updated 10/1/2004 8:00:23 AM ET 2004-10-01T12:00:23

Scott Peterson showed greater interest in the police search for his missing pregnant wife, Laci, than what jurors in his murder trial were originally told, according to the lead detective on the case.

Modesto police Detective Craig Grogan conceded Thursday that his testimony earlier in the week may have misrepresented how often Scott Peterson had contacted authorities about his wife’s disappearance.

Grogan, under questioning from prosecutors, said Peterson inquired with police about once a month.

Thursday, during cross-examination by Peterson’s lawyer Mark Geragos, the detective acknowledged that Peterson made many more inquiries. Grogan said the monthly contact was between Peterson and himself and did not include conversations the former fertilizer salesman had with other officers.

“In actuality, Scott Peterson was talking to police every single day asking about the investigation,” Geragos said Thursday.

Grogan then admitted he and Peterson spoke at least 11 times in the first 10 days of the case.

Prosecutors allege Peterson killed Laci in their Modesto home on or around Dec. 24, 2002, then dumped her body into San Francisco Bay. Her badly decomposed remains — and that of her fetus — washed up in April 2003, not far from where Peterson launched his boat that Christmas Eve morning for what he claims was a solo fishing trip.

The defense maintains someone else abducted and killed Laci.

Talking of Laci in past tense
Also Thursday, Grogan testified about how he became even more suspicious of Peterson when he heard Peterson refer to Laci in the past tense during a television interview conducted before his wife’s remains were found. Peterson corrected himself in his interview, changing his reference to Laci from “was” to “is.”

Geragos noted Laci’s mother spoke in the same manner when she did a television interview.

“Ultimately, that doesn’t mean a whole lot of anything, does it?” Geragos asked.

“Probably not by itself,” Grogan replied.

Geragos then sought again to show how Peterson tried to become involved in the investigation, referring to a tip police in Longview, Wash., had received that Laci was spotted in a store there.

Previous testimony indicated that police later determined it was not Laci after viewing surveillance tapes.

Another reversal in detective’s testimony
Grogan previously testified that Peterson seemed uninterested in that tip, as well. But Geragos had the detective acknowledge that not only did no Modesto police officers ever view the tapes, but that Peterson persistently asked to view the tapes himself.

Later, prosecutors called several state Department of Justice agents to testify about the events leading up to Peterson’s April 18, 2003, arrest in San Diego.

The agents said it was apparent Peterson knew he was being followed and at times even attempted to elude them.

Geragos has suggested Peterson thought the agents tailing him were reporters and noted Thursday that Peterson was immediately cooperative upon his arrest.

Prosecutors then entered the final stretch of their case, expected to wrap up next week, with a tidal expert from the U.S. Geological Survey, who discussed the currents in San Francisco Bay. The expert, Ralph Cheng, was due back on the stand Monday.

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