Peterson defense seeks leads to suspects

May 9, 2003 at 5:44 PM
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MODESTO, Calif., May 9 (UPI) -- Scott Peterson's defense team has been pressing its search for the alleged real killer of his wife, Laci, and is anxious to make contact with "one particular young lady" who may have some significant knowledge of the case, lead attorney Mark Geragos said Friday.

Speaking to reporters after a hearing in Modesto, Geragos appealed to members of the public who might have information that could clear Peterson of charges that he murdered his pregnant wife shortly before Christmas and disposed of her body in San Francisco Bay.

"We know there are people out there, specifically one particular young lady, who we believe has some very important information," Geragos said in urging the unidentified woman to contact his office. "We'll do everything possible to keep you out of this, but please provide us with the information."

The 30-year-old Peterson has been held without bail since mid-April when he was arrested at a San Diego golf course just hours before decomposed remains found in San Francisco Bay were identified as those of his missing wife and the full-term fetus she was scheduled to deliver in February.

Peterson could face the death penalty if convicted of murdering Laci and the couple's unborn son, Conner.

Modesto police and prosecutors have said little about the evidence they used to arrest Peterson, who had been considered a possible -- though unnamed -- suspect in Laci's disappearance since shortly after she vanished on the day before Christmas.

A Stanislaus County judge Friday refused to unseal warrants and affidavits used in searches of the couple's suburban home. Prosecutors had sought to block the release on the grounds the investigation was still under way and the publicity could hurt Peterson's chances for a fair trial.

Judge Al Girolami scheduled another hearing on the matter for May 27. Peterson, meanwhile, remains jailed without bail.

Geragos said he, too, was pleased with the judge's ruling because he believed releasing the documents as requested by area media outlets would "compromise the defense's effort to figure out exactly who did this to Laci and Conner."

Geragos, citing rules of courtroom conduct in California, refused to elaborate on the leads he was following.

The prosecution has not discussed its physical evidence in the case and apparently has few, if any, eyewitnesses. They have, however, revealed that Scott Peterson had struck up a romantic relationship with a Fresno woman the month before Laci disappeared.

In addition, the bodies were found in the same area of the bay where Peterson told police he had been fishing on the day Laci disappeared.

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