Will Scott Peterson get a new trial? Hearing goes ahead after ‘Strawberry Shortcake’ jury fails to reveal history of domestic violence

REDWOOD CITY, California – Convicted murderer By Scott Peterson The chance for a new trial in the murder of his pregnant wife and unborn son 20 years ago hinges on whether a California juror helped put him in jail in 2004 during the trial. The context of worldwide public opinion is biased because she is a victim of domestic violence or not.

Although court documents only identified her as Juror No. 7, Richelle Nice used her name when co-authoring a book about the case with six other jurors. During her ordeal, her dyed red hair made her recognizable and earned her the nickname “Strawberry Shortcake”.

Image of Richelle Nice walking up the stairs at California Superior Court, San Mateo County in Redwood City, California on Friday, February 25, 2022.

Nice stood Friday morning in the Redwood City courtroom at the hearing to determine if Peterson should receive a new trial. Her appearance, under immunity from prosecution, comes at the start of a weeklong hearing focused on whether she lied about her history with domestic violence to be on the jury so she can vote to convict Peterson.

“This hearing is very important,” said Pat Harris, one of Peterson’s attorneys. “This is his chance to prove that she’s done the wrong thing and has to throw the whole thing out.”

VIDEOTAPES: TIME: How the Laci Peterson case unfolded

Nice did not reveal during the jury selection that she sought a restraining order while pregnant in 2000, saying she was “really afraid for her unborn child” because of the threats. from a boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend. She also did not reveal that her boyfriend hit her in 2001 while she was pregnant with another child.

On Friday, Nice said she had no negative feelings towards Peterson before the trial began.

In 2017, she told Modesto Bee that she wasn’t on the jury questionnaire to be put on a jury to “fry Peterson.”

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Nice was acquitted of his testimony in this hearing. She will not face any perjury charges. Peterson’s legal team asked her on Friday to confirm it was her signature on the grand jury questionnaire and that she knew at the time she had to answer truthfully or else she would have to answer. face charges of perjury.

Peterson, from Modesto, was convicted in 2004 of murdering his 27-year-old wife Laci Peterson while she was eight months pregnant with their son, whom the Petersons planned to name Conner. Investigators say on Christmas Eve 2002, Scott Peterson dumped his wife’s body from his fishing boat into the San Francisco Bay.

Peterson was eventually arrested after Amber Frey, a massage therapist living in Fresno, told police they had begun dating a month before Laci Peterson’s death. She said that he told her that his wife was dead. Peterson has maintained his chastity throughout.

Although the state Supreme Court sentenced Peterson to death and asked Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo to decide if Nice spoiled his trial, it said “there are many” other circumstantial evidence incriminating Peterson.”

If Peterson gets a new trial, Harris said they could present new evidence that the thieves were nearby on the day Laci Peterson disappeared, that witnesses saw her alive that day. and her unborn baby is “alive for at least another five to six days”. in an examination of fetal remains.

However, prosecutors said Peterson’s attorneys presented no evidence to support their assertion that he deserved a new trial because Nice had “darker motives” for being present in the case. jury “and essentially a stealth juror.”

Depending on Nice’s testimony on Friday, Peterson’s attorneys plan to bring in witnesses including jurors and the co-author of their book, “We, the Jury.” They also want People magazine’s Johnny Dodd to testify about 17 “extraordinary” letters Nice wrote to Peterson after his conviction and eight letters Peterson wrote to Nice.

VIDEOTAPES: Scott Peterson’s family remains divided over the murder of his pregnant wife Laci Peterson

Two filmmakers who worked on the post-trial television documentary “The Murder of Laci Peterson” will testify that they noticed on Nice’s wall a photograph of a child wearing pajamas that read: “Little man.”

Justin Falconer, a juror before he was discharged from the army, can testify that Nice spoke highly of Conner, calling him “the little man”. Peterson’s attorneys say he will also testify that Nice said she was having financial problems and that they joked about book and movie deals after the trial.

In order to obtain his conviction, Peterson’s lawyers had to show Massullo that Nice had committed misconduct and did so “based on prejudice against Scott’s conviction,” Harris said.

Nice answered “no” to a jury questionnaire when she was asked if she had ever been the victim of a crime or was involved in a lawsuit. She said in a sworn statement that she doesn’t “feel ‘victim’ in the way the law might define that term,” and doesn’t think the injunction is a lawsuit.

Her new attorney has told both prosecutors and defense attorneys that she will invoke her Fifth Amendment rights to resist self-incrimination until she is exonerated from any charges. any prosecution for perjury.

The attorney, Geoffrey Carr, said he insists on immunity to protect his client from what was firmly sworn in last year’s oath of office but where she could defend on a witness stand. .

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“Most of its content is true, but not all, and some of it is a matter of how you interpret the content,” he told The Associated Press. Sometimes “language is more assertive” in oath than in reality.

“I didn’t anticipate the explosions” or “any surprises about what she was going to say,” Carr said. He said he was telling Nice that “her only obligation at this point is to tell the bloody truth.”

Stanislaus County prosecutors are arguing with Peterson’s attorneys about the significance of Nice’s refusal to testify without immunity.

Peterson’s attorneys said in court filings: “The juror’s refusal to cooperate in an investigation of misconduct may clearly demonstrate her bias.”

But prosecutors said that “if Juror Seven exercised her prerogative against self-incriminating … no inference could be made about the credibility of the witness.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Dais Johnston

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