D.A. opts for death sentence in Peterson

April 25, 2003 at 10:27 PM
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MODESTO, Calif., April 25 (UPI) -- The death penalty will be on the table when the high-profile murder trial of Scott Peterson begins.

Stanislaus County District Attorney James Brazelton decided Friday his office would seek a death sentence should Peterson be convicted in the Christmas Eve disappearance and slaying of his wife, Laci, and the couple's unborn son, Conner.

There was no immediate comment from Brazelton, however he told the syndicated television program "The John Walsh Show" earlier this week that the Peterson case "cried out" for the death penalty.

Brazelton's office made the announcement after he and a team of prosecutors met Friday with Laci Peterson's grieving family members.

Peterson was arrested last week on charges he murdered Laci Peterson and, in the process, caused the death of Conner, who had been due in February. California law allows for the murder prosecution of someone who knowingly causes the death of a viable fetus in the course of an attack on the expectant mother.

Peterson remains in the Stanislaus County jail pending a bail hearing on May 6. A trial date has not been set, and the possibility remains that the case could be moved to another county because of the extensive publicity the case has received

"If he did the crime, he can do the time. And his time is up on this earth," area resident Naomi Garza told Sacramento television station KCRA Friday as she paid her respects at the sprawling public memorial outside the Peterson's now-vacant home in Modesto.

Brazelton, however, has pointed out that the disappearance of Laci Peterson and her husband's arrest four months later has been a leading story in the media throughout the state and moving the trial may not give the defense the un-opinionated jury pool they desire.

Peterson pleaded innocent at his arraignment on Monday.

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