Dear Mr. Stapley

by Robyn Ungari

Just days before the November 12 anniversary of Scott's conviction, Garth Stapley published his Tales from a Trial on The following is in response to Mr. Stapley's article.  We include it here with permission.

Dear Mr. Stapley,

I take issue with your most recent report titled Tales from A Trial dated November 6, 2005.

Your reputation had preceded you and this article. You were once known as an impartial reporter at the very least and even possibly on the side of Scott Peterson's innocence until proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. This article however clearly shows that you are indeed biased by your obvious choice of words. Have you ever or will you ever expend this much energy looking at all of the reasons why Scott was NOT proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? Will you ever truly look at this case as it must be seen, with an unbiased eye and a desire for the truth and only the truth? I would like to think so but at this point, I am not certain that there are any honorable people left to tell us the truth let alone to seek it out. It appears to be just too easy to go along with the status quo and be a part of the majority opinion. But in the meantime, an innocent young man is sitting on death row for a crime he didn't commit. Aside from that, you have a police department that has invalidated their whole moral compass of protecting and serving and replaced it with getting the crime solved no matter what the cost to the innocent. And now today we have you glorifying the prosecution and their position as if that is the only position that has any merit.

To critique your article, Scott did not only "say" he fished December 24th, he had proof of being there as was shown when he "gave" the receipt to the police after they "asked" for it.

Not once while reading your article did I see the use of such adjectives as "slick", "glib" or "swagger" while describing the prosecution team. These terms were reserved only for Mr. Geragos.

The "big city lawyer" couldn't "overcome the mountain of evidence". I don't suppose you would like to go further and state what this evidence was, would you? The prosecution team certainly couldn't and when it came to the "circumstantial" part of it...even that was sorely lacking as they were never able to make up their minds about any of it. They just threw everything out there to see what would stick. And with the jury that was in place, that wouldn't have been hard to do.

Your reference to the "devastating evidence pummeling Peterson" again begs the question, what evidence??? The affair? Lying about it? That gets you on death row these days?

I especially found revolting your observation that "Peterson's eyes scan the defense table, then light up: more mail from admirers". Was this your personal observation or one that you were "told" about? Just another example of how the "reporting" has become so twisted and sickening. Anything to make this young man look awful still appears to be the goal whether there is a shred of truth to it or not. The "cocky" Peterson is another example of how to twist the truth. Knowing you are innocent of a crime and walking into a courtroom displaying this is not a crime ...yet. Or maybe it is as this word "cocky" was used by every talking head on TV. Perhaps you just decided to take the liberty of using it again?

Lastly, your reference to "A self-absorbed defense expert pompously......................." Who or what gives you the right to say such a thing? This is a medical doctor who went to school for a far longer period of time than you ever have and I might add the prosecution team ever has. When "Harris begins to skewer the condescending doctor", he "squirms", he "pouts" he "wilts". But never once did you say in your article that when he asked for some "slack" that he was ONLY referring to the incorrect date he used in a report. (Just as another expert witness did for the prosecution side)

You obviously shared the prosecutions glee with this doctor's testimony or else you would have been objective and courteous enough to speak of him with the respect he deserves. But then again, it's only the prosecution side of your article that got any respect. The rest of the people you trashed. You make this quite clear when as you are ending your article, you state: "THE PROSECUTORS HAVE BECOME AMERICAN HEROES"........................

I'm sorry Mr. Stapley, I don't share your sentiment and I know I am not alone. You don't get accolades for imprisoning an innocent person and you don't get praise when you don't demand that the police do their jobs without holding back the truth or eliminating it all together as Brocchini did. You have also distorted the truth and made your article reflect either your own personal opinions or you have become the prosecutors' water boy. To say I am disappointed would be putting it mildly. Several of us used to respect your reporting as it could be counted on for truth and accuracy...but obviously that is no longer the case. Why now, after a year since the conviction have you done this? To stir the pot? To contribute more media coverage that might hurt Scott Peterson's appeal? To remind people of what a bad guy he was? What? What in the world could have been your motive for writing this article the way you did? Have you no sense of honor, right and wrong or just shutting up if you have nothing nice to say? If I cared to know what your personal opinions were, I'd make it a point to get to know you personally. And if I cared what the prosecution had to say, I wouldn't be writing you this now. But the truth of the matter is a young man is on death row for a crime he didn't commit. He has been in jail or prison now for more years than I care to remember. He lost his wife and his son and his life. In the meantime, you have a murderer running around free, perhaps still in your own town. and you don't seem to care at all about that.

Maybe your conscience will one day get to you. When and if that ever happens, perhaps you'll write the kind of investigative stories that would seek out the truth of this case. Maybe the truth will matter to you then. And maybe, just maybe, you'll write the story before Scott Peterson is freed and the real killers caught. You have the power as a reporter and a newspaper behind you. Why would it hurt so much to print the truth? Scott Peterson is innocent and doesn't deserve the kind of treatment he has received....not for an affair and lying about it. Check out the facts for yourself...look at the reports on Laci's body and Conner's and where they were found and in what condition...........and then go from there. Be a part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Robyn Ungari