Peterson Makes Court Appearance
Thousands Honor Laci At Sunday Memorial
May 5 (AP) — Scott Peterson was back in court today with a new look and a new effort to make changes concerning his murder trial. Just yesterday, thousands gathered in Modesto to remember Laci Peterson.
Los Angeles defense attorney Mark Geragos says records regarding search warrants and the arrest of accused murderer Scott Peterson should remain sealed.
Geragos says contents of what he calls a voodoo-like investigation may prejudice the defense of his client. Geragos also says his case will go beyond trying to show a reasonable doubt that Peterson killed his wife, Laci Peterson, and unborn son.
Following a brief court hearing today, he said the aim is to prove Peterson's innocence and find out who committed the murder.
Turn Out For Laci Peterson Memorial
It would have been her 28th birthday, brightened by the recent arrival of a baby boy. Instead, thousands of people waited hours Sunday for a memorial service to remember Laci Peterson as a gourmet cook who reveled in the company of friends and family and eagerly awaited her life as a mother.
More than 3,000 mourners, most of whom had never met the young woman, filled the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church to memorialize Peterson and her unborn son, Conner, whose bodies were found along the shore of San Francisco Bay last month.
"Each of them is now roaming the hallways of heaven, hand in hand," said Terri Western, whose daughter grew up with Peterson. "They have already earned their wings, and they are golden."
The nationally televised service reflected the country's fascination with Peterson's story, that of an affable young teacher who police say died at the hands of her husband.
"She is America's daughter," said one mourner.
There was no mention during the service of Scott Peterson, who has been arrested and charged with murdering his wife and unborn son.
But he was not far from the minds of prosecutors. On Monday, Scott Peterson's case resumes with two hearings — one on whether Judge Al Girolami can continue to preside over court action, the other on a motion to unseal search and arrest warrants.
Scott Peterson didn't attend Sunday's service, where in a series of eulogies, family and friends remembered Peterson as a woman who loved cooking and entertaining, and who connected with people naturally and easily.
Her 13-year-old cousin, T.J. Vasquez, remembered her beautiful smile, her help with his homework and volleyball games in the park on Easter Sunday.
"Even though Laci is not with us here today, she will always be in my heart and in my memories," Vasquez said, choking back tears. "Happy birthday, Laci."
Peterson's cousin Addie Hansberry said she spoke with a heavy heart because "we know now Laci is never coming back."
"So many questions and no answers," Hansberry said. "No real answers."
The crowd overflowed the huge church, and many of the mourners ended up watching the service on closed-circuit television. But despite the long wait, mourners said they were glad they attended.
"My daughter just had a baby. I can imagine what the family is going through," said Lisa Maldonado, who drove from San Jose with her husband and two children. "It's made me feel better that I came."
Michael Kerew and his wife, Grace, drove from Los Angeles to attend the service.
The couple live in the Philippines and watched news of Laci's disappearance from the other side of the world. They were visiting family in California over the weekend.
Grace Kerew just had the couple's third child in January.
"My wife just felt a connection with Laci because their babies were supposed to have been born around the same time," Michael Kerew said. "We had to be here."
Peterson was eight months pregnant when she vanished just before Christmas.
Scott Peterson said he was fishing in San Francisco Bay when his wife disappeared, but after the bodies were found he was charged with murder.
He asked to attend the memorial service, a request denied by his jailers. His family members did not attend either.
Outside of the church before the service, two young girls near the front of one line waited to honor Laci Peterson, who served as their substitute teacher.
"She was very easy to love," said Tiffany Collins, 14, as she waited to enter with her friend Angelina Carpenetti, 15.
Peterson was "bright-spirited" and "optimistic," Carpenetti said as she wiped tears from her cheek.
At the Peterson house hours before the memorial service, streams of people toting small children approached the home leaving flowers and balloons. The street was blocked with yellow cones but people parked their cars and walked to the house where they posed for family photos in the front yard.
Yellow ribbons decorated neighbors' trees. "It's been pretty chaotic around here," said neighbor Linda Caudle.
It was a far different scene than a month ago when media swarmed the house day and night, Caudle said. Now, it's just a steady flow of onlookers.
"We're ready for it all to quiet down and be our neighborhood again," Caudle said. "I just can't see how any good can come from walking up and looking at the house. This goes on morning, day and night. It's almost ghoulish."
At the service, Peterson's brother, Brent Rocha, said that his sister would have wanted no sadness on the day of her memorial.
Rocha recalled that at a family funeral a few years ago, Peterson had discussed how she hoped to be remembered.
"When I die I don't want people to be missing me," Rocha remembered his sister as saying. "I want people to be happy."