Peterson to Be Arraigned in Laci's Death - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

04/21/03 Modesto, Calif

Peterson to Be Arraigned in Laci's Death


Arrested because detectives feared he might try to flee the country, Scott Peterson was described by jailers as subdued and courteous as he waited to be arraigned on charges that he murdered his wife and their unborn child.

Alone in a 6-by-9 maximum-security cell in the Stanislaus County jail, Peterson spent the weekend talking to his lawyer and making phone calls, said Kelly Huston, a spokesman for the sheriff's department.

"He has been treated much like any other maximum-security inmate that we have here," Huston told reporters gathered Sunday outside the jail. Peterson, who wore shackles and a belly chain whenever he was taken from his cell, was "rather quiet" and "very courteous" to his jailers, Huston said.

Although authorities said the proceeding could be delayed for a day, Peterson was expected to be arraigned Monday on charges that he killed his wife, Laci Peterson, and their unborn son. Prosecutors have not said if they will seek the death penalty.

Scott Peterson, 30, has maintained that he had nothing to do with his wife's disappearance, and was fishing in San Francisco Bay when she vanished just before Christmas. Last week authorities found the bodies of Laci Peterson and the baby on the shore of the bay.

Investigators had long declined to name Scott Peterson as a suspect, but even before DNA tests identified the bodies, Modesto police arrested Peterson Friday near San Diego because they feared he might flee to Mexico, Modesto Police Chief Roy Wasden said.

When he was arrested, Peterson's naturally dark hair was reddish-blond, he had grown a goatee. He had $10,000 in cash with him in his car, said a law enforcement source who spoke on condition of anonymity. Hours later, investigators learned of the DNA results.

In the jail, Peterson was segregated from other inmates and placed in the jail's maximum security section because of the nature of the charges he faces, and because prisoners have made threats against him, Huston said. The inmates "definitely have some unfavorable opinions of him," the sheriff's spokesman said.

Peterson has declined all interview requests, authorities said. His attorney, Kirk McAllister, talked with Peterson Saturday night, but made no public comment on the case.

In an interview with Time magazine Sunday, Peterson's father, Lee, said "police have just bungled this investigation from day one."

"You have a district attorney calling this a slam-dunk before there's even an arraignment," Scott Peterson's mother, Jackie, told the magazine. "I'm feeling like I'm living in Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union."

"We're grieving for the baby, as Scott is for Laci," Lee Peterson said.

Outside the home that Scott and Laci Peterson once shared, a makeshift shrine of flowers, balloons, candles and cards continued to grow, as local residents spent their Easter Sunday paying their respects to the young woman whose death shocked this sleepy farm town in California's bread basket.

Michelle McKinney hugged her daughter and wiped away tears as she watched her 12-year-old son add a blue and gold teddy bear.

"The baby didn't get a chance to live his life and grow up," said McKinney, 33. "She didn't get a chance to enjoy her baby."

A wooden cross covered with aluminum foil on the Peterson lawn read: "We prayed everyday that Laci and Baby Connor would come home. Now, Laci and Baby Connor are home with the Lord."

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