Few names are more infamous than that of Scott Peterson.
When we’re talking about famous cases of murder, the only more famous defendants in recent memory are O.J. Simpson an Casey Anthony. Unlike the others, Scott Peterson was convicted — and sits on Death Row to this day.
Though the ill-fated search for Laci Peterson and then Scott’s trial fascinated the nation, a recent docuseries has revived interest in Laci’s murder and her husband’s trial.
So here’s a reminder of the grisly facts — including what we know about Laci’s cause of death.
First of all, don’t confuse Scott Peterson with Drew Peterson.
Both men are in prison — though Drew is actually accused of having murdered two of his wives.
(They’re not brothers or anything, though some have semi-jokingly suggested to be leery of any guy with the last name of Peterson … which is unfair to people with that name, but, hey, it’s always good to be cautious with any guy with any name)
Laci Peterson was last seen alive on December 24th, 2002.
She was, at the time, pregnant — and she’d been pregnant for half a year.
Part of the reason for the renewed interest in the case that comes along with this docuseries is that a lot of people aren’t aware of the details of her murder.
Now a decade and a half old, the case unfolded when many of us were quite a bit younger, or have forgotten the particulars with time.
The search for Laci after she “went missing” was massive, involving thousands of people attending a vigil.
Banners were erected and posters were put up, as it was not in Laci’s character to disappear without explanation.
If this all sounds like Gone Girl, well, we have to imagine that this very specific story was a huge influence.
Sadly, Laci Peterson’s story was real, and her disappearance was not manufactured.
Her body was discovered in April of 2003.
First, the body of a prenatal fetus was discovered by a couple walking their dog (yes, just like on every third Law & Order episode).
The next day — on April 14th — the body of a woman wearing cream-covered maternity pants washed up, only a mile away from where that fetus was found.
Those two grim discoveries were not coincidental, as the body was discovered to belong to Laci Peterson and the fetus was what would have become Connor Peterson, her unborn child with Scott.
That’s never how you want a missing person’s case to end, but … it got worse.
As for the grisly cause of death, that is difficult to determine.
Actually, it’s impossible to determine with reasonable certainty.
(Seriously, think carefully about whether or not you want to read these details, because it’s not a pretty picture we’re painting.)
Laci Peterson was decapitated and partially or completely missing three of her limbs.
Though she was wrapped in tape and nylon cord, her lower abdomen had opened.
This explained the condition of the fetus, which had one and a half loops of nylon cord wrapped around its neck.
This appears to have happened naturally, as the fetus exited through a perforation in Laci’s uterus and then at some point exited her body..
A horrifying image.
Laci Peterson’s body also had two cracked ribs.
Determining which injuries were related to her death and which came after was basically an impossible task.
It’s easy to point to behavior and say that it’s “shady,” since everyone grieves differently.
Prosecutors believe that Scott Peterson’s motive was that the family’s debt was increasing and that he dreamed of being single again.
Being married hadn’t been stopping him from having affairs with Laci, including with a woman named Amber Frey — whom he told, just weeks before his wife’s death, that was a widower and that this Christmas would be his first without his wife.
So, you know, yikes.
There was also some physical evidence, which is why Scott is on death row. Including a hair of Laci’s that was found on some of Scott Peterson’s boat tools.
So, when someone brings up the subject of Scott Peterson or talks about the A&E documentary series: The Murder of Laci Peterson … that’s the story.
That’s why the state of California has condemned Scott Peterson to death.