April 21, 2003 -
Arraignment in Stanislaus County Superior Court before Judge Nancy Ashley. Peterson is charged with two felony counts of murder with premeditation and special circumstances. Peterson pleads not guilty.
- Under California law, the special circumstance allows the prosecution to seek the death penalty
. There are two counts because of California's fetal homicide statute, any fetus -- meaning eight weeks of development and onward -- is considered an equal victim.
May 2, 2003 - Mark Geragos
becomes Peterson's attorney.
June 12, 2003 - A gag order is placed on participants, saying the restrictions were necessary to preserve Peterson's right to a fair trial amid "massive" publicity.
August 18, 2003 - Judge Al Girolami rules that news cameras will not be allowed in the courtroom at the preliminary hearing.
September 26, 2003 - Laci Peterson's family files a civil lawsuit against Peterson in Stanislaus County Superior Court to prevent him from receiving money for selling his story.
October 29, 2003 - Preliminary hearing - DNA and forensics evidence is presented.
December 3, 2003 - Peterson pleads not guilty at his formal arraignment.
December 19, 2003 - Laci's mother, Sharon Rocha sues Peterson for over $5 million for the deaths of her daughter and unborn grandson. As the executor of Laci's estate, Rocha files two separate lawsuits in the Stanislaus County Superior Court, a wrongful death action and a survival action.
January 20, 2004 - The trial is moved to San Mateo County.
February 2, 2004 - Judge Alfred Delucchi bars cameras from the San Mateo County courtroom for the entire trial.
March 4, 2004 - Jury selection begins.
May 27, 2004 - The six-man, six-woman jury is seated in the case. There are also six alternates.
June 1, 2004 - Trial begins.
June 21, 2004 - Judge Delucchi tells jurors that they must take care to ensure their actions in and around the courtroom are not misconstrued. The warning comes after Juror No. 5 spoke to Laci's brother, Brent Rocha, at a courthouse security checkpoint on June 18.
June 23, 2004 - Juror No. 5, Justin Falconer, is dismissed from the jury.
August 10, 2004 - Frey testifies that Peterson told her he was a widower and lied about where he lived and where he traveled. Jurors hear recordings of Peterson and Frey's conversations, made by police after she discovered the truth.
October 5, 2004 - The prosecution rests.
October 26, 2004 - The defense rests.
November 1, 2004 - The prosecution makes its closing arguments.
November 2, 2004 - The defense starts its closing arguments.
November 3, 2004 - Jury deliberations begin.
November 12, 2004 - Peterson is found guilty of first-degree murder for Laci's death and second-degree murder for son Conner's death.
- The first-degree charge usually carries a potential sentence of 25 years to life with the chance of parole but in this case, the jury finds that "special circumstances" apply in Laci's death, and he could face a death sentence or life in prison without parole.
- The second-degree charge carries a potential sentence of 15 years to life.
November 30-December 9, 2004 - Penalty phase. Sharon Rocha testifies, crying and even shouting at Peterson several times. Peterson's parents and half-sister testify for the defense.
December 13, 2004 - The jury recommends that Peterson be sentenced to death.
March 16, 2005 - Judge Alfred Delucchi follows the recommendation of the jury and sentences Peterson to death.
October 21, 2005 - A judge rules that proceeds from a $250,000 life insurance policy Peterson took out on Laci will go to Laci's mother.
July 12, 2006 - Peterson gives a videotaped deposition for a $25 million wrongful death lawsuit filed by Laci's family.
October 31, 2007 - The Fifth District Court of Appeal reaffirms an October 21, 2005 ruling that Sharon Rocha should get the $250,000 life insurance payout for Laci's death.
April 2009 - Laci's parents drop their wrongful death lawsuit against Peterson.
July 5, 2012 - Peterson's automatic appeal is filed in the California Supreme Court.
March 13, 2019 -
Gov. Gavin Newsom signs an executive order issuing a moratorium on executions
of all 737 death row inmates in California prisons, including Peterson. This only suspends executions while Newsom is in office.