Scott Lee Peterson is a white man from San Diego, California, United States. He is the husband of the late Laci Denise Rocha Peterson.
In 2004, Scott was convicted of the first degree-murder of Laci and the second-degree murder of their unborn son Conner Rocha Peterson. When Conner was found on April 13, 2003 at the Point Isabel Regional Shoreline in Richmond, California, his umbilical cord was still attached, a significant cut was on his body and 1.5 loops of nylon tape were were around his neck.
On April 14, 2003, Laci’s torso was found on the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay shore in Richmond. Her head, arms, most of the legs and all of her internal organs except for the uterus were missing while her cervix was intact.
The exact date and cause of Laci’s death were never determined. Here are 13 more things about her husband and murderer:
- He was born at Sharp Hospital in San Diego on October 24, 1972. He was the only child of crate-packaging company owner Lee Arthur Peterson and boutique owner Jacqueline “Jackie” Helen Latham. He has three half-siblings from his father’s first marriage namely Susan Peterson Caudillo, Mark Peterson and Joe Peterson and another half-brother named John Latham from his mother’s previous relationship.
- In 1979, his parents started bringing him along on family golf outings at the Stardust County Club in San Diego. He dreamed of becoming a professional golfer.
- When he was a fifth-grader, he and his family moved to Poway, California. He attended Painted Rock Elementary School in Poway. His teachers appointed him as a school crossing guard ushering younger students across the street before and after school. His father told the San Francisco Chronicle, “It was so much fun to sit and watch him. There’s my little kid directing traffic.”
- When he attended the University of San Diego High School in Linda Vista, San Diego, he played golf and was teammates with Phil Mickerson, who went on to become a successful PGA golfer. In 1990, he enrolled at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona on a partial golf scholarship. He was kicked out of the golf team. He moved to Cuesta College then to California Polytechnic State University, also called Cal Poly, which are both in San Luis Obispo, California. He originally majored in international business but changed it to agricultural business. While studying at Cal Poly, he worked at the Pacific Café, a restaurant in Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo.
- In 1994, he met Laci, a neighbor of one of his Pacific Café co-workers and a Cal Poly student studying ornamental horticulture. She sent him her phone number, he called her and they started dating.
- After Laci’s graduation in 1994, he married her at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort in Avila Valley, San Luis Obispo County.
- In June 1998, he graduated from Cal Poly with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business. He then open The Shack, a sports bar in San Luis Obispo.
- In 2000, he sold The Shack. He and Laci moved to her hometown of Modesto, Stanislaus County, California. In October 2000, the couple bought a three-bedroom, two-bath bungalow house for $177,000 on Covena Avenue in Modesto. She worked as a part-time substitute teacher while he worked as the West Coast representative of Tradecorp U.S.A., a newly founded subsidiary of a Spanish fertilizer company. He was receiving a $5,000 monthly salary before taxes selling fertilizer, irrigation systems, chemical nutrients and other agricultural products to big farms and flower growers mostly in Arizona, California and New Mexico.
- In 2002, Laci became pregnant with their first child they named Conner. She was expected to give birth on February 10, 2003. On November 20, 2002, when his wife was 7 months pregnant, he met Amber Frey, a massage therapist from Fresno, California, who was introduced by a friend. He told Frey that he was single and they started dating. He eventually told Frey that he was married but on December 9, 2002, he told her that he had lost his wife. Laci disappeared from their Modesto home on December 24, 2002.
- On January 17, 2003, it was revealed to the public that he had to other extramarital affairs before dating Frey. His naturally dark brown hair had been dyed blond when he was arrested near a golf course in La Jolla in San Diego on April 18, 2003, the same day he results of DNA tests verified that the bodies found in Richmond were his wife and their unborn son. Police searched his Mercedes-Benz, which he bought using his mother’s name to avoid recognition by the press, and found around $15,000 in cash, 200 sleeping pills, 12 Viagra tablets, four cell phones, survival gear, camping equipment, several clothes, his brother’s driver’s license, his own driver’s license, a dagger, a gun and other miscellaneous items. He pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned on April 21, 2003 before Judge Nancy Ashley in Stanislaus County Superior Court. He was charged with two felony counts of murder with premeditation and special circumstances, namely the first-degree murder of his wife and the second-degree murder of their unborn son.
- His trial started on June 1, 2004 at the San Mateo County Superior Court in San Mateo County, California. Mark Geragos led his defense. The only identified piece of forensic evidence was a single hair stuck to pliers found on his boat and matched through DNA comparison to hair from his wife’s hairbrush. On March 16, 2004, Judge Alfred A. Delucchi sentenced him to death by lethal injection and ordered him to pay $10,000 toward the cost of his wife’s funeral. Delucchi died on February 26, 2008.
- On March 17, 2005, he arrived at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, California. He took a $250,000 life insurance policy out on Laci and a judge ruled that proceeds from it would go to her mother on October 21, 2005. The Fifth District Court of Appeal reaffirmed it on the same day.
- On August 24, 2020, the Supreme Court of California upheld his conviction but overturned his death sentence in a 7-0 decision because his trial judge had died. The court also ordered San Mateo County Superior Court to reexamine his murder convictions because a juror named Richelle Nice “committed prejudicial misconduct by not disclosing her prior involvement with other legal proceedings, including but not limited to being the victim of a crime.”