By Michelle Thompson For Dailymail.Com
A juror who helped seal Scott Peterson’s fate during his 2004 murder trial will be granted immunity in exchange for testifying that she’d previously been assaulted by a boyfriend while pregnant.
Immunity will be offered to juror number seven, Richelle Nice, ahead of a February 27 evidentiary hearing, Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager announced Monday. Her testimony could determine whether Peterson, 49, is granted a new trial.
Peterson’s defense attorneys have argued that Nice – known as Strawberry Shortcake due to her bright red hair – conducted juror misconduct by failing to disclose that she was a domestic abuse victim in 2001.
‘I don’t think you can make a cogent argument that somebody who is pregnant and has been the victim of violence can go into a trial and at the very least not feel some bias towards a circumstance where a victim is a pregnant woman who basically had violence occur,’ Peterson’s lawyer Pat Harris told KTLA.
Nice also allegedly wrote letters to Peterson while he was in jail, asking him to confess to the murder of his pregnant wife.
She has denied intentionally misleading the court, and told a local media outlet in 2007: ”I did not lie to get on this trial to fry Scott.’
Richelle Nice, a juror in Scott Peterson’s original trial, did not disclose the fact she was beaten while pregnant by a boyfriend in 2001, and Peterson’s lawyers believe that omission might have compromised the verdict. She’s pictured in the Old San Mateo County Courthouse in Redwood, California on December 13, 2004
Peterson was convicted in 2004 for the 2002 murder of his wife, Laci, and their unborn soon Conner. He was resentenced to life in prison last December. He’s pictured in Stanislaus Superior Court on May 5, 2003
Peterson was sentenced to death in 2005 for the 2002 murder of his wife, Laci, and unborn son, Connor. He was last December re-sentenced to life without parole.
Laci vanished from their home in Modesto, California while pregnant on Christmas Eve 2002.
The 27-year-old’s corpse was found floating in San Francisco Bay in April 2003, with Connor’s fetus found to have been mutilated.
Investigators said Peterson took the bodies from their home and dumped them from his fishing boat.
Connor would have been 18-years-old today.
Jurors in his high-profile trial heard how he had a masseuse mistress named Aber Frey, who did not realize he was married when they initially began dating. She testified against him during the trial.
He is also said to have dreaded becoming a father.
Peterson maintains his innocence, and claims Laci was killed after disturbing a burglary.
‘He’s innocent,’ his defense attorney Harris previously said. ‘It’s time to get him out.’
Peterson’s pregnant wife Laci (pictured) vanished on Christmas Eve 2002 and was discovered months later floating in the San Francisco Bay. The mutilated corpse of their unborn son was also recovered
The jury heard how Peterson was having an affair with masseuse Amber Frey (pictured), who initially wasn’t aware that he was married. She took the stand to testify against him during the high-profile trial
Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo in December re-sentenced Peterson to life in prison without the possibility of parole for Laci’s murder, and 15 years to life to be served concurrently to his other sentence. He had been denied bail ahead of the re-sentencing trial at the San Mateo County Courthouse.
Laci’s mother Sharon Rocha, half-sister Amy Rocha and brother Brent Rocha spoke in court on Wednesday addressing Peterson directly in their emotional testimonies.
‘You betrayed her, your son and everyone else,’ Sharon said.
The family made it clear that while they believe Peterson deserves to be put to death, they decided not to seek the death penalty again to refrain from putting themselves through another grueling trial.
Amy broke down in tears as she questioned how Peterson continues to live after his heartbreaking crime. Brent shed tears as he insisted the family has been ‘devastated and traumatized’ by his crimes and wishes he receives the ‘most severe sentence possible.’
A Superior Court judge in December re-sentenced Peterson to life in prison without the possibility of parole for Laci’s murder, and 15 years to life to be served concurrently to his other sentence. He’s pictured at San Mateo County Superior Court on December 8, 2021
Juror Nice also allegedly wrote letters to Peterson while he was in jail, asking him to confess to the murder of his pregnant wife. She’s pictured February 25, 2005
Peterson, his hair visibly greying, sat in a red jumpsuit never appearing to express any reaction or emotion as the hearing and testimonies proceeded. He wore a white face mask.
‘No matter what happens, no matter what transpires in the future, there were two things that will never change: Laci and Conner will always be dead and you will always be their murderer,’ Sharon said through tears as she addressed Peterson in court on Wednesday.
In a press conference after the hearing, Peterson’s attorney Pat Harris claimed that the District Attorney’s Office and others have been working to ‘demonize’ his client ahead of a potential re-trial.
His sister-in-law Janey Peterson also spoke at the press conference saying: ‘Our family is in this for the long haul, we will be here in two months, we look forward to Scott being granted a new trial and when he is, we’re going to show that he is innocent.’
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group