Monday, November 3, 2008

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Friday, October 31, 2008

No Evidence of a Clean-up

Mops & Bucket

From the end of January 2003, a number of false rumors and news reports began circulating. It was continually stated that the Covena home reeked of bleach when responding police officers first entered on the evening of the 24th December. Most stories said that Scott mopped the floor after he got home from his fishing trip in a hurried attempt to remove trace evidence, but told MPD that Laci had been preparing to mop the floors just before he left the home that morning.

These rumors continued even up until the trial. :

April 8, 2003, The Globe: just a few days before the bodies were discovered, the Globe ran an article claiming Scott murdered Laci in her kitchen:

"But the discovery of thin vomit on the mop police believe Scott used to clean the kitchen floor Dec.24 was a shock", says a source close to the family. "There were blood specks in the vomit. There seems to be no reason for a woman so far on in her pregnancy to throw up stomach fluids. And you can bet that if something that alarming had happened naturally, the first thing she would have done was call her mother in panic. They're very close and her mom would have been there in a heartbeat" (Wright).

January 28, 2003 National Enquirer: Entitled "Dark Twists and Turns" the tabloid claimed that Law Enforcement found spots of blood on the kitchen floor at the Peterson's Covena home.

February 8, 2003, National Enquirer: Again, the Enquirer claimed that "police believe Scott mopped the kitchen floor after he returned home from his fishing trip and BEFORE he reported Laci missing."

April 26, 2003, FoxNews reported that "Several pieces of evidence point to possible attempts by Peterson to cover up foul play, sources said. They point out that various chemicals were found on the mop he possibly used to clean the kitchen floor on Dec. 24, even though a cleaning maid had visited the house Dec. 23. Peterson told investigators the maid only finished cleaning half of the floor, but the maid has denied that to police."

October 31, 2003, Larry King Live - Preliminary Hearing: In one of the most blatant displays of incompetent reporting, the guest panel discussed the issue of a clean up at the house. Laura Ingle, stated that reportedly, MPD smelt bleach on arrival at the Covena home, this despite the fact that she had not even been in the courtroom for the responding Officer, Jon Evers' testimony. Judge Jeanine Pirro, even had the audacity to say that Officer Evers HAD testified to there being a distinct smell bleach at the house when in fact Court was adjourned before Defense reached the subject of the bucket and mop. Officer Evers eventually testified on Tuesday 4 November to there being no moisture on the floors and no smell of bleach or any other cleaning fluid when he entered on the evening of Laci's disappearance.

Pirro also maintained that Laci had told her mother that Scott would be golfing 24 December. Again, a statement which was completely erroneous.

GRACE: Laura, we waited through two days of mitochondrial DNA evidence to hear from the lay witnesses. We've been waiting to find out the significance of the housekeeper. Explain.

INGLE: Well, she cleans Scott and Laci's home on December 23. Now, December 23 is the last day that Laci Peterson was ever heard from. The last person to ever talk to her was her mother, at 8:30 at night. And Laci's sister, Amy, saw Scott and Laci a few hours before that, when she cut Scott's hair at the salon where she works here in Modesto.

Now, the housekeeper had been at the house previously during the day and testified that she had gone through the house and done the vacuuming and done the dusting. But where it got interesting was hearing how she cleaned the house. Police reportedly got in the house and reportedly smelled some bleach. Now, she said that she cleaned the floors with water and touch of Pinesol in the front area of the house. She did use some bleach in the back of the house, in the bathrooms. But really, apparently, the stench of bleach was in the front part of the house when police detectives arrived, so I think that's where that was laid to foundation today.

GRACE: Well, what about the detective, Laura Ingle? Did the detective describe the house or the smell of bleach?

INGLE: He did not get to that, at least not when I was in the courtroom. I had to leave during his testimony.


Judge Jeanine Ferris Pirro, the DA of Westchester County, New York: You know, Laci has -- tells her mother about things and she would have told her mother that Scott told her he was having an affair with Amber Frey. That's not the case. Laci says that Scott is going golfing the next day. She tells that to her mother and, of course, that's not the case. The mother is someone who obviously is sending an emotional charge in the courtroom. And I think the most disturbing part of today's testimony is the testimony of the police officer who says that there are two mops in the bucket outside, which goes to the issue of that cleaning and the smell of bleach that wouldn't hold over from the day the housekeeper was there. So if the police are there on December 24 and the cleaning with bleach was in a backroom on the 23rd, then why do we smell so much of it? Why is the bucket is outside, still wet? Why are there two mops instead of one?

In fact, both Officer Evers and Brocchini testified under oath at the Preliminary hearing, that there was NO smell of bleach in the house that night. In addition, both individually stated that none of the floors were wet or moist, indicating that the floors had not been cleaned after Scott returned from the Marina and Brocchini said he had specifically looked for evidence of the floors having been mopped recently.

Furthermore, Pin Kyo, Criminalist for the California Department of Justice at the Ripon lab, provided the analysis of both mops and the mop bucket. The items were received for testing on December 30, 2002. She reported that all smelt of common household detergents used to clean floors -- not bleach or chlorine. She did not find any blood, tissue or other incriminating trace evidence, proving that none of the items were used to clean-up a crime scene, neither inside the house or outside in the pool area.

During an interview with Detective Buehler on 27 December, Stacy Boyers, a friend of Laci's, said that Scott Peterson had been vacuuming the floors in the Covena home on Christmas Day at approximately 5pm. Grogan already seemed to suspect a clean up as he testified that he told Skultety on the 26th to have a special vacuum cleaner specifically designed to collect evidence, used to vacuum that area.

Crime Scene Officer, Doug Lovell was instructed to make the collection. Not only did he vacuum in front of the washer and dryer where Boyers said she had seen Scott cleaning, but he covered the whole living room including the furniture.

The debris was again sent for testing by Pin Kyo at the California Department of Justice lab in Ripon. Kyo testified that all she had found was hairs, fibers, piece of grass, dried leaves, red confetti-like material, one live flea, and dirt debris - nothing incriminating and nothing suggesting Peterson had been attempting to clean up a crime scene.

The Rug

One of the first items which drew suspicion upon Scott Peterson was the positioning of a rug in the house. It was a rug in the living room and was rolled up against the door which led out onto the patio, and is the closest door to the driveway where the vehicles are parked. During the walk-through on 24 December, Officer Letsinger described it as "scrunched accordion style, like it had been slid together. And it was slid all the way up to the doorjamb and the door was closed."

The rug was never taken for testing. The theory at this stage of the investigation was that Scott Peterson had wrapped Laci's body up in a tarp and dragged it through the living room (converted garage) and out through the door. Being wrapped in the tarp, it left no trace evidence.

What Grogan hadn't taken into account was that had the rug been dragged along with Laci's body, it would not have stopped at the door; it would have been dragged out of the house. The only way the rug could be slid all the way to the doorjamb, and not any further, is if the door was closed at the time.

Even though Scott straightened the rug out when asked about it, in police photos taken later that same evening, the rug is once again "scrunched up". Since the rug was placed on a tiled floor, the most likely way the rug came to be in the rolled up position at the door was by the couple's animals running over the top of it.

The Cleaning Rags/Towels

These are the other items which drew attention during the first walk-through on 24 December. 11 rags (sometimes referred to as towels). They were sitting dirty and wet on top of the washer. Doug Lovell, ID tech, later took the rags for testing.

Margarita Nava, Scott and Laci's cleaner, testified that these rags were the ones which she had used on 23 December to clean the outside of the windows and around the fireplace screen. She then put them into the mop bucket which was then, in turn, placed on top of the washer. Scott told Brocchini that the rags were in the washing machine when he returned from fishing and that he removed them in order to wash his clothes.

Kyo, tested the rags. During her appearance on the witness stand, she was not even questioned about them by Prosecution, but Detective Grogan confirmed that they had no evidentiary value and had not been used in a clean up.


Despite all the tests that Kyo conducted on the mop and buckets, rags and vacuum cleaner contents, not one incriminating piece of evidence was found, proving that Scott Peterson had not participated in any attempted clean up in either the inside or outside of the Covena home. ALL the tests proved negative.

This article appears on SII at

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Case Against Scott Peterson

The Case Against Scott Peterson
January 19, 2005

I have been arguing for months that the State of California had no substantial case against Scott Peterson. What they had against Scott barely withstood the test of probable cause sufficient to get search warrants, let alone the beyond reasonable doubt standard required for conviction.

More are beginning to come out now in agreement with my point that the evidence wasn't sufficient to convict Scott. On December 15, 2004, Dotty Lynch, senior political editor for CBS News, wrote an online column entitled "Where's the Outrage," and noted that the evidence presented against Scott did not fit the penalty of death, as the evidence was only circumstantial.

Labeling her column as a "liberal outburst that is even more embarrassing than Dan Rather's claim that the bogus documents he used on the air may someday and somehow turn out to be authentic," Cliff Kincaid responded with his assurances that Scott Peterson was duly convicted on solid evidence (Link). Kincaid's response was published by AIM, which is an acronym for Accuracy in Media. AIM's objective is "Fairness, Balance and Accuracy in News Reporting."

I find AIM's publication of Kincaid's article rather laughable, because the media has been anything BUT fair, balanced, and accurate in its coverage of the Scott Peterson murder trial -- or for that matter, in any of its coverage of this case since Laci was first reported missing. I also find it laughable that those who come to Scott's defense are always labeled as liberals. I am Republican and fairly closely aligned with the Religious Right in my political opinions.

But what I want to address in Kincaid's article is his list of the evidence against Scott. He didn't come up with his own list, probably because he didn't follow the trial that closely and just relied on the media for his information, but borrowed from the list prepared by Marin Independent Journal reporter Josh Richman, in a story headlined, "The Case Against Scott Peterson."

1. A strand of dark hair, probably from Laci, on a pair of pliers found in Peterson's boat.

No one who followed the trial very closely would ever have listed this as the number one evidence against Scott Peterson. The hair not only could not be positively identified as Laci's, the pliers themselves were in no way connected to any part of the crime of which Scott was convicted. The pliers were of interest to the MPD because of a theory they had that Scott used some chicken wire, taken from a roll found in his pickup, to either wrap around Laci or to attach the supposed anchors to Laci, and used the pliers to cut the wire. They theorized that Scott caught some of Laci's hair in the pliers as he cut the chicken wire. Of course, the pliers were sent to the California DOJ lab for analysis, and were shown to have never cut the chicken wire in question and actually hadn't been used for some time before December 24, 2002. The acquisition of the pliers obviously pre-dated the acquisition of the boat, and were probably household pliers that Laci used on occasion.

So, not only was the hair only "probably" Laci's, the pliers were fully excluded by expert criminal analysts from having any role in the murder of Laci Peterson or the disposition of her body.

2. Peterson had downloaded information from the Internet on currents in bodies of water where Laci's body may have been dumped and eventually washed up on shore.

So far, we have a "probably" and a "may have been." Do "probably' and "may have been" measure up to the standard of beyond reasonable doubt?

But more to the point, this behavior that is considered so incriminating against Scott is exactly what any sensible person who intended to take a boat out onto the San Francisco Bay for the first time would have done. It is not in any way peculiar to wanting to dispose of a body.

Furthermore, the reason "may have been" has to be used is because the Prosecution could not prove that Laci and Conner were ever at the same place in the Bay. That's right. Dr. Cheng, their expert witness, produced a trajectory for Conner's body as it would have moved through the water, taking into consideration where his body was found and the known weather factors and tidal currents for the hours preceding the discovery of his body. He precisely identified a 1/4 square mile area in the Bay where Conner would have separated from Laci. The problem is, he could not produce a trajectory for Laci, given the facts of where her body was found and the same weather and tidal current conditions, that brought her back to the same place. No prodding of the information by Dr. Cheng could get Laci and Conner back to the same place.

Armed with the information provided by Dr. Cheng, Detective Dodge Hendee set out to literally comb the Bay floor for the missing anchors and body parts, or any other evidence that Scott Peterson dumped Laci's body in the Bay on December 24. He assigned the best FBI dive team in the country to the 1/4 square mile area identified by Dr. Cheng. That team concluded their search a day early, telling Detective Hendee there was nothing to be found.

Hendee employed sonar teams more advanced than those used in the original January-March searches and a host of dive teams to expand Cheng's 1/4 square mile area to an area 1 3/4 miles square. That essentially covered the entire route Scott made during his fishing trip. Though this sophisticated equipment identified pop bottles, it found no anchors or body parts.

This information alone should have been sufficient for the Jurors to see "where Laci's body may have been dumped" was a figment of someone's imagination. Add to that the absolute refusal of the responding law enforcement to examine the discovery sites for evidence of the bodies having been placed there, not washed ashore, you should have serious questions about the integrity of this piece of evidence.

3. Peterson lied about what he was doing when Laci disappeared.

I am really at a loss to understand this claim. I guess the author simply means that Scott didn't admit he was murdering Laci and disposing of her body, so therefore he lied.

But let's examine what Scott said he was doing the night of December 23rd and the morning of December 24. His timeline for the night of December 23 has been confirmed. He and Laci went to Salon Salon to get his haircut, they ordered pizza, and then went home. Laci spoke on the phone at 8:30 with her mother, Sharon Rocha. No lies here.

For the activities of the morning of December 24, everything he told Detective Brocchini was proven to be true, much to Brocchini's embarrassment when he had to admit that on the witness stand. The Martha Stewart show Scott said Laci was watching did have a meringue segment, and McKenzie was found by a neighbor with his leash on.

Scott's timeline was not precise. But neither was Karen Servas'. In fact, she was off by more than Scott when she first gave her timeline, as much as an hour for the activity she went to in the afternoon/evening. She was allowed to refine her timeline by using receipts and cell phone records -- Scott was not.

Ron Grantski was using a very general time frame to describe his activities for December 24. He used phrases such as "probably around 11 or 11:30 or 12" and "sometime between 2:30 and 3:30." He even said he was not one to pay much attention to time.

Sharon Rocha's sense of time was just as vague, as she used "about 3:00-3:30" to describe when she arrived home from the movies. Sandy Rickard, Sharon's best friend, said she and Sharon were at the movies from "approximately 2:00 to 4:00."

These people were allowed considerable latitude in their timelines, but Scott was required to be precise to the minute.

Scott certainly didn't lie about being at the Berkeley Marina. Amy Krigbaum did testify that he told her he was golfing that day, and Amy's companion Terra Venable testified that she overheard that conversation. However, both Amy and Terra testified that they became quite frantic when he told them Laci was missing, and that Scot was quite frantic, too. Thus, this "lie" may not have been anything other than a simple misunderstanding. Harvey Kemple testified that Scott told him he was golfing, but the credibility of Kemple's testimony was seriously challenged when other statements he made under oath were proven to be false. Those are the only two persons who reported that Scott said he was golfing. All others, including every family member and every police officer, he told he was fishing.

4. Peterson washed the clothes he wore when he murdered and dumped Laci's body in the water.

I certainly wish I had a husband guilty of the capital crime of washing his own clothes after a fishing trip. Would Kincaid and other Scott accusers prefer that he had put them in the hamper, with Laci's clothes. I'm sure Laci wouldn't have appreciated that.

But, the implication is he washed them to remove any evidence of the crime. Washing clothes does not remove all traces of forensic evidence, and Scott's clothes were sent to the California DOJ crime lab for analysis. The results were negative for evidence of a crime.

5. Peterson had made anchors that could have been used to wrap around and sink Laci's body.

I have two issues with this so-called evidence. First, obviously, we again have "could have been used" phrase that readily admits the use of anchors to weigh Laci down was never proven.

Phil Devan, a very interested trial watcher, conducted his own experiment, determined to prove that Scott Peterson used that 14 foot Gamefisher boat to dump Laci's body in the Bay. He used 4 8-lb. weights, the same size and number as the ones Scott was supposed to have made, and a dummy. He was able to get the weighted dummy overboard without capsizing the boat, but he had one problem. The weights weren't sufficient to sink the body. It kept bobbing up.

The State provided no expert claim that 32 lbs. of weight would have been sufficient to sink Laci's body and keep it submerged. The area where Scott was fishing is shallow, only 3-4 feet deep at low tide. The buoyancy caused by the gases forming in her decomposing body would have eventually caused the body to float.

Second, the State provided no evidence that the 4 anchors even existed. As noted above, Detective Hendee could not find them, even when Dr. Cheng told them where they would be and using the best dive teams and sonar equipment in the country. If they could find a pop bottle, why couldn't they find at least one of those 8 lb. anchors?

I doubt very much that a body lying on the bottom of the Bay in 3-4 feet deep water for nearly 4 months would have gone unnoticed. This portion of the Bay is not isolated. It is used heavily for recreational purposes. To add further, Dr. Brian Peterson, who performed the autopsy on Laci, said the Laci's dismemberment was caused by a combination of natural decomposition and the action of the currents/waves moving the limbs back and forth as they hung down from her body. I believe it would be impossible for Laci to have been enough off the floor of the Bay for her arms and legs to hang down and not be visible to someone -- not in water only 3-4 feet deep and heavily used for recreational purposes.

6. Peterson bought a get-away car before his arrest using cash and a fake name.

This misstates the evidence. Scott did use cash to purchase the car, but if I were selling a used car to a complete stranger, I would want to be paid in cash. So, what is suspicious about that?

Furthermore, Scott did not use a fake name. He used his mother's name, and his mother's real driver's license number, and his mother's real mailing address. Hardly what he would do if he were purchasing a "get-away" car, since that information would trace it directly back to him. Yes, all of America knew at that time that Jackie Peterson was Scott's mother.

Finally, the supposed "get-away" car was purchased on April 12, the day before Conner's body was found and 2 days before Laci's. Yet, the news of the bodies broke very quickly, and, even more importantly, that they were suspected of being Conner and Laci. Yet, on April 18th, Scott is still in San Diego. Why didn't he break for the border on the 12th, immediately after purchasing the car? Why didn't he break for the border on the 13th or the 14th, when he heard about the bodies being found? We have a simple answer: he had no intention whatsoever of breaking for the border.

7. The most damaging evidence was found in Peterson's car when he was arrested about 30 miles from the Mexican border. Court TV noted that the final prosecution witness, Modesto police detective Jon Buehler, said the car was packed with survival gear, including a water purifier, axe, saw, snorkel mask, several changes of clothes, and knives. Buehler said that Peterson was carrying $14,932 in cash, Mexican currency, his brother's driver's license, and charge cards in the names of his mother and sister.

Every time I hear or read the "arrested about 30 miles from the Mexican border" claim, I just can't help asking, When did they move San Diego? Hasn't it always been about 30 miles from the Mexican border? Perhaps Kincaid does not know that Scott grew up in San Diego, and his parents lived in the area, as well as most of his siblings, so when he left Modesto, he was returning to familiar environs. Of course he was near the Mexican border. Why would he stay in Modesto? So he could continue to be harassed by shock jocks with bull horns? The fact is, he had been in San Diego for a couple of weeks, and the MPD knew full well he was there. After all, they didn't have any trouble at all identifying his precise location after the bodies were found.

Perhaps Kincaid doesn't know, or has forgotten, that Scott was in Mexico in early February, on a business trip. Or that Ted Rowlands, reporter from KTVU-2, talked to him on the phone and told him that word from MPD was that an arrest was imminent. Yet Scott returned to Modesto. Strange behavior for someone planning to flee the country to escape prosecution.

If Scott was planning his "get-away," I doubt he would have paid for anything with credit cards that could be traced to any member of his family. That would leave a definite trail for bounty hunters anxious to cash in on the public conviction of Scott Peterson.

In conclusion, and to paraphrase Kincaid's analogy to Dan Rather, he and others have convicted Scott on bogus evidence that they hope someday and somehow will turn out to be authentic.

This article originally appeared on SII as an editorial:

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Flea Circus

Flea circuses, popular in Victorian England, used illusion and mechanical manipulation to let people see what they wanted to see -- the magic of fleas trained to do all sorts of stunts and even form an orchestra.

Such has been the evidence the Prosecution has presented -- illusion and mechanical manipulation to let the public see what it wants to see, a guilty Scott.

The cement chunks that fell off the boat cover is a very good example of this manipulation. I sat in the courtroom on Monday and saw the picture of those concrete chunks splashed on the big screen. They looked like fist-sized chunks. The picture was taken by Pin Kyo, but was presented by Dave Harris. Of course, the intent was to suggest that the boat cover came into contact with the 4 boat anchors the Prosecution claims exists.

When Geragos cross examined Kyo, Harris' manipulation was exposed. Geragos showed the Jury (and us) the actual cement that was collected. Far from being fist-sized chunks, it amounted to "dust." The whole amount was contained on a small square of paper that could not have been more than 4 inches square.

Furthermore, Geragos showed the Jury the anchor that was in Scott's boat and the cement dust at the bottom of the bag it was stored in. He concluded by compelling Kyo to admit the similarities between the dust that came from the boat cover and the dust that came from the anchor.

Harris could have shown the actual cement dust, rather than the picture, but that would be telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. SII has said all along that the Prosecution has no evidence against Scott -- but it continues to create the illusion of evidence through manipulation.

And, the American Public is still paying to see this flee circus, because it wants to believe Scott is guilty. Why? Are too many people too proud to admit they were wrong? Are too many people punishing Scott as a proxy for some man that hurt them? Are too many people afraid to admit the worst -- that all cops are not good, all detectives are not skilled, all investigations are not efficient, and all arrests are not justified?

Rumor has it that Geragos will rest the Defense case without calling any witnesses, if he succeeds in negating the State's hydrologist expert. I think that would be a mistake. The Jury may be ready for an acquittal, but the American public is not. I think Geragos owes it to Scott and to his family to not just get Scott off on reasonable doubt that he is guilty, but to turn the tables and make every reasonable person in America admit, Scott is factually innocent.

Anything less, millions will just conclude that Scott got away with murder because the Prosecution did a poor job and Geragos is a shyster lawyer.

This article appeared as an editorial on SII during the trial.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

The tests don't lie

So much is made, by those who believe Scott is guilty, that Scott lied so much how can anyone believe anything that he says. The truth of the matter is, we don't have to believe anything Scott says. We don't have to believe any one that has a vested interest in this case. We don't have to determine who is telling the truth and who isn't. We don't have to decide whose motives are pure and whose bias is objective.

Why? Because the forensic testing speaks loud and clear, and requires no interpretation, has no ulterior motive, and cannot be misunderstood.

It is not always the case that the forensic testing is so conclusive -- in some cases it still is very much subject to interpretation.

But, in this case, it is absolutely reliable.

Why? Because all of it contradicted the State's case. It was all collected by the State, controlled by the State, tested by the State, and reported by the State.

And all the tests came back NEGATIVE.

At every step of the way, those participating in its collection, testing, and reporting had a vested interest in the test results.

And all the tests came back NEGATIVE.

We don't have to take Scott's word for where he was on Dec. 24, and what time he was there, because he left a paper trail that proves, without bias, where he was and when.

We don't have to take Scott's word for why the mops and bucket were outside the door, or why anyone would be mopping the floor the day after the maid mopped, because the forensic testing proves with absolute certainty that the mops and bucket were not used to clean up a crime scene. That makes what they were used for totally irrelevant.

We don't have to understand why Scott washed his clothes or why and how they got wet, because the forensic testing proves with absolute certainty that he did not commit the crimes he was convicted of wearing those clothes. That makes everything else about the clothes totally irrelevant.

We don't have to understand why Scott was vacuuming on Dec 25, because the forensic testing proves with absolute certainty that the vacuum cleaner was not used to clean up a crime scene. That makes everything else about the vacuum cleaner or the vacuuming totally irrelevant.

We don't have to know where the pliers came from or how the hair got into them, because the forensic testing proves with absolute certainty that the pliers were not used to cut the chicken wire and had not been used recently enough to be involved in the crime. That makes everything else about the pliers and the hair totally irrelevant.

Everything that the state presented as evidence against Scott was inconclusive, subject to a range of interpretation; everything that was tested was absolutely conclusive that Scott did not murder Laci.

What was tested? Everything in that house that had the least hint of suspicion -- blood stains that they had to mark their location with sticky-notes because they were so small they wouldn't show up in the pictures. Everything in the pickup that had the least hint of suspicion. Everything in the boat that had the least hint of suspicion.

Besides collecting items for testing, cadaver dogs and scent dogs were used. Their results were inconclusive; most of it was not even allowed in as testimony it was so inconclusive. What was let in was contradicted with other dog testimony.

The State said Laci and Conner washed ashore, yet their own expert could not get them back to the same place, and the best dive and sonar teams could not find any evidence they had been where they should have been. So what difference does it make why Scott went fishing, or if he should have gone fishing, or what time of day he went fishing, or if he told some he was fishing and some he was golfing, because the State's own experts and other witnesses proved with a preponderance of the evidence that Laci was not where Scott was fishing.

So, when it gets right down to it, who cares whether Anne is telling the truth or Scott; whether Amber is telling the truth or Scott -- because the forensic testing proves that Scott did not murder Laci in that house or transport her in that pickup or boat, or dump her in the bay. The entirety of the forensic testing proves absolutely that Scott did not murder Laci in that house or transport her in that pickup or boat; and the preponderance of the evidence provided by the State itself proves that Scott did not dump Laci in the bay on that fishing trip.

All the accusations Anne Bird makes in her book, and all the heretofore secret documents that Catherine Crier cites in her book are meaningless as proof -- and no claims that Scott did this or that, or that his mother did this or that, can dispute the absolute certainty of the forensic testing.

Tell me why I should not place absolute trust in the forensic testing in this case to declare that Scott is 100% factually innocent of the crimes he has been convicted of. Give me one good reason why I should favor gossip over forensic testing.

This article is from the SII Editorials collection:

Friday, October 3, 2008

New evidence of Prosecutorial Misconduct

Rick Disatso and Dave Harris blatantly lied to the Jurors, the Judge, and the American People when they presented People's 100 as representing the Conner site at high tide.

Read the details: The Jetty does not fill with water at every high tide . . .

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Final Notice -- SII has changed URLs

As noted previously, (SII) was rebuilt and moved to a new domain,

For several weeks, served only to direct traffic to the new site.

Effective today, however, the account is cancelled. If you try to access it, you will get the message, Page not Found, or something similar.

Please be sure you have the correct URL for accessing SII:

It's the same SII -- just a different URL.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New additions to SII

We've recently added the complete text to the May 24, 2004 Defendant's Motion for Prosecutorial Sanctions (the Diane Jackson hypnosis) as well as the pdf version.

You can access it by going to Case File, then Documents, and scrolling down to the date. Here is the quick link for the text version.

People's Opposition to this Motion was already on SII.

We've also recently added a number of items to the Research & Analysis page, under "Part Three: Research on related subjects." So if you haven't looked at that list in a while, you may want to check it out.

A very big thanks to those of you who send us links on related subjects.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Understanding binary code

[My apologies -- but this article doesn't want to keep its formatting]

Mr. Farmer’s solution of the IKLP long code produced two lines of binary code: line 7 and line 55, which he said combined to form the familiar smiley face (<.

Line 7 solution: 1010-101-11-0 converted to the < symbol.
Line 55 solution: 0010-100-01-0 converted to the ( open parenthesis.

No one on the forum challenged his conversion, and since I had absolutely no knowledge of binary code, I assumed it was correct. In the meantime, I've done some research. The best tutorial on binary code I have found is Translating Binary into Text.

Basically, binary text is read from right to left, not from left to right as we read words or numbers. Each position in the binary has a fixed valued. A 1 in that position means the value is present; and a 0 in that position means it is not. Starting from the right, the first position has a value of 1, the second position a value of 2, the third position a value of 4, the fourth position a value of 8, the fifth position, a value of 16 – and so on, multiplying by two to get each successive value.

01 as binary code represents the decimal 1 because 1 signifies that the value 1 is present, and the 0 signifies that the value 2 is not present. 001 also represents the number 1, as does 0001.

Here are more examples:

  • a) 100 = 4; reading from right to left, the 1 is not present, the 2 is not present, but the 4 is present.
  • 000100 also = 4 – the leading left zeroes are meaningless
  • 100000 = 32; reading from right to left, the 1 is not present, the 2 is not present, the 4 is not present, the 8 is not present, the 16 is not present, the 32 is present
  • 0010 = 2; reading from right to left, the 1 is not present, the 2 is present, and the leading left zeroes are meaningless

Now for more examples, which require adding the present values to determine the conversion:

  • 11011 = 27; reading from right to left, the 1 is present, the 2 is present, the 4 is not present, the 8 is present, the 16 is present, so you add 1+2+8+16=27
  • 110 = 6; reading from right to left, the 1 is not present, the 2 is present, the 4 is present, so you add 2+4=6
  • 010101 = 21; reading from right to left, the 1 is present, the 4 is present, the 16 is present, so you add 1+4+16=21.
  • 10110 = 22; reading from right to left, the 2 is present, the 4 is present, and the 16 is present, so you add 2+4+16=22.

Here is one way of converting decimal to binary. (source)

Example 1: Convert 98 from decimal to binary.

1) Divide 98 by 2, making note of the remainder. Continue dividing quotients by 2, making note of the remainders. Also note the star (*) beside the last remainder.

Division---->Remainder, R
98 / 2 = 49----->R=0
49 / 2 = 24----->R=1
24 / 2 = 12----->R=0
12 / 2 = 6------>R=0
6 / 2 = 3------->R=0
3 / 2 = 1------->R=1
1 / 2 = 0------->R=1*

2) The sequence of remainders going up gives the answer. Starting from 1*, we have 1100010. Therefore, 98 in decimal is 1100010 in binary.

To check your answer, read from the right: 1 is not present, 2 is present, 4 is not present, 8 is not present, 16 is not present, 32 is present, 64 is present. Add 2+32+64=98.

Fortunately, we have converter sites on the internet, where you simply plug your number in and it produces the binary code, or vice versa.

Back to Mr. Farmer’s solution. I went to a couple of these converter sites and plugged in his translation of his binary code solutions for lines 7 and 55. (livephysics, roubaixinteractive, snarkles)

Line 7 solution:
1010-101-11-0 which Mr. Farmer translated to <.

00111100 which, according to the converter sites, is the binary code for <

Reading from right to left, they clearly don’t match up.

Line 55 solution:

0010-100-01-0 which Mr. Farmer translated to the open parenthesis (.

00101000 which is the binary code for the ( according to the converter sites.

Reading from right to left, the codes do not match. The binary code is embedded in Mr. Farmer’s solution, but does that count, since binary code is read from right to left?

Perhaps Mr. Farmer can explain why his solutions don’t match the binary codes produced by the converters.


Checking our work by reversing the process:

The binary code 111100 converts to a decimal value of 60, which is the decimal value for <: reading from right to left, the 1 is not present, the 2 is not present, the 4 is present, the 8 is present, the 16 is present, and the 32 is present. Add 4+8+16+32=60.

The binary code 101000 converts to a decimal value of 40, which is the decimal value for ( open parenthesis: reading from right to left, the 1 is not present, the 2 is not present, the 4 is not present, the 8 is present, the 16 is not present, the 32 is present. Add 8+32=40.

Source for ASCII

Monday, August 4, 2008

When will the games end?

Many of you may have been following the discussion on OPORD Analytical's forum, based on the claims by its owner, Mr. Chris Farmer, to have cracked the IKLP code. For those of you who haven't been, this is a brief background.

IKLP Code & Rhymes

From March 22, 2005 through August 6, 2006, a poster using the handle "I Killed Laci Peterson" posted 544 messages on the Fratpack forum. As is often the case, the handle was shortened to the acronym IKLP when addressed by other members. The 544 messages mostly consisted of rhymes about the Laci Peterson case, presented as "clues" to the identity of the murderer, and taunts and jabs directed at specific members of Fratpack.

IKLP outrightly claimed to be Laci's abductor and murderer, not only by the handle but in the content of many of the rhymes.

The rhymes plainly exonerated Scott Peterson by describing him as the one who took the rap for IKLP. IKLP says the way to commit the perfect crime is to have someone take the blame for it. IKLP also specifically used the word "frame" and said the MPD didn't need to frame Scott because IKLP did such a good job.

The rhymes also gave detail on how the crime went down, all of which eliminates the Medina burglary as a plausible explanation for Laci's abduction:

Laci did not go for a walk that morning
Laci never left her house
Laci opened the door to someone that she was not afraid of
Laci was drinking coffee when she was hit from behind
Laci was gagged and bound

IKLP described Laci as being alive for "days" and taking a pleasant drive with her.

IKLP described Laci as "rolling her eyes" and suggests that she was decapitated so IKLP could continue to look at her face. IKLP says specifically that he only removed Laci's head, which he still has.

Finally, IKLP said emphatically that Laci was never in the Bay and ridiculed the notion of cement anchors.

In the rhymes, IKLP used language suggesting he was a serial killer.

Besides the rhymes, IKLP posted a short code and a long code. The short code, a single line of numbers, he said was a "clue for who remain on my list," and the long code, 7 lines of numbers as well as various arithmetic signs, contained the number needed "if you want to talk."

Reportedly, both codes remained unsolved.

Enter Chris Farmer, OPORD Analytical
Now enter Mr. Chris Farmer, who claims to have cracked the Zodiac codes and identified the Zodiac serial killer. Whether he has or not remains to be seen, as that case is still officially unsolved. You can review Mr. Farmer's works and accolades at OPORD's website. You can also view the forum where he presented his solutions to the IKLP codes.

On November 24, 2007, Mr. Farmer published his solution the short code: EDITE, which is Portugese for Edith.

Farmer said he was simultaneously working on the long code, which he isolated as 69 lines of code, and he published his solution on December 6, 2007: 2 lines of binary code (the 7th and the 55th lines) that made a smilie face. Farmer opined that the IKLP code is a prank.

On December 10, 2007, Farmer decided to take another look at the long code. That’s when he noticed that IKLP ignored the digit in the 100s place. But, it shouldn’t have made any difference in his solution, because he was mimicking IKLP’s process, even if he didn’t know at the time why IKLP did what he did. Over the coming months, there is not activity on this thread.

On April 16, 2008, allegedly after noticing news reports about the "smiley face" serial murders, Farmer again took up interest in the IKLP code and now considers it probably authentic.

On June 28, 2008, Farmer added together the two lines of binary code and added a couple of other processes to derive a 7-digit phone number: 755-1212. Without explaining why, he tacked it onto the 650 area code and produced a phone number belonging to an attorney in Daly City, CA, which is south of San Francisco and north of Redwood City (where Scott's trial took place). Farmer said: "Pretty clever, but solved by one of the top analytical minds in the United States."

Farmer also posted this as his "final comment" on July 16, 2008:

1) I cracked the code submitted by IKLP to the internet.

2) I believe the code is well constructed and created by an individual of higher intelligence.

3) I believe the code points to clues that the author of the code is a lawyer.

However, Farmer continued to work with the code, in combination with some of IKLP's rhymes. He pointed to a solar clock at the Cesar Chavez Park and drew lines from that clock to the two points where the bodies were found. He then superimposed that "azimuth" onto a map of Modesto. On July 19, 2008, Farmer concluded that the “smiley face” solution matched the solar clock. “That is what it was intended for.” He also posted that he is convinced he has “solved this case,” and has “enough evidence now to exonerate Scott.”

He focused on surveyors and said the phone number for a surveryor in Modesto name Daly mirrors the 755-1212 phone number he derived from the code (yes, he shows the process he used). He directed the forum members “to really think hard about whether or not folks saw a surveyor in the neighborhood about the time Laci went missing. IKLP talked about seeing Laci "through the door", her door, so it had to be in a location nearby her residence.”

Of course, the members volunteered information about Nickerson, the building inspector at the Medina's on the morning of the 24th. One member saw an address in the two lines of binary code:

Building Safety
1010 Tenth Street, 3rd Floor
[Directions](209) 577-5232

Since Nickerson was at the Medina’s the morning of the 24th, and worked out of that building, he became a prime suspect. Farmer postulated on how Nickerson was able to get Laci into his vehicle, and that the Medina burglars were patsies setup to take the fall for Laci's abduction, even going so far as to plant evidence to link the Medina burglary to Laci's abduction.

After that, discussion followed multiple paths of inquiry: u4sky (aka Solve) led everyone back to the Albany bulb and Robert Berringer, and theforeigner (skov) tied Nickerson to the Robert Holloway case (chop shop gang).

On July 22, 2008, a member named "Billie" posted an accusation that there was a collusion between skov and Farmer, with Farmer providing the solution that skov already knew he would provide.

Farmer responded by saying it didn't matter if the code was a prank, that it had energized the discussion on the case.

Then on July 24, 2008, Farmer revealed that there is something that he has not yet revealed: "You see, I think two major crimes happened to Laci Peterson, not just her murder. As I look into this further, I will provide you the details. >>> I am working the IKLP code in relation to another line of inquiry. When I complete that research I will post my results for all of you to consider.I strongly believe that we will be able to exonerate Scott Peterson based upon the evidence we are gathering here at OPORD so keep the information coming."

On July 25, 2008, Farmer posted: "What we are dealing with, I believe, is a serial killer that I am from this point forward naming "The Mona Lisa" killer."

The discussion soon centered on Kim McGregor, the video camera that she stole from the Peterson's home on Covena, and the very short clip on the video dated January 19. On July 26, 2008, Farmer opined that McGregor may have turned on Scott when she heard about Amber Frey.

Only July 30, 2008, Farmer promised his completed report would be published in pdf format on the forum. He said it contained "smoking gun" evidence.

He published the 44-page report late Friday, August 1. This is the link.

The report implicates Robert (Rabbit) Berringer, a resident of the Albany Bulb at the time of Laci's disappearance. Citizen Q had already implicated Rabbit in the evidence he sent to Judge Delucchi in January 2004, so it didn't seem reasonable to me that IKLP would go to the trouble to put Berringer's identity in a code that required the best anlytical mind in the country to crack, and then post that code on Fratpack forum.

In addition, Farmer required external data in order to derive the Berringer solution -- data not within the code itself. Where did he get that external data? Off a picture of Berringer.

So, the "solution" to the IKLP codes has taken us from EDITE to the smiley face serial killer gang to the building Inspector Nickerson in connection with the chop shop gang to Robert Berringer.

I wasn't the only one that smelled a rat. Billie, who by the way is decidely on the Guilty side of the fence regarding Scott Peterson, called Farmer out. On August 3, 2008, I made my farewell post on OPORD's forum as a reply to Billie. Both posts have since been deleted. Both our memberships have been deleted, as well as other persons who have questioned Farmer's solutions.

Billie wrote:

What kind of game are you playing Chris. (Does it have a name?) I've noticed the game before. In fact, after a while, I started a word document that I named: "What Chris did is under their nose and they still don't see it - amazing"

Marlene wrote:

I'd also like to know what kind of game you are playing, Chris? Many of us came to this forum because we genuinely hoped you were able to crack the IKLP code, and we've seen nothing but a circus. First one solution, then another, then another, then another, and now still another is forthcoming.

This isn't an internet game, and it's not a reality show. A woman and a baby have been murdered; the husband/father is on death row. Two families have been emotionally and financially devastated. Millions of dollars have been spent, and likely millions more will be.

Many people, myself included, have spent literally thousands of hours trying to find evidence that will prove what we know to be true -- that Scott Peterson is factually innocent.

And you come on the scene, with your self-proclaimed genius, and lead us around like fools.

You have not produced one single thing that can be used in Scott Peterson's defense. If the IKLP code is authentic and does hold the key to solving the mystery of who murdered Laci and Conner, you have contaminated it by showing how easily it can be manipulated to produce the desired result. If that was your purpose, May God have mercy on you.

But rest assured, we will continue our efforts. We have already proven Scott did not murder Laci and Conner. We'll leave it to the Investigators to prove who did.

I'll say goodbye by quoting a Scripture:

"Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness;"


Is Farmer on the right track? Is he using a legitimate inquiry process to solve this case?

You be the Judge and the Jury. I have provided you with a brief summary of the events as they transpired, along with my biased interpretation. I have provided the links so you can read for yourself. I always do that. I've never claimed to have secret information, I've never proposed "evidence" without giving the links for anyone interested to thoroughly investigate the accuracy of my interpretations, and I've never claimed the need for superior intelligence to uncover the evidence I have presented. In fact, quite the contrary -- I've repeatedly said anyone can do what I did.

Is there any validity to the IKLP code and rhymes? If there is, and if IKLP is indeed the murderer or someone with inside information, and someone does crack the code, I certainly hope that we don't see it published on a public forum on the internet. The only people who should see such evidence are Scott Peterson's appellate attorneys.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Anyone recognize this photo?

Quite a long time ago, someone sent me this picture of a cave on the Albany Bulb. I misfiled the picture and just found it again. I would very much like to know the exact location of this cave. If you sent me this picture, or if you know the location of this cave, please email

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Exonerating evidence from Laci's autopsy

We have finished the page entitled "Exonerating evidence from Laci's autopsy."

You can access this page right from the home page (scroll down to The Evidence Proves Factual Innocence - it's the 5th item listed) or from the Research & Analysis page (click Part One, click The bodies are found, click Laci).

Or, use our quick link.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Another case of a woman being murdered for her baby

When we've brought up the possibility that Laci was murdered for Conner (although Sharon Rocha had the same suspicions in the early days of Laci's disappearance), we have been laughed to scorn.

Well, whether or not that's what happened to Laci, it does happen. And we have a new case. The woman has been found dead, her baby cut out of her. Another woman has an infant she says is hers, but is not. She says she purchased the baby for $1,000.

Read about the details

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Get over the hate

Recently, the LA Times published an article entitled, Reaching out from death row. The article fronted Scott Peterson, followed by California death row inmates Randy Kraft, Charles Ng, and Richard Davis. The article goes on to report how death row prisoners in many states have access to the internet through third parties and what states are doing to minimize the risks to the public.

This article brought on a new barrage of hate mail to those of us who publicly support Scott Peterson's factual innocence. I was not surprised.

I was surprised to read such vile hatred in comments to an article on the pending hearing for Susan Atkins, notorious for her part in the Sharon Tate murders. Atkins is dying and her family wanted her to have a mercy release so she could die with her family around her. The language in the comments was every bit as strong as what's been expressed against Scott Peterson, and yet these murders took place decades ago. (She has since been denied parole)

Equally distressing, however, were the comments that anyone who opposed Atkins' parole had no compassion, no mercy, and was not a good Christian.

Is it possible to not hate someone who committed a vicious murder and still not want them to be paroled? Yes, it is.

Love is not giving people a free pass for the wrongs they commit. The love that Jesus Christ encourages us to have forgives people their sins and lets God be the judge, but still requires the person to accept personal responsibility for his or her sins, including suffering through any penalty justly imposed by society. We do no one any favors when we allow them to break laws without suffering any consequences. That is not love.

Was Atkins' life sentence justly imposed? Yes, it was. There is no doubt about her participation in the murders. She was originally given the death penalty, but California, in one of its anti-death penalty phases, reduced all death sentences to life with possibility of parole (California did not yet have the life without possibility of parole sentence). When California reinstated its death penalty, it was not retroactive.

Many believe that Scott Peterson has been justly convicted and that he justly deserves the death penalty. I agree that whomever murdered Laci and Conner deserves the death penalty. I believe God authorizes societies to execute those who murder innocent people, but also places upon those societies the responsibility to take the utmost care that only the guilty are executed. That is why we have the appeals process, to make sure no innocent person is executed. It would be much better, however, if we had more safeguards in place to prevent the innocent from being wrongfully convicted in the first place. If a society executes an innocent person, it sheds innocent blood and is itself guilty of murder.

But God does not give anyone permission to hate another human being, no matter how heinous his or her sins are. He understands the feelings of hate that rise in our hearts when we first experience something, but he encourages us to get over it, the quicker the better. Hatred is self-destructive -- it hurts us, not the person we hate.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

SII is no more . . .

SII has been taken down. When you access the domain, all you will see is the notice that SII has moved and to please update your link with the pwc-sii URL.

Your browser search engine may continue to pull up old SII pages. These will not reflect the most current information.

If you cannot find what you are looking for on pwc-sii, use the Google search function on the Help Page.

We've added a number of items on the Research & Analysis Page, so if you haven't been there in a couple of days, you might want to visit again.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Who moved the bodies, and Why?

We know that Conner did not wash ashore, and his body was placed on the Richmond Jetty shortly before he was found. The evidence is non-conclusive regarding Laci: she may have been placed in the Hoffman Bay on the night of the 12th/13th, or she may have been placed exactly where she was found during the early morning hours of the 14th.

These facts cause us to ponder some disturbing questions:

Why were they put on the Richmond Jetty and Point Isabel?

To incriminate Scott Peterson. He was clearly the only suspect. His fishing trip was well-publicized. Who didn't know that Scott Peterson went fishing at the Berkeley Marina on December 24? The Bay searches from late December through early April were well-publicized, and we knew they were searching in the Berkeley Marina, along the fishing route, and also in the Richmond Turning Basin (Chevron shipping channel). False reports had been given of bodies found. It didn't take a genius to know that finding the bodies in that area, anywhere in that area, would automatically incriminate Scott Peterson. Whomever planted the bodies there didn't need any specialized training or information -- anywhere along the shoreline from the Turning Basin to Berkeley Marina would have worked.

Why take the risk of moving the bodies?

It seems a foregone conclusion that whomever abducted Laci and murdered her and Conner was getting away with it -- Scott Peterson was the only suspect, and other leads had been summarily dismissed by the MPD with little or no investigation. So, why take the risk? Why not leave well enough alone?

Suppose the bodies were at risk of being discovered, and that discovery would force the MPD to look at other suspects. Suppose the bodies could be linked to one of the Laci-sightings the MPD ignored.

Suppose the bodies were actually found somewhere else, at a location linked to one of the Laci-sightings the MPD ignored.

Who moved the bodies?

Who had the most to lose if the bodies were found elsewhere? Who had the most to gain if the bodies were found at the Richmond Jetty and Point Isabel?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Location and Position of Laci's Body

On the morning of April 14, 2003, Alena Gonzalez, her sister, and her father were walking their dogs at the Point Isabel dog park. Two of their dogs broke away from them and found something down among the riprap. Alena at first thought it was a dead animal, then discovered it was a human body. The human body was later determined by DNA to be Laci Peterson.

Since Conner did not wash ashore, we know that Scott Peterson did not put a pregnant Laci into the Bay on December 24, 2002. How, then, did Laci get to where she was found? It stretches the imagination too much to believe that Laci just happened to wash ashore on the day after Conner's body was placed on the Richmond Jetty. The logical conclusion is that the two bodies were found on subsequent days because they both were placed to be found.

With Conner, we know that he was placed in the exact location he was found. With Laci, that wasn't necessarily the case. She could have been put into the water at Point Isabel, and allowed to wash ashore. It wouldn't matter where she washed ashore, as anywhere in that general area would incriminate Scott Peterson because of his fishing trip on December 24. The other possibility is that she, too, was placed exactly where she was found.

Evidence collected to date fails to prove conclusively which scenario happened. However, the more likely scenario is that Laci was put into the Hoffman Channel during ebb tide the night of April 12/13, expecting that she would wash ashore nearby. When her body didn't surface with the high tide on the morning of the 13th, Conner was placed on the Jetty so he would be found in a way that would not risk his body also being lost. Then, unexpectedly, Laci did wash ashore on the morning of the 14th.


The new PWC-SII

You should all be using the new PWC-SII. The link is In a few days, SII will be taken down, and the links to its pages will not work.

Monday, June 30, 2008

SII rebuild is almost complete

Rebuilding SII has long been overdue. Finally, we are far enough along to make it available for public viewing. We still consider this a beta version, but enough content is there that you should be able to use it instead of SII.

If you have a link to SII, or to any of its pages, please update them. The URL for the site is The nic for this new site is pwc-sii.

The design is intentionally plain. Only the home page has a menu bar. Each link, whether in the menu bar or in the body of a page, opens to a new window or tab (at least that's the intent, please report if you find one that doesn't). When you finish reading a page, simply close it out. Your previous page(s) will still be open.

As before, the Home Page contains PWC's argument for factual innocence, with links to the pages that provide the analysis or the evidence.

Content is divided into only 4 categories:

Timelines -- tells the detailed story, day by day. We've grouped it into larger segments.

Case File -- this includes all the court documents, motions, exhibits, transcripts.

Research & Analysis -- this is PWC's work. The index is collapsible.

Media -- same exhaustive index as before.

The Help page includes the Search SII and Search WWW function, as well as URLs for accessing the Peterson's website and blog as well as PWC website and blog. It may take Google a while to recognize the website, so continue to use your browser's search function if you don't get any results.

Content is not complete -- but we will be working to get it totally finished. But we feel it is complete enough to take the old SII down.

We'll be calling your attention to pages that have been signficantly improved over what we had on SII.

First, we want to call your attention to our updated page on "Conner did not wash ashore." We have pulled all of the information together because it is all necessary in order to understand just how much incorrect information was presented at the trial and how overwhelming the evidence is that Conner did not wash ashore. You can read this page from top to bottom, or you can click on specific items of interest. We strongly recommend reading entirely through it at least once.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Aponte Tip - Exculpatory Evidence Withheld

When Steven Todd and Donald Pearce were arrested for the Medina burglary on January 2, 2003, the Modesto Police Department still had time to rethink its pursuit of Scott Peterson. There may even have been time to save the life of Laci Peterson. They chose not to do this. Instead they accepted an obviously false version of the burglary at the home of Rudy and Susan Medina. The Medinas lived almost directly across the street from the Petersons, and the burglary occurred during the same time period that Laci disappeared.

When Todd and Pearce were found in possession of the Medina safe at the property where both lived, MPD could have followed a very obvious connection. The residence of Todd and Pearce was in the airport district approximately 2 blocks from the Gallo Winery. After Laci’s disappearance on December 24, 2002, a trailing dog named Merlin led his handler Cindy Valentin from Laci Peterson’s house on Covena to the Gallo Winery property on Santa Rosa Avenue in the late night/early morning hours of December 26-27. The handler stopped the search at the dead end inside the Gallo property even though she admits that more could have been done there. On the day that Todd and Pearce were arrested, MPD could have sent Cindy Valentin and Merlin back to Gallo and could have allowed the dog to pursue the trail in the airport neighborhood. They chose not to do that.

There was another opportunity to do things the right way once they knew that Todd and Pearce were the burglars. Diane Jackson, who lived in the Covena neighborhood, reported to MPD that she saw 3 men with a van and a safe in Medina’s front yard on the morning of December 24, the same morning that Laci disappeared. MPD could have pressured Todd and Pearce to reveal the names of these 3 men who presumably transported the safe from Medina’s to their residence, and they could have questioned the known acquaintances of Todd and Pearce in the airport neighborhood. MPD chose not to do this. Instead they accepted the story given by the burglars and continued to focus exclusively on Scott Peterson.


In late January 2003, MPD had yet another chance to conduct an honest investigation and perhaps even one month after her disappearance, to save Laci Peterson’s life. Lt. Xavier Aponte, who worked in the Investigations Unit at the California Rehabilitation Institute at Norco east of Los Angeles, called MPD with important information. A phone call between an inmate and his brother had been recorded. Aponte’s memory of that information was later given to both defense and prosecution in separate statements.

From Lt. Aponte’s Statement to the Defense: (12/1/04)

Lt. Aponte first became aware of [Shawn Tenbrink] talking about Laci Peterson within a couple of weeks of her missing. Shawn was talking about Laci missing while he was out in his housing unit. A housing staff person left a message on Lt. Aponte's voice mail and he immediately called the Modesto Police Department Hotline. He called a second time within the same week because he did not receive a call back from his first telephone call. Lt. Aponte said it was at least a week before anyone got back to him. Lt. Aponte said a detective called him back and arrangements were made for the detective to interview [Shawn]. Lt. Aponte believes that it was after he spoke to the detective that he listened to the recorded conversation between [Shawn] and his brother [Adam Tenbrink}. To the best of his recollection, [Shawn/Adam] talked to [Adam/Shawn] about Laci Peterson missing and [Adam] mentioned that Laci happened to walk up while Steve Todd was doing the burglary and Todd made some type of verbal threat to Laci.

From Lt. Aponte’s Declaration to the Prosecution: (3/3/05)

During January of 2003 I was contacted by a dorm officer at the prison, who was one of several people responsible for monitoring recorded collect telephone calls by inmates within a particular dorm. I do not recall who that officer was any longer. The dorm officer brought to my attention a recording of a telephone conversation between an inmate, Shawn Tenbrink and a male believed to be his brother, Adam Tenbrink.

I listened to this recording and heard Adam Tenbrink tell Shawn Tenbrink something about the Laci Peterson case. Adam said he was told by someone, presumably Steven Todd as his name was mentioned during the call, that Laci Peterson had seen Todd and others committing a burglary in the neighborhood……………

I made a recording of the conversation and contacted the Modesto Police tip line. I left a message on a recording for the tip line. After a period of days I received no return telephone call from the Modesto Police Department. I telephoned the tip line again and left another message.

Information this significant surely was reported to the officer in charge of the investigation, Craig Grogan, but Lt. Aponte’s first call was not returned. He placed another call the same week, and some time later his call was returned.

There are 2 versions of what happened after that.



From the signed statement given by Lt. Xavier Aponte to defense investigator Carl Jensen on December 1, 2004:

Lt. Aponte did not recall the name of the detective, however when asked about the names Craig Grogan, Al Brocchini, Mark Smith and Owens, Lt. Aponte said Grogan sounded familiar.

The detective from MPD came down to Norco [California] Rehabilitation Center and interviewed [Shawn] within the first couple of weeks from his first call to the MPD hotline. Lt. Aponte did not recall the date of the interview. When [Shawn] walked into Lt. Aponte's office for the interview he appeared scared. In retrospect, Lt. Aponte does not know if it was the environment [Shawn] was in the made him afraid or something else. By environment, Lt. Aponte was referring to [Shawn] being interviewed by the police in his office. Lt. Aponte specifically recalls [Shawn] denying having a conversation with his brother [Adam] and denying knowing Steve Todd. The detective asked if there was anyway in which [Shawn's] activities could be monitored. Lt. Aponte said they monitored his phone calls and mail more closely.

Lt. Aponte said that to his recollection the MPD detective listened to the recorded telephone conversation. Lt. Aponte is 99% positive he made a separate recording onto a cassette tape of the telephone conversation between [Shawn] and [Adam]. He did this thinking it would be important at some date. Lt. Aponte does not recall if the detective took a copy of the tape or at a later date received a copy of the taped telephone conversation………………


From the statement signed for the prosecution by Lt. Xavier Aponte on March 3, 2005:

I received a return telephone call from a Modesto Police detective a short time later. The detective asked that I arrange a telephonic interview between the inmate Shawn Tenbrink and the detective. I do not recall the detective’s name, but I do recall the voice of the detective sounded male in gender.

I had Shawn Tenbrink brought to an office at the facility and met with him. I was dressed in plain clothes at the time and was not wearing a Corrections Department uniform. I monitored a telephonic interview between the Modesto Police Department detective and Shawn Tenbrink. Shawn Tenbrink denied any knowledge about Laci Peterson’s disappearance, and was not very cooperative with the detective.

Shawn Tenbrink was returned to his unit at the prison after the interview. I do not recall mailing a copy of the audio tape recording of the conversation between Shawn and Adam Tenbrink, nor do I recall if the detective asked me to do so. I am not aware of any Modesto police officer visiting the California Rehabilitation Center to interview Shawn Tenbrink. The telephonic interview with Shawn is the only interview that took place to my knowledge.


From the signed declaration of Detective Craig Grogan (3/9/05):

I have found no other reports mentioning Aponte or Tenbrink. I have not found any audiotapes in possession of the Modesto Police Department that contain a conversation recorded between Adam and Shawn Tenbrink. I sent an e-mail to detectives, officers and supervisors involved in the Peterson investigation requesting information about an interview between an officer or detective and Shawn Tenbrink. I have not received any information from any investigator as a result of that e-mail.

I did not go to the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco at any point during this investigation, nor did any other officer or detective to my knowledge. I have inquired with supervisors in the Investigative Services Unit and they do not recall any officers being sent to that facility for an interview related to the Laci Peterson case.

How can it possibly be true that no interviews were conducted with the inmate at Norco? The officers at MPD surely knew who the Tenbrink brothers were. These were habitual criminals who lived in the airport district with an address about 2 blocks from the residence of Todd and Pearce and who were known to associate with Todd. It must have raised a red flag for MPD to hear the names Adam and Shawn Tenbrink, Steven Todd, and Laci Peterson contained in the same tip. But they tried to ignore it at first and then to cover it up. The 2 signed statements of Lt. Aponte make it clear that there was an interview of some type done by MPD. The change in Aponte’s statement indicates that he may have been pressured to change his story. It’s obvious that something happened to him between the time he gave the statement to the defense and the time he signed the one for the prosecution. He was removed from his job in the Investigations Unit on February 18 of 2003 and reassigned.

It is also possible that Aponte’s statement was altered. A close look at the PDF version of the statement indicates two different type fonts, one for the heading material, the last couple of sentences of the statement, and the signature line. Another font is used for the body of the document. Could it be that the body of the document was added after Aponte signed what he thought was a simple verification of the tip sheet? It is the standard for each page of a legal document to be initialed. In Aponte’s declaration only the third page has a signature.

In early February, in spite of Aponte’s information about a connection between Todd and Laci, Todd, a three strike plus felon, was sentenced to serve only 8 years and 8 months in jail for the Medina burglary. Pearce was sentenced to only 180 days.

By mid February MPD was committed to their prosecution of Scott Peterson. There was no turning back. By mid February Laci and her baby were dead. For MPD, the bodies if they were found, had to be in the San Francisco Bay, or questions would have been asked about their investigation. On February 18-19, they again searched the Peterson house, looking in particular at Laci’s clothing. If she was found in the black pants that Scott had described there would have been a loss of credibility for them. People would ask why they failed to investigate all the sightings in the Covena neighborhood by people who reported seeing Laci in black pants.


If Aponte’s tip had come to light at any point before Scott’s conviction, embarrassing questions would have been asked; and so Aponte’s tip was hidden in a list of 10,000 other tips on a CD. No reports about the interview with Shawn Tenbrink or any followup with his brother Adam were ever given to the defense. The tape recording of the conversation between the brothers disappeared. It appears that MPD, once committed to convict Scott Peterson, did not reveal any information that pointed to someone else as the perpetrator. It was evident that a conversation took place between Adam and Shawn Tenbrink that placed Laci Peterson and Steven Todd at the site of a burglary at the same time. Todd and the Tenbrinks, convicted felons, habitual criminals, were given a pass.

The connection between Todd and the Tenbrinks and December 24 as the date of the burglary were confirmed by defense investigator Jensen in a conversation with Adam Tenbrink. Tenbrink acknowledged that Stephen Todd was a close friend. He said that Todd had approached him on the evening of December 24, 2002, asking for help with a burglary already in progress. Tenbrink refused to talk further when Jensen began questioning him about the prison phone calls and about Todd confronting Laci.

How did the defense miss the tip notation? It appears there was some kind of deception involved in what was provided to them.

From Grogan's statement March 9, 2005 which was included in the Prosecution Opposition Response:

Per a request by the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office I searched the computerized files for the Peterson Case looking for the tip listing Shawn Tenbrink referred to by the defense in their motion. I found a tip dated 01/22/03 which included information from Lieutenant Aponte. The tip included the following information: Aponte’s telephone number, the fact he is an employed at “CRC Norco,” the inmate’s name and the name of the inmate’s brother. This tip was documented on a “tip Sheet.” The tip sheet which contained this tip is located at bate stamp number 15311 and it was discovered to both the prosecution and defense.

This comes from the Prosecution Opposition to the Defense Motion for a New Trial:

The tip states: “RECEIVED INFO FROM SHAWN TENBRINK (INMATE) HE SPOKE TO BROTHER ADAM WHO SAID STEVE TODD SAID LACI WITNESSED HIM BREAKING IN. COULD NOT GIVE DATES OR TIME. APONTE HAS FURTHER INFO.” The date of the tip was January 23, 2003. This tip was located at Bates page number 15311, and was provided to the defense on May 14, 2003 (EXHIBIT 1, date signed as being received by the defense.)

Both tips were filed under #15311, but Grogan refers only to the notation for January 22, 2003. That is the notation that Aponte was asked to verify. This notation includes only Aponte’s phone number, his place of employment, and the names of the inmate and his brother. It does not mention Todd or Laci.

In the Prosecution Opposition Response, Rick Distaso refers to the information provided on January 23, 2003. It would have been on a different page in the tip sheet. The defense must have searched for Todd’s name, but they did not find this tip.


Probably no one would have been the wiser except that some time before the end of the trial, the prosecution received a letter from “Mr. R.” an inmate at the Stanislaus County Jail.

From the signed statement of Pat Harris in the Defense Motion for a New Trial.:

Near the completion of the prosecution's case against Scott Peterson, I received a report and a letter from the Stanislaus District Attorney's Investigators about an inmate in Stanislaus County jail who allegedly had information about the abduction of Laci Peterson.

Defense Investigator Carl Jensen and I traveled to Modesto and met with the inmate. He provided us with several names of people he felt would be of interest. When the names were run on the computer database, it led to the discovery of a tip buried in the hundreds of pages of discovery. This tip was a very brief notation of a phone call from the state prison in NORCO to Modesto Police alerting them to a potential lead in the Laci Peterson investigation.

Mr. R. confirmed the information about Todd’s confrontation with Laci during the burglary and identified the Tenbrinks. Shortly before Mark Geragos began his CIC, the information which had been hidden in the tip sheet was brought to light. Unfortunately, it was too late to prevent the conviction of an innocent man and his subsequent death sentence.

Lt. Aponte was interviewed at Norco on December 1, 2004 and his signed statement was included in The Defense Motion for A New Trial. His declaration to the prosecution was signed March 3, 2005 and was included with the Prosecution Opposition Response. Grogan’s declaration, signed March 9, 2005 was also included with the Prosecution Response.


On March 16, 2005, the Defense Motion was denied by Judge Delucchi without serious consideration. Scott Peterson was sent to death row in order to preserve the careers of certain MPD detectives and the Stanislaus County prosecutors.

Defense Motion for a New Trial
Prosecution Opposition to Motion for a New Trial

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Karen Servas - The Real Story


Karen Servas lived at 517 Covena Avenue, directly to the south of the house where Laci and Scott Peterson lived. On December 24, 2002, as she backed out of her driveway on her way to do errands, she found the Peterson’s dog, McKenzie, standing in the street with his leash attached. She parked her car and took hold of the dog’s leash, walked across Peterson’s front yard to the north gate, put McKenzie back inside the yard and closed the gate which had been ajar. She went back to her house to wash her hands, and then got in her car and continued on the way to do her errands. This could have been a very ordinary event in the neighborhood, except that this happened to be the morning when Laci Peterson disappeared.

What Karen Servas did, and when she did it became crucial information in this case. Her timeline became a major factor in the conviction of Scott Peterson. Her story, however, is based on invalid or unverified time sources. There is nothing to support her claim that she found McKenzie on December 24 at 10:18 a.m.

• When Karen Servas was first interviewed by Detective Jon Buehler on December 25, 2002 around 11:30 a.m., she said she found McKenzie at approximately 10:30 a.m. on December 24. Buehler testified that Detective Allen Brocchini had been the first to interview Karen Servas on the night of December 24, but we do not know what she told him because he destroyed all notes that he took before December 25th or 26th.

• Karen Servas changed her story. On the morning of December 28, while she was on vacation in Santa Fe, New Mexico, as she was doing her laundry she found a receipt in the pocket of her jeans from a purchase she had made at Austin’s Christmas store on December 24. She contacted Detective Buehler by phone about this. On January 3, Servas gave the receipt to Detective Buehler, and also provided a handwritten note with the details of her newly constructed timeline. (People’s Exhibit 30)

This is our transcription of that note:

Detective Buehler:
Enclosed is my rec(ei)pt from Austin’s on 12/24/02.
After I found the Peterson’s dog and put it back in their yard, I went in briefly to wash my hands at my house. I then went to Bank of America, couldn’t find a parking spot; then drove to Austin’s.
I have retraced my trip; timed it from the time I found the dog to parking at Austins. I approximated the time it took was about 11 minutes.
I was in Austin’s for five minutes before I made my purchase. I went to the second cash register furthest away from the front door.
So I estimate I found the dog at 10:18 a.m., based on the receipt and working the timing backwards.
If you need any more info, please call me at 480-1744.
Karen Servas

During Servas’ trial testimony, Distaso questioned her about the receipt. (People’s Exhibit 28):

DISTASO: Okay. What time was it that it shows you made a purchase at Austin's Christmas Store?
SERVAS: It says 10:34 am.
DISTASO: Ms. Servas, this is so faint that I don't think that it's going to show up on the document camera, so can you just read where it's from and the date and the time.
SERVAS: It says Austin's Christmas Store, 12/24/2003, 10:34 a.m., Clerk No. 1.
DISTASO: Let me see the date, I think you said 2003.
SERVAS: I said, oh, no, I said, did I say 2003?
DISTASO: That's what I heard.
SERVAS: 2002. 12/24/2002.

Because the receipt is barely readable, Buehler wrote the time and date in ink on the paper next to it. He did virtually nothing to verify that the time was accurate. He received Servas’ receipt early in January of 2003 and did not go to Austin’s to check the time source until September of 2003. Buehler stated that Servas had gone to the only computerized register. This may not be accurate. Servas says in her note “the second cash register furthest away from the door.” Her receipt says “Clerk Number 01.”

When Buehler questioned William Austin, the store owner, Austin told Buehler that he checked the computerized register to see if the time was accurate. He didn’t say when he did it, or how often, or how he verified that the time was correct. Geragos pointed out that Austin did not set the computer, and Jared Jensen who did set the time was never interviewed by the police.

On January 14, 2004, Mark Geragos sent his investigator, Carl Jensen, to Austin’s store. Jensen asked to see the computerized register which had to be taken out of storage. William Austin, in his testimony, grudgingly admitted that he ran 2 receipts for the defense investigator on that day. These receipts, according to Geragos, were run within 10 minutes of each other. The time and date on the receipts indicates that they were run 49 minutes apart and on 2 different days. (Defense Exhibit H)

There’s also another curious fact. The format of the receipt from the computerized register is different from that of Karen Servas’ receipt, indicating that her receipt was probably run on one of the other two registers in the Christmas store. Those registers were never checked by anyone.

• Karen Servas used 2 additional time sources to back up her new story. However, neither one of these sources proves anything.

First, she provided the MPD with her phone records for the month of December (Prosecution Exhibit 29-sealed). This included the record of a call she made on the morning of December 24 at 10:37 a.m. In her revised story, she claimed that she made this call after the 10:34 purchase at Austin’s. We know that the Austin’s time does not verify her story, and neither does the time of this phone call. No followup was done by MPD to determine where she was when she placed this phone call. Cell phone tower records, which could have given general information about her location, were not checked. No witnesses were called to confirm her account of where she was when she made this call.

Second, she says she went to Bank of America and made a deposit on the morning of the 24th after she had been to Austin’s. However, no deposit slip or bank statement verifying a transaction at Bank of America on the morning of December 24 was ever entered into evidence by the prosecution.

Rick Distaso: The, regarding the, when she called you about the ATM bank records that, when she went to the bank at 10:53, she was calling to tell you that those records, I mean that those records confirmed her testimony here in this trial, correct?
Mark Geragos: Where is that in the report?
Kevin Bertalotto: I don't know if she's,
Mark Geragos: There's an objection. Assumes facts not in evidence. It's certainly not in the police report.

However, Prosecutor Distaso improperly argues this in his closing. No one has testified to the truth of this information, and there is no documentation to verify it.

Distaso: …….If you remember at the end of the trial the defense asked Investigator Bertalotto about that additional record that she just got, which was at 10:53, completely supporting exactly everything that she said. ……


• Karen Servas’ timeline, although tenuous at best, was used by the Modesto Police Department as an excuse for its failure to investigate the Medina burglary even though there were credible sources to confirm that the burglary and Laci’s disappearance were directly related.

On the morning of December 24, Susan Medina and her husband were getting ready to leave home to visit their children. A city inspector had been to their house that morning and around the time the inspector left, Mr. Medina made a phone call. (9:32 a.m.) After that time, the Medina’s continued getting ready to leave for their trip. They left home around 10:32 am. At the end of the block before they made a right turn on Encina, Susan Medina made a phone call to her son (10:33 a.m.)

During the time that Karen Servas says she found McKenzie, the Medinas were packing their car, going back and forth inside and outside, getting ready to leave on their trip. Surely, if Karen found McKenzie at the time she said she did, the Medinas would have noticed the activity in the street, and she would have seen them. Their driveways are almost directly across the street from each other. Karen Servas found McKenzie in the street right in front of Medina’s house. She walked across her yard and Peterson’s yard and back again as she returned McKenzie to his yard, but she said that she did not see the Medinas that day, and they did not see her.

Neighbors Amie Krigbaum and Terra Venable (one house north of Medinas) heard two dogs barking at 10:38 a.m. One they recognized as Sage, the dog who lived just north of their house. A couple of days later they realized that the second dog they heard barking aggressively at that time was the Peterson’s dog McKenzie. They said that the barking continued for a few minutes. Mike Chiavette, another neighbor, saw a dog fitting McKenzie’s description in the park at the north end of Covena at 10:45 a.m.

It is reasonable to believe that Karen Servas found McKenzie after the Medinas left home at 10:32, after she made a phone call at 10:37, after Sage and McKenzie stopped barking around 10:40 (testimony of Amie Krigbaum), and after Chiavette saw McKenzie in the park at 10:45. It is also reasonable to believe that the burglary at Medina’s started shortly after the Medinas left home on December 24, and that the disappearance of Laci Peterson is directly related to that burglary.

• The Modesto Police Department also used Servas’ faulty timeline after the fact to cover up its failure to investigate the numerous credible sightings of Laci Peterson walking her dog in the Covena neighborhood on the morning of December 24.

FLADAGER: All right. Detective Grogan, I'd like to take you back to December 24th one more time. The sightings of Laci Peterson on December 24th that are indicated on that particular diagram, which is People's Exhibit 267, you indicated earlier that you had ruled out essentially in your mind ruled out those as being viable of Laci's sightings, correct?
GROGAN: That's correct.
FLADAGER: Now is there a time frame that was available for Laci Peterson to be out walking, according to the defendant's statements and physical evidence and phone records on December 24th?
FLADAGER: What was that time frame?
GROGAN: From approximately 10:08 to 10:18.
FLADAGER: And on either end of those time frames prior to 10:08 subsequent to 10:18 are there factors that would indicate she could not have been out walking?
GROGAN: On these sightings in particular?
FLADAGER: No, just in general.
GROGAN: In general. Well, there is the information that we had from her medical records that said that she was supposed to walk later in the day, that she had been getting nauseous, and then those reports to the doctor stopped, so you can read maybe something into that. The fact that cuts down some on the time line is she is, she's supposed to be in the house in a pair of black pants and a white shirt and mopping the floor when he leaves at 10:08, and so for in order for her to, to go for a walk, she would need to, based on the defendant's statement and the clothing, she would have to change her clothes, put on her shoes and socks, put the leash on the dog and then leave the house.
FLADAGER: And at 10:18 end of time period, the end of that time frame what, what caused that 10:18 time frame?
GROGAN: That's when Karen Servas finds McKenzie with his leash attached in the street one house south of 523 Covena Avenue.

• Judge Delucchi, when presented with credible information about the involvement of the Medina burglars in Laci’s abduction (Aponte Tip), used Karen Servas’ imaginary timeline as his rationale for denying the Defense Motion for a New Trial.

………………………What we've here is this conversation of, of this inmate, I'm not going to identify who it is, that somebody told him, and they believed this Todd had told him, that he had confronted, or Laci Peterson had confronted these burglars during the course of this burglary that took place at the Medina residence. The court's not too impressed by that evidence. I don't think it has much credibility or value to it. And the reason being is that there is evidence in this trial that the dog, McKenzie, was recovered at 10:14 or 10:18, I don't remember exactly what happened, and the Medinas didn't leave until after 10:30 in the morning. So the burglary must have occurred after the Medinas left their residence, and by that time Laci Peterson, under one interpretation of the evidence, was already missing……………..


The damage caused by Karen Servas’ reconstructed timeline can not be overstated. Scott Peterson has been convicted and sentenced to death by a story that has no basis in fact. Karen Servas did not find Laci’s dog, McKenzie, on December 24, 2002 at 10:18 a.m. There is nothing at all that confirms her timeline. The Austin’s receipt is invalid, there is no verification of her location when she was making the 10:37 phone call, and the bank deposit information, even if it exists, would not prove when she left home and when she found McKenzie.

The Modesto Police Department and Judge Delucchi capitalized on this false information and used it to excuse a terrible injustice, the wrongful conviction of Scott Peterson.

The original version of this article appears on SII. This revised version has been updated and modified for the blog.