Juror Richelle Nice discusses the case


Dec. 21, 2004

Court TV Host: Discuss the Peterson trial and verdict with juror Richelle Nice. Welcome, Richelle Nice! Thanks for joining us today!

Richelle Nice: Hello.

Question from JERRY_The_Snowman: Hi Richelle, Happy Holidays: Have you read about all of the things Justin Falconer has said while you were sitting on the case, like book deals were being discussed amongst the jurors, and that you all wanted to come up with a "popular" verdict?

Richelle Nice: No, I have not read or did not read what Justin was saying at the time. It was brought to our attention what Justin was saying at the time of the press interview with Steve Greg and I. Justin was---I liked Justin. He was a nice guy. We started June 1st, and Justin was bumped up off somewhere in the third week. A lot of what Justin saying about the prosecution not doing a great job -- I'd have to agree with that at that time. They were not doing a great job. But he didn't get to see it through the five months that we sat in. So he really didn't get to see the whole trial. So based on popularity, he's way wrong. That I disagree with. And book deals? More power to him. I don't know how much he can say after being on the trial for three weeks. More power to him.

Question from Capt_F: Why did it take your jury so long to convict SP and why did the other jurors walk off during your interview with the press?

Richelle Nice: The first verdict I was not in the deliberating room for the majority of the time. What I'm hearing happen is that Greg ,the former foreman, had 20-plus notebooks, and he wanted to go through page by page and a lot of it....when you're thrown in the deliberating room, you're not given a lot of instructions on how to deliberate so you need to come up with rules, a process of how you're going to do it. For the most part that's what they were trying to establish and by the time me and Dennis were brought in, they had done a lot of deliberating already. We started from scratch with all of the evidence and rules. But, what people have to realize and understand who are not in there, there were 11 people in there who had already deliberated on issues that they did not have to re-deliberate. Only Dennis and I had to go over those issues. And as far as the second question: we were the only three that chose to do it. We went in as a group; we showed unity that we were together, but it's a choice -- they did not have to stay or talk and they chose not to. And I respect all of them for that.

Question from Allison: Richelle, why second degree? Please explain more -- it's the question on many people's minds.

Question from Harriet: Hello Richelle, I disagreed with the split verdict, with Laci & Conner. If it is first degree with Laci, it has to be with Conner as well. Because I think that Conner was the primary cause, because Conner was in Scott's way of freedom.

Richelle Nice: The problem to that is that there wasn't enough evidence or proof to go on and for me to stand up and say and show that he definitely did not want Conner. I do agree with what that person is saying wholeheartedly but the law is the law. And you have to go to the lesser in a situation like that. If I could have stood up and said, this is white and black and everyone else could have seen it that way it would have been wonderful. But it didn't happen that way.

Question from hi: Richelle, when you were in that box, how did Scott Peterson look to you?

Richelle Nice: Scott was Scott. You had to look at him and take him for what he was worth, which was as a manipulator.

Question from theVOID: Have you watched any of the coverage of the trial since you've been able too?

Richelle Nice: I was thinking about that this morning. Very little. I think I was so used to not watching the news that I just don't anymore. (Laughs.) I was a big news person.

Question from Sperry: Richelle, what was the most compelling pieces of evidence for u?

Question from Debie: At what moment did you think "guilty, no doubt?" What piece of evidence?

Richelle Nice: There wasn't just one specific evidence. A lot of it when you're sitting in the courtroom and hear it bit by bit and you see little pieces at a time it's a little bit more difficult. But when you're able to go back into the room and put all the puzzle pieces together, then it just all fits together. There weren't one or two specific things. There were a number of things. And I'll give an example. We had a book of pictures that were taken by the police the night of, and Laci was very meticulous. There's a picture of the spare bedroom, and it was made perfectly. She had folded pillows where they were supposed to be. And if you looked at pictures of their bedroom the comforter was thrown all over the bed. It may not have been significant to others but it was a piece that stood out in my mind.

Question from Mistletoe: Richelle, have you spoken to any of the Rocha family since the trial and if so what did they say?

Richelle Nice: Not yet. But I would like to.

Question from OregonTrialAddict: Do you think Laci knew of Amber?

Richelle Nice: I don't know. I really don't. I believe they got into some kind of argument on the 23rd. I believe that's when it happened. I don't know, of course.

Question from mala: Richelle - thanks for being here. Did it ever get contentious in the jury room?

Richelle Nice: Thanks for having me. Respect, as I said on the show, was one big thing and we followed it. We had heated discussions, but no arguments. Even after heated discussions we would hug. We cried together. It was difficult in there. But we were all very supportive of one another and we all knew how difficult the decision was going to be for all of us. We were there for one another.

Question from emtmedgrl: How do you think SP killed Laci, put her body into his truck, then into the boat, then into the bay without leaving ANY forensic evidence behind?

Richelle Nice: Strangulation. You're not going to leave too much behind. And there was a hair left in the boat. Pliers with the hair on them was an oops for him -- he did not mean to leave them in the boat.

Question from TwinklyTrisha: Richelle..I want to say, you got the verdict right...the sentence right...and you did a FINE job...have you heard about the boat stunt that Geragos pulled, and what do you think?

Richelle Nice: (Laughs) Thanks, and yes I have heard, and I laughed. I would like to see it actually. (Laughs) Cause I heard they put weights on one of his guys. I would like to see it -- it would be comical.

Question from phroggygreen: Have people come up to you and questioned your verdict, or have any been rude to you?

Richelle Nice: Thankfully no one has come up to me and threatened me or questioned my verdict. I have heard that people are doing that to other jurors on the case. There was a story on our local news channel this morning that some of the jurors have been threatened.

Question from NYLawyer: Hi Richelle, as an appellate attorney in NY my only concern about the verdict on appeal is the dismissal of the JD/MD juror - can you tell us what your understanding is as to his dismissal??

Richelle Nice: My understanding to Greg's dismissal is, as I said to an earlier question, Greg had numerous notebooks and he wanted to go page by page. I was not in there so I don't know first heard, this is what I heard. When Greg was not challenged, but asked to maybe speed it up a little bit I guess at that point he did not feel comfortable anymore. He asked himself -- no one pushed or threatened him -- he asked to be removed.

Question from ColoradoSpringsStudent: Richelle: Before juror number 5 (Justin Falconer) was dismissed, the media had been reporting for a few days that he was acting inappropriately, frequently trying to establish a connection with the defense. Was this something you observed?

Richelle Nice: No. I did not. I heard after the trial was over, I heard people saying that I was for the defense and in love with Geragos. I think people read way too much into stuff.

Question from virginian: What are your thoughts about Amber Frey signing the book deal and making it so public right after the verdict?

Richelle Nice: I have no comment on that. It's her deal. I think people need to leave her alone. Whatever she does is what she does.

Question from denicles: Did you dislike or doubt the credibility of M. Geragos at the end of the trial?

Richelle Nice: No, I liked Mark Geragos a lot. "Mr., G." is what I called him. (Laughs) I'm sure he doesn't like me too much anymore. (Laughs) I liked him--he did a good job. I know it sounds crazy.

Question from Harriet: Richelle, Do you stay in contact with the other members of the jury? Have you made a bond with any of them?

Richelle Nice: Of course. And always will.

Question from snookire: What weight did the jury give to the hair/plier evidence?

Richelle Nice: Not too much was put on that because forensically it wasn't like it was a 100% match. I think individually we put our own weight on everything and I put mine on that. I can't speak for everyone else.

Question from emtmedgrl: Don't you think the fact that the MPD didn't follow up on all the leads/tips show that they had tunnel vision from day one?

Richelle Nice: All I have to say to that person is "C'mon now! Let's get a grip and take it easy on the Modesto Police." They followed up on thousand of tips. You have nothing to hide, you don't hide. If you have nothing to run from, you don't run. Tips? O what? Her in black pants and white shirt? She wasn't even found in black and white. Did the kidnappers make her come home and change into something nicer? C'mon now, let's get serious. The Modesto police did a fine job. I would want them to investigate if I had something like this

Question from Loretta: Why did you quit your job to be on the Peterson jury?

Richelle Nice: It's a myth. I did not quit my job to be on this trial. There are legal issues that I'm not allowed to talk about regarding my old job.

Question from cordelia75: How did you try to keep your life normal during the trial?

Richelle Nice: I didn't. I didn't talk about this a lot. Meaning not a lot of people knew I was on this trial. Some knew, some didn't. I have a brother and sister who live elsewhere who did not know I was on this trial. They found out when I went on television.

Question from Justine: Why do you think Scott killed Laci?

Richelle Nice: I don't know. I have no idea. That would be one question I'd want to ask him. Why? Because there is no logical explanation for why.

Question from Tmiasn: Did Mark Geragos talk to you guys right after the penalty verdict, and if so what did he have to say?

Richelle Nice: Nope.

Court TV Host: Were you surprised by that?

Richelle Nice: Actually someone told me yesterday that it was a possibility that he could come and talk to us or have investigators talk to us. I didn't know any of that could happen. After the verdict, we actually didn't speak to anyone but the bailiffs and the head of the news/press conference.

Question from heisguilty: Welcome Richelle. What do you think of the nickname that was given to you by the media, and can you tell us some of the ones you made up for them?

Question from JerseyGirl: Were you offended by the strawberry shortcake nickname?

Richelle Nice: Everyone keeps asking me that. So I'm starting to think Strawberry Shortcake was not a compliment! (Laughs.) So I'm trying to figure out who gave it to me and why. Bay Area news called me "Pinky." So I had a few nicknames and the jurors gave me a couple. And, no, I won't get into the nicknames for the media, but I am definitely a joker and wanted to have fun.

Question from theVOID: Richele I'd like to know if you think celebrating the holidays will be different in anyway now that you've had such a trying season this year, and because the crime itself took place over Christmas?

Richelle Nice: Most definitely. It's already been different.

Question from Lori: Hi Richelle, How is your life now? How has it changed?

Richelle Nice: I appreciate my family much more and appreciate day to day stuff much more. Trust is a big thing that I look at now. Everything will just be so much different.

Question from Amber_no_not_that_one: How did Amber affect the jury?

Question from deano: What did Amber Frey do if anything to convince you Scott killed Laci?

Richelle Nice: I think it just summed it up for us about how much of a manipulator Scott was and really how cold he was. We have to remember that the night of Laci's vigil, when they're supposed to be praying for Laci and Conner's safe return Scott's on the phone romancing Amber telling her that he's in Paris. Doesn't sound like a busy husband to me. She could have been put on hold for however long it took to find Laci. If he was that concerned for his wife and child's return there would have been no Amber calls at all. He wouldn't have cared if she saw him on TV because his main priority should have been Laci and Conner.

Court TV Host: Last week, we spoke to alternate juror Mike Church...and here are some of the things he said about his experience. Someone asked him how the trial changed his life, and he said: Mike Church: I am glad it's over. I don't think this will change my life Just speaking as an alternate, rather than a juror, I would say that everyone, we all were surprised at how exhausting the court process wasAs an alternate I think one of the dominant impressions I had was the feeling of powerlessness. I had no ability to influence the outcome of this trial even though we were as much involved as were the jurors, we had no, in the end, no say, and no way to resolve the emotions generated by the trial. For me, it felt as an alternate, like I had all of the emotional burden of the trial but no way to resolve it.

Richelle Nice: Yes

Court TV Host: And he also said: Mike Church: I'm looking forward to the chance to sit down with the jurors at some point just to talk about the trial and how they reached their decision, something we could not do up until yesterday.

Richelle Nice: Exactly. I was an alternate and a juror so I know both sides. Actually, in the first part I had asked if the alternates could do their own deliberating. And we were told no. But that is an issue, and I feel for the alternates because you just sit there and take in everything just like the rest, and you have to be aware of things at all times, and at the end you have no way to decompress or get anything off your chest. I think to some degree the alternates have it harder than the jurors. That's a lot of pressure to hold.

Question from klaatu: Richelle, I'm concerned that you or one of the other jurors will say something that can be used on appeal, are you aware of the dangers of doing interviews?

Question from lorria: Richelle, were you in any way advised what to say.....or what not to say to the press?

Richelle Nice: Yes, I'm aware. It worries me because I know we weren't given any kind of advice on what to say or not to say. I mean I would hope that anything that I'm saying or anybody else is saying is within the guidelines if there are any. And I would hope that whoever I'm doing an interview with would give me and the other jurors the respect to say that we might be crossing the line, and would just give us the heads up. Again, I am aware of that.

Question from Rach_in_NH: Do you think this trial will haunt you?

Richelle Nice: I don't know if haunt is the right word, but it will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Court TV Host: Thank you so much for being our guest today.

Richelle Nice: Thank you.