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Law

Prosecutors: Peterson's truck involved in killing

Vehicle called 'instrument' in death of his pregnant wife

Police refuse to release Scott Peterson's truck.
Police refuse to release Scott Peterson's truck.

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CNN's Rusty Dornin reports on the elusive date for the Scott Peterson trial.
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MODESTO, California (CNN) -- Prosecutors filed court papers Tuesday saying the Ford F-150 pickup truck seized by authorities from Scott Peterson was "an instrument used in the murder of Laci Peterson" -- and contained Scott Peterson's blood in the cab.

In the filing, the Stanislaus County District Attorney's office rejects Peterson's request to have his bronze-colored truck returned to him.

"Such evidence is relevant and admissible here in that the people contend that the pickup truck was an instrument used in the murder of Laci Peterson," the prosecutors say in some of the most detailed information about their case to date.

"Specifically, the truck was used to transport Laci Peterson's body to the defendant's warehouse at 1027 N. Emerald in Modesto, and was also used to transport her body to the San Francisco Bay."

The motion was filed a day before Scott Peterson is to be arraigned on charges of killing his pregnant wife and their unborn child -- charges that could result in the death penalty. (Full story)

Peterson, 31, has pleaded not guilty.

The defense contends the 2002 Ford truck should be returned because it is not critical evidence.

Prosecutors disagree.

"It is important that the jury view the actual truck, pickup bed and its connection to the boat and trailer," the prosecution motion says. "Photographs of the truck, bed and its relation to the boat and trailer are not sufficient."

Prosecutors said Scott Peterson's blood was found inside the truck, and that they hope jurors will be allowed "to physically view the areas where the blood was found."

"The people contend that the defendant received wounds to his hands during, or after, the murder of Laci Peterson," the motion says.

In interviews with national and local media in January, Peterson was asked about reports that blood was found in his truck. He told one local station "I cut open my knuckle, and there's a bloodstain on the door" as he reached from a toolbox to the pocket of his door.

Peterson, who sold fertilizer, told ABC's Diane Sawyer: "I know for a fact there'd be plenty of blood in there from me. ... You know, I work on farms and you can take a look at my hands now and they have cuts all over them."

The court documents filed Tuesday say that samples of a "cementlike" material that were taken from the bed of the truck are being submitted to the Justice Department for testing.

During the preliminary hearing, Modesto police Detective Al Brocchini testified that police found a homemade anchor on Peterson's boat, made from cement molded in a bucket with a hook made of reinforcing bar. CNN has previously reported, from a source close to the case, that police found evidence that Scott fashioned more of these anchors that have not been found.

The prosecution says in the court documents it is willing to return nearly $15,000 in cash that was found on Peterson or in his vehicle at the time of his arrest, if:

• Peterson stipulates the amount of money recovered on April 18 was $14,932.31

• Peterson stipulates that the money was found in the "amount, denominations and locations" stated in the arrest warrant

• Photographs and photocopies of the money are admissible in court.


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