The fate of Scott Peterson, accused of murdering his pregnant wife Laci, rests in the hands of 12 jurors.
They have found Peterson guilty of murder in the first degree for killing his wife Laci Peterson, and guity of murder in the second degree for killing their unborn son Conner. The penalty phase begins on the week of the 22nd, and Peterson could get the death penalty.
At the beginning of the trial, it appeared that both proseuction and defense were very happy with the jury. “They did not even come close to using all of their peremptory challenges,” said Edie Lambert, a KCRA correspondent.
Criminal defense attorney Jayne Weintruab however, thought that it was a pro-defense group. “From the looks of it, it’s not a death-penalty seeking jury,” she said. “But as far as guilt or innocence, you just never know [how they will decide.]”
Below are their partial profiles (the court omits important details that might identify who these jurors are).
A man in his 40s who works as a head coach in a school.
A man in his 50s who works in some sort of outdoor job and wears a uniform. He consulted his parish priest before deciding he could vote for the death penalty under some circumstances. He said that although he had previously opined Peterson looked guilty, he could put that aside. The judge approved him over defense objections, and now the defense seems to have accepted him.
Weintraub offers her two cents: “You can’t get through this process unless you believe in certain circumstances. So if you get on this jury panel and you say you don’t believe in the death penalty, you’re automatically disqualified. Here’s a juror who probably said that he would see the death penalty, say, for Adolf Hitler or for some mass murderer or a serial killer. But defense attorney Mark Geragos knows in his heart that when it comes down to a domestic homicide on scanty—if any—evidence, no death penalty here.”
A woman in her late 30s to early 40s who works for a county social-services agency
A man in his 40s who used to be a police officer. He’s now a quality assurance manager for a manufacturing plant
(Former alternate) Juror #5
Juror #5, formerly an alternate, is a retiree with a personal connection to the defendant. His future son-in-law bought a San Luis Obispo restaurant once owned by Peterson and his wife, Laci, and worked for both for six weeks.
Juror #6, ended up becoming the jury foreperson after Juror #5 was removed. Juror #6 is a 30-something firefighter and paramedic. Although he works with police officers, he says he doesn’t respect all of them.
His high-stress job, which requires decisiveness (i.e. going into burning buildings), is believed to have helped the speedy verdict.
(Former alternate) Juror #7
The alternate who stepped in for the first juror #7 (who was removed) is a woman in her 30s who has 4 children. She gave up her bank job and salary to serve on the panel. She was believed to be emotional, and was nicknamed "Strawberry Shortcake" by court watchers.
She was also in tears when Scott Peterson was shown crying in the interview with “Good Morning America,” which many have thought to be false tears.
She also told the court her brother had been in and out of prison for most of his life on drug related offenses and as a result that her mother became a drug counselor. Because of this, she was seen to be pro-defense.
A teamster in his 40s who works a graveyard shift. He thinks that he can still cover the trial during the day and do some of his work at night. He was once accused of violating a restraining order during his divorce. He somewhat agrees that police are too quick to arrest in high-profile cases, and he believes strongly in the concept of innocent until proven guilty.
A woman in her 30s who works for a biotech company. She was married to a man who was convicted of murder and killed while he was in prison. She has now remarried and says that she believes she can be fair in this case.
Weintraub: "I’m surprised that the state let this juror stay on. From a defense perspective, she's a good juror, obviously— somebody who really understands the system, somebody who would hold someone to a reasonable doubt standard."
A woman in her 40s who has followed this case very closely in the media
A woman in her 40s who is a chief accountant
A woman in her 30s who works at an adoption agency and used to be a child-abuse investigator
Jurors who were removed:
Juror #5 Justin Falconer was the first juror kicked off. He was caught on camera to have exchanged a few words with Peterson's brother. He was an airport security officer and has shown himself, in interviews after his stint at the trial, to be pro-defense.
The second juror (Juror #7) removed was a woman who worked for a gas and electric company. She was believed to have been surfing the Internet despite orders from the judge not to read any materials outside of State evidence.
The last juror removed was the jury foreman. He was the alternate who replaced Justin Falconer. He is both a doctor and a lawyer. He oversees patents in a medical research company.