REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KRON) – Scott Peterson must be resentenced for the murder of his pregnant wife, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Peterson’s death sentence was overturned in 2020. Since then, he’s been living on death row without a sentence of any kind.
He will be resentenced in November to life in prison without possibility of parole.
Peterson was sentenced to death in 2005 for murdering his wife Laci, and unborn son, Conner. The California Supreme Court overturned his death sentence last year, and the Stanislaus County District Attorney said she will never reseek the death penalty.
His defense attorneys have been fighting against resentencing Peterson because he may get an entirely new murder trial. They want to focus instead on getting Peterson’s entire conviction overturned, so that one day, he could walk out of San Quentin State Prison as a free man.
Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo was very stern Wednesday and said enough is enough – Peterson can’t be an inmate without a sentence anymore.
Massullo said he will be re-sentenced in November, regardless of all the other retrial legal battles underway.
“This case has become more complicated. Sentencing Mr. Peterson should not be delayed,” the judge said.
So far, Peterson has only appeared in court via a Zoom video feed from San Quentin. On Wednesday the judge said Peterson must appear in-person in the courtroom for his sentencing hearing.
Family members of Peterson’s wife, Laci, will also likely be in the courtroom to make victim impact statements. It will be the first time they will come face-to-face with Peterson in over a decade.
Laci was 27 years old when she disappeared around Christmas in 2002. She was eight months pregnant.
Peterson was first sentenced in 2005, after investigators said he dumped the bodies into the San Francisco Bay. He has maintained his innocence the whole time, even after the bodies of Laci and their unborn baby surfaced.
Peterson’s defense attorneys have been trying to get his murder conviction overturned because one of the jurors in the original trial is accused of misconduct.
Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager blasted Peterson for going on a “witch hunt” against the juror.
According to Deputy District Attorney John Goold, the judge on Wednesday also issued a tentative ruling that it would deny the defense’s request to take depositions of Juror No 7, her ex-boyfriend and her mother, but would allow subpoenas to be issued requiring their attendance at a future evidentiary hearing.
The next court date is Oct. 6 at 10 a.m. to set a precise date for re-sentencing Peterson.