California court order gives Scott Peterson hope for new trial in pregnant wife’s murder

first_imgDNY59/iStockBy BILL HUTCHINSON, ABC News(SAN FRANCISCO) — The California Supreme Court has ordered a review of Scott Peterson’s murder conviction, nearly 16 years after the unfaithful husband was found guilty of killing his pregnant wife and unborn child.The state’s highest court announced on Wednesday that it’s sending Peterson’s case back to the San Mateo County Superior Court to reexamine and determine if it should be overturned, granting a new trial.The state Supreme Court found merit in a petition for habeas corpus Peterson’s lawyers filed in 2015, arguing his conviction should be tossed because one of the jurors who voted in 2004 to convict him failed to disclose she had been the victim of a crime. In the 2000 lawsuit, the juror, identified in court papers at Richelle Nice, alleged her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend “committed acts of violence against her” and prompted “fears for her unborn child.”“Mr. Peterson will be blunt. There is nothing in the record to support the state’s explanation as to why Ms. Nice gave false answers. Nothing,” Peterson’s lawyers argued in their petition.In her voir dire questionnaire, Nice claimed she had never been the victim of a crime, nor involved in a lawsuit.Prosecutors countered that Nice, who went on to publish a book with other jurors on their experiences in the Peterson case, simply made an honest mistake by not realizing her petition for a restraining order was “technically” a lawsuit.Peterson’s family issued a statement Wednesday praising the Supreme Court’s decision.“As the court takes a closer look, we are confident they will find enough evidence to warrant a reversal of Scott’s conviction,” the statement read. “We look forward to Scott being granted a new trial in the coming months.”It is not clear how long the lower court will have to review Peterson’s conviction and decide whether to grant a new trial.The decision by the state Supreme Court comes a little over a month since the same court overturned the death penalty sentence imposed on Peterson, ruling that “the trial court made a series of clear and significant errors in jury selection that, under longstanding United States Supreme Court precedent, undermined Peterson’s right to an impartial jury at the penalty phase.”Peterson, a former fertilizer salesman from the Central California town of Modesto, was tried in San Mateo County near San Francisco after he was granted a change of venue when his lawyers argued he could not get a fair trial in his hometown because of a “lynch-mob mentality” allegedly whipped up by negative media coverage.He was convicted in November 2004 on one count of first-degree murder for killing his wife, Laci Peterson — nearly 8 months pregnant at the time of her death — and one count of second-degree murder for killing their unborn son.One of the key prosecution witnesses to testify against Peterson was his former mistress, Amber Frey, who said Peterson masqueraded as a single person. When Frey, a massage therapist, learned Peterson was being investigated in the disappearance of his wife, she agreed to cooperate with investigators and recorded her phone calls with Peterson in which she confronted him about lying to her about being a widower.“I deserve to understand an explanation of why you told me you lost your wife and this was the first holiday you’d spend without her? That was December 9th you told me this, and now all of a sudden your wife’s missing? Are you kidding me? Did you hear me?” Frey was heard saying in wire-tapped recordings.Peterson, who actively participated in the search for his wife, responded to Frey: “I know you deserve an explanation. And I want to give you one. I, I can’t now. I mean, you don’t understand.”Prior to his arrest, Peterson went on national television to deny involvement in his wife’s disappearance, telling ABC News’ Diane Sawyer that he told his wife about his affair and that he feared she had been murdered.“Yeah, I mean, that is a possibility. It’s not one we’re ready to accept and it creeps into my mind late at night, and early in the morning,” he told Sawyer at the time.Peterson reported his wife missing on Christmas Eve of 2002. Her badly decomposed body and that of her unborn baby were discovered on April 14, 2003, after washing up on the shores of the San Francisco Bay near where Peterson told investigators he had gone fishing on the day his wife vanished.During Peterson’s trial, prosecutors alleged he killed Laci Peterson in their Modesto home and dumped her body in San Francisco Bay.Peterson, who is serving a life sentence at San Quentin State Prison, has maintained his innocence throughout.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Sturridge puts faith in team-mates

first_img “He’s done extremely well. He’s working hard and I’m proud of him as his ‘older brother’ to look at him and see how well he’s done,” Sturridge told LFCTV. “I just hope he continues to work hard and play in the way he has because he’s improving every single day. “He takes it in his stride – he doesn’t get too big-headed, he doesn’t get overly confident with anything. “I take him under my arm when he goes through difficult times as well, but I give him all the credit in the world and I’m really proud of him.” Sterling’s cool finish, sliding the ball past Adrian from Coutinho’s inventive pass, suggested he is developing into a better goalscorer but it was not until Sturridge arrived that Liverpool possessed the threat up front which has been lacking for most of the season. West Ham have not won at Anfield since 1963 but, heading into the game above their hosts, they would have fancied their chances. For that to happen though they needed their big players, ex-Reds Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing and striker Enner Valencia, to be on top form. The former landed flailing forearms on Emre Can and Lazar Markovic in the first half and a high foot on Can which resulted in a booking and an injury which forced Carroll off soon after. Downing was overwhelmed in midfield while Valencia got no joy out of Martin Skrtel. And while Liverpool are unbeaten in seven league matches and have won three in a row for the first time since April, West Ham manager Sam Allardyce sees only problems ahead. Injuries continue to mount as Carroll, Winston Reid and James Collins were added to a list which already includes Carl Jenkinson, Cheikhou Kouyate and James Tomkins, while Diafra Sakho continues to be sidelined while their dispute with Senegal works its way through FIFA’s disciplinary channels. “Our position in the Premier League is virtually safe but we are trying to maintain where we are with a winning mentality,” he said. “We have the FA Cup the week after next so we have to get all these players fit if we are going to maintain the level of results and performances we have been producing up to now.” Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge believes talented team-mates will make it easier for him to continue to score goals as he makes his return from injury. The 25-year-old ended five months of injury frustration with the second in the 2-0 win over West Ham, finding the net with a clinical finish just 12 minutes after coming on as substitute. Playmaker Philippe Coutinho, who laid on the first for Raheem Sterling, returned the ball to the England striker after he had cut in from the right and despite a 153-day absence with thigh and calf problems he produced a brilliant first touch and a devastating second to suggest his predatory instincts have not diminished while he has been away. It was his 37th goal in 53 appearances since joining the club two years ago – a period in which he has had his fair share of injuries. Critics may have suggested many of his 24 goals last season came courtesy of the even more prolific Luis Suarez but now that partnership with the Uruguay international is no more Sturridge hopes he can link up just as effectively with other players. “It was a great feeling to help my team-mates get three points,” he said. “That’s the most important thing – to just be out there and helping the team win games. “It was great play by Coutinho. We have a great relationship in terms of he knows my runs and I know the types of passes he likes to play as well. He makes my job easier. “Once I saw him cut inside I knew the ball would come and it was just a case of getting it under control and hitting the target.” In Sturridge’s absence Sterling has been pressed into the role of central striker, mainly to utilise his blistering pace, and a return of five goals in his last 10 games suggests he has not done too bad a job. He will now drop into a slightly withdrawn position to accommodate Sturridge but is still expected to continue contributing goals. Press Associationlast_img read more

Game 1 rewind: McKnight steals the show

first_imgThe game was supposed to be all about freshman quarterback Matt Barkley. But it was junior running back Joe McKnight who stole the show.McKnight’s tackle-breaking, razzle-dazzle 54-yard touchdown run in the third quarter punctuated his performance as he reminded fans of a certain running back that played here four years ago.That run was the highlight of McKnight’s day, as he led USC with 145 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns in the Trojan’s 56-3 demolition of San Jose State.“The game plan this week had a lot of plays for me. Once I got going they just fed me the ball and gave it to me on the edge or up the middle and I was able to pound it in,” McKnight said.McKnight wasn’t the only running back making noise for the Trojans. Senior Stafon Johnson rushed for USC’s first two touchdowns of the afternoon and redshirt junior Allen Bradford broke through with 53 yards and one touchdown.Overall, USC finished off the game with 342 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns.But even with the running game’s success, everybody’s eyes were on how well No. 7 would play in front of 84,000 fans for the first time in his life.He looked shaky early on, as the first five series for the offense ended with two fumbles and three punts and he only put up 20 passing yards in the first quarter.However, he put quelled any anxiety and nervousness that was felt in the stands with his play over the remaining three quarters. He finished 15-for-19 for 233 yards and one four-yard touchdown to tight-end Rhett Ellison.“It felt slow out there and I was calm. I felt really at home and didn’t feel nervous at all,” Barkley said.Barkley was the first true freshman quarterback to ever start for the Trojans, and coach Pete Carroll was impressed with his demeanor on the field.“Matt Barkley absolutely handled this,” Carroll said. “He was poised and it was no big deal for him. He had a smile on his face and loved every minute of it.”Carroll has had some noteworthy quarterbacks come through in system, including Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart and Mark Sanchez, but he puts Barkley in a whole different category.“We’ve had great football players and great kids play quarterback here and nobody’s been able to do it like he’s done it,” Carroll said.Turning point of the game:When the clock started counting down from 15 minutes left in the second quarter. The Trojans’ offense finally woke up as it scored 28 points in the quarter and put the game to rest.“We had a slow start, which was imaginable,” Carroll said. “We made some penalties and turnovers and that slowed it down. But this turned out just right for us.”Unsung heroes:Nobody got through the offensive line. The unit, which has all five starters back from last year, gave Barkley plenty of time to throw and the running backs plenty of space to run.“There shouldn’t be a question mark with these guys this year,” Offensive Line Coach Pat Ruel said. “I knew we were good enough to control the line of scrimmage and the performed well.”Even though starter Kristofer O’Dowd was out with a shoulder injury, freshman Tyron Smith stepped in at right tackle and provided solid play as the Trojans ran the majority of their plays on that right side.“Once we starting hitting the right side we stayed with it,” Ruel said. “Tyron is a big plus for us, he’s blossoming into a big-time right tackle. He’s going to be an All-American when it’s all done.”Performers other than Barkley and McKnight of the week:Much was made about the whole left at linebacker this year after USC had three linebackers drafted in the NFL. But the group of Chris Galippo, Michael Morgan and Malcolm Smith shut down the Spartans offense as San Jose State gained only 121 yards on offense.“We were talking about how nervous we were before the game because it’s been a while since we’ve been able to have the feeling of knowing you will be contributing a lot and making plays,” Galippo said.Galippo seemed to be everywhere, as he led the team with nine tackles, three of them for a loss. He also forced a fumble and recorded half of a sack.But what seemed most impressive was how the linebackers, and the defense as a whole, played in the first quarter when they were down 3-0 as the offense struggled out of the gate.“I think the entire defense [made a statement], especially with the pressure on us in the first quarter,” Galippo said. “We stepped up and took the ball away twice.”Galippo wasn’t the only linebacker making plays. Freshman Jarvis Jones had five tackles and redshirt freshman Nick Berry had two sacks.But if you’re hoping to see a big bad group like last year, you probably will be disappointed.“We are a different group. The other guys had the intimidation factor; we’re more of an assignment group. But I don’t think the production will drop off,” Galippo said.Quote of the week: Pete Carroll on Matt Barkley: “He’s an outlier, he’s not typical or normal. Who wants to be normal anyways?”last_img read more