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Scott Peterson appeals death sentence to California Supreme Court

July 6, 2012 |  8:35 am

Scott peterson

Eight years after he was convicted for the murders of his wife and unborn son, Scott Peterson has appealed his death sentence to the California Supreme Court.

His attorney Cliff Gardner filed the 423-page appeal on Thursday, the Modesto Bee reported.

The former fertilizer salesman was convicted of suffocating his wife, Laci, and dumping her in San Francisco Bay on Christmas Eve 2002. He is now claiming that the overwhelming publicity of the case, incorrect evidentiary rulings and other mistakes deprived him of a fair trial

His 2004 conviction came at the end of one of the most watched trials in modern times.

Peterson has maintained that Laci was killed sometime after he left their Modesto home the morning of Dec. 24, 2002, to go fishing in San Francisco Bay. His attorneys say prosecutors never showed how, where and when he did the killings.

In order to reduce the influence of publicity on the jury, the trial was moved from Stanislaus County to San Mateo County. "Before hearing even a single witness, nearly half of all prospective jurors admitted they had already decided Mr. Peterson was guilty of capital murder," Gardner argues.

One radio radio station posted a large billboard outside the courthouse with  a telephone number for people to call in and vote on whether Peterson was a "man or monster."

It is standard practice for death penalty cases to be appealed to the California Supreme Court.


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Photo: Scott Peterson, center, during his murder trial in 2004.  Credit: Al Golub / Associated Press