Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A hair, an affair, and a fishing trip

I came across this article by Julia Prodis Sulek, San Jose Mercury News, for the date November 23, 2003. The headline was "Mystery persists in Peterson case," and Sulek followed with:

Is that all there is?

After 12 days of testimony ended last week and piles of police reports were submitted into evidence to try to prove that Scott Peterson killed his pregnant wife and unborn son, that's the lingering question.

A hair, an affair and a fishing trip seemed about all that were needed to persuade a Stanislaus County judge to make Peterson stand trial sometime next year. But do prosecutors have enough evidence to convince a jury that Peterson killed his wife and dumped her body into San Francisco Bay last Christmas Eve?

A hair, an affair, and a fishing trip -- that about sums it up for the case against Scott Peterson. Oh, to be sure, Sulek's article included some assurances from attorneys and legal scholars like Loyola University law Professor Stan Goldman and Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, [then] an assistant district attorney in San Francisco, that much, much more would be presented at the trial -- this is only what was necessary to get Scott bound over for trial.

But what did the trial add to "a hair, an affair, and a fishing trip"? Nothing, except gossip -- and the friends and relatives really had to work hard to come up with something negative about Scott. I wish the worse thing that could be said about me is that I once lost my temper at a family barbecue when I burned some chicken.

A hair, an affair, and a fishing trip. Let's take the hair. That single hair collected into the evidence envelope by Det. Hendee that magically became 2 hairs that fell out of the evidence envelope when opened by Det. Brocchini. That hair that was found in pliers that the forensic tech said had not been used recently enough to have been used in a crime on December 24, 2002. That hair that could have been Laci's, but why would anyone be surprised to have some of her laying around? That hair that Hendee said just dropped into the evidence envelope when he opened the pliers, NOT wrapped around and around and around the pliers like Nancy Grace claimed over and over and over again. So a hair in pliers that have no connection to Laci's death -- that's real quality evidence, isn't it?!?

The affair. Ah, yes, the affair. ADA Rick Distaso admitted that no sensible person would conclude, after listening to hours and hours of those tapes that Amber was a motive for murder. The affair was simply for character assassination.

The fishing trip. Now we get into something that does have a nexus to the location where the bodies were found, and that would be good evidence, except every person on the planet knew that Scott Peterson was fishing along a route from the Berkeley Marina to Brooks Island by the 1st of January, plenty of time for someone who wanted to make sure that s/he continued to get away with the murder to see to it that the bodies, if ever found, would be found where the #1 suspect went fishing that day. It's not rocket science.

So the mystery continues: how in the world could that hair, that affair, and that fishing trip have the power to convict?

It's really no mystery at all. That's not what convicted Scott Peterson. It was all the other "evidence" that was leaked and talked about: the blood in the mop, the house reeking of bleach, the $250K life insurance policy, the admission to Amber Frey that he knew who did it -- and a host of other blatant lies that were circulated before the Preliminary Hearing proved them to be lies. But by then it was too late. Millions had already made up their minds. And they didn't want to be bothered with pesky facts.

Sulek is also the Mercury News reporter that proved another myth to be false - that Scott Peterson showed no emotion and made no plea for Laci's return. After her interviews in Modesto about the effect this case had on the town, Sulek wrote: "Many people heeded Peterson's tearful pleas and fruitlessly searched, hung fliers and prayed at candlelight vigils for his wife's safe return" ("For Modesto, Peterson slaying cements dark notoriety," 10/27/2003 Mercury News.)