Judge denies Scott Peterson’s bid for new trial

Posted at 11:49 AM, December 2, 2022 and last updated 3:08 PM, July 7, 2023

By Emily Kean

SAN FRANCISCO (Court TV) – Scott Peterson is not getting a new trial.

Nearly 20 years after Laci Peterson first disappeared on Christmas Eve, Judge Anne-Christine Massullo has ruled that Laci’s husband, Scott, will remain behind bars.


27-year-old Laci was 8 months pregnant when she was last seen in the couple’s hometown of Modesto, California. Scott maintains he saw Laci before he left to go fishing on San Francisco Bay on Dec. 24, 2002 and that when he got home, she was gone.

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Four months later, Laci’s remains and those of her unborn son, Conner, washed ashore near Berkley Marina where Scott had gone fishing.

L to R: Laci Peterson, Scott Peterson (FILE)

Scott Peterson was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder on November 12, 2004. He was sentenced to death on December 15, 2004; however, the California Supreme Court overturned his death sentence in October 2020. He’s now serving a sentence of life without parole at Mule Creek State Prison.

Why a new trial was a possibility

The California Supreme Court had ordered that Scott Peterson be granted a hearing to determine if should be get a new trial because of allegations of juror misconduct by Richelle Nice.

Nice was an alternate juror known as “Strawberry Shortcake” because of her dyed red hair.  She joined the main panel during deliberations and voted to convict Scott Peterson for the deaths of Laci and Conner.

WATCH: What Would A New Trial For Scott Peterson Look Like?

This Oct. 21, 2022, photo provided by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shows Scott Peterson. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via AP)

The issues at hand were: 

  • Nice lied on her juror questionnaire by not disclosing a domestic violence incident in November 2001, in which her boyfriend, Eddie Whiteside, was arrested after a fight. Her initial report was that he was hitting her. In February 2022, she testified he never hit her and she had punched him.
  • Nice also didn’t disclose that she filed for a temporary restraining order against Eddie Whiteside’s ex-girlfriend, Marcella Kinsey, on Nov. 11, 2000, where she wrote that “she (Kinsey) for the last month, has put stress on my unborn child and family.”
  • Nice referred to Conner Peterson as “Little Man” during deliberations. Nice acknowledged she did refer to Conner as “Little Man” during interviews after the verdict, but denied she did so during deliberations. She did say she called her own son “Little Man.”
  • Nice sent letters to Scott Peterson after his conviction: She sent more than 25 letters to Peterson and wrote about how she thought about Laci and Conner “daily” and asked him why he killed them.
  • Nice also misrepresented her financial situation during voir dire.