REDWOOD CITY (CBS SF) — A judge ruled Friday that convicted murderer Scott Peterson will stay at San Quentin instead of being transferred to the San Mateo County Jail for a possible retrial.

That decision came after a hearing Friday morning inside a San Mateo County courtroom.

Peterson’s attorneys argued they have plenty of access to Peterson at San Quentin and he has a typewriter to communicate with his family.

Despite 2,000 COVID-19 cases at San Quentin this summer, Peterson’s attorneys claim he feels safer there.

Peterson was convicted of killing his wife Laci and unborn child back in 2005. He was sentenced to death but in August, the California State Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the judge who sentenced Peterson to death made errors when questioning jurors about the death penalty. Last month, prosecutors confirmed their plan to retry the penalty phase of Peterson’s case.

Peterson’s case captivated the nation for months, as details of the murder and his involvement with mistress Amber Frey unfolded in court. The trial was moved from Stanislaus County to San Mateo County because of the pretrial publicity.

Laci Peterson went missing on Christmas Eve of 2002, her badly decomposed body and that of her fetus, washed up on the shores of Richmond several months later.

Aside from retrying the penalty phase of the case, a judge will reexamine Peterson’s conviction and consider the impact of a juror who didn’t disclose that she had once feared for her unborn child when being harassed by the ex-girlfriend of her boyfriend.

Juror Richelle Nice did not reveal that she once took out a restraining order to protect the life of her unborn child, a fact that could have disqualified her for possibly being biased.

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Peterson attorney Pat Harris has indicated last month a retrial is likely.

“I think the issue is extremely strong. Given what happened in the circumstances, I think there is a very good chance it’ll be granted,” said Harris.

Janey Peterson, his sister-in-law, maintained Peterson’s innocence.

“Scott’s innocent, and somebody else committed this crime,” said Janey Peterson. “And we’re going to have an opportunity to not only show that he’s innocent but show the evidence we have a probability of other parties.”

 

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