#10) June 2003
Laci Peterson Case Information:
When: June 2003
June 1 The Modesto Bee runs an article analyzing the prosecutors’ about-face concerning the release of the autopsy reports, quoting experts Michael Vitiello, Stephen Lubet and Peter Tague, who collectively conclude that the decision was a pragmatic one, driven by the media. Tague speculates that the autopsy reports in their entirety may work against Scott Peterson: “Prosecutors are now revealing this because they think that, on balance, [the reports] favor the prosecution’s theory.” The New York Post runs an article focusing on Jackie Peterson’s demands that the Rocha family turn over to her Laci Peterson’s wedding ring, a diamond ring given to her by Scott Peterson and a collection of diamonds and gemstones given to her by her paternal grandmother. Fox News reports that Adam Stewart was directed by Sharon Rocha not to provide any details concerning the ring. “Sharon’s objective, at the start of all this, was to get inside the home and look at her daughter’s belongings,” Stewart says. “She wanted to have that time. I think she would give back everything she has of Laci’s to have that time.” Fox News also reports that the defense team is now looking for a man named “Donnie” with possible ties to illegal drugs, including methamphetamines. They believe that Donnie and others are linked to the brown van reportedly spotted in the Covena Avenue area on December 24, 2002. Fox News also reports a new inconsistency concerning Scott Peterson’s alibi: On December 23, 2002, he told Amy Rocha that he had a golf tee time the following day and volunteered to run an errand for her on his way home from the game—apparently not mentioning any plans to go fishing.
June 2 Alleging “grave prosecutorial misconduct,” Scott Peterson’s attorneys file a request for a hearing concerning intercepted phone calls between him and his defense team. “I need to assess what was told to who, and I need people under oath to do it,” Mark Geragos says. The documents lay out a series of sanctions the defense may seek, including removing the district attorney’s office, excluding testimony from any investigator or attorney involved in the wiretaps, and barring any evidence unless prosecutors can demonstrate it did not come from the eavesdropping. John Goold remarks that the filing was “not unanticipated” and that the Office of the District Attorney will go along with whatever the court orders: “If the judge wants somebody to testify, we’re happy to have them testify.” The documents say that Wray Ladine, seven days after authorizing the first wiretap, instructed investigators not to spot-check calls between Scott Peterson and Kirk McAllister, and point out that Steve Jacobson said in an affidavit filed with the court last month, “Judge Ladine was concerned about the district attorney’s office using a wiretap to obtain statements from a suspect who had counsel and had already expressed to the police that he didn’t wish to make any statements.” Goold is philosophical about the obvious role of Geragos: “I haven’t had a case where the defense doesn’t complain about something. That seems to be their job.” The Modesto Bee runs an article featuring two California songwriters, Tony Handy and John Strand, who have written separate tributes to Laci Peterson. CNN runs an article entitled, “Public Debate Shifts Over Accused Husband in Peterson Case,” the focus of which is that the question of the case has moved from, “How could he do it?” to”Did he do it?” Cult expert Rick Ross appears on KTVU’s Mornings on 2 and states that the defense team is floating a “very far fetched” alternative theory of Laci Peterson’s murder based on a debunked urban myth: “I think it’s a pretty ridiculous story; I don’t see anything compelling that would prove this or lead one to conclude this.” Ross says the dumping of the bodies in the San Francisco Bay also does not follow any known cult pattern. “When a cult slays someone, they don’t hide the body,” he remarks. “Typically, they leave the body at the scene of the crime. With self-styled Satanists like Richard Ramirez [the Night Stalker], David Berkowitz [the Son of Sam], that’s what happened.” Ross says the defense is likely resorting to the theory because they have nothing else: “It’s the equivalent of the ‘Hail Mary’ pass in football, but in this case I’d call it the ‘Hail Satan’ pass.” Mike Hendricks writes an op-ed piece for the Kansas City Star whining that the Laci Peterson case gets coverage only because it happened in the metropolis of Modesto, rather than in his beloved cow-and-corn country, and cites three more compelling local mysteries that never registered more than a blip on the national radar: First, Tabitha Brewer and Nick Travis, who went missing years ago—they found him buried behind a house in Kansas City, but she’s never turned up. Second, the unknown girl dubbed Precious Doe, found beheaded in a field of weeds. Third, John Robinson, convicted of stuffing women’s bodies into plastic barrels.
June 3 A hearing is held in response to a motion by the Los Angeles Times, the Modesto Bee, the San Francisco Chronicle, and NBC to release search warrants and an arrest affidavit related to the case. Mark Geragos is trying a case in Los Angeles and does not attend the hearing. Matt Dalton urges Roger Beauchesne to keep the documents sealed, saying making them public could jeopardize the defense’s search for “the real killers” of Laci and Conner Peterson. “We have information we feel could possibly affect an arrest of other suspects we feel are still out there.” He claims the defense team has “made great progress” in their investigation and offers to provide more details in private. For once, Dave Harris sides with the defense, arguing that releasing the information in the warrants will make it harder for investigators to distinguish good tips from false ones, contrary to the current state where they “are able to say this person is not credible because the facts they provide are wrong.” He calls that control “a crucial tool” authorities will use to build a “bulletproof” case that can withstand an appeal to a possible conviction. Harris suggests to Beauchesne that he wait until the preliminary hearing, scheduled to begin July 16, 2003, and release only information that becomes public through testimony. Beauchesne voices concern about setting such a precedent, saying, “Secrecy of legal proceedings is obviously disfavored.” Charity Kenyon, arguing on behalf of several media outlets, notes that prosecutors had earlier reversed their stance on keeping secret the autopsy reports after there were leaks to the media that prosecutors said were favorable to Scott Peterson’s defense. Beauchesne then asks the attorneys, “Should I make my decision this morning based on leaks and articles in newspapers?” Kenyon also questions whether the defense team is trying to find the “real killers”: “The burden is on these parties to show you they’re looking for a satanic cult. From the public point of view, it doesn’t seem like another perpetrator is the subject of these investigations.” In the end, he renders no decision, but says he will meet in private with the prosecution and defense attorneys at 1:30 p.m. on June 6, 2003, to discuss confidential objections and then issue a ruling by June 12, 2003. Rushing from the courthouse, Dalton tantalizes the reporters following him by referring to “evidence that possibly exonerates Scott.” Some of his comments will later be described as “cryptic” by Fox News: “There are facts here you don’t know. They’re very serious. I’m very concerned.” He also continues to blast the Rocha family for entering the home of Scott and Laci Peterson, and mentions that the defense team is trying to determine whether or not a pair of Laci Peterson’s shoes was removed, implying they had something to do with the defense case, although not revealing the significance of them. “The scene is tainted at this point. There were shoes found a block away that matches [sic] a description of shoes Laci had,” he says, noting that the defense team scuttled plans to inventory the shoes remaining in the house after the Rocha family “emptied” the house. Dalton makes a plea: “If anybody took the shoes out of the house, return them.” The Office of the District Attorney announces that police officers have seized a brown van “the defense claimed was possibly involved in the disappearance of Laci Peterson” and taken it to the state crime lab in Ripon for forensic testing. In a prepared statement, the office says the vehicle is being tested only out of an “obligation to investigate possible defenses to a charged crime in order to ensure justice is achieved,” insisting that authorities believe that neither the van nor its owners were involved in the crime. The news release states: “Several people associated with the van were investigated, interviewed and excluded as not having any involvement it the disappearance of Laci Peterson. None of these persons has been arrested. This is the second time they have been contacted and cooperated with police during this investigation.” Members of the defense team also view the van but issue no comment. Jim Hammer and Mark Garcia talk about the case on KTVU’s Mornings on 2. Hammer comments on the recent revelation about Scott Peterson’s golf date for December 24, 2002: “Apparently, he told Laci’s sister the night before that he was going to go golfing the next day. He had a tee time set up which is obviously inconsistent with a 3:30 a.m. fishing trip.” In what could have been an innocent mistake or a slip of confidential information, Hammer either makes the first mention from an official source that Scott Peterson was seen at the Berkeley Marina in the wee hours of the day his wife disappeared—or simply meant to say “9:30.” Larry Flynt says he has been approached by David Hans Schmidt about purchasing the rights to 27 photographs—including nudes—of Amber Frey.
June 4 Concerning Scott Peterson’s defense team’s claims of a Satanic cult being involved with Laci Peterson’s disappearance and murder, CNN Reporter David Mattingly states, “A source on the defense team tells me that they are more certain than ever of their theory because of things they have found after they examined the van. They claim to have found duct tape inside the van, as well as blood stains. They also claim to have found a Satanic image sketched in the glass of the van.” Mark Geragos himself makes similar statements in a phone conversation with Ted Rowlands, but says there has been no formal testing of the van by defense team investigators. The Modesto Bee carries an article reporting on a survey conducted by Stephen Schoenthaler that showed Scott Peterson could not get a “fair and impartial” trial in Stanislaus County. In the article, various experts weigh in on the results. Later in the day, Gloria Allred, on behalf of Amber Frey, files papers opposing a gag order that she contends would prevent her client from defending herself from personal attacks. Allred says her client has been humiliated by the intense media coverage of her affair with Scott Peterson and needs to protect herself. “A gag order against Ms. Frey would render her helpless in the face of a continued onslaught of rumor and innuendo,” Allred tells reporters. Rick Distaso files a report stating that the prosecution has acted within the law concerning the taps of Scott Peterson’s phones, writing, “Over the course of approximately 30 days, through the conduct of two wiretaps and 3,858 intercepted phone calls, the defense can only argue over three. That fact alone should tell the court that the agents acted completely properly through the course of both wiretaps.” Distaso’s filing states that the “sole purpose” of the defense motion was “to influence the court with inflammatory language,” and that the only possible sanction that could be imposed on prosecutors would be to suppress the three calls in question, not to throw the prosecution team off the case. The prosecution’s filings note that they now favor a “limited” gag order in the case—one that would extend to investigators and “others working on the case” the professional responsibility rules that govern attorneys, forbidding them from making public statements that have a “substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing” a legal proceeding. The defense team files papers opposing the gag order, which they call “unconstitutional.” Their filing contends that a gag order would “do little to stop the tsunami of coverage in this matter” and would instead “increase the depth and breadth of misinformation and scurrilous accusations that swirl around this case.” Terry Scott picks up two bags of evidence from Bill Hudlow. Scott takes the bags back to Modesto and puts them in a locked file cabinet in the local FBI office. In his office, Larry Flynt reviews 200 prints of Amber Frey being offered by David Hans Schmidt for $500,000. Flynt “begrudgingly” makes a counteroffer of $50,000, claiming that the photos have “absolutely no erotic appeal” and could only be used in news articles.
June 5 At 3:00 a.m., Terry Scott goes to the local FBI office in Modesto, picks up the evidence items he had received the previous day, places them into a single bag, and then places it into his briefcase. He catches a plane in Sacramento and goes to Washington, D.C. Once there, he rents a car and drives to Stafford, Virginia. The Modesto Bee reports that 22 journalists have asked to review calls with Scott Peterson that were monitored by investigators. Of those journalists, 20 have requested that the calls be withheld from prosecutors on the grounds that the conversations are privileged communication. Fox News reports that David Hans Schmidt is claiming that Amber Frey signed away her rights to the photographer who took nude photographs of her, and who has now signed the rights over to him. “I was able to get at them through connections of mine, in the international press corps—the photographer himself,” Schmidt says, “She signed away any personal rights that she might have.” On On the Record With Greta Van Susteren, Greta Van Susteren interviews Larry Flynt about the photographs of Amber Frey. The program continually shows photos of Amber Frey with a red banner over her breasts. Schmidt writes Gloria Allred, offering to destroy the photographs if her client will agree to allow him to broker a deal for her involving new nude photographs.
June 6 Beginning at 8:30 a.m., in Department 2, Al Girolami hears arguments on four issues: 1) the unsealing of autopsy reports for Laci and Conner Peterson, 2) wiretapped conversations between Scott Peterson and his defense attorneys, 3) wiretapped conversations between Scott Peterson and the media and 4) the imposing of a gag order in the case. During the hearing, Girolami rules against prosecutors and the media, represented again by Rochelle Wilcox and Charity Kenyon, and decides to keep the autopsy report sealed. “I don’t think releasing the entire report at this time is called for,” he states. “The mere fact that someone leaked out part of the report doesn’t justify releasing the whole thing before the parties have had a chance to review and investigate all the materials.” During these arguments, Mark Geragos vehemently denies any leaks by the defense team. At one point during the discussions of the autopsy, Ron Grantski walks a tearful Sharon Rocha from the courtroom. Scott Peterson keeps his eyes closed for much of the discussion, appearing to wince at the mention of death certificates and swallowing hard several times. When that part of the procedure ends, he wipes the corners of his eyes with a handkerchief. Girolami tells the Contra Costa County coroner’s office to issue death certificates for Laci and Conner Peterson—an action that occurs later in the day—and asks that they turn over complete reports to the prosecution and the defense. Attorneys for the media argue their case that Scott Peterson’s calls with journalists should be blocked from evidence under a state law protecting reporters from revealing unpublished work. Wilcox argues concerning the release of the conversations that “the state simply cannot rely on journalists to further its case.” Nevertheless, Girolami also refuses the motion by members of the media to be allowed to listen to wiretapped recordings of calls between them and Scott Peterson. He instead orders these conversations sealed until at least July 17, 2003, to allow the media to take their case to the 5th District Court of Appeal. He asks that prosecutors and defense attorneys get copies of the tapes so they may determine if release would be objectionable. Girolami delays until June 25, 2003, hearing a defense motion on potential improprieties regarding wiretaps in the case after Mark Geragos asks for more time to obtain and review documents and recordings. Girolami orders the documents and recordings handed over to the defense team and prohibits prosecutors from hearing recordings of the calls in question—conversations between Scott Peterson and members of his defense team. A potential complication for the prosecution emerges when Geragos asks for transcripts from all conferences surrounding the wiretaps, prompting an admission by Rick Distaso that no court reporter was present during meetings between investigators, prosecutors and Wray Ladine, contrary to California law concerning capital cases. Prosecutors argue for a partial gag order—one that would restrict what attorneys, investigators and other principals could talk about in public. Geragos and Kenyon argue against the gag order. “I don’t think a gag order is going to solve anything,” Geragos contends, suggesting that a lack of accurate information will only incite the media to fill the void with disinformation. Ultimately, Girolami delays a decision on issuing a gag order, promising to issue a written decision on the matter. After the 2-hour hearing, John Goold states that prosecutors will deal with the ruling to keep the autopsy sealed: “It’s just one step in the process. That’s the judge’s decision, and we’ll certainly abide by it.” CNN reports that the death certificate for Laci Peterson lists her death as a homicide, but the cause of death as “undetermined.” There is no cause of death listed for Conner Peterson because he was issued a fetal death certificate and that information is not included. However, the autopsy reports reveal that the coroner concluded that Connor Peterson was born dead. Jimmy Lee states that the coroner’s office will retain custody of the remains until told otherwise by a judge. The Rocha family has not been told when that will be, according to Kim Petersen, who says, “It’s a very tough time for them.” Beginning at 1:30 p.m., in Department 5, Roger Beauchesne meets in chambers with prosecutors and defense team members Geragos and Kirk McAllister, who say they have evidence that points to the “real killers” of Laci and Conner Peterson. Matt Dalton arrives late and is not admitted to the meeting. Following the 1-hour meeting, both sides refuse to reveal details, but Geragos states, “I’m just hopeful that sooner rather than later we can show that this prosecution of Scott is a great injustice.” Days later, Beauchesne reveals in a written ruling that the defense team presented no evidence of “other suspects” during the closed hearing. While walking in downtown Modesto, Geragos peers at drivers and pedestrians and muses aloud that only a fraction of the potential jurors in Stanislaus County have not made up their minds about his client. Terry Scott delivers evidence to the FBI’s Trace Evidence Unit in Quantico, Virginia, where he turns over evidence to Jamie Nevus and Connie Fisher. In an article in the Modesto Bee, Mike Chiavetta gives his account of seeing McKenzie at about 10:45 a.m. on December 24, 2002. According to his recollection, someone may have been walking the dog along a fence next to an orchard as he was playing catch with his own dog: “I remember looking over, and, in my mind, I see a woman with a big white smock and black leggings.” Chiavetta says he clearly remembers seeing dozens of people in the park that day. He recalls running into an acquaintance and the two of them remarking on the large number of parkgoers who, they surmised, were off work the day before Christmas and enjoying the sunshine. The article points out what will become a point of contention concerning the Laci Peterson sightings: Chiavetta and others who say they saw Laci Peterson and McKenzie that day also remembered clear weather, but data at the Western Regional Climate Center show fairly clear weather in Modesto on December 22 and 23, with mist setting in at about 6:00 p.m. on December 23 and lasting at least through December 25. Gloria Allred appears on Good Morning America, stating that Amber Frey is being hurt by the news that nude pictures of her are being shopped around to adult magazines. “She’s offended and upset and devastated by it,” Allred says. “This is really not fair. She’s a person that’s come forward to do the right thing.” Allred suggests that the peddling of the photos may be a “garden-variety defense tactic” to discredit her client before she takes the stand against Scott Peterson: “Certainly it would be no surprise if defense tactics, or tactics of those who support the defense, would include trying to undermine the credibility of a witness, trying to damage her so that her testimony does not damage the defense case.” Allred says she hopes the photographs and sometimes-lurid tabloid stories about Amber Frey don’t have an impact on the case once it goes to trial: “I hope that it does not, and I think that those of us that know Amber, as I do, understand what a brave young woman she is. She is being truthful about what she has to say about the matter and we think that that’s what should be focused on, the substance of what she’s going to say, which she will only reveal under oath in a court of law and not anything else.” Larry King Live features guest panel members Ted Rowlands, Nancy Grace, Chris Pixley, Henry Lee, Jo-Ellan Dimitrius and Mike Chiavetta. The program leads off with Nancy Grace offering her highlight of the day’s proceedings: “I think the highlight today was the Oscar-winning performance by Scott Peterson. I saw a big hanky but no tears.”
June 7 Amber Frey, with her attorney Gloria Allred, meets with prosecutors, presumably to discuss her role in the preliminary hearing. The New York Daily News runs an article covering the ongoing dispute over the nude pictures of Amber Frey. In the article, Larry Flynt is quoted as saying, “Let’s face it, she’s not Pamela Anderson. If I ran her pictures as a feature, my readers would demand their money back.”
June 8 The Modesto Bee offers its own survey to its readers to determine if Scott Peterson could receive a fair trial in Stanislaus County. Fox News reports on a leak in the case involving a theory that Scott Peterson may have drugged Laci Peterson: He apparently was surfing the Internet for GHB in the weeks before she disappeared. Fox News also reports on rumors that Henry Lee is considering joining the defense team.
June 9 Kirk McAllister issues a subpoena on Wray Ladine, following up on the June 6, 2003, revelation by Rick Distaso that no court reporter was present during meetings in which the wiretaps on Scott Peterson’s phone were discussed by Ladine and others—an action that the defense team contends is in violation of a state law that the prosecution insists applies only to proceedings that take place after a criminal complaint is filed or a grand jury is convened for an indictment. When questioned by reporters about the wisdom of issuing a subpoena on a Superior Court judge, McAllister replies, “I don’t know how else you get that information other than doing it this way.” Later, Ladine is contacted by reporters but says he has not yet been served the subpoena, was unaware of it until being contacted and is forbidden by judicial rules from commenting about it. Karen Korsberg examines hair evidence. Larry King Live welcomes Ted Rowlands, Nancy Grace, Chris Pixley, Henry Lee, Jo-Ellan Dimitrius and Gloria Allred to discuss the case. Rowlands states that “multiple sources on both sides of this investigation” have confirmed that Scott Peterson has visited San Francisco Bay “on a number of occasions…at different times of the day after Laci was missing.”
June 10 Mike Tozzi accepts the Kirk McAllister-issued subpoena on Wray Ladine’s behalf, then gives Ladine a copy. The Modesto Bee carries an article focusing on the wiretap issue. The article references the Terry Dale Dustin case in Stanislaus County, also involving Rick Distaso and Dave Harris, in which an appeals court threw out an indictment because Distaso had instructed the court reporter to leave during part of the grand jury proceeding against accused murderer. In the article, Dustin’s attorney, Martha Carlton, opines that the appeals court ruling in the Dustin case applies to the wiretap conferences in the Scott Peterson’s case: “Once you do decide you’re going to proceed criminally, anything you did before has to be recorded,” she says. “Especially after Dustin—in an abundance of caution—I would have brought a court reporter in. When you decide to ride on the cutting edge, sometimes you get cut.” Kim Reubush examines hair evidence.
June 11 The Modesto Bee runs an article entitled “Vans Continue to Fuel Mysteries” that focuses on the vans related to the Laci Peterson case: the van seen across from the home of Scott and Laci Peterson the morning she allegedly disappeared, the van seen by witnesses Homer and Helen Maldonado, the van taken into custody by authorities and a newly revealed van—one spotted by Vera Alizaga that led her to provide a tip to investigators. According to the article, the van she spotted bears little resemblance to the one the Maldonados saw, a fact that could be interpreted as meaning either the authorities searched the wrong van or that Alizaga simply spotted a van that was unrelated to the case. Bee journalist Garth Stapley focuses on the second possibility, although sources on both sides of the case refuse to comment on Alizaga’s claims, and the van previously presumed to have been taken for testing was found a week before Alizaga called in her tip.
June 12 The Modesto Bee publishes Ron Frey’s letter to the editor that expresses support for Amber and Jason Frey, whom he says “deserve thanks and respect” for being “brave enough to stand up and be counted,” and that cites as a bad example those who would blacken her character or question the military’s role in Iraq. Roger Beauchesne issues an three-page order making public the search and arrests warrants and their associated documents, but postpones their release pending an appellate court ruling scheduled for July 8, 2003—the day after a May 5, 2003, appellate ruling becomes final. The ruling does not cover the arrest warrant, autopsy reports, a postarrest search warrant and addenda to two other search warrants, which were ruled sealed by Al Girolami. In his opinion, Beauchesne remarks that, contrary to defense team claims, “No evidence on the investigation of ‘other suspects’ was presented” during the closed hearing on June 6, 2003. An obviously pleased Charity Kenyon remarks after the ruling, “We’re hoping that people will now focus on the upcoming preliminary hearing where we expect more information will become public.” According to Mark Geragos, Dave Harris agrees with him concerning the idea of removing Roger Beauchesne from involvement in the Scott Peterson case. Citing numerous leaks in the case, Girolami issues a gag order covering prosecutors, defense attorneys, investigators, potential witnesses, law enforcement personnel, legal staff and court employees so that they will not “make any statement for public dissemination” regarding evidence, “express outside of court an opinion or make any comment for public dissemination as to the weight, value or effect of any evidence as tending to establish guilt or innocence,” or “make any out-of-court statement as to the nature, source or effect of any purported evidence.” He writes in his decision that the court is “extremely concerned” with fair trial rights but also “keenly aware” of the public’s right of access and the right of free speech, but contends that the former is more compelling in this case: “After balancing these rights, and in order to protect against the disruption of the proper administration of justice, the Court finds that good cause exists for the issuance of a pretrial protective order.” Girolami notes such statements as the now-infamous “slam dunk” comment by Bill Lockyer and cites as particularly worrisome that the leaks often represent a legal tug of war between the two sides of the case. “The nature of the publicity is especially troubling as it often involves leaks of information that could be considered favorable for one side or the other,” Girolami writes. The judge also seems to indicate where he stands on any future requests for trial relocation: “A change of venue and extensive voir dire are not especially helpful in this case because of publicity which has been broadcast throughout this state and country.” The order specifically includes Amber Frey, who was issued a copy through her attorney, Gloria Allred. Girolami imposes a range of sweeping restrictions, including identifying prospective witnesses, making statements about the substance or effect of any testimony provided in court and forbidding public comments about the “existence or possible existence of any document, exhibit, photograph or any other evidence” that could be admitted into evidence. The order does, however, allow persons to quote or refer to public documents related to the case. Following the rulings, Mark Vasché expresses disappointment with the gag order but, not surprisingly, says he is encouraged by the news that the search warrants might be unsealed. “We believe strongly,” he says, “that justice ultimately is best served when proceedings are conducted out in the open, where they are readily accessible and available to the public.” John Goold expresses his usual calm demeanor and remarks that his office has not decided whether or not to appeal Beauchesne‘s decision to unseal the search warrants. Regarding the wave of decisions, some for and some against the prosecution, Goold states, “To be professional, you don’t react happy or sad—you just deal with them.” The Fifth District Court of Appeal rejects media requests to prevent prosecutors from listening to wiretap recordings of telephone calls between Scott Peterson and reporters. KTVU expands the story revealed three days earlier by Ted Rowlands that Scott Peterson made multiple trips to the San Francisco Bay area during the time his wife was missing. According to the report, prosecution sources told Rowlands that there “was absolutely no reason” for Scott Peterson to be at the Berkeley Marina, but claimed he had been seen there on several occasions by witnesses and was also tracked or followed there by investigators. Commenting on the trips, Jim Hammer says on KTVU’s Mornings on 2 that they certainly could be used as evidence against Scott Peterson: “Especially if he is going to the marina a month before the bodies turn up…that is plausible evidence.” Gloria Allred appears on On the Record With Greta Van Susteren and notes that the defense did not present evidence of “other suspects” during a closed hearing on June 6, 2003.
June 13 Without uttering a word to the news media, Mark Geragos broadcasts a message through the only means open to him: the court. Late in the afternoon, he files papers with Stanislaus County Superior Court asking Al Girolami to lift the gag order, claiming that it is unconstitutional and ineffective. Geragos specifically asks for a contempt-of-court hearing for attorney Gloria Allred, alleging that she was “mocking the authority” of the court by violating the order just hours after it was issued. In his complaint, Geragos writes that Allred’s comments amounted to saying on national television that “there is no defense to this case and no evidence favorable to the defense.” He states in the papers that she has committed “nothing short of brazen contempt” in violating the order, and that the case “continues to be tried in the media in absolute defiance” of the order. “Neither Mr. Peterson nor the prosecution has the ability to intelligently respond to the blatant misinformation being bandied about,” Geragos writes. Allred responds with a faxed statement to the Modesto Bee claiming that the order does not apply to her. “I think this is an attempt to silence me,” she says. “The protective order makes no reference to me, and Mark Geragos knows that.” Allred states that she will not be arguing or testifying at trial and was not privy to any evidence except what was revealed to her in talks with her client, which she said would not be revealed. Moreover, the piece of information that was upsetting to Geragos—the fact that the defense did not make good on its promise to present evidence of other suspects—had already been revealed in a public document issued earlier in the day by Roger Beauchesne. John Goold declines to comment on the gag order or the complaint by Geragos, saying that prosecutors are still reviewing the order. “We’re not going to make any comments until we know we’re on firm ground to comment,” he says. “In the meantime, we’re not saying anything.” Det. Steve Jacobson works to ensure compliance with a court order on handing over Scott Peterson’s wiretapped recordings. He asks Kevin Clements to help him with some technical problems, leading to the finding of 176 previously undiscovered audio recordings of Scott Peterson’s phone conversations on “audio buffers” on the collection server. Jacobson reviews calls from two wiretaps to be sure all the recordings requested by the court had been turned over. He and Clements are listening to one of the calls when Jacobson realizes he has never heard it. In that conversation, Scott Peterson is speaking to a person with a “Southern drawl” in what seems to Jacobson to be a business-related call.
June 14 The Bee newspapers run an article about the many artistic tributes inspired by the tragedy of Laci and Conner Peterson. In the article, Sharon Rocha states that she was at a loss for words after receiving a heartfelt note from a prison inmate. She says many notes begin with words similar to, “I’ve never done this before, but….” She remarks, “When a complete stranger takes time out of their life to write a poem or a song and send it to us, it does change your life.” The article reports that hundreds of such tributes and notes have come into the offices of the Bee and the Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation. “Every one of them is just beautiful,” Sharon Rocha says. “It absolutely amazes me, the thoughtfulness of people.” Mentioned in the article are painter Bob Davidson, Deuel Vocational Institution inmate and sketch artist Billy Smith, vocalist Casey Paterson, and composers Frank DeLaMarre, Jerry Allard, John Strand, Tony Handy, and Jim and Amy Maris.
June 15 The Modesto Bee publishes an article about Scott Peterson’s life in the Stanislaus County Jail—watching television, playing chess and reading stacks of letters, some of which are from female admirers, including at least one letter from a woman serving time for murder. The article quotes fellow inmate and jail trusty Chris Young, who says he believes in Scott Peterson’s innocence and also lists several unusual precautions taken to prevent an attack on the jail’s most famous resident: to reduce the threat of poisoning, trusties pick at random a meal for Scott Peterson from a rack of trays before any others are served on his floor; guards escort him alone to the rooftop exercise yard twice a week at random times; and inmates in cells on the route from Scott Peterson’s cell to the roof are removed temporarily to allow him to pass. The article states that Scott Peterson sometimes plays chess with a neighboring inmate by placing a game board in the corridor between their cells. The Today show’s plan for a televised satellite call between Ron Frey and Amber Frey in California, and Jason Frey in Iraq, goes down the tubes when Amber Frey declines.
June 16 In response to Gloria Allred’s June 13, 2003, televised discussion of the case, Mark Geragos sends an additional document by fax to Stanislaus County Superior Court, quoting Allred’s responses to the news media as further proof of her “mockery of the court.” Gloria Allred strikes back at Geragos, explaining that the order bars potential witnesses from commenting, but does not apply to attorneys for those witnesses. “This tactic appears to try to deflect attention away from his client who is charged with a double homicide and put others on trial instead,” Allred says. “This tactic may be a sign of desperation, an attempt to delay the judgment day for Mr. Peterson, but that day will come despite Mr. Geragos’ desperation tactics.” The New York Post runs an article about the “legion of female admirers” Scott Peterson has gained. Although the story is essentially a rewrite of an earlier Modesto Bee report, it also states that Scott Peterson called Amber Frey frequently in early January 2003, repeatedly trying to talk her into handing over photographs of them as a couple. The article cites Newsweek as the source of information that he always opened their conversations “with the same, gushy, ‘I love you.'” Court documents about a sealed search warrant are released, showing that investigators used the warrant to obtain 46 pages of wireless phone records and a surveillance video—all from five telecommunications companies. The documents do not specify whose phone records are involved, only that the warrant pertained to the “Scott Peterson investigation.” According to the documents, authorities served the warrant on AT&T Wireless, Nextel, Cingular, Sprint and SBC between May 29 and June 5, 2003, receiving between 2 and 15 pages of subscriber information from each of the companies. The documents show that AT&T Wireless also provided “toll information” for a cellular phone with a San Francisco area code, a term that Ritch Blasi states typically refers to data about calls. The documents also indicate that a FedEx envelope contained a smaller envelope marked “Surveillance video F239466,” which held a CD or DVD, and that an AT&T Wireless envelope also marked “File 239466” was enclosed in the same FedEx envelope, shipped from Riviera Beach, Florida. Blasi states that AT&T Wireless has a multiservice facility there that houses sales, marketing and other units, but that his company does not process surveillance videos. Other information related to the search warrant remains conditionally sealed pending a June 26, 2003, hearing. The California Supreme Court rejects a media request to prevent prosecutors and defense attorneys from listening to wiretapped conversations between Scott Peterson and journalists, clearing the way for prosecutors and defense attorneys to use in court his conversations with journalists. The court does not issue a reason for the ruling. Sharon Rocha writes a letter to Tom Daschle urging him to actively support legislation that would criminalize the killing or injuring of a fetus while committing certain federal offenses against a pregnant woman. “When a criminal attacks a woman who carries an unborn child, he claims two victims,” she writes.
June 17 KNTV reports that a source close to the investigation has stated that, contrary to previous reports, no actual blood evidence has ever been found at Scott and Laci Peterson’s home. Mark Geragos asks the Fifth District Court of Appeal to remove Roger Beauchesne from involvement in the Scott Peterson case and to reverse his decision against keeping search warrants secret, saying that, otherwise, a “media firestorm of misinformation will result.” Geragos writes that “Judge Beauchesne’s prejudice against Mr. Peterson has become evident.” Senior Deputy District Attorney Dave Harris agreed with the idea of removing Beauchesne in a conversation with Geragos on Thursday, Geragos writes. John Goold refuses to confirm Geragos’ claim that the prosecution has agreed to the removal of Beauchesne, stating, “We’re going to file our own paperwork, and our position will be set out in our paperwork.” Nancy Grace is the guest host of Larry King Live, which welcomes Ted Rowlands, Chris Pixley, Jim Hammer, Jayne Weintraub, and Jeanine Pirro to discuss the latest news in the Laci Peterson case.
June 18 The state makes public the discovery of 176 previously unknown audio recordings of Scott Peterson’s phone conversations. In a filing in Stanislaus County Superior Court, Jim Brazelton writes that the recordings were stored on the collection server but were not sent to the agents monitoring the phone calls during the wiretaps. According to the papers, the wiretap problem arose from a “peculiarity” in AT&T Wireless technology, which allows recording of calls without notifying agents who are doing the monitoring. Prosecutors ask the court to review the recordings because they may contain privileged information. “It is unknown how many of these calls contain actual conversations versus simple dial tones, or ‘dead air,’ until each call is listened to,” Steve Jacobson writes in an affidavit. “Therefore, without listening to these calls, I am unable to determine the nature of these 176 audio-buffered calls.” The filing states that the recordings have been saved to a CD and sealed, pending the court’s instruction. Asked by reporters about the recently unearthed recordings, Kevin Clements states that “it’s not an uncommon thing” to have recordings overlooked. Gloria Allred files papers stating that she is not bound by the gag order. The request by the defense team to have her cited, she says, “is so utterly without legal or factual merit as to give rise to serious questions regarding his good faith.” She states that Mark Geragos has violated the spirit of the gag order by accusing her of ignoring it, “by filing a hopeless motion which itself has drummed up massive media attention.” For the second night in a row, Nancy Grace is the guest host of Larry King Live, which welcomes Ted Rowlands, Chris Pixley, Jim Hammer, Jayne Weintraub, and Jeanine Pirro to discuss the latest news in the Laci Peterson case, particularly the revelation of the newly found phone calls and reports of forensics indicating no blood in Scott and Laci Peterson’s home.
June 19 Responding to a May 29 subpoena issued by Kirk McAllister, Dennis Herrera files court papers with Stanislaus County Superior Court asking the court to quash a subpoena issued by Scott Peterson’s defense team for police records pertaining to the May 2002 homicide of Evelyn Hernandez. “I do not believe that there is any information in the file that could link the death of Ms. Hernandez with the death of Laci Peterson,” Holly Pera writes in the affidavit. San Francisco authorities claim that the file is confidential under California’s evidence code and that the subpoena is “overbroad.” Pera writes that her concern is that the file contains information that only the murderer could know, and disclosing that information could tip off the killer and keep the Hernandez case from ever being solved. She adds that releasing the file could scare off potential witnesses. Jim Brazelton tells the press that the prosecution opted for a preliminary hearing because of a longing to reveal closely guarded evidence against Scott Peterson and to debunk the sometimes-wild rumors and speculation surrounding the case. “The longer this drags on, the more stories get bandied about out there,” he says, “and about 95 percent is pure fiction and fabrication. By putting on a prelim, they’re going to see some stuff that might open some eyes.” Citing the gag order, Brazelton does not elaborate on what “stuff” that might be, but says that there has been a lot of wasted effort countering the defense’s speculation: “We spend all our time running down this phony baloney stuff they throw up.” Brazelton also says the decision was made to have a preliminary hearing so that witnesses could not change their stories at trial without facing perjury charges. “We are criticized by some talking heads for not doing a grand jury,” Brazelton says. “Too bad. They can handle their cases. We’ll handle ours.” Unnamed sources tell the Modesto Bee that both sides of the case are likely to ask that the preliminary hearing scheduled for July 16, 2003, be delayed, possibly until September.
June 20 Scott Peterson’s defense team asks a judge to punish Jim Brazelton for violating a gag order by discussing parts of the case with a Modesto Bee reporter. Mark Geragos writes that Brazelton’s actions were “nothing less than outrageous” as he “wantonly and brazenly” ignored the order when he suggested that the preliminary hearing “might open some eyes” and called the defense’s case “phony baloney.”Brazelton’s brazen disregard of this court’s order should shock the court’s conscience,” Geragos writes, charging the Office of the District Attorney with “almost pathological trampling of this innocent defendant.” Geragos also charges that Brazelton violated attorneys’ Rules of Professional Responsibility, which prevent lawyers from comments that could taint a jury pool. In an e-mail to the Modesto Bee, Brazelton decries “the media fiasco that is taking place” and writes that he expected Geragos to push for a contempt-of-court order. “This equates to more squandered public resources to fight this unnecessary battle and only throws more confusion in the mix,” Brazelton writes. Attorneys for the media also file court papers, asking the Stanislaus County Superior Court to reconsider the gag order because it “has already proved unworkable.” Calling the gag order “overbroad and vague,” Charity Kenyon writes that there is no evidence to support the conclusion that the order is necessary for Scott Peterson to receive a fair trial. “The remedy for the perceived danger is new, accurate information and response to misinformation,” she argues. The Modesto Bee runs an article about Carmen Sabatino’s January 3, 2003, meeting with Scott Peterson, in which the embattled mayor recalls that he did not detect “much grief” from Scott Peterson. The article points out that Sabatino, like Scott Peterson, is also the target of an investigation. “Logic would indicate that by now I should have an opinion, that I’d have enough information to form an opinion” Sabatino says. “But I don’t know. It’s now in the hands of the attorneys and the judge.” The San Jose Mercury News runs an article about sign shop owner Randy Grany, who is selling T-shirts on eBay showing a mug shot of Scott Peterson and the caption: “Modesto, California: What a killer place to live.”That’s very sad,” Sharon Rocha says when told about the shirts. “What can I say? I’m not surprised at anything. He’s not the first to make money off it.” In the article, Grany states that he believes authorities will bungle the case and that Scott Peterson will be acquitted, and that he already has a T-shirt in mind: A smiling picture of Scott Peterson and the caption: “Scott-free.” An article in the Modesto Bee notes that the defense could file a motion to close the preliminary hearing from public view, possibly countering the prosecution’s stated goal of holding the hearing to let the public, in the words of Brazelton, “see some stuff that might open some eyes.”
June 21 An Associated Press report concerning the media frenzy over the Laci Peterson case reports that a Lexis-Nexis computer search of news stories published in the last three months turns up 2,874 mentions of Laci Peterson’s name, and that the guest book at http://www.lacipeterson.com has received more than 160,000 entries. The article notes the discrepancy between local and national newspaper coverage: Since Scott Peterson’s arrest, the Modesto Bee has run 102 articles, columns or sidebars, but The New York Times has published just seven and the Associated Press 35. Most significant, the story states, is the impact from morning talk shows and cable network news television. According to the article, The Tyndall Report placed the Laci Peterson case 64th among stories on the broadcast networks’ evening news in the 6 months after her disappearance, but the case finished third in the morning news-talk shows. The article also notes that the Laci Peterson case is a cable news-talk phenomenon, having been discussed dozens of times on Larry King Live (23 shows since Scott Peterson’s arrest) and On the Record With Greta Van Susteren (42 times since the arrest—almost every night). In the article, Jeffrey Toobin states the case has more cameras than any he has covered since the O.J. Simpson trial, and that he finds it “mystifying” because no one was a celebrity going into the case. He notes some have found solace that the focus on the case could be promising sign following terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001: “It’s funny, my wife said to me, ‘It’s good to see you covering a sleazy, tabloid murder case because it means life is somewhat returning to normal.'”
June 22 Ladonna Milam is murdered in Boulder City, Nevada—a crime for which Perry Monroe of Alameda will later be charged and that will have implications in the Scott Peterson case. Police later find packaging for a hacksaw and hacksaw blades in a trash can in Monroe’s motel room. Kim McGregor is booked for public drunkenness.
June 23 A woman walking her dog at Veterans Memorial Park in Boulder City, Nevada, notices body parts in a fishing pond. Authorities then find Ladonna Milam’s blood-soaked clothing in a nearby trash bin. Perry Monroe is asleep in his green Chevrolet Malibu on Clovis Avenue just north of California Highway 99 (some sources state at a rest stop) in Fresno when California Highway Patrol officers, responding to a disabled vehicle call, check his registration and realize he is wanted in connection with Ladonna Milam’s murder (some sources, including the Modesto Bee, state he was arrested June 24, 2003). They find Milam’s hands in the trunk of his vehicle.
June 24 Charity Kenyon files a motion in Stanislaus County Superior Court opposing Jim Brazelton’s request to seal a postarrest search warrant. She also files a petition with the Fifth District Court of Appeal to support a judge’s ruling that eight search warrants be made public, even though Scott Peterson’s defense team has asked the court to reverse that order. John Walsh is the guest on Larry King Live and discusses the Laci Peterson case and the possible involvement of Scott Peterson. “Well, my opinion is the guy’s guilty,” Walsh tells King. Walsh states that, early on in the case, he confronted Scott Peterson about his refusal to take a polygraph test or cooperate with police officers, and about his lack of time spent at the volunteer command center. Walsh reports that he repeatedly asked Scott Peterson to appear on America’s Most Wanted to promote the search for his wife, but that Scott Peterson refused to sit down and speak with him. Later, Walsh recalls, Scott Peterson told him that he changed his mind and would appear on The John Walsh Show, but after Walsh waited in front of his house for 6 hours, Scott Peterson called him and backed out, citing emotional distress. Walsh sums things up: “Here’s a guy who won’t cooperate with police, won’t go in for the polygraph, won’t stay at the search center. And then he dyes his hair blonde, buys a car for $3,000 cash with false IDs, got 10 grand in his pocket, and he’s got his brother’s ID and he’s 10 miles from the Mexican border. Everybody knows there’s no extradition treaty from Mexico. Come on, Larry. I mean, this guy—in my opinion—he’s dirty.” Walsh also states that Mark Geragos should recognize how hurtful some of his comments are to the Rocha family. The Modesto Bee runs an article discussing whether or not the latest legal maneuvering is keeping the public’s attention or whether they are waiting for the trial, citing comments supporting both views.
June 25 The Modesto Bee runs an article revisiting the “slam dunk” comment by Bill Lockyer. According to the article, Lockyer is still insisting that he thought he was asked a question about the accuracy of DNA testing, not about the strength of the prosecution’s case. “My comment,” Lockyer recalls, “was that DNA is reliable by factors of billions-to-1. It was an absolute slam dunk that no defense lawyer can refute that these are the bodies of Laci and Conner.”
June 26 Another hearing is held at Stanislaus County Superior Court. Sharon Rocha attends, and Ted Rowlands notes that the Peterson family is there “in force” but that there is no interaction between the two families. Scott Peterson wears a tan suit, white shirt and tie, and according to Rowlands, appears more confident. Scott Peterson smiles and acknowledges members of the Peterson family as he arrives in the courtroom. At one point in the hearing, Jackie Peterson leaves the courtroom, but when Scott Peterson attempts to asks about her, he is silenced by the bailiff. Mark Geragos argues for a lifting or modification of the gag order, suggesting that he could subvert the gag order by following Gloria Allred’s example and having attorneys for defense witnesses speak on his behalf. “It’s going to be a full employment act for lawyers,” he quips. Al Girolami rules that the gag order will remain in place, but says that it was “never the court’s intent to include Gloria Allred” in it, dismissing the motion filed by Geragos asking that she be charged with contempt of court. Although Girolami agrees that similar charges against Jim Brazelton could have merit, he decides not to take up time with the matter before the trial. “We don’t need a bunch of side issues generating more publicity,” he says. He orders 176 recently discovered wiretaps of Scott Peterson’s telephone calls handed over to the defense team as part of discovery, and also orders the prosecution not to alter the wiretapping equipment in any way “until he has decided whether to allow the defense to examine it with their own expert.” Girolami rules that the search warrant issued shortly after Scott Peterson’s arrest should remain sealed, saying that opening it could interfere with a fair trial. Rick Distaso asks for a delay of the preliminary hearing because a “critical witness” will be unavailable, and Mark Geragos also says he needs a delay because the prosecution has not been forthcoming with information. When Girolami procedurally asks Scott Peterson if this change is acceptable to him, the defendant replies in what Court TV termed a “loud voice tinged with annoyance” that it is a decision “forced” upon him because of the slow pace of the Office of the District Attorney. When pressed further by the judge for a “yes” or “no,” Scott Peterson says, “It’s not my wish, but yes.” Girolami agrees to postpone the hearing from July 16 to September 9, 2003, at 9:30 a.m., and schedules for August 14, 2003, a hearing to consider possible restrictions on media coverage of the preliminary hearing. Girolami remarks that the preliminary hearing date is now “set in stone,” although it will later be changed again. Brazelton presents to Girolami a motion asking that cameras be banned from both the preliminary hearings and the trial of Scott Peterson, citing the opposition of the Rocha family and the potential to disrupt the lives of witnesses and jurors. Attached to the motion is a letter from Sharon Rocha and Ron Grantski, which reads: “We the family of Laci Rocha Peterson are requesting that no cameras be allowed inside the courtroom. It will be extremely difficult for everyone: her family, her friends, her students, etc., who know and love Laci, to hear and see the evidence and personal facts of her life and death that will be revealed inside the courtroom. We ask that you please consider the long-term effects that televising the trial will have on everyone involved, especially everyone close to Laci. Please don’t let those memories be destroyed by televising the ugliness of the trial.” On his way out of the hearing, Scott Peterson again acknowledges members of the Peterson family. After the hearing, John Goold speaks to reporters outside the courthouse. He denies that the prosecution has been intentionally slow in turning over evidence to the defense, noting that various law enforcement agencies have been painstakingly cataloging each piece of evidence before copying it to a CD for both the prosecution and the defense. “There are tens of thousands of pages of discovery that have been provided so far,” Goold says. “We’re trying to be very evenhanded in that.” Allred responds to Geragos’ remarks in the courtroom: “I think Mr. Geragos knows if he wants war with me, he gets it. I’m not the shy type.” She also notes that Girolami’s ruling validates her position. “In plain English, I can keep speaking—and I will,” she promises. Geragos fires back that Allred’s “hyperbole is only exceeded by her irrelevance.” He also states that he is aware that an Alameda man has been charged in the death and dismemberment of Ladonna Milam in Boulder City, Nevada, but refuses to comment on its implications in Scott Peterson’s case. Doug Ridenour states he has not heard about any contact between the Modesto Police Department and authorities in Nevada. Brad Saltzman announces that he turned down a request from Jackie Peterson for a room at the Red Lion Hotel, replying to her that another motel might have a better rate, and that he has not spoken to the Peterson family since. He says he he “didn’t want to take care of them anymore” after hearing the Peterson family’s reaction to the Rocha family’s removal of items from the home of Scott and Laci Peterson, during which Lee Peterson remarked, “Instead of grieving, Sharon apparently planned this break-in.” Saltzman acknowledges that his view did not reflect that of the hotel’s ownership. He states that he allowed the Petersons to stay for free at the hotel until Scott Peterson was charged with murder, after which they paid a discounted rate. He adds that they and other members of the Peterson family took him up on his offer, staying about a half-dozen times for a total of about 10 nights. The Modesto Bee runs an article about four women in the La Loma neighborhood who were recently interviewed by Modesto Police Department officers investigating the Laci Peterson case. The story states that two of the women—Joan Lee and Jill Lear—were pregnant at the time of Laci Peterson’s disappearance, bear a modest resemblance to her, and were frequent dog-walkers, but say they did not walk the morning of December 24, 2002. According to the story, the two other women—Leslie Streeter and Janet Kenworthy—say Scott Peterson contacted them that day and the day after as he spread the word about his missing wife. “I did give him a hug,” Kenworthy recalls. “When someone approaches you and says, ‘My wife’s missing, and she’s pregnant, too,’ it makes your heart squeeze tight.” She states she believes the interviews are an attempt to track down all leads to make the case airtight. “I think there is so much pressure to make this case tight, they don’t want to go to court and say they didn’t follow up on all calls,” Kenworthy says. Both Lee and Lear state that they quit their walking routines after the Laci Peterson case became headline news. “I remember being freaked out about that,” Lee says. “We didn’t know if there was some crazy person abducting pregnant women.” On Larry King Live, a panel of Ted Rowlands, Nancy Grace, Chris Pixley, Jim Hammer, Jayne Weintraub and Gloria Allred discuss the busy day. Pixley questions the prosecution’s rationale for asking that the preliminary hearing be delayed: “So what if they have a witness that’s not available for the prelim? They just have to show probable cause. If they’ve got the great case they’ve suggested that they do, why can’t they go forward on July 16?” Weintraub notes Scott Peterson’s obvious frustration, saying she wishes “it was tempered a little bit” because his disrespectful tone would affect the public’s view of him. Pixley claims that Rick Distaso admitted that the prosecution was having a hard time getting information to the defense.
June 27 The Modesto Bee runs an article noting the similarities between the Laci Peterson case and the June 22, 2003, murder of Ladonna Milam in Boulder City, Nevada. The New York Post features an article about a “cocky” Scott Peterson who “seized his chance to pop off” when asked by Al Girolami if a delay of the preliminary hearing was acceptable to him. The Washington Post runs a column by Howard Kurtz in which he echoes the Associated Press report of June 21, 2003, about the media focus on the Laci Peterson case. According to Kurtz, the case has been discussed 79 times on On the Record With Greta Van Susteren, 40 times on the Abrams Report, 38 times on Hannity and Colmes, 38 times on Countdown With Keith Olbermann, 37 times on The O’Reilly Factor, 34 times on Larry King Live and 20 times on Hardball. Kurtz states that Vanity Fair will report that the Globe bought family pictures and an interview for $12,000 from Dennis Rocha.
June 29 Greg Smith meets with Bill Pavelic and Matt Dalton, introduced to him over the phone by a member of the Peterson family as new attorneys hired by Scott Peterson who want to see the Tradecorp Warehouse, presumably to continue Scott Peterson’s efforts at subleasing it. As Smith reaches the warehouse, he sees Dalton and Pavelic standing outside. Dalton and Pavelic are taking photographs and ask Smith to appear in one of their shots, but he declines. He lets them into the office section of the warehouse. According to Smith, there are about 20 fax copies on the fax machine. Dalton and Pavelic ask to have the copies, but Smith refuses, pointing out that the warehouse really belongs to Tradecorp, not their client. At this point, Dalton and Pavelic spread the faxes out on the floor and take photographs of them. Dalton says to Smith, “I don’t see what I’m looking for, do you?” Smith replies that he does not know what Dalton is seeking. Dalton tells him, “We’re looking for debris of cement that was possibly used when making anchors.” Smith tells the men that the warehouse has been empty for a while. Pavelic calls for Dalton to come look at something he found in the seat of a forklift. Smith will later describe the object as looking like a water bottle. Before Smith and Dalton arrive, though, Pavelic has the item concealed. In no uncertain terms, Smith is told by Pavelic that he is taking the item. After the three men exit the warehouse, Smith points to a neighboring warehouse and tells Pavelic and Dalton that Peggy O’Donnell had allowed Laci Peterson to use the restroom there on December 23, 2002. Smith calls in a tip to Jim Brazelton concerning the conversation with Pavelic and Dalton (according to Modesto Police Department records, this call may have been made June 25, 2003). Brazelton passes on the tip to Carla Tias, who forwards it in turn to Det. Al Brocchini.
June 30 Ann Lim of Las Vegas NBC affiliate KVBC reports that investigators in California are acknowledging similarities between between the killings of Laci Peterson and Ladonna Milam, and that attorneys for Scott Peterson believe that the cases are linked. Lt. Tom Monahan states that the accused killer of Milam, Perry Monroe, is still in a Fresno jail awaiting an extradition hearing. The Modesto Police Department begins requiring parking passes for media trucks parked across from the main Stanislaus County courthouse, a reaction to the fact that a contingent of vehicles has remained parked along 11th Street since court proceedings began in the Scott Peterson case, typically occupying seven parking spaces. The trucks will now have to pay $12.50 per parking space per day. Sgt. Ed Steele states that the revenue will go to the city’s general fund.