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Thread: OJ has sympathy for Scott Peterson

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    Post OJ has sympathy for Scott Peterson

    SAN FRANCISCO, (Aug. 22) - Former football star O.J. Simpson, who was found liable for the murder of his wife in a civil trial, expressed sympathy in an interview released on Friday for Scott Peterson, who is accused of killing his pregnant wife.

    "Look at Scott Peterson," Simpson told Playboy Magazine. "Ask anyone in America about him. They'll say the guy is guilty. But we haven't heard one shred of evidence."

    Fertilizer salesman Peterson of Modesto, California, is accused of killing his wife Laci last Christmas Eve and dumping her body into the San Francisco Bay. A preliminary hearing in the case starts next month.

    In what was one of the most widely reported criminal trials in recent years, Simpson was acquitted in the 1994 murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman, but in a civil trial Simpson was found to be responsible for their deaths.

    Simpson saw parallels between his case and Peterson's, which has also generated national headlines.

    "I heard that Scott Peterson had $10,000 on him when he was arrested. Well, they said I had $10,000 when I was arrested, but I had $8 or something. You never hear about it when it proves untrue," he said.

    Simpson blamed the media for creating the impression that Peterson was guilty.

    "They created the impression that he was fleeing, so he's guilty," the former football star and actor said. "I'm not saying the he isn't, but I don't pretend to know."

    Peterson's playing golf on the day his wife's remains were identified -- after which he was arrested -- was a normal activity, said Simpson.

    "Scott Peterson was out playing golf, and people were saying, 'What kind of guy is this. These may be his wife's remains and he's going to play golf,"' he said.

    "Well, when I got home from Chicago the week Nicole was murdered, I wanted to get on a golf course. I wanted to get away from ... all the hurt, all the pain."

    08/22/03 17:49 ET

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    Post Jury: Scott Peterson Deserves to Die

    A jury recommends Scott Peterson be sentenced to death for the
    murders of his wife, Laci, and their unborn son, Connor.

    Upon learning of his death sentence, Scott Peterson sat defiantly still and tight-jawed, the same vacant expression he wore throughout a murder trial in which he never spoke. And to hear the jurors tell it, Peterson's apparent lack of emotion — from the day his wife disappeared through the last day of testimony two years later — was the final piece that doomed him.

    The same six men and six women who convicted Peterson of murdering his pregnant wife recommended Monday that he be sent to death row at San Quentin State Prison outside San Francisco, the infamous lockup overlooking the bay where Laci Peterson's body was discarded.

    A cheer went up outside the courthouse as the jury announced its decision after 11 1/2 hours of deliberations over three days.

    Inside, Laci Peterson's mother, Sharon Rocha, cried quietly — her lips quivering after the verdict was read. Scott Peterson's mother, Jackie, showed no apparent emotion.

    A short time later, the three jurors who agreed to speak with the media said at a press conference that they couldn't let go of the fact that the bodies of Laci Peterson and her fetus had washed ashore a few miles from where Scott Peterson claimed he went fishing the day she disappeared.

    Juror Greg Beratlis said the jury was convinced of Peterson's guilt by "many, many things," but added: "Those bodies were found in the same place. That played in my mind, over and over."

    Most unsettling, all three jurors seemed to agree, was Peterson's dispassionate demeanor, from the day Laci disappeared Christmas Eve 2002 to the moment he was convicted.

    "I still would have liked to see, I don't know if remorse is the right word," Cardosi said. "He lost his wife and his child — it didn't seem to faze him. And while that was going on ... he is romancing a girlfriend. That doesn't make sense to me. At all."

    Peterson did not testify during the six-month trial.

    "Anything — a plea for his life, or just his opinion on everything that went on in the last two years. ... I would have liked to have heard his voice on that," Beratlis said.

    Richelle Nice, an unemployed mother of four, said she found Peterson's silence to be just as profound as anything he might have said.

    "We heard from him," she said, a look of disgust on her face. "For me, a big part of it was at the end — the verdict — no emotion. No anything. That spoke a thousand words — loud and clear."

    Nice even took issue with Peterson's manner Monday in the moments before the sentence was read, chatting casually with his attorneys. "Today — the giggles at the table," she said. "Loud and clear."

    Peterson was convicted Nov. 12 of one count of first-degree murder in the death of Laci, and one count of second-degree murder for the killing of her eight-month old fetus. The jury had two options in deciding the 32-year-old former fertilizer salesman's fate: life in prison without parole or death by injection.

    Judge Alfred A. Delucchi will formally sentence Peterson on Feb. 25. The judge will have the option of reducing the sentence to life, but such a move is highly unlikely.

    But Peterson still might not be executed for decades — if ever — and it can take years for even the first phase of the appeals process to begin. Since California brought back capital punishment in 1978, only 10 executions have been carried out. The last execution, in 2002, was for a murder committed in 1980. The state's clogged death row houses 641 prisoners.

    In a brief news conference after the verdict, defense attorney Mark Geragos said he was "very disappointed." "Obviously, we plan on pursuing every and all appeals, motions for a new trial and everything else," he said.

    The tale of adultery and murder set off a tabloid frenzy as suspicion began to swirl around Scott Peterson in the days and weeks after Laci's disappearance. The heat was turned up when Amber Frey, the massage therapist who Scott Peterson was romancing on the side, came forward.

    The case made more People magazine covers than any murder investigation in the publication's history. Court TV thrived on it, providing countless hours of coverage on the investigation and gavel-to-gavel commentary throughout the trial. CNN's Larry King hosted countless shows with pundits picking apart legal strategies, testimony and even Scott Peterson's infamously cold demeanor.

    The jury's decision followed seven days of tearful testimony in the penalty phase. In arguing for death last week, prosecutors called Peterson "the worst kind of monster" and said he was undeserving of sympathy. Geragos begged of jurors: "Just don't kill him. That's all I am asking of you. End this cycle."

    Prosecutors spent months portraying Peterson as a cheating husband and cold-blooded killer who wanted to murder Laci to escape marriage and fatherhood for the pleasures of the freewheeling bachelor life.

    "They had no reason to doubt it was Scott who did what he did," said Laci Peterson's stepfather, Ron Grantski, the only member of her family to speak to reporters. "He got what he deserved."

    Defense attorneys argued during the trial's guilt phase that Peterson was framed and that the real killers dumped Laci's body in the water after learning of Peterson's widely publicized alibi. The defense fought hard to save Peterson's life, calling 39 witnesses over seven days in the penalty phase.

    When the time came for a verdict and sentence recommendation, jurors were convinced Peterson desperately wanted out of the married life.

    "I don't think divorce was an option," Beratlis said. "I think it was freedom."

    Grantski noted that the last time he and Rocha saw Laci was almost two years ago to the day, on Dec. 15, 2002. "We have a lot of tough holidays and dates coming up that are going to be very hard for us, Grantski said.

    Yahoo! News

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