Scott Peterson murder convictions ordered re-examined

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Laci Peterson

In this undated photo, a pregnant Laci Peterson of Modesto, Calif., shows off her growing belly. With Scott Peterson was convicted of two counts of murder for killing his pregnant wife Laci and her fetus. (Courtesy: The Modesto Bee/AP)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered a second look at Scott Peterson’s conviction for killing his pregnant wife and unborn son, less than two months after it overturned his death penalty.

The court sent the case back to San Mateo County Superior Court to determine whether Peterson should receive a new trial, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The court said a juror committed “prejudicial misconduct” by failing to dislose that she had been involved with other legal proceedings. The juror had filed a lawsuit in 2000 to obtain a restraining order after her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend harassed her while she was pregnant, the Times said.

FILE – In this March 17, 2005 file photo Scott Peterson is escorted by two San Mateo County Sheriff deputies to a waiting van in Redwood City, Calif. The California Supreme Court has overturned the 2005 death sentence for Peterson in the slaying of his pregnant wife. The court says prosecutors may try again for the same sentence if they wish in the high-profile case. It upheld his 2004 conviction of murdering Laci Peterson, who was eight months pregnant with their unborn son. (AP Photo/Justin Sullivan, Pool, File)

The juror said she feared for her unborn child.

Yet when asked as a potential juror whether she had ever been a crime victim or involved in a lawsuit, she answered no, Peterson’s attorneys told the Times.

In a case that garnered worldwide attention, Peterson was convicted in 2004 of first-degree murder of Laci Peterson, 27, who was eight months pregnant. He also was convicted of second-degree murder of his unborn son, Connor.

He has maintained his innocence.

Laci Peterson disappeared on Christmas Eve 2002. Her husband, who was living in Modesto, told police that he had left that morning to go fishing in Berkeley.

Prosecutors contended that Peterson dumped their bodies from his fishing boat into San Francisco Bay, where their bodies washed ashore nearly four months later. They were found a few miles from where Peterson had said he was fishing.

Investigators chased nearly 10,000 tips and considered parolees and convicted sex offenders as possible suspects. Peterson was eventually arrested after Amber Frey, a massage therapist living in Fresno, told police that they had begun dating a month before his wife’s death, but that he had told her his wife was dead.

In August, the state Supreme Court overturned Peterson’s death sentence. The justices cited “significant errors” in jury selection.

The court said potential jurors were improperly dismissed after saying they personally disagreed with the death penalty but would be willing to follow the law and impose it.

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