updated 10/18/2004 9:51:43 PM ET 2004-10-19T01:51:43

Scott Peterson’s attorneys launched their defense Monday, striking at a key prosecution theory in the murder case: that Peterson lied when he told police he used the same cement to make a boat anchor and repair his driveway.

Prosecutors have claimed Peterson made five cement anchors, one of which was found in the boat authorities allege he used to dispose of his pregnant wife Laci’s body. The other four, which they allege he used to sink her body in San Francisco Bay, have not been found.

Peterson told police he made only one anchor and used the rest of the 90-pound bag of cement to repair his driveway. A prosecution witness testified earlier that the concrete samples taken by police from Peterson’s driveway were not from the same mix as the anchor.

But Steven Gabler, a concrete expert asked to examine samples taken from Peterson’s driveway by the defense, testified Monday the samples matched the anchor.

“They’re all consistent ... with each other,” Gabler said.

Concrete evidence
Prosecution witness Robert O’Neill, president of Micro-Chem Laboratories, previously testified that material from the driveway was inconsistent with the anchor because the driveway sample contained large, gravel-like chunks.

Defense lawyer Mark Geragos has suggested Peterson simply poured the cement mix onto the driveway where the larger rocks already were and that’s when the two mixed.

O’Neill disagreed, and defended his position by saying: “The larger rocks were obviously mixed in with the material.”

But Gabler, an engineer with Construction Technology Laboratories Inc., testified that the gravel chunks adhered to the concrete in the driveway because the concrete was laid atop them.

Geragos then suggested that further testing could provide even more accurate results, creating a so-called “fingerprint” that might identify the manufacturer of the concrete samples. He said prosecutors had failed to do this.

Prosecutor Dave Harris has suggested the concrete samples taken by a defense investigator last month may have been contaminated by construction work being done by Peterson’s neighbor close to the driveway where the samples were collected.

Prosecutors allege Peterson killed Laci on or around Dec. 24, 2002, then dumped her body in the bay. The bodies of Laci Peterson and the fetus she carried washed up about four months later, a few miles from where Peterson claims to have been fishing alone the day his wife vanished.

The unknown-abductor strategy
Defense lawyers claim someone else abducted and killed Laci while she walked the couple’s dog in their Modesto neighborhood.

Prosecutors and witnesses have said the eight-months-pregnant schoolteacher had stopped walking weeks before she vanished after she became lethargic and suffered dizzy spells.

Defense investigator Carl Jensen, the first defense witness Monday, testified that he visited a hotel in Carmel where the Petersons had vacationed a week before Laci disappeared.

Peterson’s attorneys have shown jurors a photograph of Scott and Laci Peterson on a beach during that trip. Witnesses have said the couple walked to the beach from the hotel.

Jensen said the walk is more than 1,419 feet (more than a quarter mile) and included a steep grade down to the waterfront.

Also Monday, Judge Alfred A. Delucchi denied a defense motion to dismiss the double-murder charges against Peterson. Peterson’s attorneys are expected to take up to eight days to present their case, with closing arguments tentatively set for Nov. 1.

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