Scott Peterson added adult programming to his television service in the weeks after his pregnant wife vanished, a witness testified Tuesday at the murder trial.
Donald Toy, a manager for EchoStar satellite TV service, said Laci Peterson first ordered the DirecTV service at the couple's Modesto home in March 2001 without the adult option.
But on Jan. 8, 2003, about two weeks after he reported his wife missing, Scott Peterson changed their account to include the Playboy Channel and altered the service again five days later to include more explicit adult channels, Toy said.
Toy said that on Feb. 18, while authorities searched the Peterson home, Scott Peterson called EchoStar to cancel the service and told a company operator he was leaving the country.
Defense seeks to counter testimony
On cross-examination, defense lawyer Mark Geragos noted that the operator had insistently tried to entice Peterson to keep the service and that's why Peterson said he was leaving the country.
"Short of death and leaving the country, are those the only two ways to disconnect" without getting hassled about keeping the service? Geragos asked.
"I guess, depending on the customer," Toy replied.
Geragos noted that the satellite company characterizes the programming as "adult content," not "pornography."
"You like to call that adult programming, right?" Geragos asked.
"Well, that's what it is," Toy said.
Before Toy took the stand, Geragos argued to keep his testimony from jurors, claiming it had no relevance and would "assassinate (Peterson's) character" and "enflame (the jury's) passion."
Prosecutor Rick Distaso argued that it showed Peterson's state of mind while the search for his wife ensued.
"It's not just the Playboy Channel," Distaso said, adding that Peterson later ordered what he described as "two hardcore channels."
Judge Alfred A. Delucchi decided to allow the testimony.
Bay currents research
Earlier, former Modesto police officer Kirk Stockham testified that Peterson had researched water currents in San Francisco Bay several weeks before authorities allege he dumped his dead wife's body into the water.
Stockham said he examined five computers seized from Peterson's home and office in the weeks after Laci disappeared on Dec. 24, 2002. A graphics file pulled from one of the computers, dated Dec. 8, 2002, showed currents in the bay.
Prosecutors appeared to try to show Tuesday that Peterson began hatching the murder plot that day. The woman who set Peterson up with his mistress, Amber Frey, testified previously that she confronted him on Dec. 6 after learning he was married.
During his cross-examination of Stockham, Geragos pointed out that police also found out that Peterson had gathered information about fishing for sturgeon in and around the bay.
Before his arrest, Peterson told police he was fishing for sturgeon alone on the bay the morning his wife vanished. Prosecutors claim Peterson's gear was not suited to catching that type of fish.
Geragos also noted that a printout of the Web site Peterson visited regarding bay currents had different times and dates on it, one showing it was checked by Peterson on Dec. 5, a day before the woman who fixed him up with Frey confronted him.
Prosecutors allege Peterson killed his wife in their home on or around that Christmas Eve, then drove to the bay and dumped her body from his boat. The remains of Laci Peterson and the couple's fetus washed ashore in April 2003, not far from where Peterson said he launched his trip.