5. Scott Peterson
Scott Peterson was about to become a father. His wife, Laci was carrying their first child, a son they were to name Conner. Unbeknownst to his spouse, he is having an affair with Amber Frey.
Laci, who was eight months pregnant, went missing on Christmas Eve 2002 and the last people to see her alive were her husband, mother, and half-sister. Scott had gone ‘fishing’ while his wife took their dog for a walk. Neighbours found the animal in the front yard of the house later in the day still with his leash attached.
Peterson called his mother-in-law and half hour later, his stepfather-in-law called 911 to report Laci missing.
Scott Proclaims His Innocence
According to Peterson, he had evidence saying he had nothing to do with his wife’s disappearance. He had time stamped receipts to prove where she was. However, he was always an early suspect in the disappearance. Also, the police presented Scott with chances to proclaim his innocence but failed all their ‘tests’. On the first night of Laci being missing, he refuses a polygraph test and continues to do so. He also didn’t ask the police any questions in the days that followed.
Scott’s weird behaviour continued and he did not display any concern for his heavily pregnant wife. He only worried about his car or one of the detectives taking photos of his boat. He was also hesitant to let the authorities into the house when they were able to get a warrant. If anything, he was more concerned about protecting himself than telling the police what he knew.
Nancy Grace Weighs In
The media were quick to jump on the case as a pregnant woman is incredibly newsworthy. However, things started to take a turn the press started camping outside the house. They sunk their hooks into him every time he left the house. The police and lawyers started to use whatever press there was to leak information. Such inquiries include rumours that Laci’s murder involved a satanic cult. This also included Scott hiding a mistress from his wife. They did this to try and sway the people’s opinions on the case. Even Nancy Grace weighed in.
The public eventually caught on that Scott was acting aloof. Laci’s mother, stepfather, and brother spoke to the media with tears in their eyes. Meanwhile, her husband continues to proclaim innocence. However, the Rochas supported Peterson.
While the family didn’t believe Scott had anything to do with his wife and unborn son’s disappearance, the public had very different views. On New Years Eve 2002, a public vigil is held for Laci and her son. However, Peterson’s facade starts to come unstuck when two photos surfaced.
The Incriminating Photos
The first is him crouching down to put a candle down with his niece and smiling. The second is him talking to people at the same event and laughing. These two images haunted him throughout the trial.
Scott’s lover is told his wife died. However, at the time Scott told her this, Laci is alive. When this little fact became known to the police, they found it to be similar to him confessing to a premeditated murder.
Mistress Joins Police Quest To Bring Lover Down
Amber joined the police in their question for answers into Laci’s disappearance after seeing a newspaper article. She rang a tip line to give information. She also secretly records conversations with Scott. One of them include one where he claimed to be in Paris with friends when he was actually at his missing wife’s vigil.
What made makes Frey such a surprise is she went to the police with information. Scott, the Rochas, and the Petersons had no idea the cops knew of his affair or that the conversations were being recorded.
In the middle of January 2003, The National Enquirer received an incriminating photo of Amber and Scott together which the police became aware of.
The Press Conference
In a press conference, Frey revealed that Scott Peterson had informed her that he was single. It was this event that saw the Rochas turn on him. A few weeks later, Scott did a Good Morning America interview with Diane Sawyer that ended in disaster. He lies to the journalist about telling the police of his affair when his wife disappeared. He also claims his marriage is doing fine, when it’s not. Nancy Grace flew into a fit of rage when he also said that Laci had known of his affair and was ‘okay with it’. What makes the situation worse, is Peterson referring to his wife in past tense.
In April, two mutilated bodies are found by locals. One of the corpses is a woman’s torso while another is an infant’s. DNA testing is done and reveal the bodies to be Laci and Conner.
On April 18, Scott is arrested. He receives charges a few days later on April 21st with two counts of murder. Conner, despite not having taken a breath by the time of his mother’s death is considered a homicide victim. Laci and Connor’s deaths at the hands of their husband and father prompted President George W Bush to sign the Unborn Victims of Violence Act or as it became known ‘Laci and Conner’s Law’.
Laci’s family wanted Scott to die for what he did to Laci and Conner and sought the death penalty. In November 2004, Scott Peterson is convicted of the first-degree murder of Laci. He also receives the conviction of second-degree murder of Conner. In March 2005, he was sentenced to death and is still currently sitting on death row.