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Thursday, December 16, 2004
It's finally coming to an end...

...No, not the holidays (although the end is getting near), and for those who are panicking, this blog isn't coming to an end either. I'm talking about the Laci Peterson double murder case.

I've held my tongue about this for a long time, and I think this is probably the only time that I'll address this massive media darling of a story, so if you're interested, pull up a chair. If you're not interested, come back tomorrow and I'll have the Friday Forum answers up, or next week and you'll see some of the really bizarre things that Blog Patrol has picked up as search terms for my blog that I've been collecting for the last few months.

If you're still with me now, I hope I say everything I want to clearly enough.

A couple of years ago, the day before Christmas, I was heading to pick up my children from school when I heard an alert about a missing woman. What caught my attention was that it was a missing pregnant woman who hadn't been seen since that morning. The news had said that the husband had been questioned, but said he'd promised to take a nephew fishing. Later that story changed - to the infamous "I went fishing in the marina". It's a little detail that disappeared very quickly, and I chalk it up to the media making a mistake.

As the days passed, in talking with others, there were theories bandied about - that she was kidnapped for that baby, and we'll just find her dead somewhere, or that she'd been killed immediately. Either way, the outcomes for the pretty vibrant lady named Laci weren't good at all. I kept hoping (against an inner voice) that she would be found just fine. Maybe she'd left her husband for an unexplained reason.

As the months wore on, we learned about the girlfriend, we learned about the boat, we learned about his want to sell the house, the bodies were washed up on shore, and we learned about the husband being arrested with $15000 in cash, his brother's identification, and survival gear in his car.

Months of venue changes followed, jury selection that seemed to go on forever, and finally a trial. That trial ended with a guilty verdict just before Thanksgiving this year, and as we're walking towards Christmas that same jury has recommended that Scott Peterson should be sentenced to death row.

This isn't a rant against capital punishment, or about the money that California taxpayers (of which I am one) are going to have to shell out to keep Peterson and his fellow death row inmates fed and happy on death row for years to come. This isn't about ending the cycle either. I have my opinions on all of those things, and I'm keeping those to myself for the moment.

This is about this trial and it's outcome. I believe Peterson is guilty, and one significant reason that many of the jurors have noted helped motivate me towards that decision. He didn't show any emotion throughout this entire ordeal. When he addressed the press, those very early and few times he did, he spoke clearly with no emotion. No appeal in his voice for Laci to be returned to him. It was just another ordinary thing. I should think that if I disappeared like that (fates forbid) my DH would be showing some emotion - worry or anger, or outright being upset - but not be stonefaced. Peterson came off cold and distant, almost uncaring.

A vibrant and beautiful woman pregnant with a child she clearly adored, according to all accounts, disappears off the face of the earth without a trace, and her husband isn't half out of his mind with worry or anger? Isn't in front of the press begging and begging for the return of his wife and his unborn son?

It got so we saw Laci's parents more often in the news begging for her return than we saw Peterson himself. That in and of itself spoke volumes because when they spoke he usually wasn't anywhere to be seen. Such the show of family unity, don't you think?

Something just ain't right about that one.

I hear he never even cracked when they showed pictures of the bodies of his deceased wife and child. He cried to his lawyer when he asked him if any of the testimony in the penalty phase was going to save him, if any of it was going to work. So he cries when it comes to sparing his own skin, but nothing when it comes to those he was supposed to protect and was accused of killing? That speaks volumes to me - he came off in the press accounts as uncaring, as if this trial was an inconvenience keeping him from the golf course.

Peterson now faces the ultimate inconvenience. He's going to be put into a 41 sq. ft cell where he will eat all of his meals and spend most of the hours of the rest of his life. His first appeal will probably not start for a few years to come due to the backlog in the appeals court of California. The chances are pretty good that he will die before he is executed.

Before I go on, I have to say that I'm torn between whether Peterson should have gotten life in prison or the death penalty. Either way, I am convinced, he will die. If they'd put him in general population, they wouldn't even need to paint a target on him. Criminals who harm children are the lowest of the low in prison, and they're the first ones to suffer horribly. For me, that sounds like a very attractive option for Peterson, and perhaps it's because of that that the jury did what they did.

His lawyer pleaded to spare his life - and it's entirely possible that by recommending the death penalty they *did* spare his life because they knew that he would be a target in general population. They spared him being tortured to death by other criminals - they spared his parents that grief. Despite all this, we know he's going to die in jail, and the chances are good that it won't be via the lethal injection, unless he waives his appeals (not likely).

Now, the methods by which he could die are varied. You see, as I understand it and as it has been presented in the media, he will be evaluated to see which group of death row inmates he will be put with - these are men that he can socialize with for approximately 3 hours a week face to face in the communal exercise yard. If he is put with others who committed heinous crimes, the chances are good that he will end up with Ramon Salcido (who killed his family and dropped the bodies at the dump), Richard Ramirez (the Night Stalker), and Richard Allen Davis (the monster who killed Polly Klaas). Davis avoids communal exercise because there are others who have vocally expressed a desire to kill him. Peterson is vain enough about his appearance that I doubt he will express that same fear.

This is a very well educated man with a privledged upbringing who will be put among high school dropouts, and people who had horrid childhoods. You might as well paint a target on Peterson, because that's what he is now.

The chances are very good there that someone on the block will try and take a swipe at him. Assuming that doesn't happen, then there's another route for Peterson - suicide. Yes, suicides have happened on California's Death Row in the last 24 years since the death penalty was reinstated. In my opinion Peterson is weak enough to consider this as a way out from the hell that he has created for himself by killing his wife and child. And he brought that all upon himself...

...because, after all, divorce was always an option.