A California district attorney will reportedly not seek a new death sentence against Scott Peterson.
Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager ruled on Friday, May 28, in a San Mateo Superior Court filing that she will not retry the penalty phase of the trial after speaking with the family of the victims.
Peterson was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife, Laci Peterson, and unborn son, Conner, in 2004. He was convicted of the first-degree murder of his wife and the second-degree murder of Conner.
The new court decision does not overturn the murder conviction but the California Supreme Court previously had his death penalty sentence overturned and ordered a new sentencing trial. A judge is now expected to rule on whether Peterson will receive a new trial on the charges following the reversal of the death sentence, which was reportedly tied to issues with the jury selection.
According to the New York Post, it emerged that one of the jurors did not disclose that she had once sought a restraining order against her boyfriend’s ex, out of fear for her own unborn child. The judge is considering whether not disclosing this information counts as misconduct.
The court also found that potential jurors were dismissed partially due to their own general objections to the death penalty on a questionnaire, CNN reported.
"The People have met and discussed with the victims' family what a new penalty trial would involve, pursuant to their rights under Marsy's Law," the court documents read.
They continued, "While the family of Laci and Conner believe there is no doubt that defendant is guilty of these crimes and that his conduct warrants the death penalty and defendant is deserving of the punishment of death, the family has decided this process is simply too painful to endure once again."
"The decision to accept the sentence for defendant of Life Without the Possibility of Parole followed discussions with the family of the victims, Laci and Conner; they are aware that, if the penalty phase is not retried, the defendant will be sentenced to Life Without the Possibility of Parole. Therefore, notice is hereby given that the Office of the District Attorney will not re-try the penalty phase for defendant Scott Lee Peterson. Accordingly, the People respectfully request that this Court set a date for defendant's sentencing," the documents noted.
Laci disappeared on Christmas Eve in 2002 while she was eight months pregnant. Her body was found in San Francisco Bay in April 2003. At the time, Peterson claimed that his wife was killed after she walked their dogs and he had gone on a solo fishing trip.
However, it was soon discovered that Peterson allegedly had an affair with a woman named Amber Frey, who did not know Peterson was married. Frey worked with prosecutors to nab Peterson. Frey's involvement reportedly including taping damning phone calls with Peterson and she testified on their relationship in court.
The 48-year-old has long maintained his innocence.