MODESTO, Calif. - Modesto residents are reacting to the news of the LA Innocence Project representing Scott Peterson, who was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife more than 20 years ago.
Friends of Laci’s family said they did not want to relive it again. The community has never been the same since the tragedy. Now, the Innocence Project, a legal group dedicated to freeing wrongfully convicted felons, is taking on the case and filing paperwork for a retrial.
Terry Mitchell, who works with Laci’s sister at a salon in Modesto, said he was there when Scott came in for a haircut the day before Laci went missing. He said the family does not talk about it.
"I hope he stays in prison until he rots," Mitchell said.
Other people in the community agreed, and said the case needs to be laid to rest.
"I don’t think he was innocent," said Wayne Quinton. "I just believe they had enough evidence to convict him the first time."
Mitchell said he doesn’t want Scott to get any more attention, and he doesn’t think he will ever be acquitted. "The chances of that are the same chances of hell freezing over," he said.
Following the tragedy, Peterson spoke to media before he was arrested, saying in an interview with KTVU, "I had nothing to do with Laci’s disappearance."
He was initially helping with the search, but after his in-laws found out about his affair, the attention turned to him.
Laci’s body and her son’s fetus was found in April 2003, and Scott was arrested the same day.
The community wrapped their arms around the family with a blood drive in her honor and celebrated her life at a memorial on what would be her 28th birthday in 2003.
Peterson was found guilty in 2004.
"It was heinous, it was unbelievable," Quinton said.
The family members did not want to comment on the potential for retrial or the news of the Innocence Project’s involvement, but many members of the community said they stand behind Laci’s family.