A Life Not Lived | Laci Peterson
Episode 6

A Life Not Lived | Laci Peterson

When Laci Peterson went missing on Christmas Eve of 2002, the entire country believed her husband Scott was behind it. But could he have actually killed her? Rasha and Yvette discuss the strange case and the phenomenon of ‘trial by media.’

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In The Episode

Trevor Young 00:04

You're listening to Facing Evil, a production of iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are solely those of the individuals participating in the show, and do not represent those of iHeartRadio or Tenderfoot TV. This podcast contains subject matter which may not be suitable for everyone. Listener discretion is advised.

Yvette Gentile 00:27

Hi, everyone, welcome back to Facing Evil from Tenderfoot TV and iHeart Radio. We are your hosts. I'm Yvette Gentile, and

Rasha Pecoraro 00:37

I'm Rasha Pecoraro, and with us always is the amazing the handsome, the talented, Trevor Young.

Trevor Young 00:46


Yvette Gentile 00:47

It sounds like you were his agent.

Rasha Pecoraro 00:49

I know. I'm telling you. I'm the best cheerleader ever. Trevor's the best and I want everyone to know that.

Yvette Gentile 00:56

That he is. I second that.

Trevor Young 00:58

I appreciate it.

Rasha Pecoraro 00:59

Alright, so I have to point out the elephant in the room. I sound a little bit like a phone sex operator right now because because I have a very sexy voice and raspy voice right now. Because I have a sinus infection, not COVID and I did all kinds of things to be ready for you all today for Facing Evil so that I didn't sound like a phone sex operator, but I still feel like I sound like a phone sex operator.

Yvette Gentile 01:28

So do I always sound like a phone sex operator? Because I have a raspy voice pretty much all the time. So what do you say Rash?

Rasha Pecoraro 01:38

There's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with that. I just wanted to tell everyone I sound a little different today. Trevor, why don't you go ahead and take us through today's case.

Archive Clip 01:52

As six members of Lacey's family took turns yelling at Scott, he showed no emotion aside from once shaking his head. No. Did you murder your wife? No, no.

Archival 02:03

Our family is going to make it. We're stronger because of this. And Scott got what he deserved. we've said all along that Scott Peterson did not get a fair trial. Nearly two decades after being convicted of murdering his wife and unborn child, Scott Peterson participated in a hearing Wednesday, currently serving life in prison, Peterson said little.

Trevor Young 02:24

Laci Peterson was a 27 year old woman from Modesto, California, who went missing on Christmas Eve of 2000. Many suspected that her husband Scott Peterson was responsible for her disappearance. The story became a national news sensation, as Scott tried desperately to make a case for his innocence. But then, a few months later, Laci's body was found in the San Francisco Bay, and Scott Peterson was arrested. The trial was highly publicized as the entire country held its breath to see whether or not Scott would be found guilty. The case was especially contentious for a few reasons. One, Laci had been pregnant when she was killed. Two, Scott was in a secret relationship with another woman at the time of Laci's disappearance. And three, there had been no hard evidence against Scott only circumstantial evidence. But despite all of that, Scott was convicted of first degree murder, and then sentenced to death in 2005. And so could Scott have really killed Laci Peterson? What were Scott Peterson's true intentions? And why did so many people, despite having no hard evidence, believe that Scott was guilty?

Yvette Gentile 03:46

You know what this is, I mean, this is such an important case. And I'm, I can't even tell you how eager I am that we're finally talking about it. I remember how crazy I mean, how berserk all the news coverage was on this story. I mean, this case really took us all on a unbelievable wild ride.

Rasha Pecoraro 04:09

Yeah, I couldn't agree more. It, it captured the nation for years and years. I mean, this happened almost 20, well, yeah, it's 20 years ago now. Yeah, right. But for me, it was about a few things. So one, obviously, we all wanted to see and make sure that that Laci got some sort of justice. It was horrific. What happened to her and of course, to her unborn son, Connor. But at the time, I wasn't quite sure how I felt about Scott. I mean, obviously we're gonna get into it and talk about all the different factors and media and all that but yes, we know Scott was a douche, but did he kill his wife and unborn child?

Yvette Gentile 04:51

That is the question right but in all honesty, I was kind of iffy for a while as well, you know, but I think that both of our minds were changed, right, when, like the media just like took over, right. And they kept showing all these things. So Oh, yeah, I think that we were all certain back then, that he was guilty

Rasha Pecoraro 05:17

20 years ago. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. A little different now. Yeah. Yeah. 

Yvette Gentile 05:21

But now, like you said, like, it's been a long time. So I really feel like we can look at it with fresh minds, a different perspective, right and see if it's actually true or not. I don't know. I don't know you guys.

Rasha Pecoraro 05:39

Alright, well, well, let's get into it. So as usual, we want to talk about the people involved. And first up is Laci Peterson. So Trevor, what do we know about her?

Trevor Young 05:51

Yeah, so about Laci. She was born Laci Denise Roccia on May 4th 1975, in Modesto, California. And her family always said that she was incredibly bright, and that she especially loved to work in the garden with plants, and that would actually become a lifelong obsession for her. And then after graduating from Downey High School in 93, Laci went to college at Cal Poly Tech, which is in San Luis Obispo, California. And that is where she met Scott Peterson in 1994. He was working at a restaurant there in San Luis Obispo that Laci and her friends went to all the time together. And I guess he was probably a waiter there or something and he was serving Laci and they were drawn to each other immediately. One of them asked for the others number and they seemingly fell in love that quick.

Yvette Gentile 06:42

I thought it was so sweet that Laci would call her mom and she would like gush about like how fantastic you know, this guy Scott was and how in love they were but to me it it you know, it really seemed like this was the perfect beginning of what you would think would be a perfect love story.

Rasha Pecoraro 07:04

First of all, there's no such thing as perfect. This we know but needless to say, after dating for only a short while, Scott and Laci moved in together and in 1997, after being together for only two years, they got married and moved back to Laci's hometown of Modesto.

Trevor Young 07:24

For the record, I think getting married any earlier than like, I don't know, four or five years is always risky. Well, then you don't know. That's just my opinion.

Rasha Pecoraro 07:32

But Trevor, you're friends with many lesbians, myself included and we get married real real fast.

Trevor Young 07:37

I've heard you that.

Yvette Gentile 07:40

Funny. That is yeah, you're you're you're true. That's true. Well, I mean, but Gino Gino? And I don't mean to interrupt you Rasha. But Gino and I dated for a year and a half. And we were married and we've been married for over 16 years. So I think it just depends.

Rasha Pecoraro 07:56

Yeah, Yvette and Gino. And myself and Vanna are the exception to the rule. I think. Everyone else

Trevor Young 08:03

Right. And so by all accounts, the two started a pretty normal family life. They bought a house there in Modesto. Lacey got a job as a substitute teacher at a nearby school and Scott got a job as a fertilizer salesman. So then Laci went and reconnected with a bunch of her high school classmates. She was hosting dinner parties at the new house, and it seemed like they were having a really nice, simple, perfect little life going on. And then in June of 2002, Laci announced that she was in fact pregnant. 

Rasha Pecoraro 08:37

All right, before we go any further I do want to divulge some necessary behind the scenes information. So much of what I'm about to say was not common knowledge at the time and didn't actually come to light until after the crime. So this supposedly picture perfect family we all know a picture perfect doesn't really exist, but you know what I'm saying? It was not what it appeared to be. So right after Scott and Laci got married in 1997, Scott actually started cheating on Laci with a another unidentified woman back in San Luis Obispo. And then it happened again with someone else when they move back to Modesto. And that person that he started having the affair with will be a very important character in this story. A woman named Amber Frey.

Trevor Young 09:25

Yeah, so apparently, Scott met Amber Frey in November of 2002. While his wife was pretty well at this point into her third trimester of pregnancy. And Amber was just a 23 year old, single mother. She was a massage therapist, and Scott met her and then lied to her. He told her he was single.

Rasha Pecoraro 09:46

Of course he did.

Trevor Young 09:46

Amber had no knowledge of his marriage to Laci until just a month later, in December of 2002. Scott decides to change his story to Amber and then he tells her that he actually used to have a wife but that he was recently widowed, and this would be his first Christmas without his dearest wife.

Yvette Gentile 10:06

That's just redonkulous. First of all, right? 

Rasha Pecoraro 10:10

I haven't heard that word.

Yvette Gentile 10:11

I'm sorry. It just it matches this story like he, he is a serial cheater, right? That's obvious, you know, and everything that was just said that you both said, he is a serial cheater and a sociopath.

Rasha Pecoraro 10:30

Yeah. And it's like, you have to think about it too, right? Like, this is pre social media, since it's 20 years ago. So it's not like, Amber could look up and see if Scott was married, you know, to somebody, like if she could look it up on social media or whatever. But then for him to actually say that he was widowed, and that it was his first, going to be his first holiday without his wife, you know, when she ends up going missing and eventually murdered, like, yeah, it's, yes. 

Trevor Young 10:57

It's one of many fishy things he does that, you know, later point to his guilt in some way. And of course, this is like one of the fishy things. Obviously, this isn't necessarily an indicator of any specific guilt. But one of the things that does show us about Scott is that he is clearly a liar, like a pathological liar. And he will, like do anything to like, maintain his facade, or to like, keep the lie going, right? Like the fact that he changed it, was really weird, like, Already had a lie. And maybe he got like, found out or something. And he's like, Oh, I can't, you know, be truthful. I have to like, make another lie. 

Rasha Pecoraro 11:34

Yeah. Can't go with that. 

Trevor Young 11:35

So it always makes me wonder when you see him on TV later on, you know, as this case develops, is like, is this just another one of his lies that he's like, too deep into and he doesn't want to back out of it at this point? I don't know. Just something to keep in mind as we keep going.

Yvette Gentile 11:48

Yeah. Okay. So there were a few more notable things that happen leading up to the eventual murder of Laci Peterson. So, Trevor, what were those?

Trevor Young 11:58

Well, in December of 2002, Scott suddenly developed an interest in saltwater fishing. So he spontaneously purchases a boat, a bunch of fishing gear, and goes and acquires a two day fishing license. So meanwhile, the week before Christmas, Laci spent a three day weekend with her parents in Carmel, California. And that was actually the last time they would see Laci. So now we're on December 23rd of 2002. And Scott tells Laci that he's going to be playing golf the next day. And then later that evening, Laci spoke with her mother Sharon on the phone at about 8:30pm. And then that was the last time that anybody would actually hear from or have Laci Peterson. So we do need to take a quick break, but when we come back, we will talk about what happened to Laci.

Rasha Pecoraro 12:56

So let's talk about the day that Laci went missing, Christmas Eve of 2002. So at 9:30am Scott says that he's leaving for a fishing trip, instead of going golfing like he had told Laci that he was going to do the previous day. Laci tells him she's going to walk the dog, go to the grocery store and bake some cookies. Then at 10am, witnesses claimed to have seen Laci walking in Loma Park, which is just a block and a half away from their house.

Yvette Gentile 13:27

Then at 10:30am, one of Laci's neighbors finds their dog Mackenzie, wandering outside of the Peterson home wearing a muddy leash, the neighbor says she returned the dog to their backyard. But another neighbor claims to have seen the dog walking around the neighborhood at 10:45. There was also the mailman who came in the same timeframe. And he says that he put the mail, you know, in the mailbox, and normally Mackenzie would go crazy. But there was no sign of Mackenzie.

Rasha Pecoraro 14:03

No barking dog.

Trevor Young 14:04

It's kind of weird how there's all these differing accounts. You know where the dog is. It's always kind of strange to me, like looking into this case, because I'm not ever really sure who to believe and which witnesses are accurate.

Yvette Gentile 14:17

I know, I know. 

Trevor Young 14:18

But meanwhile, Scott arrives at the Berkeley Marina around 11am That day, and he obtains a launch ticket that verifies he was at the marina at that time, so he actually has an alibi saying that he was supposedly there. And then at 2:15pm. Scott calls Laci and leaves a message saying, "Hey, beautiful, it's 2:15, I'm leaving Berkeley."

Rasha Pecoraro 14:42

So again, another timestamp, right? Yeah. But sometime later in that afternoon, Scott arrives back home to an empty house. So Laci's 1996 Land Rover still in the driveway, but she is absolutely nowhere to be found. Scott takes a shower and washes his clothes alleging that he got wet while fishing.

Trevor Young 15:04

Yep. And then at 5:15pm Scott calls Laci's mother, asking her if she knows where Laci is, he reportedly said Laci's missing to her mother. And then at 5:47pm Laci, stepfather is the one to call 911 to report her missing.

Yvette Gentile 15:22

That always seems so odd to me too, like I Yeah, why did the dad call 911? Why didn't her husband call 911? That doesn't make sense. But ,

Trevor Young 15:30

It's good question. 

Yvette Gentile 15:31

Right. So sometime in the same evening, the police arrive at the Peterson home, and they find Laci's purse in the closet, which is strange. And there's also a phone book open to an ad for a defense lawyer in the kitchen. And this is what's really odd, as Scott appears to be oddly calm throughout this search, like that stoic face that we all have seen. Like, he's not even like showing any type of emotion, or sadness, or I don't know, it's just, don't you guys think that's just really weird?

Rasha Pecoraro 16:12

I think that honestly, I think that's why from the get go, I think that's why everyone thought it might have been Scott, because, 

Yvette Gentile 16:20


Rasha Pecoraro 16:20

He didn't react the way a husband who was missing his nine month pregnant wife should, quote unquote, I'm doing air quotes, should, you know, like, he was so stoic, and I think his family has kind of they've come out and they've like, defended him and said, oh, that's just how he is. And I'm like, Ah, I don't know.

Yvette Gentile 16:39

Yeah, and that, you know, again, you know, everybody reacts to different situations differently. But your wife is eight months pregnant. And you're just not showing one ounce of like, anything? Yeah. You know what I'm saying? Like, sad, mad, like nothing. It's just you don't care.

Trevor Young 17:01

Two things to keep in mind, though, here. You know, the first obviously, is that, you know, his demeanor isn't a direct indicator of any guilt, right? Like, that doesn't actually prove anything .

Rasha Pecoraro 17:12


Yvette Gentile 17:12

Is this true? Is this true? Yep, this is true.

Trevor Young 17:15

And then the other thing to consider too, is like, clearly, he was not super invested in Laci or their life together. We already know at this point that he's been cheating on her with multiple women over the last couple of years. Yep. Again, not to say that that means he did anything. Maybe his demeanor is just like, oh, like, I haven't been in love with my wife for a long time. Yeah, I didn't even really want this kid, you know, so maybe that's the reason he's like, less, you know, upset by all this? I don't know. I'm just like throwing that out there.

Yvette Gentile 17:45

I know. I mean, I understand that. But it's, you know, it's still I think all of us are just like, well show some empathy of some kind. 

Rasha Pecoraro 17:57

But I will say like, kind of piggybacking on what Trevor just said, so like, Yvette and I watched tons and tons of different documentaries, you know, leading up to this, because, you know, we've been working on Facing Evil for quite some time. And this is one of the first cases we were considering doing. And I remember feeling differently about Scott, after watching. I can't, I think this is the one on Hulu, Yvette, please remind me I can't remember. 

Yvette Gentile 18:21

I believe so. Yes, yes. 

Rasha Pecoraro 18:23

But there were so many people that were like, Yeah, Scott was guilty of something. He was guilty of cheating on his wife. And that's what he was trying to hide. So you know, where the public was like, dude, why aren't you you know, more, you know, worried about your wife? Like, he was worried about his other stuff being found out, I think, but yeah, it's all it's all very interesting and heartbreaking and mind boggling.

Yvette Gentile 18:48

That's the interesting thing about this case is like, we've all flip flopped back and forth. Because, you know, we expect him to react a certain way. But then on the other hand, like Trevor just said, we can't, you know, say that he did it just because of the way that he's acting.

Trevor Young 19:05

Yeah, I know. We'll probably get into that more when we get to his trial and verdict and all that. The two last things I wanted to point out before we move forward, is just some of those things that you said they found when they were searching the house Yvette. 

Yvette Gentile 19:18


Trevor Young 19:18

One of those was Laci's purse. I guess the obvious conclusion we can draw there is that Laci probably did not leave the house of her own free will. 

Yvette Gentile 19:27

Right. You would take your purse, right.

Trevor Young 19:30

And then the other thing was the phone book being open to a defense lawyer in the kitchen. What does that mean? There's a couple of ways to interpret it. I think the most obvious way to interpret it is that Scott felt like he needed a lawyer for something coming up soon. What that was, I don't know it could have been a divorce. Yeah, could have been. He knows that Laci's going to be gone soon. And he needs to have his legal situation straightened out. We don't really know. But it's suspicious.

Rasha Pecoraro 19:58

Yeah, it is very suspicious.

Yvette Gentile 20:00

It's all suspicious. 

Rasha Pecoraro 20:01

Very well on Christmas day since Laci went missing the day before on Christmas Eve. A large scale search begins in Modesto. So firefighters searched the area along with helicopters, police on horseback and bikes, canine units, rafts. Basically, this amazing community of Modesto came together on Christmas to search for Laci and there were like something like 900 people away from their families looking for this pregnant missing beautiful human. You know, and there's also a press conference that morning and this is where all you know the the media blitz starts, right. So Detective Al Rotini says that it would be highly out of character for Laci to disappear without notice. Especially leaving without her purse. 

Trevor Young 20:55


Rasha Pecoraro 20:56

Her family offers a $25,000 reward for Laci's safe return.

Trevor Young 21:02

So two days go by, and then on December 27th detectives finally search Scott's fertilizer warehouse. And they bring with them sniffing dogs, which leads investigators to a bathroom in the back of the storage space. And then it also takes them to Scott's aluminum boat, which is stored there. And this is the same boat that he used on his fishing trip. The day that Laci went missing. The dog was not able to pinpoint any specific place on the boat, and nothing was really found. But then on the 28th Investigators widen the search and the reward fund grew to $500,000 half a million dollars. 

Rasha Pecoraro 21:41

Wow That's a lot. 

Trevor Young 21:41

So then there was a candlelight vigil on New Year's Eve at East La Loma park with over 1000 people in attendance, that entire community you were just talking about. And then over the next month, investigators kept expanding the search. But there was still no Laci.

Yvette Gentile 21:57

And during all of this, I mean, Scott desperately was fighting his case. And he was saying that he absolutely had nothing to do with the disappearance of Laci. But then Amber Frey comes forward. And you guys remember Amber Frey. She says at a press conference. And this is where she talked about her romantic relationship with Scott. And she talks about how Scott lied. I mean, obviously lied to her that he wasn't married, when they first met back in November.

Trevor Young 22:31

I also think it's important to note that Frey, at that press conference that we're describing, she revealed that she had been working with the police as early as December 30th of 2002, which is just a couple days after Laci went missing. My understanding is that she saw the news coverage of Laci. And like, Scott was a part of that. And she was like, oh my god, that's that guy I have been dating. 

Rasha Pecoraro 22:54

Like, that's my boyfriend. Right.

Yvette Gentile 22:55

That's yeah.

Trevor Young 22:58

What a horrible way to find out.

Yvette Gentile 22:59

I mean, can you imagine?

Rasha Pecoraro 23:01

I know, I know. I mean, you know, and like, now you couldn't get away with that, because it would be all over, you know, social media, but it had to actually be on television, or she might have had to, like pick up the National Enquirer.

Yvette Gentile 23:12

Right. And I actually think that like it was one of her friends that called and said, hey, isn't this the guy that you're dating? Isn't that your boyfriend? Right?

Rasha Pecoraro 23:23

And then Scott, meanwhile, you know, goes on to have a very odd, in my humble opinion interview with Diane Sawyer to defend himself. And we have a short clip of that here.

Diane Sawyer 23:36

I think everybody sitting at home wants the answer to the same question. Did you murder your wife?

Scott Peterson 23:43

No, no, I did not. And I have absolutely nothing to do with her disappearance. And, you use the word murder. And yeah, that is a possibility. It's not one we're ready to accept and it creeps in my mind late at night.

Rasha Pecoraro 24:03

In the second part of that interview, Scott reveals which I think this to me is one of the, I mean, there's many weird instances in this Diane Sawyer, Scott Peterson interview, but he pointed out to Diane Sawyer that he and Laci had gotten a $250,000 life insurance policy. Like, why is that important? Why did you talk about that?

Trevor Young 24:26

Yeah, I think Scott does a lot of very not smart PR moves for himself throughout this interview. I mean, I don't know maybe his lawyer was like, hey, this information is going to come out anyways, you should get in front of it. It's the only reason he would ever say that. Because it's just like such a stupid thing to reveal if nobody asked about it. I don't.

Yvette Gentile 24:45

Yeah, that makes sense. Trevor.

Rasha Pecoraro 24:46


Yvette Gentile 24:48

Okay, so on February 10th. This is a very intriguing day. It's the day that Laci's family says is her due date. Laci's sister and some of Laci's friends meet for a vigil at East A Loma Park.

Trevor Young 25:04

But that's not all that this day is. It is also Amber Frey's birthday as it turns out. So there's this vigil going on for his missing wife and unborn child, i's also the birthday of his girlfriend that he was cheating on his wife with and Scott decides he would rather be with her. So instead of going to the vigil, he instead buys Amber Frey all these gifts and leaves them for her. He calls her, he doesn't make any sort of attempt to go to this vigil. And again, you know, gives all his attention to amplify, which, once again, a very stupid thing to do. Right now, right? I feel like if you're considered like public enemy number one, you know, the main suspect in this like, don't be doing shit like that.

Rasha Pecoraro 25:51

Yeah, like hashtag douche. Well, eventually, Laci is found. And I have to give a disclaimer and a warning. Now, the details of the discovery of Laci. They're incredibly graphic like I can't even say them. So skip ahead a few minutes if you are sensitive like me, to hearing crime scene details. So, Trevor, if you could take us through it, please.

Trevor Young 26:20

Yeah, so let's talk about when they found Laci. On April 15th, a couple walking their dog in Richmond's Point Isabel Regional Shoreline Park along the coast of the San Francisco Bay, discovered the body of a baby in the water. And the umbilical cord was still attached to the baby's corpse. The torso is still intact, but the rest of the body is essentially decomposed. The cord was torn, as opposed to say cut or severed, as it would be during say a birth procedure. So this is not a natural occurrence. The next day, one mile south of where they found the baby, someone else discovers the headless torso of a recently pregnant woman. And the body is clothed in a maternity bra and beige pants. The limbs of the body are missing also. And according to investigators, the remains are quote in an advanced state of decay and are barely recognizable as a human body.

Rasha Pecoraro 27:23

My stomach is in knots just hearing you say that. And I know all these details, but yeah, it's it's heartbreaking to hear. One other interesting thing is that investigators did not immediately actually determined that it was Laci. So both autopsies were inconclusive as since we've been doing this, we know. I mean, I feel like a lot of these bodies are showing up in water. And a lot of those autopsies are always inconclusive when they're in water. But I guess of course, these bodies were severely decomposed and they actually needed DNA to prove that it was actually Laci. And of course, to no one's surprise, they did confirm that it was Laci three days later. And it was also her infant son whom she had planned to name Connor. 

Trevor Young 28:18

Yeah. Well, as you can imagine, Scott Peterson was quickly arrested that very day. Police found him near a golf course in La Jolla, which is just outside of San Diego. Investigators were a bit shocked to find that Scott had dyed his hair a completely different color. And when they searched his car, they discovered a bunch of strange things in it. Here's a little list. So they found about $15,000 in cash, a bunch of like survival camping gear. They also found 12 Viagra tablets, weirdly, they found several changes of clothes. They found four different cell phones. And then they found two driver's licenses. One was his and then one was his brother's.

Yvette Gentile 29:03

And also I just have to say like, it's so odd to me that he had dress shirts. He had dress shoes. He also, I saw this in a report on television with Amber Frey. He had a map of her house. Like what were you trying to do? You were trying to escape or were you trying to go get her like what exactly was his plan? That's the thing right? 

Rasha Pecoraro 29:28


Yvette Gentile 29:29

I remember reading that Scott's dad tried to explain it away by saying Scott was so freaked out by the media attention that he was literally living like a nomad out of his car. Okay, which I, I can give you that I understand because the media was hounding you 24/7. So I get that you dyed your hair, that you maybe were going ,you know, south to see your family in San Diego. But all that other stuff like why, why the Viagra? You know? Why? Why all these other things, you know, Rasha, we can think about it from our perspective as well, right, just with our family story and our family, you know, being in the media and getting the attention.

Rasha Pecoraro 30:18

It's hard. Yeah. Being related to an accused serial killer. Yeah, it can be a little daunting at times. But I think we're a little different than than Scott, in the sense that we've, we've never held on to that because our mom never let us hold on to that ever. Like that didn't define know who we were. But I can see how Scott would almost have a psychotic break, especially at that time, like you, you couldn't turn the TV on without seeing this story. And I think actually, that's kind of how it was to when, you know, The Black Dahlia case was happening, you know, with George, like, he was on, you know, the cover of every Los Angeles newspaper. And all of those like, well, he wasn't but the case was, you know, so.

Trevor Young 31:01

Yeah, I guess looking at the Scott Peterson case. And you know, how he reacted to this. It kind of like reminded me a little bit of the Gabby Patito case. I know, we've all heard a lot about that recently. But if you remember her boyfriend, Brian Laundry, was the main suspect in her murder. And after he became the curious yeah, for probably having done this, he like just disappeared into the woods, he kind of did something similar to what Scott I think was maybe trying to do, which is like, get all this stuff,

Rasha Pecoraro 31:32

Get out of town.

Trevor Young 31:32

And go off the grid essentially. Right? I don't know if that's true. But it's like, probably what it looked like, right?

Rasha Pecoraro 31:39

It didn't look good.

Trevor Young 31:41

And, you know, obviously, at the end of the day, we don't actually know we don't know what Scott's intentions were, maybe only he knows, maybe only his family knows. But the police, the investigators, they don't really buy whatever his story is. And they take that perspective, the one I said, they thought that the contents of his car suggested he was actually planning on fleeing to Mexico, which of course is just a few miles away from San Diego, where he was.

Rasha Pecoraro 32:04

Right next door. 

Trevor Young 32:05

And so Scott was then charged with one count of first degree murder for Laci, and then another count of second degree murder for Connor, the unborn son. So Scott then has a very crazy, wild trial. That's very highly publicized. And we actually need to take another quick break. But when we come back, we're going to talk about what happened to him and if we actually think he did it.

Rasha Pecoraro 32:33

Alright, so let's talk about Scott's trial. So as we've talked about, this was highly publicized is like an understatement, because this was publicity on crack, right? 

Yvette Gentile 32:47


Rasha Pecoraro 32:47

So on April 21st 2003, of course, Scott Peterson pleaded not guilty to all counts. And the prosecution said they believed that Scott intentionally and deliberately killed Laci on Christmas Eve, but they just don't have a theory on how and I have to say to like, again, about this publicity, like, what I have ingrained in my brain, I have Nancy Grace's face who for those of you who don't know, which I'm sure you do, because you all go to Crime Con you know who Nancy Grace is. But, you know, she was, and I believe she still is an attorney. But she was on every station. She was on Larry King. She was, you know, on CNN, MSNBC, all the shows, saying with her beautiful southern drawl, that Scott Peterson, you know, was absolutely guilty.

Yvette Gentile 33:41

You know, and I'm so glad you brought that up Rasha, because, you know, as we were doing the research for this case, like, going back and looking at all of that stuff that she did, you know, Nancy Grace on CNN and all the other channels. I mean, it was like, it was horrible. She went for him like it felt like it was she went from coming from somewhere else. Like she really hated him. And that created that trial by media.

Trevor Young 34:10

Yeah. And I think the result of all of this, like huge media attention is that, you know, it's so fiery, it's so intense, that they determined that Scott can't actually get a fair trial in that town. 

Rasha Pecoraro 34:23

How could he? 

Trevor Young 34:24

Yeah, so what they end up doing is having to move the trial to San Mateo County. And then the official trial takes place a little bit later, begins officially on June 1st 2004. in Redwood City.

Yvette Gentile 34:38

It just seems like the whole trial came down to what we've been talking about. Scott just seems suspicious. But the actual fact is, there's no real evidence against him. I mean, other than all the other crazy ass stuff that he did, the things that they found in his car. That's still not concrete evidence. Until Amber Frey takes the stand.

Rasha Pecoraro 35:08

Yeah, obviously Amber's what did Scott in but Amber revealed that while working with the police, she recorded nearly every single phone call with Scott. And there were many in total, there were 241 calls, and over 12 hours of audio that were actually submitted into evidence at the trial. And the picture that those you know, audio tapes, paint is, of a man who is not very upset by the disappearance of his wife and unborn child.

Trevor Young 35:39

I think we've known that in a sort of very sort of indirect way. Right? Like we've seen him on TV. We've heard the cops tell us about how he didn't seem very concerned during search. But now we have these phone calls of him talking to Amber. And like, we actually have like real evidence, like coming from his voice. 

Rasha Pecoraro 35:57

12 hours of it. 

Trevor Young 35:58

Yeah, yeah, lots of it. And I think this is really the first time we drop a real picture of who Scott is when the cameras aren't rolling and he thinks he's safe. When he thinks he's, you know, at home talking to, you know, his girlfriend or whatever. So yeah, no more facade. No more like, TV persona that he's been trying to put on.

Yvette Gentile 36:17

That's right. That's right, Trevor, we got the real deal. I mean, that was like, this was the final nail in the coffin. Because even if it didn't prove anything, like you just said, it just made himself look like he is frickin guilty.

Trevor Young 36:33

Yeah, and to be clear, like these calls didn't have anything incriminating necessarily. He didn't. He never said like, I killed my wife. I killed Laci. But again, like you were saying it just like made him look bad, right,

Rasha Pecoraro 36:45

Right. But anyway, the jury deliberated for over a week. And finally, on November 12th, the verdict came in. Scott was found guilty on both counts first degree murder for Laci Peterson and second degree murder for Connor Peterson. And on December 13th, the jury unanimously voted for the penalty of death. Like yes, he was a douche. Does he deserve to die?

Yvette Gentile 37:15

Yeah, no, he doesn't deserve to die. Because there's no concrete evidence. There's no smoking gun. Right? We all just think he's an asshole.

Trevor Young 37:26

Yeah, I feel weird about this one. You know, at some point, you have to separate your own, like emotion from, like, the reality of the situation. And I feel like most of this case was emotion, to be perfectly honest. 

Rasha Pecoraro 37:38


Trevor Young 37:39

And I think one of the biggest factors in that, like emotional response was just the media like we've already been alluding to. So because all of this evidence was circumstantial, you know, I think probably the media did a lot of work to play up all of these things that made him seem more guilty than he actually was. And it created this fiery response, like you were describing coming from Nancy Grace. Yeah. And that was like the same kind of energy that everybody had, everybody on that jury, everybody watching at home. And to me, that's dangerous. Like that's a dangerous way to go about running your justice system. I don't know, trial by media is a term you used earlier. And I think it's a very real thing.

Rasha Pecoraro 38:23

Yeah, it's it is a thing. And I think Amber coming to the stand, I think, pushed the media and all of America in a certain direction, and he was convicted by the media.

Trevor Young 38:35

I'll say Scott's lawyer even talked about this whole trial by media thing during the trial, he kept bringing up the point that just because Scott was a bad person didn't mean that he was actually guilty of murdering his wife, or that he would go so far to do that, right. Cheating does not equate to murder was the point that the lawyer kept making in the trial. And I mean, I think to some degree, like, yeah, I agree with that, like, it is a bit of a jump. It's a bit of a reach. It's just a weird thing. I think the media has a ton of power, and we should never underestimate it.

Yvette Gentile 39:07

Well, as always, I mean, we like to bring the light, you know, to these dark cases. And so there was one positive development in Laci Peterson's case. The deaths of Laci and Connor Peterson led to the passage of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which is also known as the Laci and Connor's Law. Trevor, let us know about this, please.

Trevor Young 39:31

Yeah. So the Act says that under federal law, any person who causes death or injury to an unborn child while in the commission of a crime upon a pregnant woman, will be charged with a separate offense. And what this means is that, like we saw with Scott Peterson, if someone harms or murders a pregnant woman, they will be charged twice, once for the mother, and then once again for the baby.

Rasha Pecoraro 39:57

And I just want to do a little caveat that I do wish that it said pregnant person rather than pregnant woman. But that is how the law is written. I did read one statistic that homicide is actually the leading cause of death for pregnant women. And I think it's absolutely great that we have a law like this in place to ensure justice not only for the pregnant person, but for the unborn child who never had a chance at life.

Yvette Gentile 40:26

Absolutely. Also on April 1st 2004, Laciy's parents, they were in attendance at the White House when President George W. Bush signed the bill into law. So that was a huge day. 

Rasha Pecoraro 40:42

Okay, so one last development in this story that we should probably mention. So as many people in California are aware Governor Gavin Newsom has spent the last few years working to actually end the death penalty in California. So in 2019, Newsom successfully paused all death penalty sentences from being carried out via executive order. That means over 700 inmates on death row are for now, safe from seeing their sentences carried out.

Trevor Young 41:15

Right. And the reason we're telling you this is that one of those people is of course, Scott Peterson. His lawyers have actually been appealing his death sentence for like the last 10 years since 2012, I believe, and following Governor Newsom's Executive Order, Peterson's appeal actually made it through to the California Supreme Court. So on August 24th of 2020, just a couple of years ago, the court upheld his guilty conviction, but they overturned his death sentence. So the new ruling allows the prosecution to ask a new jury to reinstate Peterson's death sentence or allow him to be resentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. So he's got options now that are not the death penalty. And that is where Scott Peterson's case stands as of today.

Rasha Pecoraro 42:07

That leads us to the last segment of the day, our imua, and that's our final message of hope and healing. So today, we want to dedicate our imua to the Ohana or the family of Laci, the roaches. They were robbed of a beautiful, intelligent daughter as well as a grandson Connor.

Yvette Gentile 42:27

It was obvious that their lives were torn apart, but we hope that they find that justice was served. But most importantly, we hope that they find peace and some type of closure. And that future mothers like Laci will get the justice that they also deserve and God willing, they never meet a similar fate.

Rasha Pecoraro 42:52

And we want to do our best to preserve Laci's memory. We don't want to focus on how she died, but on how she lived, how she loved to garden, how she loved her home, her family, her friends. I think this is how we all can move onward and upward. Imua.

Yvette Gentile 43:11


Rasha Pecoraro 43:15

Well, that's our show for today. We'd love to hear what you thought about today's discussion. And if there's a case you'd like for us to cover, find us on social media or email us at facingevilpod@tenderfoot.tv

Yvette Gentile 43:28

Until next time.

Rasha Pecoraro 43:30


Trevor Young 43:59

Facing Evil is a production of iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV. The show is hosted by Rasha Pecoraro and Yvette Gentile. Matt Frederick and Alex Williams are executive producers on behalf of iHeartRadio with producers Trevor Young and Jesse Funk. Donald Albright and Payne Lindsey, are executive producers on behalf of Tenderfoot. TV, alongside producer Tracy Kaplan. Our researcher is Claudia Dafrico. Original Music by Makeup and Vanity Set. 

Find us on social media, or email us at facing evil pod@tenderfoot.tv For more podcasts from I Heart Radio or tenderfoot TV, visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.


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