Scott Peterson team files motion requesting additional DNA testing, responding to prosecutors

J.R. Stone Image
Wednesday, May 8, 2024
Scott Peterson team files motion requesting additional DNA testing
The LA Innocence Project on behalf of Scott Peterson has requested DNA testing for evidence in the murder case of his wife and unborn child.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Scott Peterson is back in the news. Peterson was convicted in 2004 of killing his wife Laci and their unborn child. A motion was filed Tuesday to allow special DNA testing of possible evidence in the case.

You may remember Peterson's death row conviction was previously overturned and he is now doing life without the possibility of parole. He was denied a new murder trial in 2022. Now though, a group that helps exonerate the wrongly convicted is involved in this case.

This 89-page motion has been filed on behalf of convicted murderer Scott Peterson by the Los Angeles Innocence Project.

The motion is in response to Stanislaus County prosecutors who argued just two weeks ago that there is no need for additional DNA testing relating to the murder of Peterson's wife Laci and unborn baby Connor over 20 years later.

MORE: Prosecutors say Scott Peterson's request for new DNA tests is unnecessary

"This is going to be a tough call for the judge because this is a case that there is a lot of evidence against Scott Peterson but at the same time you want to make sure you get this right," legal analyst Steven Clark said.

Clark has closely followed the Peterson case for many years.

At the very least, the LA Innocence Project would like items from a burnt out van tested with state-of-the-art DNA detection. This includes the testing of the entire bloodied mattress which was found inside the van, not just a sample.

The burnt van was found near the Peterson home the morning after Laci's disappearance.

"The key to the innocence project is, can they establish that Laci Peterson may have still been alive when Scott Peterson went fishing many years ago," Clark said.

TIMELINE: How the Laci Peterson case unfolded

If any of Laci's DNA was to be recovered in the van, that could place her as alive when Peterson went fishing.

Laci and Connor's bodies were found in the San Francisco Bay in April of 2003.

The Innocence Project would also like the duct tape from Laci's pants tested along with a Target bag for any traces of blood or bone fragments associated with crab activity.

The motion argues that there was no forensic evidence implicating Peterson, saying that the pliers found on the Peterson's boat did have Laci's hair on them but an expert had previously concluded they were so rusted, they had not been recently used.

MORE: Scott Peterson murder case returns to court with LA Innocence Project focusing on DNA evidence

Prosecutors argue there was further testing done on evidence in 2013 and 2019.

"The Innocence Project is suggesting, no you haven't," Clark said. "You didn't give all of the evidence to the Peterson defense team and if there is a scintilla of evidence that still needs to be tested to get this right we need to do it and bring our experts in and it needs to be done right away."

The final court hearing scheduled is set for later this month and a judge could rule on the DNA testing at that time.

Prosecutors have already previously outlined in their own motion that Peterson repeatedly lied about his involvement in the two deaths, saying that those lies outweigh the need for any additional testing.

There is also the belief from the Los Angeles Innocence Project that if this state-of-the-art DNA testing is approved, it could help find the DNA of someone else who could have been involved in the case.

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