Excerpts from a two-hour conversation with Sharon Rocha, Laci Peterson's mother


January 22, 2006
The Bee: A lot of people go through life saying, "Someday, I'll write a book"
Rocha: Ron (Grantski, her companion since 1977) has said it since I've known him (laughter).
The Bee: Did you ever say it?
Rocha: No.
The Bee: The media made Laci a larger- than-life person.
Rocha: I wanted people to know Laci as a real person. That was a reason I wanted to write about her. She was more than a picture. There was life before her death.
The Bee: What do you miss about her?
Rocha: Everything. I don't want to go there. It's odd, but when I have really bad days I go to the cemetery. That's what helps.
The Bee: What is your "normal" like now?
Rocha: I haven't found "normal" yet. I'm hoping to soon, now that I've finished with the book. I'm hoping things will change.
The Bee: Elizabeth Smart was found (alive) when Laci was still missing. Did that give you some hope?
Rocha: It did. I knew Laci wasn't coming home alive. I knew that. And I knew Scott was responsible. But I'm a mother. I have to ask. You don't give up hope until there isn't any hope. In the back of your mind, you keep thinking, "Maybe, just maybe."
The Bee: There have been reports of Scott responding to the scholarship fund. (A Web site established by his supporters says he praised Rocha for her contribution.)
Rocha: I don't care what he says. It just doesn't make any difference to me what Scott thinks or feels. He's just a nonissue.
The Bee: If you are around when he comes up for execution, will you go?
Rocha: If it happened today, I would say no. I don't know how I will feel when that time comes; I might change my mind.
The Bee: Are you a supporter of the death penalty?
Rocha: Yes, I've always supported it, especially when it's premeditated.
The Bee: Did prosecutors lay out for you the way the case was going to go?
Rocha: No. We were in the dark just like everyone else. "Bear with us; we know what we're doing," is about as much as we got. I'm sure they would have liked to tell us more. But we were potential witnesses, so they couldn't share it with us. Everybody thinks we know everything, but we learned it in the courtroom just like everyone else did.
The Bee: How much preparation did prosecutors give you before you testified?
Rocha: Very little. I think every one of us felt there was so much more we wanted to say. Laci's friends told me the same thing. You get off the stand and think, "I wanted them to know more things about Laci."
The Bee: Talk about the boat. (As jurors deliberated, defense attorney Mark Geragos parked a boat near the courthouse. It was similar to his client's and held a weighted dummy, apparently to win sympathy after the judge would not allow Geragos to pursue a related theory. But it became a shrine to the victims when people covered the boat with mementos.)
Rocha: I would like to sit Geragos on the stand and ask him about that boat. I think it was absolutely disgusting, cruel and intentional, and it blew up in his face.
The Bee: You were very emotional during the victims' impact statements.
Rocha: I wrote that in February 2003 (more than two years before delivering it) in a letter to Scott that I never mailed.
The Bee: Why not?
Rocha: I was just hoping I would have the opportunity to say it to him. And as it turned out, I did.
The Bee: Do you have contact with the jurors?
Rocha: I'll get e-mail occasionally and I try to respond. They went through a lot, too, along with everyone else.
The Bee: Of all the tributes, do any stick out in your mind?
Rocha: One of the first drawings (of Laci) we received was colored charcoal. I felt so bad because at that time everything was going through the Sund-Carrington Foundation and the card got separated from the picture. So I don't know who did it, but it's an absolutely beautiful picture. I mean, he or she captured her unbelievably. I (framed it and hung it) in one of the rooms so when I open the door, I see her immediately.
The Bee: In the diary given to you after the trial, did it help to read her words?
Rocha: In a sense, it was like I was listening to her voice.
The Bee: Do you still have it?
Rocha: Yes.
The Bee: Do you get it out?
Rocha: No. Too painful.
The Bee: Any last thoughts for our readers?
Rocha: I want to thank everyone who helped. We've had so much support from this community. It's been such a blessing.