Sunday, January 22, 2012

December 30: Amber's debut

According to Detective Brocchini, the first he heard of Amber was standing behind the person taking the tips on the MPD tip hotline on the morning of December 30, 2002.  His story is just not believable.  Neither is it believable that Amber didn't know "her Scott Peterson" was the husband of the missing pregnant woman from Modesto.

I lived in Sunnyvale at the time, which is 90 miles from Modesto.  I watched very little TV, rarely caught a local newscast, and didn't subscribe to a paper.  Yet I knew by the time I sat down with my family for a noon-day Christmas Dinner that a pregnant woman from Modesto was missing.  When I returned to work the next day, it was widely talked about.  Amber wasn't a hermit -- she had a job, she had friends, she had a very good detective friend with the Fresno PD (alerts were sent to every police department in CA) who had a friend who worked for the CA DOJ (the DOJ was heavily involved in the investigation from day one). Her sister lived in Modesto, just a couple blocks from Sharon Rocha.  Amber had sent a photo of the couple in her Christmas cards.  And it isn't true that Scott's photo wasn't in the media -- it was.  And his name was mentioned in every story.  Also, Tradecorp was mentioned as his employer from at least the 27th.  Why didn't Shawn Sibley pick up on that?

So, I'm not playing this game anymore that Amber didn't know "her Scott" was the husband of the missing pregnant woman from Modesto.  She did; she probably knew he was married and his wife was pregnant before Laci even disappeared.  All the evidence at this time points to the Medina burglars as Laci's abductors, so that is not an accusation that she had anything to do with Laci's disappearance.

So what was up the morning she called Brocchini? And why did she first call Brocchini?  My theory is that  Amber knew Scott was married and knew his wife was pregnant.  When she heard about Laci's disappearance on Dec 25th, she immediately called Richard Bird, a detective with the Fresno PD, and asked his advice.  She was probably scared to death she was going to be thrown under the bus by Scott, since we know she was having serious trust issues already.

We can tell that Bird was a very good friend because one doesn't spend 30-60 minutes at a time on the phone on several occasions with someone that's not a good friend.  And these are only the calls we know about that were placed to Bird from her phone; we don't know how many incoming calls she received from him or their frequency or duration.  You can see her phone conversations with Bird here.  On Christmas morning, at 8:36 a.m., she called Bird and talked for 24 minutes. She probably had just heard about Laci's disappearance.  Bird probably did what he could to protect his friend -- not in an illegal way, but to be sure that she did not become the prime suspect.

What advice did he give her?  I conclude from her behavior that it was to be sure to keep in touch with Scott, while not acknowledging that she knew anything, so she could keep tabs on him.  She surely knew that if Scott told the police about the affair, they would investigate her.  That explains her effort to make contact with Scott on the 25th, even having Shawn Sibley's uncle call Scott to chew him out for not calling Amber as he had promised.

Then on the 26th, she made an astounding number of calls to Scott - 14 in all.  She seemed to be in a panic to get hold of him.  She first called Richard Bird at 1:38 p.m, and talked to him 5 minutes.  Again, we only know what calls she placed to him; we don't know what calls he placed to her.  Then she called Scott at 3:04 p.m.; he didn't call back.  Then she called at 5:32, 5:37, 5:48, and 5:50.  This would be about the time the television stations were showing the house on Covena being cordoned off in preparation for the search warrant.  She probably also saw television coverage of Scott leaving the house.  Scott did call her at 6:55, but they didn't make contact.  Then she called at 6:57, 7:18, 7:19, 7:34, 7:34, 7:36, 8:16, 8:20, and 8:21.  No, the two 7:34's is not a mistake.  Scott called her at 9:33 and they talked for 17 minutes (her calls to and from Scott were compiled in a chart by Jacobson, click here to view; my analysis of the Amber/Scott phone calls is here.)

My theory is that while Amber was trying frantically to keep in touch with Scott so she would know what he was up to, Bird was working the other end, trying to get an arrangement with the MPD wherein Amber could come forward as a cooperative witness against Scott and essentially have immunity from prosecution for anything they should happen to find out about her in their investigation.  Amber had an 18 minute conversation with Bird at 8:09 p.m. on the 28th, and by that time it was absolutely clear that the MPD was singling out Scott as their only suspect. Better to jump on the bandwagon and help catch Scott than risk becoming a suspect.  After all, he'd lied to her and her only alibi for the morning of the 24th was her toddler daughter.

In the early morning hours of the 30th she made a call to Bird that lasted 4 minutes.  She said Bird had called her earlier on the night of the 29th while she was still at the party.  This appears to be his instructions to her on how to contact the MPD so as to take full advantage of the arrangement he had worked out. But somehow the wires got crossed.  She called Brocchini, when she was supposed to call the tip line, as I suspect Brocchini wanted it to appear that she was just calling in the tip line on her own, so as not to give away any hint of the agreement they had with her.  Then she goofed again and mentioned that she had called Brocchini's number earlier.  But that was all swept under the carpet and no one noticed anything strange about it.  No one even noticed at the trial when Amber's tip was not produced as evidence -- no, it wasn't.  So we don't have the alleged tip that Brocchini said the tipline received from Amber.  Heck, for all we know, she didn't even call the tipline, she just called him and he made the rest of the story up.  His stories have about as much credibility as Richard Nixon's "I'm not a crook," or Bill Clinton's "I never had sexual relations with that woman."

Richard Bird was at Amber's house on December 30th, but left before Brocchini and Buehler arrived.  Or at least, that's the story they gave us.

Now that Amber was known to the MPD, she could help build their case against Scott.  Whatever tapes she had made on her own no longer existed, with the exception of the voice message she had saved.  They would want her to get certain things from Scott: a confession, of course, and lacking that, to get him entangled in as many contradictory statements as possible.  I assume they would also want her to get him to badmouth Laci, run her down, blame everything on her, so they could run to Laci's family and share it with them.  Of course, Scott didn't do that.

That's right, through all the conversations you heard between Amber and Scott, did you ever once hear him say anything negative about Laci?  When Amber pressed, he would say he wasn't going to talk about that.  He never shared anything personal between him and Laci.  You might not think that's much to brag about, but adulterers do often make it out to be the wife's fault.  In fact, Scott chose the only explanation for not being married that would eliminate any suggestion that his adultery was in any way Laci's fault -- he said he lost his wife. Who can say something bad about a wife that's been "lost."

And if we go back to the record, neither Shawn nor Amber could repeat anything bad that Scott ever said about Laci.  No one did; no one could because it just didn't happen.  The truth is, and all the Scott-haters just can't admit this, no matter what his personal failings with adultery, Scott loved Laci and had no intention of leaving her for Amber or for anyone else.  Even Distaso had to admit that Scott's feelings for Amber were not anywhere significant enough to warrant leaving Laci.  Too bad that he couldn't admit he was wrong about everything else, too.