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California prosecutor won't seek death sentence for Scott Peterson

Scott Peterson is led into the Stanislaus County Superior Court on April 21, 2003, for his arraignment for the murder of his wife Laci Peterson and their unborn son. The country district attorney said she won't seek the death penalty after the state supreme court overturned his sentence. File Photo courtesy of the Modesto Bee
Scott Peterson is led into the Stanislaus County Superior Court on April 21, 2003, for his arraignment for the murder of his wife Laci Peterson and their unborn son. The country district attorney said she won't seek the death penalty after the state supreme court overturned his sentence. File Photo courtesy of the Modesto Bee | License Photo

May 29 (UPI) -- A California prosecutor said she won't pursue the death penalty again for Scott Peterson, who was convicted of killing his wife Laci Peterson and their unborn son in 2002.

Peterson, 48, was sentenced to death in 2005 for his wife's death, but the California Supreme Court overturned the punishment in August.

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The court founder errors in the trial judge's jury selection process, including removing potential jurors from the pool because they did not support the death penalty. The court said prosecutors had the option to retry the case and again ask for the death penalty it they wished.

Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager filed a notice Friday saying she won't pursue capital punishment.

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"While the family of Laci and Conner have no doubt that defendant is guilty of these crimes and that his conduct warrants the death penalty ... the family has decided this process is too painful to endure once again," the court filing said.

Fladager asked the court to set a new date for Peterson's sentencing. He'll likely receive life imprisonment without parole.

Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo is expected to rule this year on whether Peterson should receive a new trial on the charges.

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A California jury convicted Scott Peterson in 2004 of first-degree murder for the death of Laci Peterson and second-degree murder for the death of Conner, their unborn sun, in 2002. Prosecutors said he killed them at their Modesto home before dumping their bodies in the San Francisco Bay. They washed ashore months later.

Scott Peterson's lawyers appealed his death sentence in 2012, saying that moving the trial from Modesto to Redwood City wasn't enough to ensure the jury wasn't influenced by local media coverage.

Scott Peterson told police he was fishing on his boat when his 8-month pregnant wife disappeared on Christmas Eve. Prosecutors pointed to a marital affair, financial problems and impending fatherhood as motives for the murders.

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Scott Peterson's girlfriend, Amber Frey, told police about their affair and helped the investigation by recording phone conversations with Scott Peterson.

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