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Inside Laci Peterson's Murder

Aired January 5, 2007 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, four years after Laci Peterson vanished, and with her husband, Scott Peterson, now on death row for murdering her and their unborn son, a look deep inside the case that shocked America.
You'll hear from Laci's mom, Sharon Rocha; Scott Peterson's defense attorney, Mark Geragos; prosecutor James Brazelton and more.

It's all next in a special edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening and thanks for joining us for this in-depth look back at one of the biggest stories of our time.

When Laci Peterson's mom, Sharon Rocha, was here a couple of weeks ago, she talked about how hard this time of year is for her. It was Christmas Eve 2002 when her daughter, eight months pregnant, was first reported missing from their home in Modesto, California. Sharon Rocha's devastating personal tragedy quickly became a national obsession, starting with the candlelight vigils for Laci. Three weeks after her disappearance, she was still considered a missing person. It was then, in January, 2003, that I spoke with both Laci's and Scott Peterson's family, as they hoped and prayed for Laci's return.

First, Laci's mom told us how she was coping.



SHARON ROCHA, LACI PETERSON'S MOTHER: Laci's still out there, waiting for us to find her. And now the support that we have from all the volunteers and the police department and everybody around us, our friends and family, that's what keeps us going everyday.

KING: Ron Grantski, as the stepfather, do play in your mind at all -- do you play mind games? What do you think happened, that kind of thing?

RON GRANTSKI, LACI PETERSON'S STEP FATHER: We try to think of anything and everything. Yes, we do that. Our main concern, like Sharon said, is to get Laci back. You know, I have been in her life since she was two years old. So, I've watched her grow up, go through school, get married and now we're expecting our first grandchild. So between our family and friends throughout the country and here at home, that's what keeps us going.

KING: Lee, I know your son, Scott, has not made public appearances to discuss this, but how is he holding up?

LEE PETERSON, SCOTT PETERSON'S FATHER: Well, he's -- he's devastated, Larry. He's just terribly distraught. He's lost a lot of weight. He -- I've never seen him so sad. He's just -- just what you'd expect from someone who is missing their wife and baby. It's just terrible to watch. I feel so bad. I wish I could help him.

KING: Were they -- were they a very happy couple, Lee?

L. PETERSON: Oh, they were just outstanding. They were a wonderful couple, just very devoted and did everything together. They -- they had such a marvelous life. They were -- they had a home they bought about two years ago. They were remodeling. And, oh, well, the baby was coming and they gardened. They just did everything together. They were just a super couple.

KING: Janey Peterson is Scott Peterson's sister-in-law.

What do -- what do you make of all of this, Janey?

JANEY PETERSON, SCOTT PETERSON'S SISTER-IN-LAW: Well, Larry, you just -- you know, this doesn't happen and it's hard to know what to make of it. We just -- each and every day we look to our friends and family for more support and just can't thank them enough for all of their prayers. And, you know, this is, you know, for me personally, something I've learned there's no way I could get through it without just, you know, counting on god and leaning on him each and every day to sustain us in this situation.

KING: Sharon, from all you knew, is this a very happy marriage, the Peterson marriage?

S. ROCHA: Oh, yes. They just are really truly in love with each other. They do everything together. They're partners. They're a team. They love each other. They planned together. They play together. They're always smiling. They're just a very happy, well- adjusted couple. There's never been any indication -- I've never even heard Laci say that she was even angry with Scott for any reason at all.

KING: So, therefore, Ron, there is no thought in your mind -- obviously, people always suspect the most immediate family member or something like this, and the husband has not been released from that suspicion and no one has -- certainly, this program has not indicated that he is.

But there was no question in your mind that he's not involved, right, Ron?

GRANTSKI: Well, that's correct. I, you know, it might seem unusual he went fishing by himself, but I go fishing by myself a lot. Heaven forbid something happened here, because I do it all the time.

KING: So that -- that's not strange to you, that he would go fishing?

GRANTSKI: No. Not to me.

KING: And the baby's not due until February 10th, is that right? So it wasn't that he was going to miss the birth of a child?

GRANTSKI: Oh, it was just a few hours. I mean he was just gone for a few hours. It's -- you have to remember that was a work day for most people. I went to work in the morning and then -- then I was off in the afternoon. And he happened to have the day off, and so did Sharon. So everybody had already prepared for our dinners. We were having dinner at our house that night. So It was kind of like a lax time before the evening and all of us getting together.

KING: Amy, as far as you knew, was your sister -- is your sister very happily married?

A. ROCHA: Very happily married, yes.

KING: So you join your stepfather and your mother in saying that you don't question at all Scott's involvement?

A. ROCHA: We have no question in our mind about Scott. He's part of our family.

KING: One of the things that does come up, Lee, is why Scott doesn't appear for interviews.

Do you know why?

L. PETERSON: Yes. Well, he's very emotional. He would -- he would break down. He wouldn't be able to finish an interview. And he doesn't want the media focus on him, he wants it on -- on having Laci's picture in front of the nation so that someone may report something and we can get her back in our family.


KING: Lots more to come in our special look back at the Laci Peterson murder.

When we return, the case shifts gear and Scott Peterson becomes a suspect, as details of his affair with Amber Frey come to light.

We'll be right back.


AMBER FREY: I met Scott Peterson November 20th, 2002. I was introduced to him. I was told he was unmarried. Scott told me he was not married. We did have a romantic relationship. When I discovered he was involved in a disappearance -- or the Laci Peterson disappearance case, I immediately contacted the Modesto Police Department.



S. ROCHA: In my mind, I keep hearing Laci say to me, "Mom, please find me and Conner and bring us home."



CATHERINE CRIER, COURT TV NEWS ANCHOR: The Peterson case had all of the elements of, sadly, a fascinating true crime story. It happened during a slow news period, so we were all following the story. But here was this beautiful young woman about to have a first child, a seemingly perfect couple. Then something extraordinary happened and we all became vested in the search for Laci.

This was one of the cases that demonstrates how powerful the media is and the family understood it, tapped into the press, kept us involved and kept giving us these extraordinary developments that were literally unfolding on the television screens.



DIANE SAWYER, "GOOD MORNING AMERICA": Did you murder your wife?

S. PETERSON: No. No, I did not.


KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE, as we look back at the Laci Peterson murder case from all angles.

We heard from Scott Peterson himself in January, 2003, when he was interviewed by Ted Rowlands, now with CNN, at that time a local news reporter.

The story had taken a sharp twist when Scott Peterson admitted to lying about his affair with Amber Frey.

While Modesto police said they were pursuing all leads and not ruling Scott out, Ted Rowlands appeared on this program to discuss Scott's state of mind.


TED ROWLANDS, KTVU REPORTER: Today he was emotional a few times with us when he was talking about Laci specifically and his unborn son, Conner. But, for the most part, he kept it together. And, actually, he addressed it, saying that he is forcing himself to keep it together because he says there's a level that you could drop to which you can't get out of and he doesn't want to get to that level.

But, you know, as you saw in the "Good Morning America" interview, he obviously was emotional at times there, especially with his family around him.

KING: I spoke to him today on the phone. He appeared to be unhappy with the way they edited that interview. Did he express that to you?

ROWLANDS: He was talking specifically about some video that he was unhappy about that we are -- our station used as a tease during our noon show. It's really an example of how, although he says he's not media savvy, he sure is keeping very close tabs of it. We literally came out of the interview about 11:30. I got a phone call at 1:00 and he was expressing displeasure over some V.O. that we used, just a couple shots of him. He was watching.

KING: Mark Geragos?

MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, I was just going -- how much of -- is his lawyer involved in any of this? Is his lawyer orchestrating this media campaign? Is he doing it? Is Scott doing it himself? Was the lawyer present in the house?

ROWLANDS: Well, the only comment we've heard from his lawyer in this entire investigation is -- was a couple of days ago. And the lawyer said, "I'm instructing Scott not do any interviews."

And shortly after that, Scott agreed to these select interviews. Today when he would say I can't talk about that, he didn't reference his lawyer, he referenced his investigator. He's hired a private investigator. And he also said that the Modesto Police Department didn't want him talking about specific issues, which may or may not be true, of course.

KING: Doctor Welner, do you have a question for Ted Rowlands?

MICHAEL WELNER, M.D. FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST: I do. I have a couple of questions...


WELNER: ... that perhaps you might be able to help, as far as your familiarity with the investigation.

Do you know if police have made use of the dog at all in being able to track where the body might be, because the dog may respond to a particular part of the park or somewhere where she may have been seized, if the dog was found outside the home?

ROWLANDS: Oh, yes. They brought the bloodhounds in first and then actually they took her dog out and tried to retrace the steps. And they didn't get anywhere with that. They said it was really just a walk in the dog with the dog, Mackenzie.

WELNER: I see.

ROWLANDS: But they did try it, yes.

WELNER: One more question. To what degree have police been able to follow the steps of this traveling salesman to see what kind of life he was living at his different points of call in his job?

ROWLANDS: Well, they're not releasing a lot of the specifics about their investigation. But the feeling you get from this department is that they are dedicating a lot of the resources towards Scott Peterson. And the investigation, you can only assume that they have tracked him pretty closely in his past.

KING: How did he describe his affair to you, Ted?

ROWLANDS: He said he wanted to address it right away. And he said that it was inappropriate, was the word he used. And he was apologetic. He said he owed a lot of people an apology, specifically Laci's family. He said even Amber's family, he needs to give them an apology as well. But he didn't get too deep into it.

As to what questions he didn't want to answer today, specifically, it was interesting, he didn't want to answer the question as to whether or not he told police about his affair with Amber on the day that Laci disappeared, because he told Diane Sawyer that in that interview and it raised a lot of eyebrows at that point. And I tried to clarify it with him and he said he didn't want to talk about that and that he shouldn't been talking about it in that interview.

And I know that ABC today reported that the Modesto police said that was incorrect.

KING: But let's -- I want to show you a clip of Ted Rowlands' interview earlier today with Scott Peterson, talking about the nursery plan for the baby.



S. PETERSON: I told her it was closed, I can't look, you know, in that door.

ROWLANDS: You worked on it? What was the sort of preparation did you do?

S. PETERSON: Yes. It's -- it's completely outfitted. I mean even the furniture is there. It's painted and it's ready, you know, all the little itty bitty clothes and all of those wonderful things we have.


KING: Now he seems very believable, quite sad, quite taken.

Whey doesn't that help?

GERAGOS: He is. But, you know, the problem is -- and he could be stone cold innocent, and that may be the case. But what good did he do by going on, getting himself edited every which way and not going onto a live show -- and I'm not plugging for him to do the interview here. But he would have been -- if he was going to talk, he does it on a live show where he's not going to be edited.

And, number two, what is he doing, you know, disobeying his lawyer, if you will, and starting to talk about what he did or didn't tell the police when the police are denying that that was the case?

KING: But the other side...

GERAGOS: He's going to walk himself right into a...

KING: ... the other side of the coin is if he doesn't go on, they're saying what is he afraid of? Why is he afraid to go on for?

GERAGOS: Exactly. But, you know...

KING: He's said this...

GERAGOS: ... in that situation, you what tell the guy is you're between a rock and a hard place.


KING: Up next, Scott Peterson is formally charged with the murders of his wife and unborn son. That and more, when LARRY KING LIVE returns.


CRIER: My theory is he did plan, he did premeditate this crime and while it was all circumstantial, we did have a semblance of a confession, if you will, when he claimed, for example, to be golfing when, only moments later, he tells someone he was fishing. And we began to see the inconsistencies in his own stories long before we tied in all the other circumstantial elements.




DR. ROBI LUDWIG, PSY.D. PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Scott Peterson is a very self-centered person who acts in a moment and he really is ego- centric with no sense of what's right and wrong. So there's the sociopathic component to Scott Peterson. There's also a very narcissistic component to Scott Peterson. And the combination of those two personality traits can create a perfect storm of violence.



S. ROCHA: Laci and her unborn child did not deserve to die. They certainly did not deserve to be dumped in the Bay and sent to a watery grave as though their lives were meaningless.


KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE.

We're looking back at the Laci Peterson murder case with most of the principals.

In spring of 2003, Scott Peterson is formally charged with the murder of his wife and unborn son Conner. And prosecutor James Brazelton was my guest, explaining how he planned to handle the case.


KING: I know you're not going to tell us your case in advance, but you're a former police officer, so you know about evidence.

Can you say that there is a lot of evidence in this case?

JAMES BRAZELTON, STANISLAUS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, there are a lot of police reports that have been generated. There is a lot of evidence, yes. And it'll take some time to go through that. And you're right, I can't talk about the details of the case.

KING: The attorney general has said it's a slam dunk.

Would you use that characterization?

BRAZELTON: Well, I think the attorney general -- I'm not trying to speak for him -- but I think that he was referring to the DNA evidence being a slam dunk, if you will, in the identification of the remains that were removed from the Bay.

I don't think he was commenting on the case generally.

KING: Would you comment, Jim, on the -- on Scott Peterson's parents, who claim that the police have been trying to discredit people with exculpatory evidence that would favor their son, that the authorities have bungled this case.

How would you respond to his parents?

BRAZELTON: Well, I would fully expect that the parents would be supportive of their son. I think any parent would. I am not aware of exactly what they do know or don't know about the evidence involved. I suspect they don't have access to the evidence specifically, any more than anyone else does. And I'm not aware of any exculpatory evidence that's been withheld from them or anybody else.

KING: What is California's law concerning the murdering of a fetus?

BRAZELTON: In California, for death penalty purposes, we would have to prove that it was a viable fetus at the time. And in this case, being close to full-term, I don't believe that to be a factor. KING: Jim, will you tell us the process by which a death penalty case is determined? In other words, what -- what are the -- what sets up the fact that says we will go for the death penalty?

BRAZELTON: Well, there are a number of factors involved. I have a committee in the office of experienced and seasoned prosecutors that will review the evidence. We'll go over all of that. We'll take into consideration the family, of course, and we'll also invite the defense to give any input they might have. And then upon going through all that, we'll make a decision as to whether or not we feel that it's a case that is worthy of -- a case -- or a death penalty consideration.

KING: Jim, is the victim's family part of that consulting?

BRAZELTON: Well, we always talk to them. Some families are adamantly against the death penalty, and we take that into consideration. It's not totally and finally determinative, but it certainly is something that we -- we listen to.

KING: Many legal types are saying that a change of venue would be granted in this case because of the obvious feelings in Modesto, California.

Will you fight that?

BRAZELTON: Yes. We'll oppose any motion to change the venue, for a number of reasons. But one of the reasons why we would fight it would be that the extent of the publicity here is probably not much different than it has been throughout California, as is evidenced by the number of media personnel that have been here for a length of time.


KING: Still to come, more shocking revelations unfold in the Peterson case and the terrible tragic revelation of Laci and Conner's autopsies, when this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE returns.


KING: Welcome back to this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE, as we go deep inside the story that obsessed America -- the Laci Peterson murder case.

In the spring of 2003, Scott Peterson was charged with the murders of his wife and unborn son. And as the case moved into the courtroom phase, more shocking details kept surfacing.

Ted Rowlands, now with CNN, had been all over the story since day one as a local TV reporter. He was part of my panel updating the latest twists in May of 2003.


(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE FROM LARRY KING LIVE, MAY 29, 2003) KING: The autopsy report that was given to the defense on Tuesday basically says that on little Conner Peterson, there was a plastic band basically around the baby's neck, about two centimeters away from the skin. And it was tied off. It was a one-and-a-quarter loop. And then, as you mentioned, as well, a laceration of some sort from the shoulder through down to the chest.

Of course, the defense folks are pointing this out as proof that their theory of a Satanic cult would be more plausible than Scott Peterson, saying that Scott Peterson does not fit a profile of someone who would mutilate the body, even remove the body.

The prosecution saying that it really doesn't say anything, and we're changing our stance. We want the entire report out now so that the media and everybody else can see that this was a strategic leak. And they filed a motion with the judge this afternoon, and they sent out a press release saying that the entire autopsy report should clear things up.

So now we wait and see what's the judge going to do, as you mentioned.

Will he release these autopsy reports, and what will be contained in them?

KING: Dr. Cyril Wecht, what's your reading, as a leading pathologist, on what we learned today?

DR. CYRIL WECHT, CORONER, FORENSIC EXPERT: Larry, I believe the opening, coming down from the right shoulder, across the right chest into the top of the right abdomen, is going to prove to be a post- mortem artifact. I believe that it's going to prove to be an injury inflicted by a propeller or a part of a boat or a floating object that ripped through that part of the body.

Insofar as the plastic loops around the neck one-and-a-half times, I'd like to know more about the plastic loops -- their size, their shape, their consistency and so on. The skin beneath is uninjured. The neck organs beneath the skin are uninjured. I would like to know more from the pictures and...

KING: What, preliminarily, does it tell you?

WECHT: Well, it raises a lot of doubt in my mind that this was a ligature of some kind that was applied to the baby at the time of the baby's death, or at the time that the baby would have been removed from the womb. I still lean toward this being an artifact. I think it is a pick-up in some way from the water. I do not think that it was something that was placed around the neck. I can see no purpose, no reason.

And there is no evidence of injury, as I've said, to the skin or the underlying organs, the structures, the bones, and cartilaginous structures in the neck. So I think that it is not evidence of an ante-mortem kind of ligature.

KING: Meaning it is not a buoyed news for the defense?

WECHT: That's the way I read this as of this time, yes.

KING: OK. Kim Petersen, what has been the reaction? I know you represent the Rochas and speak for them. What's been the reaction of her family?

KIM PETERSEN, SPOKESWOMAN FOR LACI'S FAMILY: This, as you can imagine, Larry, has been a devastating day for them. You never want to hear these details released in front of the nation about somebody you love and care about. And it has been very painful, very difficult. It's been unbelievable to them that somebody would leak this information to the media, when the judge asked that those autopsy results be sealed. And it's been very painful for them.

KING: Has it changed their thinking at all?

PETERSEN: They didn't even get into thinking in that direction. All they could think about was that this is their grandson that they love, this is their nephew that they love. And to have these kinds of details reported in the media in front of the nation, as opposed to given to the family in private, is -- it's unbelievably painful.

KING: By the way, we mentioned it earlier. What are they waiting for from the state? What kind of remains are they waiting for, the family?

PETERSEN: The tests are still being done on the remains, and when everything is completed, they will be released to the family, for both Laci and Conner. But they, at this point, don't know when that will be.

KING: Chris Pixley, as a defense attorney, what was your reaction to what was learned today?

CHRIS PIXLEY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think, Larry, at this point in time, the prosecution may not only have to prove that Scott Peterson is a murderer, they may have to prove that he's a sociopath. I know that Dr. Wecht is one of the foremost experts in this area, but the idea that a knotted bit of tape wrapped around the neck is something that was picked up in the wash, the idea that this slice through the right shoulder and into the right lung is something that just happened while the body was floating around in the water, I think, from a defense standpoint and for a juror, is difficult to believe.

KING: Dr. Wecht, can we draw anything from the implication that the baby's remains were apparently more intact than the mother's?

WECHT: Yes, Larry. I was going to comment on that, if I could, and also on this business of strangulation, and also on the report itself, if I may.

KING: Sure. Go ahead.

WECHT: Oh. We're on the air now? KING: Yes, we're on.

WECHT: Oh, I'm sorry. First of all, I would...

KING: I'm work quick.

WECHT: ... say with regard to the report, the report that I have looks to me to be complete. So I don't know what they're talking about insofar as the release of more of the report. With regard to the strangulation...

KING: Wait a minute. You have the report?

WECHT: Yes. I have a copy of the one-sheet report that was sent to ...

KING: Oh, the one sheet report. OK. Go ahead.

WECHT: With regard to strangulation, once the baby is detached from the mother's placenta, you don't have to strangle. The baby is dead. The baby's going to die -- the fetus is going to die in a matter of a couple minutes.

And with regard to the condition of the baby, this to me remains a major point. I said seven weeks ago, and I remain with that thought, that this baby, small body mass, could not have been floating free in that water for these three-and-a-half months and have remained intact to the point that it was. The sex was immediately determined, I think even by a non-physician when the baby was discovered on a Sunday night. If that baby had been lying out for all that time, the external genitalia would have sloughed off, would have been decomposed.

I believe that this baby was sequestered within the mother's uterus and did not come out as a free-floating object for several weeks, until the mother had already been in the water for a period of time.

KING: So you discount the thought of a Satanic cult and some sort of ritualistic killing?

WECHT: Yes. I do not believe that this baby was forcibly removed from the mother's womb. We'll see, when we get Laci's autopsy report, if there is a slash through her anterior abdominal wall and through the uterus. I doubt that there will be such an injury.

KING: Much more still to come as we look back at the Laci Peterson case. Including Scott Peterson's defense attorney Mark Geragos. First, when LARRY KING LIVE returns, Scott Peterson's lover Amber Frey takes the stand, stay tuned.


AMBER FREY, SCOTT PETERSON'S FORMER GIRLFRIEND: 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 lied to me because you weren't going to be able to be with me during the holidays because you are going to have to be with her. How does that make sense, Scott? Explain that one to me.




FREY: Another woman?

PETERSON: You don't know all the facts.

FREY: Oh. She was OK with it but you -- you continued to lie to me and couldn't be with me at the holidays but she was OK? She was fine with knowing about me?


FREY: Unbelievable.


KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE as we look back at the Laci Peterson murder case n. June, 2004, after three months of jury selection, America was riveted as Scott Peterson's murder trial began. And a key prosecution witness took the stand. His ex-lover, Amber Frey, disclosing details of their affair. Watch.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She talked about how at one point, he brought her three dozen roses before going to a Christmas formal the same night Laci Peterson was attending another Christmas Party by herself. Then they did play a few of those audio tapes that Frey taped of Peterson and they're conversations. At the end of court the most compelling tape, a tape that Peterson -- a tape of a conversation she had with Peterson on New Year's Eve, about an hour before the memorial in Modesto took place for Laci Peterson. Scott Peterson told Amber Frey that he was in Paris, France, and that he had enjoyed a New Year's Eve celebration watching fireworks at the Eiffel Tower. He had such details to say that American pop songs were being played by the band there.

All along, these conversations were being taped by Frey, and he was preparing to attend a vigil for his missing wife. Her testimony was long, and she was on the stand the entire day. It is expected that this will be the first of about a week's worth of testimony with hours of tapes to go, that the jury will hear.

KING: What effect did it have on the jury, in your opinion, Ted?

ROWLANDS: Well, they were riveted. By far this has been the most compelling testimony that we've heard in this trial. Everybody in the courtroom was silent throughout the entire day. The courtroom was packed, and everything she had to say seemed to really translate with the jury. The question is, of course, the defense is going to argue that this is just a girlfriend. They had four total dates. Yes, they had hundreds of phone conversations, but Peterson was trying to keep her emotionally at bay. Will the jury make that connection or not that because he's a liar he may have had something to do with his wife weighs murder? Nobody knows, but they sure were listening.

KING: Ted, were both families in court?

ROWLANDS: Cameras, no, no cameras.

KING: No, families. Families.

ROWLANDS: Families, yes, in force. The courtroom was packed. Both sides had full the contingents of family members. Afterwards, or during one of the breaks, one of Scott Peterson's sisters, Susan Cadillo (ph) said, you know, we knew all about this. Amber, is more of a side show here. This was a separate issue. Yes, he had an affair. We all know that he had an affair, but it had nothing to do with Laci's disappearance.

KING: And what was the reaction of Laci's family?

ROWLANDS: They didn't have anything to say outside of court today, but you could see that they were riveted on this. And it must have been difficult for them to hear some of this testimony when they looked back at what they were doing, specifically on New Year's Eve getting ready for that very emotional vigil in Modesto to hear that recorded conversation that Peterson had with Frey.

KING: And what was Scott's reaction?

ROWLANDS: He looked at Amber intently throughout, took notes, talked with Mark Geragos. But he didn't have any sort of reaction that really is reportable to say that he reacted in one way or another to her. She at one point pointed him out on the record in the courtroom, and pointed right at him. And that would really be the only time, that I saw, that the two had any sort of eye contact.

KING: Chris Pixley, from a defense standpoint you weren't there, but what you've heard, is the defense up against it?

CHRIS PIXLEY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think everyone on the panel understands, Larry, that this is really the honeymoon period for Amber Frey. She's being cross-examined by an assistant district attorney who's known for months, if not over the past year that she is going to be the star witness in the trial of the decade, so there's been no limit to the amount of time and energy that's been put into her preparation. You add to that the unusual circumstance that she has, she, a witness, has her own counsel in Gloria Allred, and quite honestly, it would have been a surprise if she hadn't hit home runs today. I think the fact that she came across well was to be expected. We know she's told the story of all of the different lies that Scott Peterson told and the ways that he seduced her and manipulated her. The real question now is what the reckoning will be like. She will be cross-examined. I think despite Gloria's protests and despite her warnings, Mark Geragos is going to have a lot of ammunition on cross- examination. KING: When we come back, Scott Peterson found guilty by a jury of his peers. We will look back at that moment and more when LARRY KING LIVE returns.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: State of California vs. Scott Peterson. We the jury in the above-entitled cause find the defendant, Scott Lee Peterson, guilty of the crime of murder of Laci Denise Peterson. In violation of the penal code section 187-A as alleged in count one of the hearing. Dated November 12, 2004. Foreperson number six.


ROBI LUDWIG, PSY.D: Scott doesn't feel guilty for what he did. He feels justified. And, therefore, he doesn't feel he deserves to be where he is. And that's exactly why a man like Scott Peterson is on death row.

CATHERINE CRIER, COURT TV NEWS ANCHOR: I think this is someone who has no intention of ever confessing to this crime. In fact, today I believe he believes he will walk out of that prison some day.

KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE as we continue an in-depth look at one of the stories of the century. The Laci Peterson murder case. It took three days in December of 2004 for the jury to find Scott Peterson guilty of the murders of Laci and their unborn son. It took another six months for Scott Peterson's defense attorney, Mark Geragos, to break his silence on the trial. When he did, he did it right on this program. Here's some of that exclusive June, 2005, interview.

We're back on LARRY KING LIVE with Mark Geragos. What is it like emotionally? You believe in your client?

GERAGOS: I believe in all my clients. I mean, I go to trial. And it's -- there's no...

KING: You think Scott Peterson didn't do this, right?

GERAGOS: I went in there, and I took that case, and I became convinced. And it is -- and I told the jury during the penalty phase. I talked from the heart to the jury. And said, look, there's no harder thing for me to do than have to sit here and beg you to spare his life, when I believe this, and that I felt, you know, as a -- as a lawyer, you cannot feel any lower than in a death penalty case to have somebody that you truly believe is innocent, to be convicted and then be sentenced to death. I mean, there is bar none, at least for me professionally, nothing worse than you can experience than that.

KING: So what was it like for your gut when they announced the verdict?

GERAGOS: Well, the biggest problem, and one of the things that I regret, is that I wasn't there. I had...

KING: Ah-hah! GERAGOS: Yeah, I had asked the judge the week before, because I had another case in L.A., and I said, the following Friday, that judge wanted me down -- the L.A. judge -- wanted me down there to do a case. And Thursday before the verdict came out was a holiday, a court holiday. So the jury was not going to deliberate. I was up there on Wednesday. And on Wednesday, we had one of the brouhahas with the jurors, and we replaced it and put in a new juror. And we did that in the afternoon.

So I talked to the judge, and he said, go down there, there's not going to be a verdict. And Judge Delucchi and I agreed, there's no way that just putting somebody in, the jury getting the instructions, you have got to start anew, not deliberating on Thursday. And then Friday, what most people don't know, is that he had already told one of the -- promised one of the other jurors that they were going to get off, and it was only going to be a half-day. Plus, in addition to that, the jury had asked that a priest be sent in, because they were sequestered. So all indication were they were going to deliberate through until the following week.

I went down there. Then out of nowhere, we get the verdict.

KING: You were shocked?

GERAGOS: Yeah, we were as shocked as you can believe. But one of the things that the judge had indicated, I said, look, I can try and get a private jet up there or scramble some way to get up there. And he had indicated, look, the sheriff does not want to hold on to this, because as you probably saw, the courthouse had become encircled with people. They were afraid from the public safety standpoint there was going to be a problem, and I wasn't going to create a public safety problem by saying, hey, hold it for me, I got to get up there.

KING: How did you hear the verdict?

GERAGOS: Turned on -- I think CNN. And did it in the office. Pat Harris, who tried the case with me, was there. One of the other lawyers from the office was there as well.

KING: What was your feeling?

GERAGOS: I mean, it was a kick in the gut. I mean, I did not expect it.

KING: You thought he would get not guilty?

GERAGOS: I -- well, I thought it would hang. All indications were that this case was going to hang going into it. I think prior to all of the problems inside of that jury room, this case would have hung.

The -- one of the -- and I, you know, we have attempted to interview the jurors, but did not, but when you read what the jurors have said afterwards -- one juror in particular says that if the foreman, the first foreman had not been removed, there never would have been a verdict in the case. That was my read on it, based upon the kinds of questions they were asking and the exhibits that they were asking for.

KING: Have you -- have you talked to Scott?

GERAGOS: Yeah, oh, frequently. We talked to Scott frequently. Pat sees him and has visited him in San Quentin...

KING: How is he living with it?

GERAGOS: I mean, he has been throughout all of this, I think, enormously resilient. And -- and one of the things, you know, without breaching confidentiality, because he's said it to others and not just to me, but he has said, look, after my family was killed, the fact that they're blaming me for it, it pales in comparison with losing Laci and Connor. So, as I'd indicated before, either the guy's the greatest sociopath of all time, or he's innocent.

KING: Up next, words of remembrance with Laci Peterson's mother, Sharon Rocha. That's when this show continues.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT: His name is forever joined with that of his mom. In this statute. Which is known as Laci and Conner's law. All who knew Laci Peterson mourned two deaths. And the law cannot look away and pretend there is just one.

KING: I sat down with Laci's mother, Sharon Rocha, who shared special memories of the daughter she will never see again.

Why do you think there was such fascination with your daughter's case?

SHARON ROCHA, LACI PETERSON'S MOTHER: I think a lot of that was -- think people felt, as I said before, Laci could have been a member of their family. It was something that could have happened in their own family. Could have been their daughter, their sister. I think maybe just the fact that everything appeared on the surface to be so perfect.

KING: You think it was also it was around Christmas.

ROCHA: Yes, it was.

KING: And that smile. And the way she looked, that incredible face. You think that all added to it? That would be a guess.

ROCHA: I was going to say I really don't know that for a fact. But possibly. Maybe that's why so many people could relate to it.

KING: You think Scott would ever confess?

ROCHA: No. I really don't feel he ever will.

KING: So in other words, even if he were to face the ultimate penalty, he would go saying he was innocent?

ROCHA: I believe so.

KING: That's the kind of personality?

ROCHA: Yes, from what I have seen and know of him, yes.

KING: If he did, though, wouldn't it give you closure, as they say?

ROCHA: Number one, the word closure I absolutely hate because I don't feel it is 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 he was capable of telling, I just don't think I could believe whatever he might say.

KING: People talk about trying to find meaning in a tragedy. Have you found ...

RON GRANTSKI, LACI PETERSON'S STEPFATHER: Yes. Actually, so many people have gone through similar or the same. You see of all the suffering and hurt and not knowing how to deal with those emotions, and I think -- one reason I'm glad Sharon wrote the book, because we have -- we have 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 levels, like you said, is not as high as it used to b to be.

KING: Why did you write the book?


KING: Yeah.

ROCHA: So people who would know who Laci really is other than 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 had so much energy and life and she could be silly. But she's one of the smartest little women ever knew. It took me a lot of years to realize that, how smart she really was. She was a straight A student. And things came easy for her.

KING: Because she was so lively, you didn't give her credit for the brains? People can do that sometimes.

GRANTSKI: Well, I'm being honest. She was always out with her friends. She was -- great cheerleader. And she would get straight As. I couldn't figure it out. School was always so hard for me.

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 he was going up, most of the kids in the neighborhood were boys. That's who she hung out with.

KING: Was there anyone she was involved seriously with before Scott?

ROCHA: I will say two. I talked about that, her first real boyfriend. And then there was the second one.

KING: What's Christmas going to be like for you, Ron? Is it a joyous Christmas? Trees lit up, bulbs ..


ROCHA: We haven't had a tree.

GRANTSKI: We haven't had a tree in five years.

ROCHA: Four years.

GRANTSKI: It is going to be going on -- the grandkids will help. They always do. They are so full of life. And we will get through it. It is like she said, nobody knows -- can pick the time when it is right.

KING: People say they cannot imagine living through the loss of a child. Someone who lost their child once told me that a piece of you is gone and it is gone every day good.

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.


GRANTSKI: The reason the holidays is unbelievably tough. There are so many things involved. And when they found Laci was Easter. I mean, everything relates ...

KING: It wasn't until Easter?


The vigil that we had was New Year's. When Scott was on phone to his girlfriend, everything that was -- that's any kind of an 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: We still hear from them.

KING: You still do hear from people?


GRANTSKI: In fact, a woman -- I forget where she was from. Sorry. knitted a pair of slippers and sent them to us. Remember that?

KING: I salute you both. Keep on keeping on.

ROCHA: Thank you.

KING: What a sad, tragic story. A beautiful young woman killed in the prime of her life. Her unborn son with her. The husband who murdered them sitting on death row in San Quentin prison. Thanks for joining us tonight.

And now stay tuned for more news on CNN, your most trusted name in news.


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