Scott Peterson's family fights for his freedom

When Scott Peterson was found guilty of killing his wife Laci and unborn son Conner 13 years ago, his family began the fight for a new trial.

Now, 13 years later, they believe there's a very good chance that Scott could someday go free. "We'd be very surprised if Scott's conviction isn't overturned" says Scott's sister Janey Peterson.

Peterson's mother Jackie passed away three years ago. The rest of the family take turns making the trip from San Diego to San Quentin at least twice a month to visit Peterson who's on death row.

"We've never doubted for one instant that he's innocent" says Janey Peterson "he didn't have the time to do what he's convicted of doing."

The night before her disappearance Laci Peterson talked with her mother by phone at 8:30 p.m.  Prosecutors believe Peterson somehow killed Laci and his unborn son sometime later that night or the next morning.

Then they believe Peterson transported her body in the back of his pick-up truck to his warehouse, which he used as an office to sell fertilizer.

Then at some point Peterson had to move the body into his 14 foot fishing boat, which prosecutors say he used to dump Laci in the San Francisco Bay. 

Despite an exhaustive search, investigators were unable to find any forensic evidence in the house, warehouse, truck, or boat.

Berkeley appellate attorney Cliff Gardner is part of the state appointed legal team handling Peterson's case.

"No one is good enough to commit the perfect crime where there is no forensic evidence" says Gardner.  "There's no fiber evidence, there's no DNA, there's no blood evidence, there's no murder weapon. There's nothing that ties Scott to this crime."

Prosecutors even admitted in closing arguments at trial that they didn't know exactly how he did it.

"I've been doing this 35 years and I've never seen a case where the prosecutor couldn't prove where it happened, how it happened , or when it happened" says Gardner.

The evidence shows that at 8:40 the morning Laci was reported missing, someone was online at the Peterson home shopping for woman's clothing, and a sunflower umbrella stand.  Just under two hours later, at 10:30 , Scott was logged onto his warehouse computer for 26 minutes sending a holiday greeting to his boss, and looking up how to assemble, a wood working tool.

"According to the state, Scott has killed his wife earlier that morning and she's in the truck outside on a public street, and he's inside on the internet" says Gardner. "That's a psychopath."

Peterson's family believes the jury convicted Scott, in large part,  because of his affair with Amber Fry. More than 12 hours of audio tapes were played at trial of conversations between Peterson and Fry, including one in which Peterson is pretending to be in Paris just before a candlelight vigil for Laci and Conner.

Michael Belmessieri was one of the jurors.  "To say it created a credibility issue is an understatement" says Balmessieri "he wasn't in Paris. He was very casually speaking to his lover on the phone while they're looking for his wife!"

The most damning evidence against Peterson is the fact that Laci and Conner's bodies washed up where Scott says he was fishing.

"That is the probable cause that got him arrested" says Janey Peterson "but that's not sufficient to convict him when his alibi was so widely publicized immediately."

The Peterson family believes Laci was kidnapped while walking her dog, possibly after interrupting a burglary that was reported across the street.

"Anyone who had Laci or who killed Laci knew exactly where to put her" says Gardner who believes the intense media coverage played a role in Peterson's conviction.

For Belmessieri it doesn't matter how, when, or where Peterson killed Laci.

"I don't know how he did it. I just know he did it" says Belmessieri  "If you think Scott Peterson should be released and you think Scott Peterson is innocent you're wrong".

The Peterson case, which has already been the subject of several books and a made for TV movie is now the subject of three new documentaries. Two of the films are still in  production, the third titled "Trial by Fury" makes the case that Peterson could be innocent. It's expected to be released sometime next year.

Peterson's legal team has filed two appeals but doesn't expect a legal resolution in his case for several months or even years.