KTVU Exclusive: Peterson Letters Reveal Tears And Loss

POSTED: 7:32 AM PST October 30, 2003
UPDATED: 8:23 AM PST October 30, 2003

MODESTO, Calif. -- In jailhouse letters to a friend written in pencil on a simple yellow legal pad, accused double killer Scott Peterson has revealed a world filled with tears and loss.

In one, he wrote: "At night, I have my head buried in a blanket, I don't want the other inmates to see the tears."

Peterson entered the second day of his preliminary hearing Thursday in a Modesto courtroom where his family sits in support in the front rows on one side of the aisle while the family of his slain wife, Laci, sit on the other. He has been charged with Laci's Christmas Eve murder and that of the couple's unborn son, Conner, and faces the death penalty if found guilty.

Since his April arrest, Peterson has been held in the Stanislaus County Jail, in a solitary cell without the possibility of bail. His celebrity status has forced officials to isolate him from the other prisoners for his safety. In a series of letters, exclusively reported by KTVU's Ted Rowlands on Thursday, Peterson has revealed to an unidentified friend his thoughts as the hours have slowly rolled by.

Peterson said he was told that his wife and son's bodies had been positively identified while he sat in the back of a police car as he was being transported back to Modesto after his arrest in San Diego. The partial remains of Laci Peterson and those of the couple's unborn son had been discovered days earlier by dog walkers along the shore of the San Francisco Bay in Richmond. At the time, Scott Peterson was staying in his boyhood home of San Diego.

"I was told that they were gone on the car ride to Modesto by the detectives," he wrote. "I didn't believe...wouldn't believe them. I only knew it was true on the next morning when I saw the paper."

Peterson said he had a hard time dealing with the loss in his small jail cell.

"I am finding it so difficult to grieve for them here," he wrote. "At night, I have my head buried in a blanket, I don't want the other inmates to see the tears."

It was especially hard in the early hours of what would have been Laci's birthday.

"I woke up early today to a crashing cell door, I figured it must be after midnight and therefore Laci's birthday," he wrote. "I lay in this bunk dreaming about her, being able to hold her and Conner. As the morning went on, all I could do was lay here in tears."

As for life in jail, Peterson said the highlight of his day is his shower.

"The highlight of the day was the shower, you get to move around a room that is 8-feet-by-20-feet without chains on. I try to spend as much time there as possible."

He also said he hated the jailhouse food.

"They just brought dinner," he wrote. "It's a green 'liquid' with I think some tiny carrot chunks in it. I think I will have to resort to the commissary bag. I have been hoarding it, rationing it, like I am on 'Survivor.' Please vote me off this island."

For much of Wednesday inside a packed courtroom, FBI lab supervisor Constance Fisher testified about the controversial method of DNA analysis she specializes in that can show a genetic match between a mother and child.

She testified that a one-inch strand of hair found on pliers in the boat did not match Scott Peterson, but did match a swab of DNA taken from the mouth of his mother-in-law, Sharon Rocha.

Defense lawyer Mark Geragos is challenging the admissibility of the testimony, saying the analysis was the subject of a "raging debate" in the scientific community and suggesting that the hair sample may have been contaminated or tampered with by law enforcement.

The technique has not been widely accepted in courts, and it was only ruled admissible once in a California state court, in the case of an accused murderer in San Diego.

With the exception of a brief mention of Laci Peterson's family at the start of the hearing, the 27-year-old substitute teacher's name was never uttered again during the daylong hearing in Stanislaus County Superior Court.

The hearing is expected to last into next week, after which Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Al Girolami will decide if Peterson is tried on two counts of murder that could lead to the death penalty.