Another anniversary is upon us -- March 16, 10 years since Judge Delucchi sentenced Scott to Death Row.
I've been involved in this case from the beginning. My interest began on Christmas Day when I heard the news of the missing pregnant woman in Modesto CA. I didn't know where Modesto was, so I looked it up on a map. It wasn't far from Sunnyvale CA, where I lived, and a lot of the activity happened on the East Bay, even closer to home.
I've had a lot of theories over the years on what happened to Laci and who was responsible. But what do I think now? After all of these years of research and discussions and more research, etc., what do I know that I didn't know back on Christmas Day, 2002?
I know the State's theory: Laci was killed at home on the night of the 23rd, by means of a soft kill that didn't leave any blood or bodily fluids, then transported by means of Scott's Ford 150 truck to the warehouse, then transferred to the boat he had just recently purchased in secret, then to the Berkeley Marina, then to the fishing route to near Brooks Island, where Scott heaved her overboard and expected her to never resurface. On April 12 there was a big storm in the Bay that forced Conner out of Laci and floated him to the mudflat and Laci to Point Isabel.
The strongest evidence for the State's theory is, of course, where the bodies were found, in such close proximity to where Scott went fishing. In fact, it's the only evidence that directly links Scott to the murders.
It's an easy theory to accept, if you don't think too much about it. Maybe that's my problem -- I'm too logical. Things have to make sense to me. For example, it doesn't make sense to me that Scott would buy a boat for the sole purpose of disposing of Laci's body when there were so many other ways to do it without putting out that $1400. Why spend $1400 when you don't have to?
But it goes well beyond that -- way beyond that. It even goes way beyond the lack of evidence in the home, the truck, the warehouse, the boat. It all boils down to the irrefutable, hard cold facts that were presented at the trial, but they just did not sink in. Heck, even experts like Wecht and Lee didn't catch the significance of these cold hard facts. Or if they did, they were too cowardly to testify about them.
These are not opinions -- they are facts, measurements, photos taken by the State's side of the aisle. And I have heard the most absurd explanations for why these facts do not matter. But they do.
Fact Number One. Conner could not have washed ashore to where he was found. Yes, he could have washed ashore on the beach, but that's not where he was found. He could have washed to just in front of that massive rock breakwater, but that's not where he was found. He could have gotten into and among the rocks in the breakwater, but that's not where he was found. He could even have gotten through the breakwater, but that's not where he was found. He could have been in the well-formed debris line, but that's not where he was found. He was found 2-3 feet beyond the debris line, distinctly separate from the debris line. The only explanation for him being there is that someone put him there. Did that someone find him in the water in front of the breakwater and fetch him out? Or among the rocks? If so, why didn't that someone call for help, like the Looby's did? Why did that someone put Conner where he was found and just leave him there, at the mercy of all those birds?
Fact Number Two. Conner's size, 32 cm crown-to-rump measurement, did not fit Laci's 23 cm top to bottom uterus measurement. It would fit if Laci had given birth before she died because the uterus does automatically shrink down to about that size, 23 cm, just from the process of giving birth, even with a c-section. But there simply is no means by which a uterus that has been dead for 112 days, inside a woman that has been dead for 112 days, has the capacity to shrink when the baby is removed. When rigor mortis set in, the muscles, including the uterus, would have stiffened. When rigor passed, they would have relaxed, and so would the uterus. Once relaxed, and the muscle begins to decompose, there's nothing left in it or the body to cause it to shrink when the baby is removed. It wouldn't behave like a balloon when you let the air out, because the uterus would no longer have the capacity to shrink -- what makes a balloon stretch and shrink and what makes a uterus stretch and shrink are entirely different processes. Rather, it would be like a filled water bottle being emptied -- the water bottle remains the same size, it is just flat when it's empty. Similarly, the uterus would just be a flat, limp muscle once the baby was removed. For the uterus to shrink, the baby would have to be born while the mother was still alive or just immediately after, when the uterus was still capable of shrinking. This proves that Scott did not put pregnant Laci into the Bay on Dec 24.
Fact Number Three. Conner's size does not fit his gestational age on December 24. Galloway's measurements are cold, hard facts. The State wrested and wrangled with those measurements, but they still remain written in stone. The State couldn't accept the cold reality because those measurements prove that Scott did not put pregnant Laci in the Bay on Dec 24, and the MPD had him under such tight surveillance that there's no way he could have had them elsewhere and put them in the Bay at a later time.
So, we are left with reality: Human hands put Conner where he was found; Conner lived beyond Dec 24, and Conner was born while Laci was still alive or had just died.
What else do we know that might shed some light on this subject?
We know that Laci's severely decomposed body was for some time in the Bay because of the marine artifacts -- she hadn't just gone into the Bay when she was found; Conner did not have any marine artifacts or any animal feeding, so he was protected, but he was also severely decomposed. Laci's body was skeletal above the waist, with significant disarticulation; Conner was not skeletal or disarticulated. Laci's body had a piece of duct tape attached; Conner had some plastic twine around his neck and body, tied in a knot and a bow.
Now, many of you are saying, So how do YOU explain all of this? How do YOU tie all of this together?
Well, first of all, I admit it's bizarre. Very bizarre. But here's my current theory, based on the known facts.
First, being wrapped in plastic, secured by duct tape, is consistent with the condition of Laci's body and Conner's protected condition. If Conner were wrapped in plastic separately, then wrapped with Laci in plastic, that would explain how the two could be kept together, and not float away from each other. If the plastic covering around Laci gradually came undone, exposing parts of her body to more marine activity and decomposition, but Conner's plastic covering remained intact, that would explain the difference between their conditions when found.
Now you ask, who put them in the Bay? Who would go to that much trouble just to frame Scott Peterson? Well, wouldn't you go to that much trouble? If you had killed someone for whatever reason, and it changed from being just another murder in a town with a fairly high murder rate to a national media frenzy, and the husband was obviously the only suspect, and it was well publicized exactly where the husband went that day -- would you think it too much of a bother to put the bodies right where he went? Remember, the cold hard facts of Conner's measurements prove they lived beyond Dec 24. The perps kept Laci alive. I have no theory as to why they did that -- or to rephrase, one theory is to me just about as good as any other theory. It was sick and depraved, whatever their reason was. But once they were dead, and the case was so well publicized and everyone just knew the husband did it -- I don't think you'd think it much trouble at all to get them to the Bay. If the bodies were found, they'd pin it on Scott. If the bodies weren't found, they'd pin it on Scott. Win/win situation for the murderers and very little risk involved.
Now you ask, how could they put them in the Bay when they were doing all the searches in the Bay? Well, they didn't search at night. And they didn't search every day. And once they searched an area, they moved on to another area. Some places along the East Bay from Berkeley to Richmond have vehicle access, and at night. Wrapping in plastic would be a good way to move the bodies. The perimeter of the Albany Bulb would be a good place to put the bodies, and it had vehicle access at night. It was a sanctuary for a sizable anti-law enforcement homeless population that would not be likely to report a body and have dozens of law enforcement invade their sanctuary and poking through all of their things. And it's intertidal, a necessary element for the particular marine artifacts on the duct tape and Laci's body.
Now you ask, how did the bodies get to where they were found? Good question. Laci could have just washed free and floated to where she was found, but Conner had to involve human hands. The particular dates may have been significant -- Palm Sunday -- or perhaps someone was really frustrated because the case wasn't being solved and Scott was still a free man. It's pretty obvious the DA's were not going to bring charges against Scott without a body. So the bodies had to be found to close the case. It's also pretty obvious that searchers had long since stopped looking in that area of the Bay, so some direct intervention was necessary. An anonymous quick tip where to find the bodies is all it would take.
Now here's the really weird part. I don't believe Conner was put where he was found in order to be found. The mudflat is just too uninviting and too rarely frequented by humans for it to be a deliberate choice if you want a body to be found. But a perfect place if you want a body to not be found.
Why wouldn't they want Conner to be found? Well, Duh, because he's the strongest evidence that Scott didn't kill them. He's born. He's too old. How could they ever get a conviction against Scott with those 2 facts staring them in the face? And by that time, Laci's body was such that the absent baby would be accepted because the uterus was empty of everything. Once rid of Conner, all that was necessary was to send Laci afloat and wherever she banked would be okay -- A conviction signed, sealed and delivered merely because of the close proximity to Scott's fishing route. Case solved. The MPD gets their man!
But something went wrong. It's called a coincidence. They do happen. The Looby's just happened along and found baby Conner lying on the ground. They'd never been to the mudflat before. They thought their dog could swim from the beach, just off the bicycle/pedestrian path that wraps around a residential area, but the tide was way too low, so they walked on across the unsightly beach, climbed over some rocks and followed the muddy, narrow path onto the mudflat. I've been there a number of times -- you have to want to get there pretty bad to go to all that trouble. The first responders and investigators didn't bother interrogating the people at the other side of the mudflat, down by the picnic table, even though the only way they could have gotten there was by the way of the baby.
It's really quite imaginative the way they spun the cold hard facts to explain away Conner. And they got away with it simply because no matter how convoluted the evidence, the media and the public had already made up their collective mind, Scott is guilty! Period!
And so Scott sits on Death Row. 10 years.