CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Panel Discusses Laci Peterson Case
Aired May 30, 2003 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT DALTON, DEFENSE TEAM INVESTIGATOR: There's a burglary has occurred in this house. They had no right to break into this house.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: Another wild day in the Scott Peterson case. The defense cries foul as Laci Peterson's family and friends go to Scott and Laci's home and leave with nursery furniture, clothing and other items. Has evidence been tainted? Meanwhile, a judge rules the search warrants in the case stay sealed as the fallout continues over yesterday's shocking revelations from the autopsy on Laci's baby.
Here to get into all that and more on this constantly developing story, Ted Rowlands of KTVU in San Francisco, Court TV's Nancy Grace, the former prosecutor, defense attorney Chris Pixley, renowned forensic expert Dr. Henry Lee. And to tell us if there's any hope at all of finding an untainted jury for this incredibly high-profile case, jury consultant Jo-Ellan Dimitrius. They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Every time it seems like we say, Well, we'll put it all aside until the trial, something else happens. Ted Rowlands, want to get us up to date? What now?
TED ROWLANDS, KTVU-TV: Well, Larry, it was a wild day today. Just before 10:00 o'clock Pacific time, the Rocha family showed up on Covina Street, at the Peterson home, along with some friends. They went around to the neighbors, said, We're going to be setting off the alarm here. They did. They went into the house -- broke through somehow into the house -- and started taking things that they deemed to be theirs, really. They say they took stuff that was close to Laci, things that they wanted out of the house. They believed that they weren't going to be able to get these items in a timely fashion, so they acted on emotion, went into the house, had some help and left.
Then about halfway, or just as they were leaving, Geragos's folks, they got wind of it. They came out there. They cried foul. As you mentioned at the top there, they said that, basically, the crime supposedly -- the murder supposedly took place in this house. They're not done processing the house. They're not done investigating in the house. And they were under the impression that all of this was going to take place in a formal manner on Tuesday of next week. They say they were caught by surprise. In fact, they say at the time that this was going on, Scott was in his cell, meeting with lawyers, writing out a list of items that he thought the Rochas should have.
There was obviously a breakdown between these two families, and this is what happened today.
KING: Chris Pixley, what will the defense make of this?
CHRIS PIXLEY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Larry, the first thing that you're thinking about in a situation like this is that your client is on trial for his life, and the home is considered by police to be the crime scene. So you don't want anyone going anywhere near the home unless you have a very clearly defined set of ground rules laid out. And as Ted mentioned, it seems that an agreement had been reached between the victim witness coordinator and the DA's office and the Rocha family and the defense team.
So I think emotion took over. But there's an awful lot of evidence, potentially, in that home still, and the defense team has only had a matter of weeks to look through it all.
KING: Nancy Grace, can you break into a locked-up crime scene home?
NANCY GRACE, COURT TV: Well, I don't know that this is a break- in, No. 1. From my understanding and speaking with various sources close to this case, there had been several, many letters, lists sent from Laci's family to the defense, asking for some of Laci's personal belongings. They were disallowed from going into the home. Police were no longer processing this home. So the police didn't have a problem with them getting some of Laci's things.
And let's just get real for a moment! This is the mother of dead Laci Peterson wanting her wedding dress and her journal, all right? Good luck, Geragos, if you want to try and file a burglary charge against Sharon Rocha! Could your client be in any more of a PR mess than he already is in?
KING: Couldn't they wait, Nancy, until official permission was granted?
GRACE: Well, you know...
KING: If it was going to happen Tuesday, why not just wait a couple days?
GRACE: Official permission? Let's see, what could that possibly mean? Permission from the man who was...
KING: Wait a minute.
GRACE: ... facing the death penalty for the murder of the daughter?
KING: Yes, who controls the crime scene?
PIXLEY: Scott Peterson does, Larry. That is still his home. That's still his property. Now, Nancy made the comment on the show last night that there are reports out there that Scott Peterson may have actually given some of Laci's jewelry to Amber Frey. Well, maybe that's true, but as a defense attorney, you want to get to the bottom of a claim like that. And how can you possibly do it if someone's broken into the home now and taken some or all of the jewelry? This man has control of his home. It's his estate. It's his property. And there was an agreement that had been worked out. So I don't think that the defense was being at all...
GRACE: Apparently, there was not an agreement!
PIXLEY: ... unfair...
GRACE: Apparently, there was not an agreement!
PIXLEY: I have been told that there was an agreement, Nancy.
GRACE: Well, I don't know who told you that, but the Rocha family had been told that if they wanted anything from the home, some of it would be sitting out in the front yard, or they could go over to Scott's defense attorney, have Laci's mother go to Scott's defense attorney, and take what little bit they would give her. I think it's an outrage! I think it's also a red herring. And knowing Mark Geragos to the extent that I do, I do not think that he is going to push for burglary charges.
KING: Well, he hasn't said...
GRACE: Remember, Sharon Rocha and her family are victims, too!
KING: I don't think anyone's said that, have they? Has anyone said there's going to be a burglary charge?
GRACE: Well, there's been a lot of discussion of action against them. I don't think that's going to happen.
KING: OK. I want to bring Dr. Lee in on the events of yesterday, and he may...
Jo-Ellan, what do you think of all of this?
JO-ELLAN DIMITRIUS, JURY CONSULTANT: Well, I think there's -- there's two scenarios here. No. 1 is just from a humanitarian perspective. You know, this family is grieving, and they want some of their daughter's possessions. We can all understand that.
From the defense perspective, I'd say from May 30 of 2003 on, anything that may come out of that, you know, potential crime scene is going to be viewed as suspect by any sitting jurors down the road because there has been a contamination element. So I think -- you know, I can understand, certainly, from the perspective of the family, why they needed to do that and, you know, whether or not they had the consent of the DAs, we don't know yet. But from the perspective of what would happen at trial. If there's anything key that comes up...
KING: After, yes.
DIMITRIUS: ... after today's date, then that's a problem.
KING: Dr. Lee, could there still be anything in that house that's...
DR. HENRY LEE, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: Well, it may be possible, you know, especially the defense point of view, if the prosecution raised some issue relate to crime scene reconstruction, defense expert maybe want to look at a scene. When the scene is protected, they have a better chance to reconstruct the scene. If the scene further contaminated, of course, you lost the opportunity. But on the other hand, I understand the victim family's feeling. So maybe an agreement can work out both side.
KING: Nancy, wouldn't the prosecution want no one to go into the house? They want nothing to taint the trial?
GRACE: Well, actually, there have been people in and out of the home. So the...
KING: I mean, from a prosecution's standpoint, wouldn't you like that house never touched?
GRACE: Well, at a certain point, that is impossible because the scene has been processed ad nauseum. Larry, remember when they took out nearly 100 bags of evidence on their second search? And I guarantee you, if the district attorney did not want them in the home, they would have known that and the police that showed up would have had them leave. But in stead, they allowed them, under human decency, for God's sake, to take Laci's wedding dress, for her mother to have her wedding dress? Who's arguing?
LEE: Well, but Nancy -- defense have some rights, too? They should protect the scene when their expert looks at it, then release the scene, you can take anything. Right now, you kind of removed everything. Defense doesn't have any chance to look at the scene.
GRACE: They've only had since December 23 to think about it, OK? We are in June...
LEE: But who controls the scene?
GRACE: ... in a couple of hours.
LEE: Right now, it's the police, still under police custody, or under the defense custody?
KING: That's what I asked, who has custody of the house?
PIXLEY: Scott Peterson...
GRACE: Scott Peterson.
PIXLEY: ... has custody of the house, and that's why...
KING: Well, did they enter the house...
PIXLEY: ... this is still a break-in...
KING: ... without his -- did they enter the house without his permission? Is that...
PIXLEY: They did enter the house...
KING: ... what you're saying, Chris?
PIXLEY: ... without his permission. That's exactly right, Larry. And you know, Nancy mentions all of the bags of evidence that have been taken out the home. Yes, the police have taken a great deal of evidence out of the home. It's evidence that they believe supports their theory that Scott Peterson is guilty. Of course, the defense team believes wholeheartedly that he's not guilty, and they're focusing on different evidence. So to say that the home is -- that there's no relevant evidence in the home anymore, I agree entirely with Dr. Lee...
GRACE: No, that's not what I said. I said police were through processing it and that the defense has had since December 24 if they wanted to do anything further with the home. They've had plenty of time.
KING: All right...
PIXLEY: This defense team has been on the case...
GRACE: And if they had any questions, they could simply...
PIXLEY: ... for three weeks today...
GRACE: ... ask their client.
PIXLEY: The defense team has been on...
KING: All right, let me -- I got to get a break, guys.
PIXLEY: ... the case for three weeks, Nancy. They need more time.
KING: We'll get a break. We'll get a break. Lots of other areas to cover, and we'll be taking your phone calls. We'll ask Jo- Ellan if a fair trial can result from all of this. We'll ask Dr. Lee his thoughts on the developments yesterday. Ted Rowlands will have more updates. And your phone calls will be included. And we'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALBERT CLARK, ROCHA FAMILY ATTORNEY: We thought everything was going along great. And then at about 1:15, Mr. Geragos called and was not in a very good mood. And I think he used the word -- I've never talked to him, but he used to Adam, You want a war, you got a war, which -- it really upset me, as you well remember. And so I told Sharon that, and she -- that was the day the autopsy reports came out, yesterday. And obviously, she was very emotionally distraught and said, I've got to do something, something to that effect. And so she acted from the heart.
KING: Dr. Lee, what did you make of the developments yesterday and the release of a partial amount of the autopsy?
LEE: Yes. It's kind of make the whole issue even more interesting and difficult to explain. Of course, found plastic tape around the baby's neck. There are many possible explanations. One of the possibility is the fetus was wrapped in a newspaper or some other kind of paper and used the plastic tape to secure it, and when the package deposited in the water, over the months, the paper dissolve that way. So only the plastic tape still around the baby's neck. That's a possible, very reasonable explanation.
KING: Do you think it helped the defense, what happened yesterday, or not?
LEE: What defense, of course (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you say that, you know, plastic tape actually is a ligature used to strangle the baby. And of course, they going to emphasis the cut. It's not post-mortem injury. Could be a pre-mortem injury. In addition to that, they probably going to argue the fetus -- the age of the fetus, 33 weeks to 38 weeks, that make major differences.
KING: Ted Rowlands, the search warrants will remain sealed. Did the judge say why?
ROWLANDS: No. He released a decision basically saying that he's going to keep these warrants sealed, as asked for by both sides. However, the warrants pertaining to the autopsy will be discussed on June 6 because they are -- because, of course, the district attorney now wants all of the autopsy results made public because of what they call strategic leaks that were made yesterday. They want the public to see everything, claiming that whoever leaked this only leaked certain portions of it. So the judge is going to talk about that next week.
KING: Can we get a fair trial, Jo-Ellan?
DIMITRIUS: You know, I think it's going to be real tough, and I think the reason is that we're seeing now a tit for tat. We see the leaking from the defense team yesterday. I thought it was interesting, within a matter of minutes, hours, the DA said, We want to have the results of the autopsy unsealed. I think everybody wants to know. I want to know. Was her torso -- was there a cut on her torso, or was her torso intact, you know, because I think some of that ties into the potential demonic element that's been set up.
KING: All of this -- if it goes tit for tat, doesn't mean you can get a fair jury?
DIMITRIUS: You know what? I don't know, Larry. And I what that we're seeing is such a sad statement about the judicial system in the United States because we're seeing people releasing information on both sides to try to influence the population and...
KING: It's a free-speech country.
DIMITRIUS: Well, sure it is, but now it's a matter of which team has the better PR person. And isn't that a sad statement? I mean, look at the Canadian system. In Canada, when a crime occurs, there's certainly a report on the crime, but then the media does not report on it until the trial is actually in place.
KING: And Great Britain.
DIMITRIUS: Absolutely. And I think, you know, maybe there's some wisdom in that.
KING: Nancy, you buy anything of that?
GRACE: Regarding the fair trial...
GRACE: ... the prospect of the information that's been leaked? You know what? I think that they're going to have to interview many, many panels of people to get a fair trial. That is not uncommon in a high-publicity case. And as we saw in the Simpson case, they did get a fair trial and an acquittal.
KING: Chris, do you think they're going to get a fair trial?
PIXLEY: I think it's so hard, Larry, when, you know, the case has been reported the way it has from the beginning, from the prosecution's standpoint. I think, you know, the prosecution now coming out and reversing field when it comes to the unsealing of the autopsy report, says to me, potentially, that they really only like press coverage when it's positive for them. And they've been very masterful in how they've used the press, and we've never really heard the whole case. And I'm afraid if there is a gag order that comes out on the 6th of June, that so much of the prosecution's case will have been spun in the press and so very little of the defense case will be out there.
KING: Nancy, when are we entitled to know what we should know? And why isn't -- well, let's ask it stupidly. Why isn't everything released?
GRACE: Well, Larry, what is so odd is that, in most cases, it is all released. Keeping this under seal is a very rare move. But I can't point to the defense. The prosecution has asked for this, as well. Both sides have wanted it, and the judge has gone along with it. I think that they all three -- all three parties -- defense, prosecution and judge -- are keeping a rein on the evidence. You're going to have leaks in every case, be it from the court clerk or the person that Xeroxed the copies. It could be from anybody. So it's hard to point a finger at who is leaking.
KING: The media's fighting it, though, isn't it, Ted?
ROWLANDS: Yes, fighting it very vigorously, and the media lawyer in court, you know, made some -- what seemed to be very solid arguments and that there's really no precedent for this. There's been no proof of why, specifically, all of these warrants have to be under seal. I mean, the arrest warrant -- why would that still be under seal, this attorney argued, when the guy's sitting in jail? And why would all eight of the search warrants still be under seal? Her argument was, Listen, it's not going to make a big difference in terms of jury tainting. It's going to come out anyway at the prelim, and there really isn't any precedent for this. But the judge basically agreed with both sides.
And there's another -- there's an X factor here. The court of appeals has their hands on this, so the judge also attributed that fact to why he's going to keep this stuff all sealed up.
KING: We'll take a break and come back, include a lot of phone calls tonight. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DALTON: According to their lawyer, the DA has given them permission to break into the house. That's ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. They've got zero evidence in this case. Zero. Zero. So now we're concerned that they have planted evidence in the house.
DALTON: What is going to here?
QUESTION: Mark Geragos was the one that was talking to them (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
DALTON: OK, well, I'm not going to talk to them, OK? Was a police report filed on this burglary? Was there a police report filed on this?
QUESTION: What's your response to what's going on here?
DALTON: There's a burglary has occurred this house. They had no right to break into this house. I've got no comment. We'll talk to Geragos about it.
KING: We'll get back to our panel at the bottom of the hour. We're going to spend these moments on the phone with Lee Peterson, Scott Peterson's father, and Janey Peterson, Scott Peterson's sister- in-law. Lee, what did you make of the occurrences today of going to the house?
LEE PETERSON, SCOTT PETERSON'S FATHER: Well, I think it was best summed up by Matt Dalton. He's one of our attorneys there, and he was at the house while this was going on, and he turned to the media and he said, has anybody filed a report on this burglary? And I believe there were police officers standing right there. And he repeated that several times. Has anybody reported this burglary? I mean, this was a burglary. My -- that home and its contents are my son's possessions.
KING: But don't you have any sympathy for the mother wanting some of the possessions of her late daughter?
L. PETERSON: Larry, I do, and we had an arrangement with Sharon's attorney and with the district attorney that after we, meaning Mark Geragos and the team, videoed the inside of the home, something we needed to do for our defense, we would -- we would allow access to Sharon. She knew that. Her attorney knew that. In fact, he advised against her going in that home. I heard that on an earlier segment on MSNBC.
KING: So she broke the agreement is what you are saying.
L. PETERSON: She broke the agreement, and she uses as an excuse that she is devastated by the autopsy results -- reports on little Connor. Well, my wife Jackie was devastated, as was I. I mean, my wife could not leave the house yesterday, but instead of grieving, Sharon apparently planned this break-in. There were half a dozen vehicles at that house, and I'd like to to -- you know, Nancy says, well, all she wanted was the wedding dress and a few sentimental things. Well, I saw at least three pickup trucks full of furniture, full of cartons, God knows what going out of that house.
KING: Let me ask Janey something, Lee. Janey, what did you think of the release of that autopsy, portions of that autopsy report?
JANEY PETERSON, SCOTT PETERSON'S SISTER-IN-LAW: Well, it was very difficult. I think you, you know, when all this started, we all kind of stopped ourselves from going down that path of thinking of that most horrific, gruesome thing that maybe could have happened, and when some of these realities start coming out, you know, you are forced to face it. Then it is very difficult, and, you know, we all have children and this is just another example of -- I mean, even the day that Laci and Connor were identified, our family found out on national television. You know, it's a very difficult way to have very tragic circumstances in your life being handled. You know, we all have kids in school who are exposed to the Internet, and you know, we don't know what's going to pop up in their face at any given moment that they don't already know.
KING: This whole thing is a tragedy. Janey, naturally, you believe in the innocence of your brother-in-law.
J. PETERSON: Absolutely.
KING: His attorneys have said that they know who might do this. Do you think you know who might have done this?
J. PETERSON: Yes.
KING: And that is?
J. PETERSON: You know, all I can say is that -- is that it amazes me how far their investigation has come once they were handed the tips, and started -- and started following up on all the witnesses and the reports and...
KING: You mean your investigation?
J. PETERSON: Exactly. When Scott was arrested.
KING: Are you saying that you know how this happened? You know who is responsible?
J. PETERSON: I don't know specific details, but, you know, just in watching how their investigations has gone and knowing, you know, they encourage us in generic ways to let us know that they're definitely...
KING: Someone else did it.
J. PETERSON: Yes.
KING: Lee, are the investigators for you turning the information over to the police? Or is it just being used as a trial weapon?
L. PETERSON: I don't know a lot about that, Larry. I know that the police investigators are following our investigators around, for whatever purpose. You draw your own conclusion there, but...
KING: Do you back up what Janey said? Do the investigators tell you that they have leads that tell them that someone else did this?
L. PETERSON: Oh, yes. Yes. No question.
KING: When was the last time you spoke to Scott, Lee?
L. PETERSON: I spoke to Scott today. He was -- I'll tell you where Scott was. He was in with Matt Dalton, one of the attorneys, in fact, the fellow you showed on your little clip there, and he was preparing a list of sentimental things that he thought Sharon would like. This is the kind of young man he is. And he was doing this when he was -- excuse me, when Matt was called away because of the break-in in the house.
KING: How did Scott react to that break-in?
L. PETERSON: He was -- he said, "I can't believe it, dad, why would they do that?"
KING: Janey, have you spoken to Scott?
J. PETERSON: No, my husband Joe went to visit Scott today, but I have not spoken with Scott today.
KING: How is he holding up, Lee?
L. PETERSON: He's -- I'm very proud of him. He's holding up well, given the circumstances. I wonder how I would hold up.
J. PETERSON: You know, Larry, I think the one thing that -- that I think people have lost sight of in the emotion of this, and, trust me, we have plenty of emotion ourselves, given the fact we're living this, but the simple concept of innocent until proven guilty, and that, you know, Scott is in jail, and has everything stripped away from him, and his -- the things that he still has out here waiting for him are now also being stripped away from him. And it's just very difficult to watch that happen. He's had his wife taken away. He's had his baby taken away. And if that's not enough, his freedom has been taken away. You know, he, too, would love to be be sitting among family and friends and grieving the loss of his wife and child, and he is unable to do that, and our family is unable to do that without him. And...
KING: Lee, are you satisfied with Mr. Geragos?
L. PETERSON: Very, very satisfied. Yes, he's a fine man.
KING: Thank you both, very much. We'll be checking with you again and we hope to have you in the studio. Lee Peterson, the father of Scott Peterson, and Janey Peterson, she's married to Scott's brother. We'll come back with the panel and calls for the panel right after this.
KING: Let's reintroduce our panel. We have another phone-in guest that will join the panel as well, and we'll be taking calls. The panel is Ted Rowlands, he's in San Francisco, reporter for KTVU covering the Peterson case. In New York is Nancy Grace, anchor for "Trial Heat" on Court TV and a former prosecutor. In Atlanta, the well known criminal defense attorney Chris Pixley. In New Haven, Dr. Henry Lee, one of the world's foremost forensic scientists, professor of forensics at the University of New Haven, and former Connecticut state commissioner of public safety, and in Los Angeles, Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, jury consultant, co-chairman of Vincent & Dimitrius, one of the world's top jury and trial consultant firms.
Joining us on the phone is Adam Stewart, he is the lawyer for the Rochas. Adam, we just heard Lee say that there was an agreement that until the defense could take the house nothing would be taken from the house, and that that agreement was broken today by your client. What's your response?
ADAM STEWART, ROCHA FAMILY ATTORNEY: Well, first of all, let's say that this was a one-sided agreement that Mr. Geragos had proposed to us, under his terms and conditions, to come in there, videotape the house. He would allow Sharon Rocha to accompany him. He would photograph these items with his defense team and anybody else.
Now, let me back you up.
KING: Why didn't you agree to that?
STEWART: I'm sorry? KING: What was wrong with that?
STEWART: Because we've been working on this for the past three months, attempting on multiple occasions to have these items transferred to our clients without any media attention or without any kind of disruption that's occurred.
KING: So you feel that they were stalling you or something?
STEWART: Well, let's put it this way, prior to our representation of the Rocha family, Jackie Peterson and Sharon Rocha were e-mailing back and forth attempting to resolve these issues. It's only after Lee and Jackie Peterson decided they no longer wanted to talk with Sharon Rocha that they retained an attorney.
I sent the letter to Mr. Geragos asking him to explain to me in no uncertain terms the evidentiary value of a watering can, a wedding dress, a college diploma, journals and 21 other items. Mr. Geragos simply was not able to respond to me, did not respond, and said he had no idea what he would be using those for.
KING: But the question is obvious, since it's Scott Peterson's house, doesn't he have the right to tape his own house?
STEWART: Scott Peterson's house with Laci Peterson. They held the property as joint tenants. There's not been a death certificate issued on the case. She still has property rights, both in the real property and in the personal property. For the past three and a half months, Jackie and Lee Peterson have entered the home, taken items in the home, moved the items out of the home. They've allowed people to swim in the pool, members of Mark Geragos' defense team, and you're telling me that that site's not contaminated?
KING: I didn't know that. You mean, members of the defense team have swam in the pool?
STEWART: From the information that all of the neighbors have provided us, they've been over there swimming in the pool.
KING: OK, and the reason you called in was what? That you said another agreement was broken?
STEWART: Yes, this afternoon, at about 4:30, Mr. Geragos explored the possibility of a media blackout, no longer discussing this matter, and we agree to that, assuming that he would not have his clients on any member call in to the various shows, and so we canceled our appointment with you and we canceled our appointment with Greta Van Susteren later this evening on the basis of his representation, and then we come home to see that this is going on.
KING: So you came home, saw Lee and Janey on and you called in.
STEWART: Yes, and let me back you up one more thing. Two nights ago, on Greta Van Susteren, Jackie Peterson said, quote, "Sharon, you can go into the home whenever you want to go into the home. This is the first time we've heard you wanted to go into the home." And that is a factual misrepresentation. She's known about this for two and a half months. We've wrote them directly, asking Jackie and Lee Peterson to sit down with Sharon Rocha and Ron Grantsky and resolve this matter outside of media coverage or any kind of attention whatsoever, and we were categorically ignored.
KING: All right, Adam, stay on the phone, let's find out what our panel thinks of this. Nancy, what's your response or anything you want to say to Adam?
GRACE: Well, I had heard for many weeks now that the family had been trying and trying to just get a few sentimental items of Laci, and you know, let me depart from being a former prosecutor for a moment, Larry, and go to being a crime victim. I would go to war if someone tried to take away the few items I have left of my fiance that had been murdered. It's very difficult for me to even think about it. So I know how the Rocha family feels, and it's shocking to me that they had been denied these few simple things left of their daughter. It transcends criminal law in my mind.
KING: Chris, what do you make of what Lee and Janey said and now what Adam is saying?
PIXLEY: Well, I'm a little bothered by what Adam is saying. While I understand fully the Rochas' need and desire to get access to the home, they are going to get that access. At the flipside of this, is that we have a man on trial for his life. And the defense team has every right in the world to...
GRACE: To swim in the pool?
PIXLEY: ... expect that the evidence will be -- you know, Nancy, I'm sorry, and I don't want to ...
GRACE: Every right to swim in the pool?
PIXLEY: ... impugn Adam's credibility here at all, but I have a hard time with that, and I would like to know more about it before I accept that that as fact. There are so many facts being reported in the press that are refuted days later and ...
GRACE: That's not the press.
PIXLEY: ... we talked about one of your facts last night.
GRACE: That is an attorney for the Rochas.
PIXLEY: That's right. An attorney for the Rochas...
GRACE: The defense team swimming in the pool.
PIXLEY: Probably can't tell us that he's actually been there and seen that going on.
KING: Adam, you heard that from neighbors, right? STEWART: Let me clear a couple of things up. Jackie and Lee Peterson changed the locks on the home, changed the alarm codes on the home, took constructive and actual possession of the home to the exclusion of all others, despite the fact that the district attorney's office has indicated it's no longer a crime scene, despite the fact that the police department arrived there today and told my client this is a civil matter, we are not going to be taking this property from you. This is what's happened, and yet representatives from Mr. Geragos' office show up today, screaming that a burglary has occurred, which if you know what a burglary is, it's entering a dwelling with an intent to steal, which of course, Mrs. Rocha did not do, and Mr. Dalton drove to the police department to file a police report against Sharon Rocha, under these circumstances.
KING: Doesn't it, Adam, though, since it's Scott Peterson's house and Laci Peterson is deceased, doesn't he have the right -- he's not convicted of anything -- to say who can use his house?
STEWART: He has an equal right, the same right that the Rochas have to enter that home and access that property. Certainly by the rights that she has, they passed to her mother, just as well as Jackie and Lee Peterson, and that's why we started back in February to avoid everything that's happened today and this weekend, to simply say, can the four of you sit down, let's settle out the real property, let's settle out the investment, settle out all of these things.
KING: I know, Adam, you have got to leave us, but Joe -- I just want to see if Jo-Ellan has a comment, or Ted or Dr. Lee.
DIMITRIUS: Sure. I think what we have is purely a state of enemy going on right now, and you know, he said/she said, and allegations of people swimming in pools -- I mean, everybody out there is going, my God, what is going on?
KING: That's right.
DIMITRIUS: What's the bottom line in all of this? It gets more and more confusing by the day, and I feel sorry for both parties.
STEWART: The bottom line is...
KING: Now, hold on, Adam. You'll respond. I just want to get Ted to say a word -- Ted.
ROWLANDS: Well, as far as the swimming in the pool thing, I had heard that rumor a while ago, asked some defense team members; they say they'd never swam in the pool. They had heard it as well. The Petersons did ask them if they would stay at the house to save some money for a while, because, of course, they are camped in Modesto and spending a lot of money in hotels, and the defense said no, we're not going to do that. It's going to A, look bad, and we, quite frankly, just don't want to be in that house. So as far as the swimming in the pool, I don't know how much or how accurate that really is.
KING: And Dr. Lee, do you have a comment? I have got to get a break and let Adam go -- Doctor?
LEE: Yes, of course, that's a totally unfortunate incident, and whatever, you know, we hear both side. One say take three truckloads of stuff; other side only take 21 items, so they're -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE) will have to look at exactly what material removed from the house. At the defense point of view, they haven't had chance to have their expert to look through the house in case prosecution have a certain theory, that both victims were killed in the house, and many items already removed you really don't know what's going on.
KING: Adam, any final word before you leave us?
STEWART: Yes, Larry, I'd just like to say that I agree with Nancy here. This isn't a legal issue. This is a human issue. It's a moral issue. A mother wanting to spend time in her daughter's home, in her bedroom, in her daughter's kitchen, to hold her daughter's wedding dress, to hold her diplomas, to look through her journals. And you guys can talk all night about whether that's evidence in a criminal trial. Mr. Geragos will make a big deal out of it a year from now, but when it all comes down to it, it's about Laci and her mother, and until they can show me that that has some evidentiary value, it's nothing more than animosity between Mr. Geragos and my clients.
KING: Thanks, Adam.
STEWART: Thank you.
KING: Adam Stewart, the lawyer for the Rochas. We'll come back with your phone calls for the panel. Don't go away.
KING: Before we go to the phone calls, I'm told that Janey Peterson, the sister-in-law of Scott Peterson wants to make one more comment. Janey?
J. PETERSON: Yes.
KING: Go ahead.
J. PETERSON: Thanks, Larry.
You know, in the talk about looking at the human side of things I just want people to understand that there's -- obviously Scott wanted Laci -- or Sharon to have things of Laci's, but also to look at the human side of an innocent man and sit in those shoes for a minute and think what he wants to have to come home to as well from his wife and his child. And as well as our family wanting to hang on to some of those things that are so precious and dear to us because we've lost a loved one. And how difficult this is to have this played out on television. And maybe to be just a little bit more guarded about the frenzy that's created around, you know, this aspect of it.
KING: Thank you, Janey. Well said. Well said for all sides, I guess. And, Nancy, you wanted to say something about contamination? I want to get some calls in.
GRACE: Right. Right. This is a very emotional issue and very disturbing to all of us on a personal level that have been following the case.
But when it comes down to it, regarding the theory that somehow the Rochas have contaminated the scene, we now realized for these last few phone conversations that you have explored, Larry, that many people have been in that home since December 23. And so the scene is now thoroughly contaminated. Nothing the Rochas did today has harmed the scene anymore.
KING: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, hello?
CALLER: Yes, I have a comment and question for Nancy Grace...
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: ... whom I also admire. I watched many of the panel discussions on this case, and I've noticed -- or so it seems to me -- that your comments lack some of your previous fire and certainty of the days of the verbal sparring with Mr. Geragos when he was a panel member. And I wonder has any of the leaked information be it fact or fiction made you doubt in any respect that Scott Peterson is the logical and rightful suspect in this crime that the point in time? Thank you.
GRACE: Well, I'm sure Mr. Pixley would disagree with you.
However the more evidence I hear the more I believe in the state's case and the more sense it makes to me. And, frankly, I was very surprised as I have told Mark Geragos personally at the floating of the theory of the satanic cult possibilities involved here. And the more I hear that the defense is floating the more I believe in the state's case.
KING: Dr. Lee, have you ever had any dealings with satanic cult murders?
LEE: Yes, I have. During my career we did investigate quite a few satanic murder cases and a human sacrifice. Sacrificed a baby and a variety. It depends on different culture, different practice. And, yes, Larry, I did have some...
KING: ... for reference.
Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, my question is for Nancy Grace, who, thank God, can speak for the victims who can't speak for themselves.
GRACE: Thank you. CALLER: If he's convicted, just if he was convicted...
GRACE: I know where you're going.
CALLER: ... would her family not have a legal right as heirs to go in and get anything that they wanted and therefore -- I mean, it's got to be really important to them.
KING: But to add to that, it would be, Nancy, he hasn't been convicted.
CALLER: No, I'm saying that if he was convicted.
CALLER: But since people have already been there making pictures, unauthorized people, what if they were taken and lost to them?
GRACE: You are right on several levels. Number one, if he is convicted he will not have a right, civilly, to this estate, to anything belonging to Laci, to any monies they shared together. What was his would go to his family and what was hers would go to her family. The house would be sold and the proceeds would, in my understanding, go to Laci's family. If he is convicted of taking her life, he no longer has a claim on her possessions.
KING: Chris, is that correct?
PIXLEY: That's correct, Larry. And that's another reason why it's not necessary for the Rocha family to go into the home at this point in time and take those possessions.
If Scott is the murderer and he's convicted in this case, they will have access to all of that. And, of course, we've heard tonight they are going to have access or they were going to have access to all this property already.
You know, and another thing, this is not -- Adam mentioned a minute ago, the Rocha family attorney, that this is a matter of going in to sit with Laci's things. The family didn't go in and sit with her things. They took them out of the house by truckloads. And that's entirely different.
I agree with them, there is an emotional element here and the Rochas have every right to have access to all of this property, but at the appropriate time.
And Scott Peterson's rights as a defendant fighting for his life right now has absolutely got to trump the Rocha family rights to have access to a few pieces of furniture.
GRACE: Larry, we just heard them state, if everyone had been listening carefully, that many people have already been into the home. And that this home was offered up to the defense team...
KING: Yes, his point was that they took things out of the house.
GRACE: No, he made another point as well. That this home had been offered up to others to stay. Now how can the Rochas guarantee that these items would still be undisturbed when all these other people had been in the home.
I'm talking about Laci's wedding dress. Her own possessions, her journal. Her college diploma.
PIXLEY: Larry, if I could real quickly. You know Nancy is the voice of law and order here and we all love that from her. But the fact is if the defense team had broken into the prosecution, the state's crime lab and took evidence out that they thought had sentimental value to Scott Peterson she would be absolutely up in arms. This is wrong...
KING: I got to get a break. Let me get a break.
PIXLEY: You're right, it wouldn't happen.
KING: We'll come back with our remaining moments and some more phone calls. Gets curiouser and curiouser, and I just invented a word. Don't go away.
KING: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry, Nancy. I'm a huge fan of both of yours.
KING: Thank you.
CALLER: Question, Dr. Lee.
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: Dr. Lee, I'm kind of confused about your comment regarding the baby Connor been wrapped, having been wrapped in a newspaper or a paper. Do you feel that possibly baby Conner, when he was expelled from his mother's body in the water, and if in fact it was in the water, if newspaper or paper was covering the baby and the baby had the markings and the tape -- you know newspapers decomposes in water.
KING: What's the question?
CALLER: So please just give me -- yes?
KING: What's the question?
CALLER: Give me your opinion as to that, the newspaper around it. Make sense of this.
KING: How would the newspaper have gotten around her -- around him.
LEE: Basically, if the baby was born...
LEE: ... during the process and the paper was wrapped and so he used the tape to secure the paper through in the water. Now because the plastic tape has to be around the neck, one and a half circle, and that either used as a ligature or was -- got there by some other means, was used for another means.
So the tape has to be examined really carefully, looking for any sign of fibers, of paper fibers or printing material. That can give us clue.
KING: Rohnert Park, California. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry, thanks for taking my call.
CALLER: This question is for Nancy and the panel. I'm wondering if Scott Peterson can also be charged for aiding and abetting or possibly a conspiracy charge for admittingly and openly making a statement that he knew who the killer was?
GRACE: Interesting. I don't think so. Number one, I think he said that if in fact it's true, to Amber Frey when she questioned him.
No, I don't see it. Interesting point, though, but let me tell you, I've seen a zillion defendants. They always say I think I know who did it. They say it all of the way to the jail.
KING: Are you impressed, Ted, with the fact that Lee tells us that investigators are or to something?
ROWLANDS: Yes. The Geragos team has seemed to have increased enthusiasm with every day, in terms of where their investigation is going. They say they're taking some stuff from the discovery, some stuff from McCallister's investigation and their taking it to other levels. And there is a genuine enthusiasm there that I don't think is a smokescreen. Whether or not they're chasing something that's valid or not we'll have to wait and see. But I can tell you, they sure seem to think they're on to something.
GRACE: Larry? Mark Geragos told me that they had about -- he had just gotten or is about to get 6,000 tips that the police had gotten that they are handing over to him.
And I know that he's going to sift through all of those and that's where they're getting some of their leads actually from the police. I imagine the police had already investigated them, though.
PIXLEY: Like they invested Homer Meldonado (ph), right, Nancy? That's the only problem here. We've got a lot of people coming forward saying, hey, I've got some relevant evidence and they're not...
KING: ... Scott didn't do this, there's going to be some upheaval in some quarters, right, if they find another killer?
DIMITRIUS: Yes. I would think so.
KING: Will there be recriminations?
DIMITRIUS: Absolutely there will be recriminations. And I think one of the fascinations that everybody has right now about this case is it's like reality TV. I mean, where do you have a situation where you've got all of the families coming in and unfortunately, it is playing out on national TV.
But if in fact another killer is found, I can only imagine what kind of day that's going to be.
KING: Ted, the slam dunk aspect is over, isn't it?
ROWLANDS: Yes. You know, the slam dunk thing was taken out of context from the beginning. But I'll tell you what is over is this confidence level that was pervasive early on in this. I think that...
ROWLANDS: It seems to be, although -- they don't have the same level of confidence, it would seem, given Mark's obvious confidence and the Peterson family, they just really honestly believe that, and they have from the beginning, that Scott had nothing to do with this and they haven't wavered one bit.
KING: We're out of time. Ted Rowlands, Nancy Grace, Chris Pixley, Dr. Henry Lee and Jo-Ellen Dimitruis. With us by phone Lee Peterson, the father of Scott Peterson, and Janey Peterson, his sister-in-law and Adam Stewart, the lawyer for the Rocha family.
I'll be back in a couple of minutes to tell you about the weekend. Don't go away.
KING: Tomorrow night on "LARRY KING WEEKEND," we'll repeat that interview with Carol Channing and her new husband, her old beau. And Sunday night a tribute to Bob Hope with a collection of past interviews with did with Mr. Hope as well as scenes from movies and television shows.
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