Scott Peterson Resentencing
Scott Peterson listens to Stanislaus County Deputy District attorney Dave Harris speak during a hearing at the San Mateo County Superior Court in Redwood City, Calif., Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021. Nearly 17 years after being sentenced to die, Peterson was resentenced to life without parole Wednesday during an emotional hearing in which family members of his slain pregnant wife, Laci, called him out for the killing in 2002 and his apparent lack of remorse. (Andy Alfaro/The Modesto Bee via AP, Pool) Andy Alfaro/AP

Scott Peterson was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without parole, 17 years after a jury decided that he should die for the murders of his wife and unborn child.

The last time Peterson was in court, he received a death sentence and heard the father of Laci Peterson, his dead wife, scream, “You are going to burn in hell for this. Your life is done.”

Dennis Rocha died in 2018, but Laci’s mother and her siblings spoke during the hearing. Scott Peterson was not allowed to make a statement, said Lara Yertesian, who was on his legal team during the trial.


“We got information that a burglary across the street [from Peterson’s home] occurred the day of her disappearance. Those people are the suspects, the real perpetrators,” Yeretsian told the Washington Examiner. “The jury should’ve heard this evidence. If it is presented, he has a real chance at an acquittal.”

Peterson might get a chance to do that in February, when San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo holds a weeklong hearing on whether a new trial should occur because of past juror misconduct.

Peterson was resentenced because the California Supreme Court overturned the death penalty last year due to problems with the jury. The court ruled that the panel was not properly screened for bias in light of a book on the case that was written by seven jurors. One juror said she was the victim of abuse.

The emotional case gripped the world’s attention as the decomposed body of missing Laci Peterson was discovered on the shore of the San Francisco Bay on April 14, 2003. Her 8-month-old unborn child, Connor, was found a day earlier with the umbilical cord attached. Scott Peterson, 49, said he last saw his wife on Christmas Eve 2002.

Scott Peterson mug shot.jpg
Scott Peterson, shown in this mugshot, previously faced the death penalty. (California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation)

In the months between, more than 1,000 people searched for Laci with her husband seemingly detached from the scenario. It spawned intense wall-to-wall coverage on television that exploded when a young woman named Amber Frey surfaced, claiming to be his girlfriend. It provided a motive for pundits claiming that Peterson wanted his wife dead so he could marry Frey.

The intense publicity resulted in a change of venue for the trial when Peterson was arrested a week after the bodies were found.

Peterson will remain housed at San Mateo County Jail while he awaits his hearing.

Yeretsian said she has spoken to Peterson, and he is upbeat over the future.

“He is extremely sad for the loss and still hasn’t gotten over it,” Yeretsian said. “He is emotional in that sense, but there is some light at the end of the tunnel and waiting for a court decision that could change his life.”

Peterson had previously been housed on San Quentin’s Death Row, where no one has been executed since 2006. When he returns, Peterson will be placed in a new location based on a screening process that takes into account factors such as security needs. High-profile inmates are frequently separated from the rest of the population.


“People who are high-profile often have safety concerns,” said Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. “We have the Menendez brothers, the Manson associates, serial murderers, and Sirhan Sirhan.”