Laci Peterson: Scott Peterson is again on death row

Image copyright SCOTT PETERSON Image caption More than 13,000 people signed a petition demanding an easier prison sentence for Peterson

It has been 17 years since Scott Peterson was found guilty of murdering his wife Laci and their unborn son, Conner.

It was the third time he faced trial, after first being convicted of killing Laci and then acquitted for a second time after a mistrial.

Now he is serving a second life sentence after he was resentenced to death.

Killer to freedom?

Fourteen jurors took nine hours to find the former fertilizer salesman guilty on 19 counts, of first-degree murder. He was retried and convicted on seven counts in 2006.

The supreme court eventually decided on 13 of those charges.

Now it has been more than a decade since Mr Peterson was last released. He has been living in the San Quentin prison in California’s Golden Gate park since his appeal failed.

The case

He had the right to apply for a new resentencing hearing within the next 18 months, according to state law.

Judge Alfred Atherton on Tuesday resentenced him to death – 24 years after Laci was first reported missing and 13 years after her remains were found on a shoreline in San Francisco Bay.

He was found guilty of 10 counts of murder in the first trial, and five counts in the second.

Image copyright Courtesy of InsideBayArea/JPH Media, LLC Image caption Scott Peterson reacts as he is escorted to the courtroom to hear his new sentence

“I wish that the least amount of time in the possibility of freedom Scott Peterson will serve on death row can be a minimum,” Peterson’s defence attorney Dennis Riordan said outside the courtroom.

“We appeal this on many levels to begin with.”

Victim’s family condemns him

Laci’s family were in court.

“We’re horrified by Scott’s cruelty, and we’re grateful for the justice system,” she said.

Laci’s mother, Sharon Rocha, said the ordeal has been “unbearable”.

“The torture is beyond words,” she said, “and it’s a horrifying, disturbing, repulsive nightmare of shame, and I shudder to think about the children and grandchildren that they are going to have to live with as the consequence of what he did.

“You’re responsible for taking Laci and Connor’s lives, Scott,” she said. “You are responsible for their heartbreak, and you are responsible for their grief.”

But she said she recognised he had been granted a reprieve for one of the most horrific crimes she had ever seen.

“I understand the trouble the court has with a jury of Scott Peterson’s peers not saying he’s a monster. But you can’t be human and not feel,” she said.

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