Peterson team seeks new jury, venue
Panel must decide life or death
REDWOOD CITY, California (CNN) -- Scott Peterson's lawyers asked the judge in his double-murder trial Wednesday for a change of venue and a new jury to decide whether he should be sentenced to death or life in prison for the killings of his wife and unborn son.
Peterson's lead attorney, Mark Geragos, made the request in papers delivered to the San Mateo County Superior Court Wednesday afternoon. No details of the request were immediately available.
Judge Alfred Delucchi will decide Monday whether a hearing on the request will be held in his chambers or in open court.
"The judge will be reviewing the motion on Monday morning," Court Clerk Peggy Thompson said.
Peterson was convicted Friday of first-degree murder with special circumstances in the death of his 27-year-old wife, Laci, who was eight months pregnant at the time. The jury also convicted him of second-degree murder in the death of his unborn son, Conner. (Full story)
Outside the courtroom Friday, people cheered and car horns sounded as the news of the verdicts spread. Geragos was not in the courtroom for the verdict.
The convictions followed a high-profile, five-month trial and 44 hours of deliberations by the six-man, six-woman jury. Arguments are scheduled to begin Monday in the penalty phase of Peterson's trial.
Delucchi said last week the penalty phase should then take less than a week.
Delucchi dismissed three jurors during the case and replaced them with alternates -- one four weeks into the trial and two more last week during deliberations.
Prosecutors had accused Peterson of killing his pregnant wife on or around December 24, 2002. They said he dumped her body, weighted with homemade cement anchors, in San Francisco Bay.
After 184 witnesses testified over a period of 23 weeks, Geragos said in closing arguments that prosecutors had introduced no direct evidence that Peterson killed anyone, and he admonished jurors to weigh only the evidence and to put aside their feelings about his client.
Peterson was arrested April 18, 2003, just days after the remains of Laci and their unborn son washed ashore separately near the marina where Peterson said he launched his boat on a fishing trip he took Christmas Eve 2002.
When Peterson was arrested near San Diego, he was carrying nearly $15,000 in cash, and prosecutors said he was preparing to flee to Mexico. He also had dyed his hair blond and grown a beard.