Defense team examines remains of Peterson, fetus
Prominent forensic scientist leading investigation

Monday, August 11, 2003 Posted: 6:29 PM EDT (2229 GMT)

MARTINEZ, California (CNN) -- Attorneys for Scott Peterson and a team of high-profile forensics specialists were examining the remains of Peterson's wife, Laci, and the couple's unborn son Monday, looking for evidence to clear the defendant in the slayings.

On Friday, Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Al Girolami approved guidelines for the examinations, which he had previously authorized. He told the defense it could take "a reasonable amount of tissue" for study.

Forensic scientist and criminalist Henry Lee was carrying out the examinations, the Contra Costa County coroner's office said.

Lee, 64, is chief emeritus for the Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory in Meriden, where he was director for more than 20 years and handled forensic examinations in many high-profile cases, including those of O.J. Simpson and JonBenet Ramsey.

Lee is also distinguished professor of forensic science at the University of New Haven's Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science.

Mark Geragos, the defense attorney for Scott Peterson, also will participate. The group will have access to the remains from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. [noon to 8 p.m. EDT].

Geragos and the doctors also might visit a DNA laboratory where items from the Petersons' home and from the recovery scenes are stored.

The bodies have been in the custody of the Contra Costa County coroner since shortly after they were discovered in April, having washed ashore from San Francisco Bay near Richmond.

The bodies were found about five miles from where Scott Peterson said he was fishing December 24, the day his 27-year-old wife was last reported seen alive. She was eight months pregnant at the time.

Peterson, 30, has been charged with murder in the two deaths. If convicted, he faces the death penalty. He has pleaded not guilty.

CNN correspondent Rusty Dornin contributed to this report.