A Look Back at the Scott Peterson Murder Trial: 15 Years Later

Scott Peterson trial
Scott Peterson listens to the prosecutor during his trial on charges in the murder of his wife, Laci Peterson, on January 4, 2004, in Modesto, California. Bart Ah You/Modesto Bee/MCT via Getty Images

Nearly 15 years after the disappearance of Laci Peterson in Modesto, California, it’s a case that continues to baffle a nation.

It was Christmas Eve 2002 when the 27-year-old mom-to-be, more than eight months into her pregnancy, vanished from her seemingly perfect life while walking the family dog. Initially, her husband, Scott Peterson, reported her as a missing person, and their families never suspected he had committed the crime.

So it came as a shock to many when Scott was charged in the disappearance – and ultimately the murder – of his wife. Police became suspicious of the fertilizer salesman due to inconsistencies in his stories, and his calm demeanor throughout the investigation.

Scott Peterson mugshot
Scott Peterson’s mugshot taken on March 17, 2005 in San Quentin, California. California Department of Corrections via Getty Images

Fifteen years later, the two-hour Investigation Discovery special, Scott Peterson: An American Murder Mystery, looks back at the horrendous crime and gives reveals evidence that’s been discovered over the course of the years.

The story became a media frenzy when Scott’s infidelity was uncovered — he had been having an affair with single mom Amber Frey. Amber wasn’t aware of Scott’s wife, or that she had gone missing. It didn’t take long for her to contact police and begin cooperating in the investigation.

Laci Peterson
An undated photo showing Laci Peterson. Getty Images

In April 2003, after a big storm in San Francisco, the body of Scott and Laci’s unborn child was found in the San Francisco Bay, not far from where Scott said he went fishing during the time of Laci’s disappearance. The next day, the body of a pregnant woman washed ashore just one mile away from there. The head and part of the limbs were missing. Scott, age 30 at the time, was arrested on April 18, 2003.

He was convicted of first-degree murder of his wife and second-degree murder of their son, Connor Peterson, on November 12, 2004. He now sits on San Quentin State Prison’s death row.

To learn more, tune in to the two-hour special, Scott Peterson: An American Murder Mystery, on Investigation Discovery on Wednesday, November 29, at 9 p.m. ET.

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