Testimony to begin in hearing to give Scott Peterson new trial

Testimony in a hearing to determine whether convicted killer Scott Peterson gets a new trial begins Friday – 20 years after his wife and unborn son disappeared only to be found dead on the shores of San Francisco Bay.

At the center of the hearing is Richelle Nice – or juror No. 7 – who was accused by Peterson’s attorneys of being a "stealth juror" because she failed to disclose her history of being a domestic abuse victim in her juror questionnaire. 

Nice agreed to testify after being granted immunity by the prosecution.

The hearing is expected to last a week and may include testimony from other jurors who co-authored a book about the case with Nice. 

Laci Peterson, 27, was killed while 8 months pregnant with a son they planned to name Conner. She disappeared on Christmas Eve 2002 around the time Scott Peterson went fishing at a Berkeley marina -- the same place their bodies later washed ashore.

Scott Peterson was arrested after his mistress, Amber Frey, came forward and disclosed their relationship. A jury convicted him of murder in 2005, and he was sentenced to death. 

The California Supreme Court overturned Scott Peterson’s death sentence in December, finding that potential jurors were excluded from the jury pool after saying they disagreed with the death penalty. 

The Stanislaus County District Attorney’s office opted to not pursue the death penalty again after consulting with Laci Peterson’s family. 

Evan Sernoffsky is an investigative reporter for KTVU. Email Evan at evan.sernoffsky@foxtv.com and follow him on Twitter @EvanSernoffsky