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CONVICTED BY SUSPICION -- WHY SCOTT PETERSON MAY BE INNOCENT

by J. Neil Schulman, guest contributor.  [November 30, 2004]

 

 

[HollywoodInvestigator.com]  Scott Peterson may or may not have murdered his wife, Laci, and their unborn child. But the Redwood City, California trial that has just convicted Peterson of murdering Laci with premeditation was a kangaroo court in which none of the elements necessary to achieve a murder conviction were offered, much less proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

The first element that needs to be proved in any murder trial is that a murder has occurred. There was never a determination by any California medical examiner that the cause of Laci Peterson’s death was homicide. No medical examiner was able to determine the cause of Laci Peterson's death, nor even prove to a medical certainty in what week beyond her disappearance on Christmas Eve that she died.

A thorough examination of the residence where Scott and Laci Peterson lived together, by teams of detectives and forensic experts, uncovered no evidence whatsoever that a crime had occurred there. 

No crime. 

No forensic evidence was found in the Petersons’ motor vehicles lending any foundation to the suspicion that she had ever been transported in one of them -- alive or dead -- to the place where, months later, her body was found. 

No weapon was ever produced with any evidence that it had been used to cause Laci Peterson’s death.

No witness was produced who had seen or heard Scott Peterson argue with Laci near the time of her disappearance, much less any witness who had seen Scott Peterson fight with his wife or kill her.

The only forensic evidence produced in court that even presumptively linked Scott Peterson with the death of his wife was a strand of hair that DNA analysis showed to be Laci's, in a pliers found in Scott Peterson’s fishing boat. A police detective interviewed a witness who had seen Laci in the boat warehouse where Scott stored that boat. Even in the absence of this witness statement to a police detective, the rules of forensic transference indicate that transference of trace evidence between a husband and wife who lived together is common, and not indicative of foul play. 

No witness ever saw Laci in that fishing boat, nor did any witness ever testify to seeing Scott Peterson bringing a corpse-sized parcel onto his fishing boat. Thus, the fishing boat never should have been allowed into evidence, nor should prosecution speculation into his dumping her body using that boat have been permitted.

Nor was any evidence offered in court showing that Scott Peterson had engaged in any overt activities in planning of a murder. He was not observed buying, or even shopping for, weapons or poison. Police detectives found no records in his computer logs that he was spending time researching methods of murder. No evidence was offered that he ever considered hiring someone to kill her.

No evidence was offered in court indicating that Scott Peterson had any reasonable motive for murdering his wife, such as monetary gain, or to protect great marital assets that he’d lose as an adulterer in a divorce in California, a no-fault community-property state, or because Scott had some basis to believe he had been cuckolded.

So in a case without an ME’s finding of homicide or a known time of death; 

    without a single witness to a crime having occurred; 

    without a crime scene;

    without a murder weapon;

    without any indisputable forensic evidence linking the defendant husband to his wife’s death; 

    without an obvious motive;

    without the prosecution presenting conclusive direct or circumstantial evidence 

    in summation, without the prosecution demonstrating that Scott Peterson and only Scott Peterson had the means and opportunity to murder his wife and transport her alive or dead to the San Francisco Bay in which her body was found ... how is it possible that Scott Peterson has just been convicted of a premeditated murder with special circumstances warranting the death penalty?

It comes down to this: Scott Peterson was having an adulterous affair at the time of his wife’s disappearance, and Scott Peterson is a cad and a bounder.

Scott Peterson repeatedly lied to everyone around him -- including his new mistress -- to further the pursuit of this affair. This pattern of lying was established by audio tapes of his phone conversations with his mistress that were played in court. But these tapes were played before the jury without any foundation for their playing being offered, since their playing spoke to no element required for conviction in the crime with which he was charged. And these tapes -- which were more prejudicial than probitive -- destroyed Scott Peterson's credibility to appear as a potential witness in his own defense. They served only to make the jury hate Scott Peterson.

Scott Peterson found himself at the center of a media circus, and his attempts to change his appearance and escape being followed can equally be interpreted as either avoidance of the media who were stalking him or avoidance of police who were tracking him.

The bodies of Laci Peterson and her unborn child were discovered in close proximity to the location where Scott Peterson said he had been fishing at the time of her disappearance. But those bodies were found after months of all-media publicity in which Peterson’s alibi was broadcast and published, and if Laci had been murdered by some third party, the murderer would have easily had both means and motive to dump her body at that location to convict Scott and end pursuit of themselves for that murder.

In any case where more than one explanation of a fact can be offered, the judge’s charge instructs the jury that the explanation suggesting innocence is the one they are legally required to adopt in their deliberations. 

Scott Peterson was convicted at trial of murder possibly leading to a death sentence in which the trial judge allowed prosecutors to speculate in front of a jury on how Scott Peterson might have murdered his wife. Anyone who’s watched a single episode of Perry Mason or Law & Order knows the judge is charged with forbidding such speculation unless there is a foundation of facts in evidence.

No such foundation was presented indicating a method of murder in the murder trial of Scott Peterson.

In other words, Scott Peterson looked and acted guilty, and in the age of 24-hour-a-day TV news networks that have to fill up those hours with ratings-producing subjects, Scott Peterson’s trial and conviction was the perfect storm of Guilty by Suspicion.

 

 

Scott Peterson may very well have been convicted of a murder that he committed. If so, he was convicted in a case that under our system of justice -- in which the presumption of innocence may only rightfully be overcome by evidence that is convincing beyond a reasonable doubt -- never should have been allowed into court, much less handed over to a jury.

The jury that convicted Scott Peterson was a lynch mob inflamed by prejudicial testimony and their conviction of Scott Peterson qualifies as a hate crime. The verdict needs to be overturned on appeal. The judge brought out of retirement to preside over the case needs to be retired again. The prosecution needs to be brought up on civil rights charges to make sure this behavior is punished.

May God have mercy on Scott Peterson’s soul if he is, in fact, a psychopath who spent Christmas Eve murdering his pregnant wife so he could avoid the inconvenience of a divorce.

And may God have equal mercy on the prosecutors, judge, and jurors who have taken away Scott Peterson’s life -- whether through a sentence of life imprisonment or death by lethal injection -- if they have allowed their disgust for a deeply flawed man to whip them into a passion in which suspicion in the absence of any proof was sufficient to convict him. 

Copyright © 2004 by J. Neil Schulman. All rights reserved.

 

J. Neil Schulman's book, The Frame of the Century?, presents as strong a case for a suspect other than O.J. Simpson in the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson as was presented to convict Scott Peterson in the murder of Laci Peterson. Our sister publication, the Weekly Universe, has previously reported on Schulman's 'Vulcan Mind Meld with God' and his discovery of an eye drop that cures cataracts. He can be contacted at: jneil@pulpless.com.

 

 

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