Rocha. The book is out in trade paperback and certain to be a best-seller again.
If Scott, out of the blue, were to confess, ask for forgiveness, is that possible in you?
ROCHA: I don't know. You know, right now I know I'm not ready for that. Maybe someday I will be. It's just hard -- that's a hard question to answer.
KING: Do you think about him in prison?
ROCHA: Not much at all. It's more so he just doesn't exist anymore, which is sad, too.
KING: All right, do you ever think why?
ROCHA: All of the time. A lot of the time.
KING: And what conclusion do you come to? Why do you think he did this?
ROCHA: I don't have an answer for it. I -- you know, I can only guess about it.
KING: Do you think it was just another woman that...
ROCHA: No, I don't.
KING: ... you get divorced.
ROCHA: Right, exactly, which is something I said to him, that divorce is always an option. I don't know, I've said this before, that I feel that maybe this is just something that has always been there and no one was aware of it and when he was backed into his corner, this was the result.
KING: How's Laci's siblings doing?
ROCHA: They're doing fine.
KING: Let's see, Brent is how old now?
ROCHA: Brent is 35.
KING: And Amy?
ROCHA: Amy is 25.
KING: And they're -- they've gone on with life? Well or not well?
ROCHA: Well, everybody is trying. I mean we all, you know, have our difficult times and difficult days. And we miss Laci. You know, every occasion that we're together, she's always there with us. But one thing that I do think about at times is I think about my grandchildren. Someday they're going to realize what has happened here. And when I think about that, then I also think about the Peterson children, what they've had to go through. And it's -- it's really far reaching when this happens.
ROCHA: People don't think about those things.
KING: So much pain in so many quarters.
ROCHA: That's right.
KING: The Peterson parents, also...
KING: ... have to be destroyed.
ROCHA: Exactly. Everybody. Everybody.
KING: And they, as you know, won't accept that their son did it.
KING: And that's hard to...
ROCHA: And as a parent...
KING: ... accept.
ROCHA: Yes, as a parent, that's very difficult.
KING: The Lacipeterson.com Web site is still up on the Internet.
ROCHA: You know, we've just had people -- at one time we actually shut it down for entries to the guest book. And we had had a lot of requests to open it again. So that's why.
KING: Do you hear from other parents, like Natalie Holloway?
ROCHA: I do quite often. Actually, I have spoken to her to (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...
KING: You have?
ROCHA: Yes, I have, not (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...
KING: They'll never find that body, I guess.
ROCHA: It doesn't...
KING: It don't look...
ROCHA: It doesn't appear to be that way (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
KING: Do they seek advice, consultation, what?
ROCHA: You know, I think a lot of times it's just kind of a confirmation that possibly what they're feeling and going through is something that somebody else has gone through. And I think it's -- I know in my situation, when I speak to other people that have been through this, it's helpful. Not that it makes you feel any better, but it's as though somebody has walked that road before you.
KING: All the details of the death, there are so many questions.
Do you want those answered? What happened, how it happened?
ROCHA: You know, that is something I've thought about many times. And, of course, I do wonder what did happen. And sometimes I think I want to know what happened. Other times I'm afraid to know what happened. I think the one thing that I want to know more than anything is that she didn't know what was happening.
KING: And there was no pain.
KING: That's -- that's...
ROCHA: That she was completely unaware of everything.
KING: That's the worst of all things.
The impact of the book. It must have touched a lot of people.
ROCHA: You know, I think I did. I've heard from a lot of people, a lot of response on that. And I think most surprisingly was the people that I had heard from, there were a couple of people that had written a letter -- written letters to me that said that this helped them understand what their mother had been going through when they had lost a sibling. They felt that it was their fault or that their mother no longer cared about them. But by -- after reading the book, it helped them understand what was really going on.
KING: Why did you write it, Sharon?
ROCHA: It was -- well, there was, you know, there were so many different stories out there. I felt that -- well, one part was to -- so that the truth was known and -- because there were a lot of misconceptions about things or rumors, what have you. And another thing was we had, here again on the Web site, if you read any of these entries, so many people wanted to know about Laci, what she was like, who she was.
And I felt that I wanted to do that. And I also -- the main reason, when I finally decided to do it, was I knew I wanted to start something in her memory.
And that's what we used, the money from that, for the Laci and Connor Search and Rescue Fund, which has been a great success. We've already issued more than $70,000 in grants for search and rescue...
ROCHA: ... different search and rescue organizations and law enforcement organizations.
KING: That's a great idea. ROCHA: Oh. I thought -- what made me think about it was watching all the people who kept going back to the bay searching, you know, because that's...
KING: Did Laci give you any indication of an unhappy marriage?
ROCHA: No. No. Nothing out of the norm. You know, we all have our...
KING: The little complaints, yes.
But not like oh, mom, I can't stand him?
ROCHA: No, not at all. Not at all.
KING: Has it changed you?
Well, it has to have changed you.
KING: It changed you how?
Do you laugh less?
ROCHA: Yes, I do. I think I'm just now starting -- it's been almost four years and I feel a little more relaxed than I have in the past. I don't know if that's the right word to use. But it's definitely changed me. I'm -- at times I feel I'm more skeptical about people. I feel like I'm always looking over my shoulder. I don't know -- you know, it's just, it's really hard to describe how this affects you.
KING: There's also a scholarship fund, right?
ROCHA: Yes, we have a scholarship fund at the Downey High School in Modesto that has been started in her memory, also.
KING: All of it worthy.
We'll be right back with Sharon Rocha.
Her book is out in paperback, "For Laci."
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: His name is forever joined with that of his mom in this statute, which is also known as Laci and Conner's Law.
All who knew Laci Peterson have mourned two deaths and the law cannot look away and pretend there was just one. (END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Sharon Rocha.
The paperback is out.
In April of 2004, President Bush signed The Unborn Victims of Violence Law, known as the Laci and Conner's Law.
Passing the law seemed very important to you.
It was after the fact.
ROCHA: It was important to me because -- the state of California already has this law, which basically is that if a woman is killed or a baby is killed in the process of a crime that it is a double homicide or they can be held responsible for the homicide of the baby, also.
Many states do not have it. And this bill itself was a federal bill. So that if this happened on any federal property, they could -- it could be tried as a double homicide.
KING: The loss of a child is the most tragic thing that could happen in someone's life, right? Even if it's a car accident...
ROCHA: It's the most tragic thing that's ever happened to me.
KING: It's the most tragic accident.
Some people say that when they have tragedy, they find the strength they didn't know they had.
ROCHA: Yes, I did. I have. I feel -- but, you know, it's -- part of what I've experienced is that I feel that that is the absolute worst thing that has ever, ever happened to me so nothing can be as bad as that.
KING: That's right. There ain't nothing going to happen...
ROCHA: That's right, that can be any worse than that. So -- or as bad.
KING: Has faith played a part?
ROCHA: Not a big part. I mean I've always been a believer but...
KING: Did it question the belief or something like this?
ROCHA: No, I haven't.
KING: But faith didn't play a big part? You don't lean on it?
ROCHA: No. No, I don't.
KING: What about that experience about that psychic contacting you?
ROCHA: Actually, the psychic did not contact me.
KING: You write in the book that...
ROCHA: It was -- someone had written into the Web site, that's what it was. And the Web master at that time, Jonathan, contacted me. He forwarded it on to me and said, you know, you might want to check into this.
And so I followed that link. And apparently she was reporting it on another Web site. And that's where I read all the information that she had written.
KING: What do you make of it?
ROCHA: Well, I was pretty surprised about all of this.
ROCHA: I was. I was. And that happened at a time in the middle of March -- I've said this before -- well, here's a little irony. The day I went there was March 16th in 2003, and on March 16th in 2005 was the sentencing of Scott, so. But I felt I had -- I had to go there, from what she had written. I just, you know...
KING: You testified at the sentencing hearing, didn't you?
ROCHA: Yes, I did.
KING: Was it hard to look at him?
ROCHA: No, it wasn't. As far as I was concerned -- well, this was the only opportunity I've had to speak to Scott.
KING: He was sitting there and you're...
ROCHA: That's right. And as far as I was concerned, there wasn't anybody else in that room. It was just him and I, and I said what I wanted to say to him. I wanted him to know what he has done to all of us.
KING: What was his reaction?
ROCHA: There was very little reaction. The only thing I actually recall is at one point he was shaking his head no, when I had said something to the effect that he had chosen to murder Laci. And he shook his head no. And I just recall saying yes, you did.
And that's pretty much the only reaction that I recall.
KING: There is the possibility that you will be gone before his sentence is carried out, you realize...
KING: ... with the appeals and the like.
Do you -- are you thinking a lot about it being carried out? Do you car about his dying?
ROCHA: You know, I don't dwell on it. I don't give a lot of thought or a lot of time to it. I always think about Laci. But I don't -- I don't give a lot of thought to that.
KING: You -- would you attend the...
ROCHA: No. No, I have no desire to do that.
KING: Would you rather it be sooner?
Let's say that they said listen, drop the appeals, it'll be next week.
Would that please you?
ROCHA: Well, it wouldn't break my heart.
KING: You think he's a sociopath?
ROCHA: You know, from...
KING: Someone who doesn't they've done wrong?
ROCHA: ... from things that I've read about a sociopath, I would think so. I mean I don't know, I'm not a doctor, but my own observance. And like I said, things that I've read about a sociopath, a description.
KING: Do you ever say to yourself, I should have done something? I should have spotted this? I should have talked to Laci more?
ROCHA: You know...
KING: Should have, would have, could have?
ROCHA: You know, I probably have, you know, a time or two. But when I look back at everything realistically, there wasn't any reason for that. You know, I was given no signs that there should be a reason that I should have intervened. I mean I wish I had known.
The bottom line, I wish I had known what a liar he is.
KING: The prosecution got off to a shaky start. Did you ever worry that they were going to lose that case?
Remember, it was shaky for a while.
ROCHA: You know, I never really -- I was never really concerned that there would be an acquittal.
ROCHA: No. I don't know why. My biggest fear was there might be a hung jury on this trial and I'd have to do this all over again.
KING: We'll be right back with Sharon Rocha.
The book is out in paperback.
We'll meet her husband in a little while, too.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An eight month woman crying fine about another woman?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't know all the facts.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, she was OK with it, but you continued to lie to me and couldn't be with me the holidays. But she was OK? She was fine with knowing about me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unbelievable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: By the way, Sharon Rocha, in addition to writing and working, campaigns vigorously for victims' rights.
Do you feel they're often curtailed?
ROCHA: Well, it hasn't been easy. There's definitely a lot of hoops to jump through.
KING: Have you ever talked to Amber Frey?
ROCHA: I talked to her in 2003 before Scott was ever arrested. And I did speak to her one day at the trial.
KING: When you talked to her before he was arrested that was about the affair?
ROCHA: Pretty much so, yes. KING: When did you know-know? Was there a moment? I remember you telling -- I know your husband told me, when you said, oh, my God, he did it?
ROCHA: Well, actually, you know, it was really difficult because I was going back and forth for weeks saying, could he have done it, no, there was no way he could have done it.
KING: And he was talking to you then, right?
ROCHA: Yes, but we were -- I was having a really difficult time pinning him down. You know, any time we had scheduled something, basically we would be alone together, there was always a reason that he couldn't make that meeting.
But as far as your question, the final confirmation, of course, was on January 15th when we met with the detectives. They didn't tell us that Scott did this, but the information they did give us was, you know, the only confirmation I needed.
I think probably the moment was when they told me that on December 9th, Scott bought a boat. And it was also on December 9th that he told Amber this would be the first Christmas without his wife.
And I remember hearing those words and that's when I literally got sick to my stomach because that confirmed all my feelings.
KING: Were you also shocked?
ROCHA: Yes. I guess.
KING: All right.
When was the first drop of suspicion?
ROCHA: Actually, you know, here again, when I look back at things, it was on Christmas Eve night after Ron and I got home. And we were talking and Ron had made the comment to me...
KING: She was missing now, right?
ROCHA: Yes, this was after -- yes, we had been to the park, we had been to the house. I stayed at the house. We didn't go into the house. We were -- we had to stay outside.
But when Ron had told me that Scott had bought a boat -- no, he didn't say he bought a boat -- that the detective had told him that Scott had launched the boat and I asked Ron, what boat? And he said, I don't know. I guess it's Scott's boat. I said Scott doesn't have a boat.
And I remember, you know, the thoughts going through my head. And I turned to Ron and I said -- I said, I don't think Scott had anything to do with Laci's disappearance. But I know he's lying about where he was today. I just -- I just knew that.
KING: How did you know?
ROCHA: I -- I don't know. Just that gut feeling. It was the boat thing, you know, when Ron was saying the boat thing, I said, Scott doesn't have a boat.
And that just kind of sent me in a different direction.
KING: Do you ever go by the area where Laci was found?
ROCHA: I have. Not often, but I have.
KING: What's that like for you? You go deliberately?
ROCHA: Yes, yes. It's -- it's difficult.
KING: Is there a burial site?
ROCHA: Yes. We -- she has been buried.
KING: There were remains, right?
ROCHA: Yes. Yes.
KING: Now, we know the jurors are writing a book...
KING: ... and it could be out pretty soon.
Have you talked to any of the jurors?
ROCHA: No, I haven't. I haven't.
As a matter of fact, I just read an article in the paper that I believe -- I could be mistaken, but I think it said the book was coming out in January.
KING: Yes, it's right around the corner.
I'm told -- I haven't seen it -- that it's pretty critical of Mr. Geragos, the jurors' book.
ROCHA: I don't know.
KING: Were you critical of Mr. Geragos?
KING: Did he bug you?
ROCHA: Yes. Quite honestly, yes, he did.
KING: Yes, but didn't you say he's got a job to do and that's what he's doing?
ROCHA: Well, no, I realize that. But it didn't make me like his job, you know, that he was doing -- I mean this is my first experience being in a courtroom and going through anything like this. And you do learn a lot about our system. But there are -- there are just things that -- things that were said that I thought were unnecessary.
KING: Did you expect Scott to take the stand?
ROCHA: No, I didn't. Actually, no, I never thought about -- that he would take the stand.
KING: The book "Why the Jury Is Called We: The Jury Deciding Scott Peterson's Fate", seven Peterson jurors collaborated with "People Magazine's" Frank Swertlow on writing the book. And I believe we're going to have those jurors on.
The interesting thing is this never goes away.
ROCHA: No, it doesn't.
KING: Never goes away.
ROCHA: You know, it's affected so many people in so many different ways. As a matter of fact, the district attorney, Birgit Fladager, there attempting to do some kind of legislation on possibly having help for jurors who are involved in cases like this.
KING: We'll be right back with Sharon Rocha.
And then in a little while we'll be joined by her husband, Ron.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The state of California versus Scott Peterson. We, the jury in the above entitled clause, find the defendant Scott Lee Peterson guilty of the crime of murder of Laci Denise Peterson. In violation of Penal Code Section 187-A, of the count one of the information filed herein, dated November 12, year 2004, foreperson (ph) number six.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Sharon Rocha. We're discussing prosecutors and in fact Birgit Fladager.
ROCHA: Birgit Fladager. It's not an easy name to pronounce.
KING: One of the key Peterson prosecutors thinks there should be laws providing for counseling of jurors after high-stress, harrowing cases. What do you think?
ROCHA: I think it's a good idea and possibly not necessarily just for jurors, but I think a lot of people involved. The detectives, the prosecutors, people who have to live with this every day. I mean, they did this 24/7 for almost an entire year away from home, let alone the previous year.
KING: Yes. The tension itself of a life being at stake.
KING: A life has already been taken. Then another life is at stake.
ROCHA: And then what the jurors experience, the things that they listen to, the pictures they may have to see, the things they learn.
KING: Did you ever look at the pictures?
KING: Ever served on a jury?
ROCHA: I have.
KING: You have?
ROCHA: Yes, I have.
KING: What kind of case?
ROCHA: It was a person who worked for the post office who was accused of embezzling, federal case.
KING: Guilty or not guilty?
ROCHA: We voted not guilty.
KING: Not guilty?
ROCHA: Only because we felt ...
KING: They didn't prove it?
ROCHA: ... They didn't prove .
KING: So you're wise enough to have known that you can be on a jury and know that proof is beyond a reasonable doubt and the burden of proof is at the prosecution's side.
ROCHA: Right, right.
KING: When the jury came in Scott's case, how long were they out?
ROCHA: Which time are we talking about? For the guilty verdict?
ROCHA: Let's see. They came in on, it was November 12th. I believe they were out the previous week. I think it was about the -- I got to think of the dates here. Me and my dates, I usually know all of the dates.
KING: Was there ever a time, though, when you were worried?
ROCHA: Like I said, my fear was a hung jury or mistrial. It wasn't acquittal. Because I just knew it would be so difficult to have to go through a trial again. And, of course, you know, every day I was on edge just waiting for that phone call, that they were in. But I can't say that I was worried. It's just, you know, every day ...
KING: OK. The death penalty phase. Was that absorbed in you? Did you desperately want a death penalty or would you have lived with life in prison?
ROCHA: Either way. Here again, I've said this before, too. November 12th, when that jury came in with the guilty verdict, as far as I was concerned, the trial was over. I didn't need to go through the penalty phase myself. But, of course, that is a part of the process. But it was over. Guilty is what I needed to know.
KING: You read stories mostly in tabloids, I guess, of women proposing to him, writing love letters.
ROCHA: I don't know how true that is of course, because my information would be coming from the same place you're get that information. Like you said, the tabloids. I can see, you know, possibility. You hear about it all the time with people. I don't know why. I can't imagine why. But that's, you know, everybody's different.
KING: Life is stranger and stranger.
ROCHA: It is. It absolutely is.
KING: What's this Christmas going to be like?
ROCHA: It's going to be difficult, just as it has been for the past three years.
KING: This will be the fourth?
ROCHA: This will be the fourth.
KING: We'll take a break and when we come back, we'll be joined by Ron Grantski, Sharon's husband. Don't go away.
KING: We're back with Sharon Rocha, the mother of the late Laci Peterson. And her No. 1 "New York Times" best-selling memoir "For Laci: A mother's story of love, loss and justice." Now in trade paperback.
Now joining us is Ron Grantski, Laci Peterson's stepfather. How are you doing?
RON GRANTSKI, LACI PETERSON'S STEPFATHER: Pretty good, Larry, Nice to be here.
KING: Have you -- do you still every day something feeling goes on?
GRANTSKI: It never ends.
KING: What do you make of how Sharon has dealt with it?
GRANTSKI: There are times I don't know how she does deal with it. She keeps active and busy. She's a fighter and always has been.
KING: Laci was how old when you...
GRANTSKI: ... Two. About a foot and a half tall. I'm exaggerating. Maybe she was two foot tall.
KING: Did you adopt her?
GRANTSKI: No, no. Dennis is her father, Dennis Rocha. No. She was...
KING: ... Was Dennis involved throughout this, Sharon?
ROCHA: Throughout the last few years?
KING: This ordeal.
ROCHA: Oh sure, certainly, yes, he was. He was very -- is very devastated about this.
KING: How close did you get to your stepdaughter?
GRANTSKI: I -- I've watched her grow up. Every little thing, I mean, she was -- she was not shy and she would talk about anything and everything. And it was something to see. And...
KING: ... She called you Ron?
KING: And her daddy daddy and you got along with her father?
KING: That's really nice that you can.
GRANTSKI: Yes, Dennis and I worked together. We, you know, we're friends. We've known each other for years.
KING: Has he remarried?
ROCHA: Since -- yes, he had remarried. Well, Amy is his daughter from his second marriage.
KING: We asked Sharon when she first had an inkling. When did you? Something ain't right. GRANTSKI: Well, it was -- I think within a day or two. Scott wouldn't talk to me. And it bothered me. He kept avoiding me.
GRANTSKI: That's exactly my point. He kept avoiding me. And I couldn't understand that.
KING: It sounds stupid.
KING: I mean, what do you think was the reason?
GRANTSKI: Well, I confronted him. I don't know if -- about whether he had had a girlfriend. That was the first time I just said, to heck with it, told him if he had a girlfriend that you better come forward because they're looking at you. He just looked at me and turned around and walked away and that was it. And we didn't talk for a while.
ROCHA: I think the most confirming part, Larry, was during the trial and listening to his telephone conversations with Amber and knowing the truth, like you said, he's telling her he was in Paris when I knew where he was. And listening to those lies, and then realizing and wondering how many times have I been lied to and didn't know it. That's real hard. That's a betrayal.
GRANTSKI: Yes. That was hard for me to maintain during those times, but out of respect for the family and everything that was involved, you have to.
KING: And that doesn't leave you, does it?
KING: I mean, you've to think about that.
GRANTSKI: Sure, you do.
ROCHA: That's what makes you so mistrusting of people because when you've been so close to somebody and love somebody as a member of your own family, and then to learn he was this kind of person.
KING: Laci was like your daughter, right?
GRANTSKI: Yes. She came to me with a lot of things. If she didn't like something, she would tell me. If I didn't like something, I would tell her. That's what families do.
KING: That's what they do.
GRANTSKI: That's right.
KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Sharon Rocha and Ron Grantski. The book is now out in paperback. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That whole trial just had consumed me. Everything, every thought, every breath, everything that I did was -- revolved around that trial. And then being so noticeable, and people coming up to you and congratulating you and wanting to -- I mean, I'd be in the grocery store and I'd be stopped in the hallway, you know, in an aisle way for 20 minutes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with our remaining moments.
One of the Peterson jurors, by the way, Nichelle Nice or Nice (ph) has corresponded with Scott at the urging of a therapist. What do you think about that?
ROCHA: Well, I did watch her interview on the "Today Show" and she said -- I'm not going to quote her because I don't remember the exact words, but it was something to the effect that the therapist had suggested that she sit down and write a letter to him and maybe she would feel better. But she said it wasn't her therapist's suggestion to mail the letters. It was more of a...
KING: People talk about trying to find meaning in a tragedy. Have you found?
GRANTSKI: Yes, actually so many people have gone through similar or the same. And you see of all the suffering and the hurt and not knowing how to deal with those emotions. And I think that's one reason I'm glad Sharon wrote the book, because we've got an awful lot of letters from men, women, kids about how it helped them understand what they were feeling. And so in that sense, my trust level is, like you said, not as high as it used to be.
KING: Why did you write the book?
ROCHA: So people would know Laci, know who Laci really is, other than just, you know, a face on TV or a face on a magazine. She was three dimensional, not one dimensional.
KING: What was the best thing about her?
GRANTSKI: She was -- she had so much energy and life and she could be silly, but she was one of the smartest little women I ever knew. And it took me a lot of years to realize that, how smart she really was. She was straight A student and things came easy for her.
KING: Because she was so lively, you didn't give her credit for the brains?
KING: Well, they can do it that sometimes.
GRANTSKI: Honestly, you think because she was always out with her friends, she was a great cheerleader and she would get straight A's. And I couldn't figure out because school was always so hard for me and she would...
KING: Very popular in school?
ROCHA: Yes, she was.
KING: Did she have a lot of boyfriends?
ROCHA: She had a lot of male friends. Laci had a lot of friends. In our neighborhood when she was growing up when she was younger, most of the kids in the neighborhood were boys, so that's who she hung out with.
KING: Was there anyone she was involved seriously with before Scott?
ROCHA: I'll say two. I've talked about that. Her first real boyfriend. And then -- and then there was the second one.
KING: What's Christmas going to be like for you, Ron? Is there a joyous Christmas, trees lit up?
GRANTSKI: No, no.
ROCHA: We haven't had a tree.
GRANTSKI: We haven't had a tree in five years.
ROCHA: Four years.
GRANTSKI: It's going to be going on -- the grandkids are going to help. And they always do. They're so full of life and we'll get through it. It just -- it's like she said, nobody knows -- can pick the time when it's right. It just too...
KING: People say they cannot imagine living through the loss of a child. Someone who lost their child once, the leader of (INAUDIBLE) told me, that a piece of you is gone and it's gone every day.
ROCHA: Yes, that's right.
KING: You can laugh, you can have a good time, you can enjoy things around you, a piece of you is missing.
ROCHA: Yes. GRANTSKI: The holidays, losing one at the holidays is unbelievably tough because there's so many things involved. And when they found Laci it was Easter. I mean, everything it relates to...
KING: It wasn't until Easter?
GRANTSKI: Yes. The vigil that we had was New Year's, when Scott was on the phone to his girlfriend. I mean, everything that was -- that's any kind of importance has been affected and destroyed by this.
KING: You must have good memories of how the community came around you?
ROCHA: Oh, absolutely.
KING: That was unbelievable.
ROCHA: It was unbelievable. Our community and...
GRANTSKI: Great town.
ROCHA: ... many people from all over the country -- actually, all over the world, we heard from.
GRANTSKI: Yes, we still hear from them and...
KING: You still do hear from people?
GRANTSKI: Yes. Matter of fact, I was just telling Rosie (ph) back there about a woman -- I forget where she from, but Clara (ph), she knitted a pair of slippers and sent it us. Remember that?
KING: I salute you both. Keep on keeping on.
ROCHA: Thank you.
GRANTSKI: Thank you.
KING: Sharon Rocha here and Ron Grantski. Sharon's book -- she's Laci Peterson's mother -- is a tribute to her late daughter. It's called -- it's hard to say late, isn't it?
"For Laci: A Mother's Story of Love, Loss and Justice." It's out now in trade paperback.
Sharon Rocha and Ron Grantski.
Anderson Cooper is next with "AC 360".
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