Scott Peterson heading to trial again

June 6, 2008 7:21:30 PM PDT
It looks like convicted killer Scott Peterson will be going back to trial again for the murder of his pregnant wife Laci. His lawyers argued that his guilt or innocence should be decided again, but this time in civil court.

Scott Peterson still maintains his innocence even though he was convicted five years ago of killing his wife Laci and the fetus she was carrying.

Peterson is now fighting a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Laci's parents, Sharon and Dennis Rocha. Lawyers for the Rochas asked the judge Friday to rule that Scott Peterson is culpable in the murders and therefore liable in the civil lawsuit because of his criminal conviction.

However, Judge Roger Beauchesne said the question of guilt in the civil case should be decided in a full-blown trial. That's because two years ago, Peterson said in a deposition, "I've been wrongfully convicted of killing my family."

Gary Davis represents Dennis Rocha. He was disappointed.

"It's a very hard burden to carry. The court ruled right or wrong. I'm not here to criticize the judge. I respect the judge a lot that there are triable issues to go to court," says Davis.

In the deposition, Peterson declined to answer most of the questions by invoking the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. But aside from maintaining his innocence, Peterson adds, "I love my wife. I love my son. I will always love them. I have always loved them. I should be able to hug them right now. I should be able to hold my son."

Now that the judge has ruled, a trial could begin as early as July 8th.

"One of the interesting aspects of a civil case is that the defendant can be called to the stand," says ABC7 legal analyst Dean Johnson.

Johnson says the public will finally hear from Scott Peterson himself.

"He wants to get up and say in his deposition, 'I didn't kill Laci and Connor,' then he would be subject to cross-examination and that's something people have been waiting for for years," says Johnson.

The Rochas are asking for an unspecified amount of damages. However, the lawsuit is largely symbolic. The Rochas' attorneys say their clients want to make sure Peterson never makes a single dime from selling his story in this high-profile murder case.


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