Panel Discusses Scott Peterson's Arraignment, Rocha Family Reaction
CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Aired April 21, 2003 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARON ROCHA, LACI PETERSON'S MOTHER: In my mind, I keep hearing Laci say to me, Mom, please find me and Connor and bring us home! I'm scared! Please don't leave us out here all alone! I want to come home! Please don't stop looking for us!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, HOST: A mother's agony, gut-wrenching reaction from Laci Peterson's mother the same day that Scott Peterson is officially charged with murdering Laci and their unborn son, Connor. Tonight, the latest on the case against Scott Peterson with Stanislaus County district attorney Jim Brazelton, his office will prosecute Scott Peterson. And Kelly Huston with the Stanislaus County sheriff's department. Plus, Court TV's Nancy Grace, a former prosecutor, the renowned defense attorney Mark Geragos, famed crime scene investigator Dr. Henry Lee and Ted Rowlands of KTVU, covering the Laci Peterson story from the very beginning. They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We begin with Jim Brazelton. He's the Stanislaus County district attorney. He will prosecute this case.
Will you do -- personally prosecute it, Jim?
JAMES BRAZELTON, STANISLAUS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I wish I had the time to do that, but unfortunately, I don't. So I have some very competent and able prosecutors on the staff that will be personally handling the case.
KING: Do you know yet who will be assigned to be the lead prosecutor?
BRAZELTON: We haven't made that decision just yet. We're in the process of sorting through the voluminous amount of paperwork and evidence in the case, and we'll try to fit it to the best prosecutor that we have available.
KING: I know you're not going to tell us your case in advance, but you're a former police officer, so you know about evidence. Can you say that there is a lot of evidence in this case?
BRAZELTON: Well, there are a lot of police reports that have been generated. There is a lot of evidence, yes. And it'll take some time to go through that. And you're right, I can't talk about the details of the case.
KING: The attorney general has said it's a slam dunk. Would you use that characterization?
BRAZELTON: Well, I think the attorney general -- I'm not trying to speak for him, but I think that he was referring to the DNA evidence being a slam dunk, if you will, in the identification of the remains that were removed from the bay. I don't think he was commenting on the case generally.
KING: Would you comment, Jim, on the -- on Scott Peterson's parents, who claim that the police have been trying to discredit people with exculpatory evidence that would favor their son, that the authorities have bungled this case. How would you respond to his parents?
BRAZELTON: Well, I would fully expect that the parents would be supportive of their son. I think any parent would. I am not aware of exactly what they do know or don't know about the evidence involved. I suspect they don't have access to the evidence specifically, any more than anyone else does. And I'm not aware of any exculpatory evidence that's been withheld from them or anybody else.
KING: What is California's law concerning the murdering of a fetus?
BRAZELTON: In California, for death penalty purposes, we would have to prove that it was a viable fetus at the time. And in this case, being close to full-term, I don't believe that to be a factor.
KING: And the -- before we continue, Jim, I want to show another clip there of the very emotional mother of the late Laci Peterson, speaking just a couple of hours ago. Watch, and then we'll have another question or two. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
S. ROCHA: Laci and her unborn child did not deserve to die! They certainly did not deserve to be dumped in the bay and sent to a watery grave, as though their lives were meaningless! Laci meant the world to me! She was my only daughter. She was my best friend! We miss her beautiful smile, her laughter, her love and her kind and loving ways. I miss seeing her and talking to her and hugging her. We've been deprived of meeting and knowing Laci's son, our grandson and nephew.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Jim, will you tell us the process by which a death penalty case is determined? In other words, what -- what are the -- what sets up the fact that says, We will go for the death penalty?
BRAZELTON: Well, there are a number of factors involved. I have a committee in the office of experienced and seasoned prosecutors that will review the evidence. We'll go over all that. We'll take into consideration the family, of course, and we'll also invite the defense to give any input they might have. And then upon going through all that, we'll make a decision as to whether or not we feel that it's a case that is worthy of -- a case -- or death penalty consideration.
KING: Jim, is the victim's family part of that consulting?
BRAZELTON: Well, we always talk to them. Some families are adamantly against the death penalty, and we take that into consideration. It's not totally and finally determinative, but it certainly is something that we listen to.
KING: Many legal types are saying that a change of venue would be granted in this case because of the obvious feelings in Modesto, California. Will you fight that?
BRAZELTON: Yes. We'll oppose any motion to change the venue, for a number of reasons. But one of the reasons why we would fight it would be that the extent of the publicity here is probably not much different than it has been throughout California, as is evidenced by the number of media personnel that have been here for a length of time.
KING: The next event is a bail hearing on May 6. What happens there?
BRAZELTON: Well, the defense will request bail. They will present whatever evidence they want to present, and we will have that same opportunity to argue against the person being released on bail. In a death penalty case, generally, it's a very high standard for the defense to overcome. So I feel very confident that he will be held without bail.
KING: And the pre-trial hearing -- that's May 19, right?
BRAZELTON: The pre-trial -- no, actually, it's a pre-trial -- pre -- I'm sorry -- a pre-preliminary hearing conference. And at that time, I suspect the defense will decide whether or not they have enough evidence or information, discovery, if you will, to proceed to a pre-trial hearing, which date would be set at that time, or it could be continued for another length of time.
KING: Thank you very much, Jim. Always good seeing you. We appreciate you giving us the time. Jim Brazelton, the Stanislaus County district attorney. His office will prosecute. He will not personally prosecute.
We'll meet our panel and get right into it right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROCHA: We searched and searched and searched and still no Laci. I love my daughter so much! I miss her every minute of every day. My heart aches for her and Connor. Without them, there's a huge void in my life. I literally get sick to my stomach when I allow myself to think about what may have happened to them. No parent should ever have to think about the way their child is murdered! In my mind, I keep hearing Laci say to me, Mom, please find me and Connor and bring us home! I'm scared! Please don't leave us out here all alone! I want to come home! Please don't stop looking for us! (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Laci and Connor could no longer wait to be found, so last week, they came to us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Let's welcome our panel. They are, in Modesto, California, Kelly Huston, the spokesman for the Stanislaus County sheriff's department. Also in Modesto is Ted Rowlands, a familiar figure at these cameras, reporter for KTVU-TV, who's been covering this from the get-go. In New York is Nancy Grace, the anchor for Court TV's "Trial Heat" and a former prosecutor, one of our regulars, as is Mark Geragos, the well-known defense attorney. And in New Haven, Dr. Henry Lee, one of the world's foremost forensic scientists, professor of forensics at the University of New Haven, former Connecticut state commissioner of public safety.
Kelly Huston, would it be safe to say that the sheriff's department has a ton of evidence?
KELLY HUSTON, SPOKESMAN, STANISLAUS COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT.: Well, actually, it's the Modesto Police Department's case. Our involvement in the case extends to the custody of Mr. Peterson and how he's going to get through the court system. They have all that evidence over at the police department, have been working directly with the district attorney, who you just interviewed, to sort through all of that, to proceed forward with the case.
KING: So you're the custodians.
HUSTON: Right. Scott is brought into the jail. The municipal police department's the one actually investigating the case.
HUSTON: And the sheriff's department has custody.
KING: And would you describe how he's being held? What are the -- what does his cell look like? Where is he?
HUSTON: He's in our maximum-security tier in our main jail facility, which is right behind me, right behind the court. It is a six-by-nine cement cell built back in the 1950s, with traditional iron bars. He has a metal cot with a mattress, stainless steel sink, and that's it. And he is segregated away from all the other maximum- security inmates along that high maximum-security tier.
KING: Have you spoken to him?
HUSTON: I have.
KING: And what did he -- what did you talk about?
HUSTON: We talked about the tremendous number of requests that have been made to do jailhouse interviews, which he declined yesterday. And we also discussed whether or not he understood what he was going through in the custody environment. He was very apprehensive, still is very apprehensive, and not sure exactly what's happening now, from this point forward. Plus, we had some special concerns with his safety within our jail because of the emotions that have rolled along with this case and some of the inmates in our facility that have nothing to lose with "three strikes" in California. They have made some mention of "taking care of him," so we want to make sure that we take care of him, he's protected, and that he's able to get back and forth from the courts as safely as he can.
KING: Would you describe him as frightened?
HUSTON: I think, initially, he was somewhat frightened, and now he just seems to be apprehensive and not sure what's going on. I can say, though, he has not been a problem for us. He hasn't created any hassles in the jail. He's been almost a model prisoner. So to that regard, we're glad for that because we have other folks on that tier who are real problems for us if they decide they want to act up.
KING: Has he met with the court-appointed attorney yet?
HUSTON: He did. Yesterday morning just after 9:00 AM, he had the opportunity to meet with the public defender, and they worked out the arrangements for today's preliminary -- I'm sorry, his arraignment. And so they have had a meeting once, and he has access to that attorney or whoever is designated from the public defender's office.
KING: Did he say anything to you about guilt or innocence?
HUSTON: He did not. In fact, he has not mentioned that at all. His questions are about the present, what is going to happen to him, who are the people around him and what the process is. He hasn't discussed any of the case with us directly.
KING: And is he happy he is isolated?
HUSTON: I would assume so. Although he hasn't said that, I think he feels satisfied he doesn't have access to the other inmates, especially when we told him some of the incidents that you'll see in the prison system or in jail systems with maximum-security inmates. And like I had mentioned, we have "three strikers" in here who would love to have the notoriety of having done something or have some attachment to this case. So we need to be very careful that he's kept as secure as possible.
KING: And Kelly, one other thing for you. Do they have any fear of harm coming -- of harming himself, do you think?
HUSTON: No. If he had mentioned to us that he intended on hurting himself, we would have him in a different environment, in a suicide watch, as you traditionally hear it. But up to this point, he has not mentioned that, though he has had access to and spoken with our mental health nurse on a couple of occasions. And of course, we're looking at that closely because we want to see if that is a possibility down the road. We're hoping it's not, but we have preparations in case we have to put him in that type of an environment.
KING: Kelly, hang with us. We may have more questions.
Ted Rowlands, what was the arraignment like?
TED ROWLANDS, KTVU-TV: Well, very emotional inside the courtroom, although Scott Peterson maintained his composure, for most part. At one time, he sort of looked like he might break down. But He maintained his composure. In back of him, both sides of the family were in the courtroom. On one side, it was Scott Peterson's family. On the other, it was Laci Rocha's family.
And at one point, Scott's mother got up just before the hearing began and came over and hugged Laci's mother. And I was sitting just behind it. From my perspective, it looked like Sharon Rocha embraced Jackie, as well, although it was a little bit cold. Other reporters saw it differently, saying that it was very chilly, in terms of a reception. But the emotion for a preliminary hearing was really unbelievable, both sides a lot of tears, even before it started.
KING: What was your reaction to the demeanor of the defendant?
ROWLANDS: Well, he walked in, and he never looked at the crowded courtroom. His parents were sitting literally in the front row. If he would have just glanced over, he would have made eye contact with them. But he walked in, he looked straight ahead and then focused to his right, which was away from the courtroom, on the judge. And he sat and listened to her read the charges against him. And in a strong voice, he said he was not guilty.
KING: All right, we'll take a break. The panel will mix it up. Nancy Grace, Mark Geragos and Dr. Henry Lee will chime in. We'll hold Kelly Huston and Ted Rowlands, as well. We'll also be including your phone calls later. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON GRANTSKI, LACI PETERSON'S STEPFATHER: I know all of you would like for us to say something about Scott, but we're not going to do that. We owe it to Laci to let the courts bring the facts out. I'm not going to say anything that's going to jeopardize all the hard work of so many young men and women. I hope I don't have to say that too many times. We started this nightmare with one purpose in mind, to find Laci and bring her home. Well, this is not the way we wanted to bring her home. It will help us to begin the long process of healing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Nancy Grace, are they going to have to prove cause of death? NANCY GRACE, COURT TV: Absolutely not, Larry. They really do not have to prove cause of death or motive. However, this jury may be looking for it. So even though the law books don't require the state to prove it, as a practical matter, it would be better if the state could give the jury that evidence.
KING: Do you agree, Mark?
MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes. They don't have to prove that at all. And the biggest hurdle for the defense is to get it out of Modesto. I mean, notwithstanding what the DA said, there is an enormous amount of hostility there for him -- all those people who came out and were searching for Laci, all those people who either know the family or have a connection to the family. They're going to need to get it out of there.
And then once they do that, they still have an enormous hurdle, "they" being the defense. Even though -- I mean, there's a lot of people who say, you know, you start off presumed innocent. You start off with the state having the burden of proof. The fact of the matter is, in this case, is that there's an enormous coincidence, if you want to call it that, that he has to get over. And that coincidence is that the very place that he put himself, the very kind of alibi, if you will, turns out to be the exact same place where the body is recovered. That is an incredible either coincidence or damning piece of evidence, and he needs to get over that.
KING: Dr. Lee, will forensics be a key in this case?
DR. HENRY LEE, FORENSICS EXPERT: Yes, this case, forensic evidence going to be the key. Does the prosecution have enough evidence to link him positively to the homicide? It's no doubt, you know, the identification of the victim. You don't -- just like Mark and Nancy talk about it, you don't have to prove the cause of death. The manner of the deaths already determine that's a homicide. Now, the next issue, is Scott responsible for the homicide, intent to murder her and the fetus?
GERAGOS: And one of the things that's interesting, that's been reported -- once again, we do so much of this speculating without knowing what the evidence is. But if it's true that when they went in and got that search warrant for his house and they went on his computer and they found what is tide and current information...
KING: A source close to the investigation is saying that, right?
GERAGOS: Is saying that, that they -- and then in response to that, it's also been reported that the police went out and did some sonar of that area and that they had actually spotted something that they thought in the area appeared to be a body...
GRACE: Well, wait a minute! Wait a minute!
GERAGOS: That was maybe tethered down.
GRACE: Mark, I can't believe you're putting that forward! I agree with you that they'll look for that on his computer. But you know darn well what the defense will say!
GERAGOS: Well, the defense...
GRACE: He was going fishing!
GERAGOS: ... is going to say he was going fishing and...
GRACE: That's why he was looking...
GERAGOS: ... he was looking...
GRACE: ... for the tide information!
GERAGOS: Except the...
GRACE: I say, out of the home...
KING: One at a time.
GRACE: ... you got to find DNA.
GERAGOS: If the tide -- well, the DNA, the defense is also going to argue it's her home. Clearly, there's going to be her DNA. The tide and the current information, if what's being reported is, that that's for the specific area where they find something that looks like concrete or something that tethered a body to the ocean floor there, that becomes a damning piece of evidence. If there is nothing there...
GRACE: Well, absolutely!
GERAGOS: ... then no, it -- it exculpates him...
GRACE: But I still...
GERAGOS: ... or he can use the other...
GRACE: ... I still say more than speculation. You got to have more than speculation to make an indictment stick. And I firmly believe if we think back to what they took out of the home, nearly 90 bags of evidence, and some of that went to the serology unit of the crime lab, there will be DNA from that home, not on her razor in the bathtub, not on a knife in the kitchen, by the kitchen sink, no! Maybe on the kitchen floor in quantities that are great enough to be more than just a simple cut on the finger.
KING: Nancy, if they had that, why did they have to wait for the body to be found, then?
GRACE: You know what? There's such a thing as timing. And I think the fact that we know now that they had a GPS tracker on him, as Mark Geragos and I and you discussed many months ago, that we know there were taps on the phone lines, and so forth -- I think they were building their case, and like a spider and a fly, were slowly wrapping it up.
KING: Kelly Huston, I don't want to keep you longer than we have to, so just one other question. Have you run into anyone around there that is presuming him innocent, really?
HUSTON: You know, there's -- there are a few people supportive of Scott, and they are in the minority here. A majority of folks here just enraged, in general, about the case. People are just upset that this woman disappeared here, much like the other cases, unfortunately, you've seen here in Modesto over the last couple of years.
KING: Kelly, thank you so much. We'll be calling on you again. Thanks for being a very good guest.
HUSTON: Thank you, Larry.
KING: Kelly Huston, spokesman for the Stanislaus County sheriff's department.
Ted Rowlands, how -- what is the mood of the community? You're out in it every day.
ROWLANDS: Well, I'll tell you, when they brought Scott Peterson back here to the Stanislaus County jail, it was an amazing scene of a couple hundred folks here, waiting to greet him, if you will, people with signs saying, Murderer. When the second car, the one he was in, pulled into the jail, it had to basically come to a stop. And a few people were grabbing at it and hitting the trunk and screaming things into the car. It was really a crazy sight, for lack of a better term. And it seems to be shifting from despair and depression to anger, to some extent, and that anger is directed at Scott.
KING: Nancy Grace, is the argument for a change of venue warranted?
GRACE: Definitely. I think that if the defense didn't make that argument, they should be booted out of the courthouse. However, think about it. Be careful what you ask, my dear, for you will surely get it. Ask for a change of venue, you might get booted to an even more conservative community. You can't hand-pick, cherry-pick which jurisdiction you go to. So you got to be very careful in that request to a judge.
GERAGOS: That's true. I mean, because you could end up in Simi Valley or somewhere, some place that's just...
GERAGOS: ... your worst nightmare. But in this case, it is such a hotbed right there that I can't imagine that there is virtually any county that wouldn't be better than having it in Stanislaus County, at this point.
KING: Dr. Lee, might they never find cause of death?
LEE: Yes, they probably difficult. Right now, I'm sure they look at microscopically the tissue and toxicological analysis of the specimen to determine whether or not can determine any cause of death. Usually, after you eliminate all the possibility -- let's say, we know it's not a gunshot, we know not a sharp instrument -- then you don't expect to find a large quantity of blood in the house. Of course, you look for those couple of blood spatter or sink trap, you can link something to him.
But don't forget, you know, a computer do provide a lot of information, but tide information (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in fact, look at if he have a history to look at it in the past. So that's not going to become absolute to prove he checked current of the bay area. But I'm sure they're going to look at the anchor weight, which he was proved to purchase that. Also, the large quantity of cement. And any of those links can be crucial.
KING: We'll be right back with Ted Rowlands, Nancy Grace, Mark Geragos and Dr. Henry Lee. We'll be including your phone calls, too. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROCHA: Soon after Laci went missing, I make a promise to her that if she's been harmed, we will seek justice for her and Connor and make sure that that person responsible for their -- for their deaths will be punished. I can only hope that the sound of Laci's voice begging for her life and begging for the life of her unborn child is heard over and over and over again in the mind of that person every day for the rest of his life! The person responsible should be held accountable and punished for the tragedy and devastation forced upon so many of us!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRANTSKI: I feel sorry for Jackie and Lee and their family. They don't deserve this. But Laci and our family didn't either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Ted Rowlands, there were report either yesterday or this morning that the Peterson family had said that there was another body found in the water, a pregnant woman or someone in January. What do you know about that?
ROWLANDS: Well, they -- the Peterson family basically is completely behind Scott and they believe that Laci was a victim of someone else. They believe it may be a serial killer. They point out a couple of cases where pregnant women have been missing, one from Fremont, California, since 1986 that looks apparently almost identical to Laci. They feel that the Modesto Police Department did not pursue all of the leads out there and they pigeon holed all their investigation squarely on Scott. Now, of course, the Modesto Police Department says that's not accurate. They had nothing against Scott Peterson. They didn't care who ended up being the focus of their investigation. They just followed the leads.
But still the Peterson family is 100 percent behind him. So they're looking for different ways to explain all of this.
KING: Yes, Nancy?
GRACE: Larry, I looked that case up -- the Fremont case . It was in 1999, Michelle Chan (ph), allegedly was abducted. Well she turned up a few weeks later and said she had gone off on her own because she needed time alone and then disappeared again. She's never seen or heard from again. So I don't think that that's really comparable to this case.
There was one other case in July, a mother, pregnant and her little boy, about 1-years-old -- 1-year-old -- was found in the San Francisco Bay. But that's the only other one that's even remotely similar.
KING: And nothing turned up in January. What do you make of this attorney switch, Mark? He had an attorney and then he asked for a public defender.
GERAGOS: Yes. Apparently he had Mr. McAllister, who was...
KING: Who was in court today.
GERAGOS: ...well thought of -- who is in court. He's a well thought of criminal defense lawyer there. He had the public defender today.
You can read one of two things. Either McAllister has not solidified his financial arrangement and the public defender has stepped in or there's been some other kind of a breakdown in the attorney-client relationship and the public defender is taking over right now. I don't know that he technically qualifies for the public defender. Each county has their own standards. But in this case...
KING: You have to be some sort of indigent.
GERAGOS: Yes. You have to -- you have to meet certain tests of indigencies because the taxpayers pay for it. In this case it could be just as simple as that he has not solidified his arrangements with Mr. McAllister.
KING: Mr. McAllister did defend him today publicly.
GERAGOS: Yes, and so that leads...
KING: ...and say that's innocent and...
GERAGOS: Yes. It leads me to believe they just haven't finalized their fee agreement.
KING: Nancy Grace, does the prosecution and the police try to put together a scenario wherein they say, Here's what happened in the house?
GRACE: Absolutely, Larry. And again, motive or cause of death is not something the state must prove.
However, when you go in front of a jury and you're giving your opening statement, to give them a puzzle missing a big piece is not very effective. So they will try to the best of their ability to cobble together what they can learn from the forensics, what they can learn off that computer and significantly what he told Amber Frey regarding his dead wife before she was dead and paint a picture to this jury to the best of their knowledge.
KING: I see. Will the house be a big key, Dr. Lee?
LEE: Yes. The house going to be a big key. Both prosecution, defense, going to take advantage of a collection of 600 piece of physical evidence.
And, of course, how many piece of evidence directly linked to Scott? That's an issue. And because both of them live in the same house, so trace evidence such as hair fiber, saliva, those are not going to be a crucial issue in this case. And, of course, you are not going to expect to, say, have fingerprint evidence because both of them live in the house, too.
So what they are looking for is something extraordinary -- let's say they found some blood spatter and -- on the wall, or a bundle of hair and those are so-called -- not telliging (ph) hair, anaging (ph) or kelliging (ph) hair, pulling from the head or they found a piece of skin, for example -- when we searched a house, sometime we look for a piece of tissue or something we can link from some foreign place.
KING: Clarkton, Missouri, hello.
CALLER: Hi. Larry -- Mr. King, this is -- well I was wanting to know: do you think he'll have a possibility of getting out on parole and if he -- if he will flee?
KING: You mean on bail, not parole.
CALLER: Yes. Yes, I'm sorry. On bail.
GERAGOS: On bail. Well, they've put over the bail hearing until May the 6th. One of the reasons they've done is that here in California, first the prosecutor and each county has a committee, as they do up there, will make a decision. We're either going to seek the death penalty or we're not going to seek the death penalty. If they seek the death penalty, he's not going to be eligible for bail.
Technically he's -- in most counties under the bail schedule not eligible for bail in any event. But most judges will make a decision as a theoretical possibility. Practically, I can tell you now they're never going give him bail prior to a preliminary hearing in this case.
GRACE: Well, Mark, if he...
KING: Nancy, does this look -- go ahead, Nancy.
GRACE: If he can't afford a lawyer, and he's seeking indigent counsel, Larry, even if a bail was set, how could he make it?
And I've got a question for you, Larry and for -- for everybody else. Remember when we were listening to the DNA discussion on Friday night and they told us the -- the people from the lab that there was not enough DNA in the home from the hair they took from Laci's brush to make a DNA comparison. So I'm concerned, how will they -- did they find any DNA of Laci's in the home to make the comparison? Such as blood on the...
LEE: I can answer this question. What they used hair brush as a known sample, control sample for Laci Peterson to compare with the body. The hair on the body may be decomposed, not enough nuclear DNA. Definitely going to have enough of a so-called mitochondrial DNA. But mitochondrial is not a positive proof of a linkage.
KING: Let me get a break and we'll come right back with more phone calls for our panel on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DENNIS ROCHA, LACI PETERSON'S FATHER: I would like to start by thanking the Modesto Police Department, attorney general, Department of Justice and the sheriff department for your continuing efforts in finding my daughter. Now we can move forward and now justice can be done. And now I also would like to thank my friends -- my family and my friends and the thousands of people I don't even know. Thank you for searching and praying for my daughter and grandson. Your support has been overwhelming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back. Tyler, Texas, hello.
CALLER: Hi, I was wondering if there is any more information about Scott Peterson's girlfriend.
KING: Do we know anything further? Nancy?
GRACE: I do know that he has been in touch with her even up until about the last ten days. I also know that the authorities have been tapping all of his phones, his cell phone and so forth so whatever he divulged to her, they know.
KING: Baltimore, Maryland, hello. CALLER: Yes, hi. I actually had two questions if possible.
CALLER: One, I wanted to know did Scott Peterson have his wedding ring on when he was arrested? And number two, I've heard conflicting things about the insurance policy. I heard there was one on her but not on him. Could you kind of clear that up for us?
KING: Mark, do you know?
GERAGOS: I know there was a policy and the reports are that it was taken out recently and in the most recent reports are that is was taken out two years ago. In terms of whether or not it was a mutual policy, I can't answer that. And I don't know whether or not he was wearing a wedding ring at the time.
KING: Does anyone know? Do you know, Nancy?
GRACE: Well, actually, I've got the police report right here in my hand. And I noticed he refused to give police his address of business. That they list on here, Larry, the scene of the crime as being his Covena address, the home where he shared -- that he shared with Laci. And as to everything he has on, they describe it very carefully but there's no mention of a wedding ring.
KING: Ted Rowlands, did you notice one?
ROWLANDS: I don't know if was wearing a wedding ring or not. We have been able to substantiate he was carrying in excess of $10,000 with him and his brother's I.D. The family says there is a perfectly good explanation for that but won't go into the specifics surrounding it.
The I.D., they say he was going to play golf at Torrey Pines Golf Course and they require photo identification and he didn't want to give his own I.D. because he didn't want the folks at the pro shop to call the media. So he was using his brother's I.D. That's what the family says.
The other thing, of course, he had his hair blonds. It appears, though, as blonde. He says that it's from swimming, extensive swimming and not that it was intentionally dyed.
GERAGOS: And I suppose the greens fees are pretty expensive there at Torrey Pines.
GRACE: ... never seen somebody's beard get dyed by chlorine like that. I think it's more -- instead of chlorine, it's Clairol. I'm not buying that for a minute.
KING: It doesn't make him a murderer.
GRACE: No. GERAGOS: and most of that evidence, while it's intriguing and it gives us something to talk about is ultimately going to be excluded from evidence in terms of its admissibility or its relevance.
KING: Ted, do you know if he qualified for a public defender?
ROWLANDS: I don't know if he'd qualify for a public defender because I don't know where the line stops. I believe that the financial resources that have been helping him to this point have been in part from the family. In fact, it's been -- we know that Lee and Jackie were sort of spearheading him, hiring a lawyer right off the bat.
Who's been paying that and what Scott's financial responsibilities are -- situation is, I really don't know. And I'd be interested to know is it family or is it just that individual? Because I think that if it is just Scott Peterson he doesn't have a lot of money left.
GERAGOS: It's just Scott Peterson. They don't -- there's no means testing for the family. It would just be the individual himself.
KING: Victoria, British Columbia, hello.
CALLER: Yes, I have two quick questions. I would like to know if luminol tests have been done on the tarp threads, the concrete building supplies in the garage and the yard, the soil and the grass, of course, in the boat, vehicle and the home.
Also, I'd like to know if the divers will try to return to the spot where they thought there was a body, to retrieve any remaining parts?
KING: Dr. Lee?
LEE: Yes. Luminol is a test for -- watch the blood stain. I mean it's a chemical which is commonly used at the scene. Besides luminol, we have many other type of chemicals such as teramethal benzidine. Also toludine.
Those chemicals, I'm sure, they spayed an area of the house looking for any washed blood stain. But luminol can sometime give a false-positive test in a washing machine area, detergent has a brightener, may create a false-positive. Luminol, of course, can only show possibility of the presence of blood, will not (UNINTELLIGIBLE) show proof.
KING: How about, Doctor, searching the water for more evidence?
LEE: Of course they're definitely going to have a mapping search, the whole area, looking for the rest of the body parts, looking for cement block or tarp. And those just somehow you find those evidence, you can prove the tarp recovered from under water -- he purchased those items. I mean that's a -- could be a direct linkage. GERAGOS: And I was going to say, Larry, that when you were talking to the attorney general on Friday, he's indicated somewhat obliquely but pretty much given confirmation of the fact that they have a very -- a location -- a specific location that they're going to that they believe where there is further evidence of what actually happened to her and how she was tethered.
KING: We'll be back with more calls right after these words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
S. ROCHA: ... searched and searched and searched and still no Laci. I love my daughter so much. I miss her every minute of every day. My heart aches for her and Connor. Without them, there is a huge void in my life.
I literally get sick to my stomach when I allow myself to think about what may have happened to them. No parent should ever have to think about the way their child was murdered.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Olathe, Kansas, hello.
CALLER: Hi, my question is for Nancy and Mark. If indeed Scott does end up being represented by a public defender,do you think that would necessarily put him at a disadvantage as opposed to being represented by a high dollar, high profile defense attorney?
GERAGOS: In a death penalty case, as Nancy knows, in a death penalty case the best and the brightest in the public defender's office go to defend these people who are charged with these crimes. And there are special colleges that they go to, there are special seminars that they go to. And they put their life and their soul in it and basically their entire case load is cleared off so that they can focus on these cases.
GRACE: Yes. And you know what else? A death penalty case could break financially a sole practitioner, not a public defender's office. And also they are the ones that normally handle death penalty cases so they've got a lot more experience at it.
LEE: Yes, I agree with both Nancy and Mark. I have a lot of experience work with public defenders offices in major cases. They're very excellent attorney, also with financial resources. They have a lot of resources (UNINTELLIGIBLE) expert.
KING: Ted, do you know the -- do you know any of the public defenders there in Modesto?
ROWLANDS: Well, no. Actually, we had a chance to talk to one the other day who worked with death penalty cases. At that point it didn't look like he was going to be getting the case. We talked generically with him. And then today we met the public defender, and it is not -- he wasn't sure or he didn't articulate it to us whether he was going to take it or give it to one of his public defenders on staff.
So we got a lot to learn about these people. The public defender has been here about 10 years, however, and he is -- seems to have a good reputation.
KING: Mark, supposing this was a scenario. The husband came home. Not even (UNINTELLIGIBLE). The husband comes home. He and his wife get into a vicious fight, arguing, another woman, et cetera...
GERAGOS: Over having an affair.
KING: She falls down, hits her head on the table, she's dead, he panics, takes the body and dumps it in the river. What is that?
GERAGOS: It's anything but capital murder.
KING: It is not premeditated.
GERAGOS: Not premeditated.
GRACE: Oh, Larry, Larry.
GRACE: Because if your wife fell, why wouldn't you call 911? Why wouldn't you help resuscitate her? Why would you attach her feet to a concrete block and throw her in the bay?
KING: Well, wait a minute, you don't know that he did that, do you?
KING: Hold on, hold on, Nancy, you already know he did that?
GRACE: No, I don't know that he did that.
KING: Well, you just said he tied her feet to a concrete block. You just said that.
GRACE: But your scenario was he panics and disposes of the body. Why dispose of the body?
KING: No, no, no, my question was...
LEE: Well, in real life do happen, Larry...
KING: Are you saying people never panic?
GRACE: No, I'm not saying people don't panic. But just put yourself in his shoes. If your wife fell and hit her head even after an argument, I would be willing to put money on it, Larry King, that you would call 911 and try to save her life, not dump her in the San Francisco Bay.
KING: Wait a minute, but the question was, if that's what happened, what would he be charged with?
GERAGOS: If that's what happened?
KING: If that's what happened.
GERAGOS: If that's what happened, you're talking about a...
GERAGOS: Either a -- well, he'd be charged with the murder, and obviously the argument is that it is something other than murder, either a manslaughter or it's an excusable homicide.
KING: Vancouver, British Columbia, last call. Hello.
CALLER: Hi. I have a question for Nancy.
CALLER: Also a comment, because I really like her. She's one tough cookie.
KING: We all like her. She's too mild, though. She's too laid back.
CALLER: Who makes the decision for him to get special treatment, to be separated from the other inmates?
GRACE: Well, I'll tell you why they did that.
KING: It's a wise decision, isn't it?
GRACE: Yes, it's a very wise decision, because some of those inmates, you can just tell by the atmosphere when they pulled him in, everybody had signs out saying "murderer" and so forth -- if he were put in GP, or general population, he'd probably be killed. So the jailer, the person in charge of the jail, separated him away from GP.
KING: Ted Rowlands, why in your opinion -- hold it, Ted. Why is this such a big story?
ROWLANDS: Excuse me?
KING: Why is this story so big everywhere?
ROWLANDS: We've talked about this before. It's just the attraction of the entire package where Laci, people fell in love with her and her smile and they wanted her to come home. And then when they realized that she wasn't coming home, focus turned on Scott. And on this program before, I said that his actions were bizarre. I was scolded for that later by the family. But really, his actions are intriguing if nothing else, just the way he's acted, it sucked people into this and they want to see -- I want to add one little tidbit. We were outside the jail today and two guys were released. They were inside when Scott came out, and we asked them what it was like in there. And they said it was a good thing that he was separated from the other prisoners.
KING: Nancy, he would be harmed, would he not, in the general population with the feeling toward children?
GRACE: Yes, I feel very, very certain that he would be harmed. And you asked, Larry, why was this -- why did the public become riveted to this case. I know why they're riveted now. When you take a look at Laci Peterson, so full of promise, so happy about that baby, and then you try to imagine that beautiful girl was that skeleton that washed up on the rocks? It's very hard to take in.
KING: Does he get a change of venue, Mark?
GERAGOS: Yes. There is no way they're going to try this case in Stanislaus County. I just -- I don't see it. And I think if the trial judge doesn't switch it, the Court of Appeals will order it switched.
KING: And quickly, what happens at the hearing on the 19th?
GERAGOS: Well, the 19th is...
GERAGOS: Right. It is not what he called a pretrial. It's what is called a pre-preliminary hearing. What they will do is they will make -- they will do scheduling. They'll say -- the judge will ask has all the discovery been turned over, tapes, forensic information, all other police reports, and then based upon that, what date can we likely take this to a preliminary hearing.
KING: As all of this approaches, we expect to be seeing all of you. Ted Rowlands in Modesto, Nancy Grace in New York, Mark Geragos here in Los Angeles, and Dr. Henry Lee in New Haven.
And I'll be back to tell you about tomorrow and the rest of the week on LARRY KING LIVE right after this. Don't go away.