By Chloe Hooper, CNN
Scott Peterson, convicted of killing his pregnant wife Laci Peterson and her unborn son Conner in 2001, has been resentenced to life in prison, after his original convictions were overturned in 2015.
Peterson, the San Mateo County chief deputy public defender, was resentenced Monday morning in a San Mateo County courtroom, CNN affiliate KPIX reported.
Prosecutors have argued Peterson carried out the horrific crime to pay for a lavish lifestyle.
The former fertilizer salesman claimed in court papers that he was wrongly convicted based on his assertion that he was deaf. Peterson said he needed a cochlear implant and that he could not understand all the conspiracy theories that surrounded his case, like the idea that Laci was strangled and Conner was thrown away.
Prosecutors rejected Peterson’s claims and argued that he deliberately strangled his wife to conceal the fact that she was pregnant. Peterson was convicted in 2002 and was sentenced to death in 2004.
Laci Peterson vanished on Christmas Eve 2002, but her body was not found until late 2004. Police suspected that the following year, as they drew closer to Peterson.
Searchers found her purse, birth certificate and other items on Christmas Eve 2003, but her remains weren’t found until April 16, 2004, floating in the San Francisco Bay near San Francisco.
Experts concluded that Laci was in fact pregnant and that Conner was stillborn.
Laci’s remains were never found.
During the hearing Monday, Superior Court Judge George Miram said Peterson would need to prove by a preponderance of evidence, the lowest standard of proof, that he didn’t intend to kill Laci.
Last year, the California Supreme Court overturned the convictions, overturning the jury’s 2006 verdict because jurors did not receive proper instructions on the law of provocation.
That case stated that if anyone shocks the “reasonable mind” and can be seen as seriously threatening the victim’s life or safety, the prosecution must prove the provocation outweighed the defendant’s “good faith” in believing the offense wasn’t serious.
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Prosecutors said that Scott Peterson “consumed the life force of his wife” and “took the guilt of his actions off the table” by not attempting to run from the scene.
Monday’s hearing came as Laci’s mother, Sharon Rocha, attended Peterson’s first day of jury selection.
She said last week that she did not know whether she would attend the trial this time around. “I don’t even know if I will have the energy,” she said.
Peterson’s wife’s father, Dennis Rocha, was at the hearing Monday and told CNN affiliate KGO that he was going “to look with complete sincerity for all eyes, ears and heart.”
He told KPIX, “We want Scott Peterson to face the responsibility of his actions. That’s justice.”
Laci Peterson’s sister, Ali Peterson, spoke to CNN last week, and said that last week marked the first time that Scott Peterson had been in court for seven years.
“I’m hopeful because I feel he’s sort of coming clean — and I think that’s about all I can say. He’s sort of coming clean,” she said.
In 2015, the California Supreme Court said prosecutors at Peterson’s trial did not adequately explain that a person who kills a pregnant woman can be found guilty of aggravated mayhem and murder even though the murder was not premeditated, and that the county judge who sentenced Peterson to death was wrong in failing to instruct the jury on the laws governing so-called confession defenses.
Prosecutors said they were disappointed with the overturning of Peterson’s convictions, but said it would not have affected how they prosecuted the case.