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Scott Peterson trial panel

Aired July 20, 2004 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight Scott Peterson's double murder trial, day 26. And the testimony turns to hundreds of sex offenders and paroled convicts living in Scott and Laci's area. Did police dismiss them in a rush to judgment against Scott?

Here with all the latest, CNN's Ted Rowlands on top of this story from day one and inside the courtroom today. Court TV's Nancy Grace, the former prosecutor. High profile defense attorney Chris Pixley. And three more observers inside the courtroom today, Michael Cardoza, a leading defense attorney in the area. Chuck Smith, a former prosecutor in the same county where Scott Peterson is being tried. And Richard Cole, the veteran court reporter with the Daily News Group and they're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: One program note before we start. Tomorrow night, a full hour with Senator John Edwards of North Carolina and his wife Elizabeth. Senator Edwards and Elizabeth Edwards tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE. Ted Rowlands, what happened today?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it picked up where it left off yesterday and that was talking about the 200-plus sex offenders that live within one mile of Laci and Scott Peterson in Modesto, when Laci Peterson was reported missing. Mark Geragos cross- examined Ray Coyle, a detective with Modesto police department for hours going through specific sex offenders that Geragos seemed to imply that investigators just brushed over during their investigation into possible involvement with Laci Peterson. That went on for most of the morning.

Then another detective took the stand, Darren Ruskamp. He basically provided for the prosecution information that the nursery at Scott and Laci's home had changed between the two search warrants in the case. The first one December 26. The second one on February 18.

Ruskamp, who was a bit hostile at times on the stand towards Geragos testified that the nursery was used as a bit of a storage room, and that that evidence came out during the second search warrant. There was no evidence however that it was Peterson that put all these items, a couple chairs and some other items in the baby's nursery. However, Ruskamp, that seemed to be his contribution.

Finally today, Detective Hause (ph) took the stand and that's where they left off. He testified that Scott Peterson rented a mailbox on December 23. He only received one letter, according to authorities that they know about and that was from Amber Frey. But he didn't receive it until January 9 well after Frey was supposedly working with investigators. So whether they wrote the letter or they knew she wrote the letter or if she wrote the letter without them knowing, that was unresolved.

KING: Nancy Grace, is it possible that the police didn't do a thorough job and didn't check out enough people fully? Did they rush to judgment?

NANCY GRACE, COURT TV, FMR. PROSECUTOR: I do not think they rushed to judgment, Larry. In every police investigation, especially one of this magnitude you're going to find mistakes because police are, after all, human.

But I would like to point out the hard numbers. And they are out of 308 sex offenders and parolees that also includes parolees, out of 308, 284 were investigated by police. Many of them, Larry, were dead, many of them had moved out of the area. What brought this number up so high, Larry, is there is a halfway house. That's where you send people when they are not going to jail, or they're just coming out of jail. It's an alternative to jail. And many of them were only there briefly. So out of 308, the police investigated 284. I think that's a pretty good record.

KING: What about the other 24?

GRACE: It's my understanding they're still looking for them. There are about two dozen left that they have never found. Many of them had been in the mission, the halfway house, and then moved and no one knows their addresses.

KING: Chris Pixley, what do you make of this?

CHRIS PIXLEY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think this is really about the sufficiency of the state's investigation. That's been what much of the cross-examination has focused on and fairly so. And I think it's more than just the registered sex offenders. The high number of them. The lack of any real investigation as to their whereabouts. You know, many of them were contacted, I think, from what we've seen in the cross-examination, their statements about their own whereabouts were taken at face value. In most cases there was no follow-up with respect to each of those sex offenders.

And that's not the only thing going on at the time of Laci Peterson's disappearance. This neighborhood, as we're learning, between the time of the preliminary hearing and the time of trial now we've learned a great deal about what was going on in the neighborhood. There was a burglary across the street, a Christmas burglary across the street. On Christmas eve there's a panhandler who happens to be an ex-convict panhandling from door to door. And Scott and Laci Peterson's checkbook winds up in the hands of another career criminal.

GRACE: That's not fair, Chris. PIXLEY: And she's arrested a week later by the police. All of this, I don't know how it's not fair, Nancy. In fact, all of this matters. It's going to matter to the defense, it should matter to the prosecution's investigation.

GRACE: Because those checks were stolen from Scott Peterson -- those checks were stolen from Peterson's warehouse a month after she went missing.

KING: We have a full panel. Let's not try to interrupt.

PIXLEY: You need to prove that, Nancy. That's not how it's coming out and that's not it's going to come out at the trial.

KING: Chuck Smith, are the police supposed to investigate everything thoroughly, or if they come to a conclusion, do they then regard the rest as indifferent?

CHUCK SMITH, FMR. SAN MATEO COUNTY PROSECUTOR: That's a great point, Larry. That's exactly what they've done in this case. It was appropriate at the time when Laci Peterson was a missing person, it was appropriate that they compiled lists of registered sex offenders and parolees and began to investigate them. But the prosecution will say, and I believe they're correct, that once the circumstantial evidence all began to point towards Scott Peterson as the person that killed Laci, then they were correct in disregarding all this superfluous evidence about the parolees and registered sex offenders and focusing the investigation where it belonged.

KING: Michael Cardoza, what do you do when someone, as happened in this case, confesses?

MICHAEL CARDOZA, LEADING AREA DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, certainly you have to investigate that one more than any of the others. And in this case, they did do that to a certain depth, but not far enough. What went on in the courtroom today, Mark Geragos certainly took a page from the district attorneys today. Because I'll tell you his cross-examination was putting a lot of people to sleep. He could have picked four or five to show the jury that the police didn't do an in- depth investigation and that's really what he wants to convey to this jury. They didn't look at everything. They put their cross-hairs on Scott and they would look to the exclusion of everything else.

KING: So what did he do that didn't measure up today?

CARDOZA: Well, what he did was he went through each of the leads too methodically. So what did you do in this case? Did you talk to so and so? Did you talk to so and so? And that's it? That's all you did? You believed them? You didn't check the alibis more thoroughly?

KING: And why was that not effective?

CARDOZA: Well, what it did, it put the jury to sleep. What Mark wanted to do in this case is just show, simply show the police didn't do the type of investigation that they should have done in this case. And after the first two or three he got that point across. This is an intelligent jury. I saw the pens go down. They were taking notes feverishly at the beginning of the day. But then all the pens went down. People leaned back, quit taking notes. They were looking around. He got his point across early but yet he belabored it. It's one of the few times that I've seen Geragos really stray down a path he didn't have to.

KING: What was your read, Richard Cole?

RICHARD COLE, DAILY NEWS GROUP: I certainly agree with a lot of what's been said. I think that Geragos extended it far beyond the point that any of us wanted to hear. In part because after doing a few, he asked Detective Coyle, is this typical of the investigations and Detective Coyle said no, it's not. So it kind of forced him to say oh, OK, well then let me go through another ten and another 15, much to our dismay.

A couple of points that maybe haven't been made here is when we say these people were checked out. One of the points that Geragos was trying to make was they weren't really checked out. Some of them said, "I don't know what I was doing that day." And that was it.

And Geragos would ask Detective Coyle, "was that investigation considered complete?" And they would say, "yes."

Some of them lied about what they were doing. One said he was at his daughter's house. The daughter said, "no, he wasn't." Was that investigation considered complete? Yes, it was.

One of them, and I had to check this out on a map, said, "I spent the day at the footbridge at a certain intersection." Well, that intersection is directly across the park from where Laci Peterson would have been walking the dog, if you believe Scott. And that footbridge is the first place she would have come upon if she'd walked into that park walking her dog. They said, "OK, he was at the footbridge, that investigation is now complete." That's the point that Geragos was trying to make and did he make it? We'll find out if the jurors think so.

KING: Now I'll pick up in a minute when we come back and ask Nancy Grace, why not further investigate something like that?

As we go to break a look back at December 2002.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A receipt from an automatic ticket dispenser at the Berkeley marina tends to confirm Scott Peterson was there as he said Christmas Eve day. But police say he has not been ruled out as a suspect in the case.

DOUG RIDENOUR, MODESTO POLICE SPOKESMAN: Mr. Peterson and anybody else connected with this investigation will be considered and is considered a suspect. But we have not focused on him to the point of saying he's a suspect.


KING: Nancy Grace, help me with the prosecutor's role with the police. If a policeman interviews someone and says he was at his sister's. and the sister says he wasn't and then they don't go any further.

Should the prosecutor press?

What do you do with something like that?

GRACE: Well, I really think the prosecution should press. Very often when cops had worked a case, worked a case, I would go work it myself and go find things out myself. But I think that we're giving short shrift to the cops. Many of these people, hello, it was Christmas Eve. They were home. Many of them have moved out of the area. They had a very brief stay in this halfway house.

And Larry, I'm a little surprised that nobody's calling this for what it is. Look, this is another shift in the defense. If the prosecution had five different versions of the truth, we'd all be jumping up and down and pulling our hair out. So far we've been through three Hawaiians, the burglars across the street, the besotted neighbor in love with Scott, the Satanic cult, and now we're down to a deranged sex offender.

KING: But if you were the defense and you believe your client, you got to be open to anything. What else is the defense supposed to do if you believe your client?

GRACE: Larry, if I were a defense attorney, I would be trying to project the truth in the court, and not an ever-shifting defense strategy.

KING: But if you believe that your client didn't do it, then you don't know the truth. So you have to investigate everything, right?

If you're the defense attorney, and you believe your client didn't do it, then you don't know who did it, right?


KING: So what do you do?

GRACE: But in my understanding, when this whole thing started Mark Geragos claimed that he would show someone else was responsible. And I took him at his word. And it's my understanding -- it's not my understanding, I know for a fact that he is projecting now five different people, other than the obvious suspect who was last with Laci, who has gone into thin air 10 minutes after he left her, he's the obvious suspect. And casting doubt on five different groups of people, to me, makes him lose credibility.

KING: Chris Pixley, what do you do if you're the defense attorney?

PIXLEY: You do exactly what Mark Geragos is doing. I understand why it bothers Nancy Grace. But of course the defense doesn't carry the burden of proof and they shouldn't. If the state chooses to prosecute this man, they believe they have a case against him. I understand that they were under a great deal of pressure. I believe and have wondered all along if the press rubbing as hard as they did with this story all of the public attention, didn't force them to prosecute a case that they otherwise didn't have necessary evidence to prosecute. We've talked about that on this show and the prosecutors on this show have agreed to some extent. I know, Nancy and I differ on that issue. But ultimately you would do exactly what Scott Peterson's doing. You point out to the jury exactly what the problems are with the prosecution's theory. And they aren't limited in this case to the fact that they don't have a weapon, to the fact they don't have witness. They also have to do with what was going on at the time in this neighborhood. It's important to point these issues out. There's nothing nefarious about it. It's the right tactic.

KING: Chuck Smith, if the defendant did do it, did he possibly pull off a perfect murder?

SMITH: You know, I don't think so, Larry. And you know, I'm not sure that the prosecution theory is correct in all regards. Many of their theories have been discounted by Mark Geragos' work. But he did not commit the perfect murder. I mean, there's enough circumstantial evidence in this case, if put together properly and argued properly, that point to the conclusion that Scott Peterson did it. All the evidence we went through this week regarding the cement anchors and the fact that the picture found in the warehouse, the anchor didn't fit in the pitcher, well, that's well and good and Mark Geragos did a nice job. But the fact remains Scott Peterson was working with concrete, cement, right around the time that his wife disappeared. His wife's body was clearly weighted down with something. Is it just a coincidence that he was working with concrete and concrete is a perfect substance to weight down a body? No, it's not just a coincidence, it is circumstantial evidence of his guilt. So he didn't commit the perfect murder.

KING: Michael Cardoza, you respond?

CARDOZA: Where is the evidence that Laci Peterson's body was weighed down by cement anchors?

That's merely speculation on behalf of the prosecution. It's speculation. Total speculation.

GRACE: No, it's not.

CARDOZA: You know in a case like this, Chuck, you've prosecuted just like I did, you're going to ask for a man's life or to put him in prison for the rest of his life, it's incumbent upon the police to exhaust every lead. And Detective Coyle said it the best the other day in court, under oath, he was pretty sagacious, when he said the only one I can eliminate is himself. Other than that he suspects everybody. Well, if he suspects everybody, that leaves a lot of people out there that could have committed this murder, maybe including Scott. But they certainly haven't closed other people off from that. KING: Richard Cole, what's the story with the baby's bedroom?

COLE: All right. What the prosecution seems to be trying to show is that here we have these interviews with Scott Peterson, with tears in his eyes saying I can't go into the baby's room, I just -- that's not possible for me to do. And now they have pictures on February 18th of chairs and clothes piled up in the room, basically pointing out to this jury, well, Scott says he can't go in this room but look he's using it for a storage room. He must know Conner's already dead and he doesn't seem to care that much about it.

KING: I see.

COLE: The issue with that, obviously is we don't know who put that stuff in there. His family was there. Other people were helping him. Someone else took down the Christmas tree for him. We already know that. What happens with a lot of this evidence, and one of the reasons that the prosecution has come under a great deal of criticism, I think was perfectly exemplified in something that happened today. The Prosecutor Dave Harris puts a picture of a wastebasket up on the screen for the jurors to see and says, look at this wastebasket. Full of papers and look what's at the bottom, it's Laci and Scott's wedding photos. Now doesn't that tell you something?

Well, then Mark Geragos gets up and says to the detective, who I thought was very straight and very on the line, that's Detective Richard House, he said where was this found? It was found in a storage area, not, you know, put out for trash disposal. And he said, was it your impression it was used for storage, and he said, yes. He said was it your impression things in this wastebasket were going to be thrown away? He said, no, I didn't think that. So, their own witness doesn't apparently agree with this -- it seems overreaching. There's an awful lot of overreaching on the part of the prosecution. And if the jurors get that idea, then all of this circumstantial evidence is going to be looked at somewhat askance.

KING: Ted Rowlands from observing the jury, what conclusions do you come to so far?

ROWLANDS: Well, I think they're taking their job very seriously. And I think they're taking notes and they're very attentive. At times it is very boring, and hard to pay attention. But I think they're doing a very good job. You look at them, they're awake and they seem to be really taking their job very seriously.

KING: We'll take a break and come back, go to your phone calls with more questions for Ted Rowlands, Nancy Grace, Chris Pixley, Michael Cardoza, Chuck Smith and Richard Cole. Don't go away.


KING: Let's go to some calls. Salinas, California, hello.

CALLER: Good evening. I have a question for Chris Pixley.

KING: Yes. CALLER: In your -- as a defense attorney, in your professional opinion, do you believe that Scott Peterson is going to go free?

And I'm not asking you if he's going to get off, because I'm one of the last people who probably -- probably the last people who is still neutral, I'm not ready to convict him. I'm not ready to set him free. But I just want to know from your professional opinion, I have a lot of respect for you.

PIXLEY: Oh, thank you. Well, I've said from the beginning, not that I want to express an opinion about guilt or innocence. I can't do that. There's factual guilt, legal guilt, there's factual proof and legal proof. They're two different things. The legal proof in this case is fairly limited. And I think when we finally get to the closing arguments. And again, we've had fairly spirited debate about this case throughout the prosecution's presentation of this evidence, we still haven't seen anything from the defense. I think it's only going to get worse for the prosecution. That's my personal belief. But when the defense goes to their closing arguments, I think they're going to have quite a bit to remind the jury of. This is a man who had taken had wife to the doctor just the day before her disappearance to check on the baby's progress. I mean...

KING: Would you say, Chris, the odds are in favor of the defense at this point?

PIXLEY: I think they've always been in favor of the defense, but at this point, yes. I point out, too, Chuck mentioned this cement. The cement anchor not fitting in the plastic mold that the prosecution believed for over a year was how Scott Peterson made anchors to weigh down Laci Peterson's body. Well, the prosecution on their direct examination of the Detective Hendee said, or at least implied that that mold had, in fact, been used. The prosecution's doing more than Richard Cole has suggested in overreaching. I think the prosecution has now let the jury know that they're going to do anything they need to do to convict Scott Peterson. And they've lost credibility.

KING: Same question of Chris, Nancy.

Nancy, how do you think this case is going?

What do you think is going to happen, forgetting your own personal opinion?

What do you think will happen?

GRACE: I think that there will be a conviction. And I base it not so much on the fact that Scott Peterson had affairs, all that does is go toward some semblance of a motive. What I think nails the nail in the coffin is the time line, Larry, that Peterson himself created by being at the home, in the neighborhood, at 10:08, Laci is gone. It's all over and the dog's running free at 10:18, and placing himself in the location where the body was discovered. I think that alone establishes him as the prime suspect.

KING: So all the rest then is moot compared to that? GRACE: Yes, I think that that is the most powerful evidence. Second, the behavioral evidence, and his speaking of her in the past tense before her remains were found. I find that very probative.

KING: Overland Park, Kansas. Hello.

CALLER: Hi to the panel. My question is, to Nancy. Nancy, I think you're wonderful. Since Scott Peterson is proving himself to be an obvious sociopath, is there any research that shows that sociopaths are more likely to commit murder?

GRACE: No, there is not. But, in relation to your question, so often we hear in the media, well, he has never had a violent act in his past. Most of the murders that I prosecuted, they did not have murders or even domestic violence in their past. They're always the perfect husband. And Larry, a caller called in to you the other night and asked me about Laci's jewelry, where was it? And I opined that I thought the police probably still had it in evidence. Her family has it back. I just wanted to let you know that.

KING: Michael Cardoza in your opinion is he a sociopath, do we know that?

CARDOZA: No, we don't know that at all. When the caller says he's proving himself to be a sociopath, that's my question. Where is that coming from? The prosecution puts in what they believe to be the evidence in this case, but I'll tell you what, it doesn't show that Scott Peterson is a sociopath.

GRACE: Yes, it does.

CARDOZA: There is reasonable explanations for everything that happened here. And I'll tell you, I've watched this trial, Nancy, day by day.

GRACE: That's not what a sociopath is, Michael.

CARDOZA: Let me finish. Nancy, let me finish. They are starting to turn on the prosecution. The other day when Hendee was on the stand and he was asked if you knew that the pitcher wasn't the form that they made the anchor in, why didn't you tell us on direct examination?

His response, because the district attorney didn't ask me that question.

GRACE: Can I answer him now?

CARDOZA: They're starting to point to the D.A.s.

GRACE: I'd like to answer.

KING: One at a time.

Nancy, what is a sociopath to you? GRACE: No. 1, a sociopath is someone that does not appear to recognize or follow any of society's rules. And so far we have seen Scott Peterson lie prolifically at every given opportunity.

KING: Hold it, a lot of people lie and they're not sociopaths.

GRACE: I would like to finish.

KING: You mean if the man slept with another woman tonight not his wife and he lies to his wife he's a sociopath?

GRACE: No, that's not even close to what I said. Although that is an entertaining idea. But every possible chance he has to help police, to tell the truth, to not flout convention, to ignore his marriage vows, he clearly thinks the rules do not apply to him. If you guys don't agree with me, fine. We'll leave it up to a jury. But I think that clearly Peterson is showing himself to be a sociopath.

KING: Chuck Smith do you think he's a sociopath?

SMITH: No, I don't, Larry. You know, it's just an irrelevant discussion. Because, no one's going to prove he's a sociopath. There's going to be no expert coming in to say that. There's going to be no psychiatrist or psychologist. That is clearly not the issue. The issue is, is there enough evidence to show that he committed this crime, and the prosecution is getting beat up by Michael and Chris and I really don't think that's fair. The fact is, anchors, concrete was used. The fact is, the body was weighted down with something. Because if it had not been weighted down, it would have come up in the bay Much sooner. So clearly it was weighted down with something. Clearly, Scott Peterson was making something out of concrete.

KING: Well he said he made anchors.

SMITH: Well, yes, right and to say that, oh, because the one pitcher and the one anchor that's remaining don't fit, he could have made anchors in coffee cans. He could have used different molds, different plastic pitchers. The fact is he was using concrete, her body was weighted down with something. It's not just a coincidence. It's circumstantial evidence.

KING: We'll take a we'll take a break and be back with more discussion and more calls, and we're only half way through. Tomorrow night, Senator John Edwards and Elizabeth Edwards for the full hour.

Senator Edwards the vice presidential designate nominee of the Democratic party and his wife tomorrow night.

Bill Maher comes back on Thursday.

Don't forget all next week we're at the Democratic National Convention including a special LARRY KING LIVE edition Sunday night from Boston. And then we'll do two shows nightly Monday through Thursday at 9:00 and at midnight. Two live shows nightly from the Democratic National Convention.

Right back with more, don't go away.


KING: Welcome back. Let's reintroduce the panel. In Redwood City, is Ted Rowlands of CNN. In New York is Court TV anchor Nancy Grace. In Atlanta, defense attorney Chris Pixley. And in Redwood City, defense attorney Michael Cardoza. Former San Mateo county prosecutor, including six years as a homicide prosecutor, Chuck Smith. And in Redwood City as well, Richard Cole covering the case for the Daily News Group including the "Redwood City Daily News." He's a veteran crime and trial reporter. The last three all in the courtroom today as well as Ted Rowlands.

Marco Island, Florida, hello.

Marco Island, are you there?

Marco Island, good-bye.

San Antonio, hello.

CALLER: Thank you...

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: You and your guests or you and your panel for covering this case, since we're not able to see it on TV. My question is, is do we know whether Scott bought Laci or even Conner for that matter any Christmas gifts? And if so, what they were?

KING: Nancy?

GRACE: He bought Laci a Louis Vuitton wallet. I understand that was ultimately found in the home. And I have some new information that he bought Amber Frey stargazing equipment as a Christmas gift. That's romantic.

KING: Well, but it had nothing to do with murder.

GRACE: I didn't say it did. I said it was romantic. Hello, he's married.

CARDOZA: Nothing Nancy talks about has to do with murder.

GRACE: Somebody's got sour grapes.

CARDOZA: Could I address that...

KING: By the way, what does a Louis Vuitton wallet cost? The bag costs $4,000.

GRACE: I wouldn't know, Larry. Mine's a knockoff. But I know it's not as romantic as a stargazing set for he and Amber to gaze up at the stars. But you know what, all the guys I'm sure will disagree with me. I'll let that go. PIXLEY: I don't know that I disagree with that. It probably should be pointed out to the second half of that caller's question that Conner wasn't due until February so although there may not be any presents under the tree for Conner, it wouldn't necessarily need to be...

GRACE: Maybe he was going to give him some of those office chairs he was storing in Conner's nursery.

CARDOZA: Nancy, I do know this. You don't buy your wife just one Christmas gift. That I do know, no matter how expensive it is.

KING: Decatur, Illinois.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Love your wife's CD. Hope she makes another one. My question is for that classy topper in a $2 (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Nancy Grace. Nancy, I think you hit it right on the head, kid. You said the nail in the coffin was the 90 miles away where her body was found. The only, the only point they can make, the defense can, is that he was framed. That they put her body there afterwards.

GRACE: I guess the homeless guy took her out there on his jet skis.

COLE: We certainly made the point, Larry, that as I said before the bodies are everything in this case. But the defense has chipped away at the issue of the body. Some things we are clear on what they're doing. Some things they have suggested we think might be coming up. One of the them is, of course, the exhaustive police search, both before and after the bodies were located in the exact area where they -- where the prosecution now says they were, or they broke free after the night of April 12 and there was a big storm. That was exhaustively searched. We had actually more testimony about that today. They picked up, you know, six-inch sticks on the bottom of the bay, but they found no anchors and no other remains.

CARDOZA: You know what was interesting today, Richard, was when the D.A. floated that fatigue or the camouflage, what appeared to be a coat up there. But yet we all sort of figured they were waders. That was one way we assume, and the D.A. sort of brushes up against it then walks away.

Is that one way that Scott got the body out of the boat? He put waders on, he stepped into the bay? Remember it's not very deep there. Reaches into the boat and takes her off the boat, and gently puts her down in the water? Because, the evidence I think scientific evidence is going to show that you can't push a body off the boat without having that boat tip. But yet the D.A.s don't tell us that. They sort of alluded to that today, don't you think?

SMITH: Larry, if I can jump in on this. This is going to be a critical phase of the trial. Most of us watching the trial are trying to figure out where are we going next? Are we going back to the sex angle? Are we going to hear from Amber Frey soon? Or are we going to go back to the bay? Because there's going to be a great deal of evidence that's going to be presented regarding the bay. I disagree with Michael. I think the prosecution is going to prove, and can prove that the body was pushed out of the boat, without tipping the boat over. I discount that theory. But this is all going to be critical, I agree with Richard. How the bodies -- body was disposed of is critical. The prosecution has to bring that home.

KING: Ted Rowlands, do we know when Amber Frey is going to testify?

ROWLANDS: No, we don't. And quite frankly, it appears as though now that she may be last. They may end with Amber Frey. That's the latest speculation. But it's all speculation. And really it's quite hard to read where the prosecution is going. They go in one direction, stop, go in another direction and stop. One would think that they are going to continue with this mode. They still have some evidence to deliver here in this case. You know, you've got not only Amber Frey coming up, but the tide expert which is expected to place the bodies right where Scott Peterson was fishing. And then all of the testimony revolving around his arrest in San Diego, where he had a water purifier and other items that may make it look like, to a jury that he was trying to flee. All those things are still to come. In what order, who knows?

KING: Chisago, Minnesota, hello.

CALLER: Hi. Larry, my question is for Nancy Grace.

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: And Nancy, correct me if I'm wrong, but I guess I understand that Scott had a conversation with Amber Frey, and that Amber Frey asked him if he was connected in any way to her disappearance. And he said, no. But he said he knows who did it. Well, you know, who sits in jail when they know who did it?

GRACE: You know what, I've heard about that conversation. But noticeably at the preliminary hearing, when the state was making its bare bone case, we didn't hear about that. And I'm just wondering if that conversation really happened.

Now I've seen a couple of transcripts, and it's not that one. That one hasn't actually come out yet if it exists. But I have seen one transcript where Amber Frey is saying, what happened? Where's Laci? Did you have anything to do with it? And he says, oh, no she's still alive, she's in Modesto.

Now how would he know that? Why would he say that? So, a lot of his conversations, I agree with the caller, are going to be so bizarre and unusual that it's going to cast doubt on his innocence.

KING: Chris, there's the other side, Chris Pixley, the point that people having affairs say all sorts of things.

PIXLEY: Yes, that's exactly right. I don't think you can underscore the point enough that Scott Peterson's conversations with Amber Frey, as well as his conversations with the police, were intended to cover up this relationship for a very long period of time. It was only after, you know, Amber's identity was revealed in the media that Scott knew that she was working with the police.

GRACE: Then why did he keep lying?

PIXLEY: Well, we haven't seen the evidence so far in the trial that he continued to lie. I think the wiretaps are going to be significant evidence here. But, this is the nature of an affair. It's something that's hidden. And I've always wondered if the fact that Scott hid the affair isn't more evidence of his innocence, rather than his guilt. Because if Scott Peterson was innocent, and thought Laci Peterson was coming home, he might very well have wanted to maintain good relations with his in-laws and not let the world know about his affair.

GRACE: But that isn't what the caller is asking about, Chris. She's not asking about him lying about Amber, that's a given. She's talking about him lying about knowing where his dead wife is.

PIXLEY: And I was answering Larry's question.


COLE: There's some transcripts -- I'm sorry, there's some search warrant affidavits by the police department, the Modesto Police Department, and the district attorney's office, in which they say, a month after they had started the wiretaps on Scott and that included the Amber Frey conversations, that these conversations have so far given us nothing of evidentiary value and therefore we want to continue them. Now that's pretty strong. If they're signing affidavits saying that after a month, and I believe that would include the time period that the caller is speaking of, if after a month they have nothing of evidentiary value and they're swearing that before a judge, that kind of indicates to you that there isn't any smoking gun in those tapes that is going to change the course of this case.

KING: We'll be right back with more calls on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: We're back and now they tell me San Antonio is cleared. Are you there, hello?

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Thank you for taking my call. I was wondering, are they still actively looking for the anchors and the rest of the remains?

And who is responsible for assigning these prosecutors?

And in the civil case, Nancy, would you possibly represent the Rochas?

KING: All right, Ted, you go first.

ROWLANDS: Well, are they looking for the anchors? most likely. In fact it came out in testimony that during jury selection they launched a few searches in the San Francisco Bay. And of course if they were to find cement anchors which they believe are out there, and possibly more remains from Laci, this would be a slam dunk. So are they looking, we don't know for sure. But it would be a good bet that they might still be actively looking.

KING: Nancy, you don't represent people in civil cases, do you?

ROWLANDS: No. I've always been a public servant, Larry.

KING: To Seal Beach, California. Hello.

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Hi, go ahead.

CALLER: Hello, my question for anyone on the panel, I prefer not to hear from Nancy Grace, but I would like to know if there has been more discussion on the possibility that Scott Peterson killed Laci by accident and not premeditated or does that make a difference.

KING: That they had an argument, something happened and all the rest developed from that?

SMITH: Larry, this is Chuck. I said that a couple weeks ago, and of course my colleagues on the panel all guffawed. But I tell you more and more, as the prosecution's theory about premeditation falls apart, more and more, I tend to believe that the caller has a point. That on the evening of the 23rd or the morning of the 24th, Laci went after Scott Peterson about his affairs and about his conduct, and he either hit her in the head, which can kill someone, that has happened. Or grabbed her throat and throttled her and strangled her and killed her. Or put a pillow over her head to keep her quiet and killed her in that fashion. And everything came after that. You know, the prosecution's theory that he bought the boat as part of a plan to kill her is silly, and it's been discounted. A number of prosecution theories like that have been discounted. And I tend to -- I'm starting to think the caller might have a point.

KING: What do you think of that, Nancy?

SMITH: Well, although I'm risking the lady caller's anger by answering, I think that if you look at the evidence, the way it has been presented so far, as much as I would prefer Chuck's theory that this was a spur of the moment, angry outburst and that she ended up dead, it's easier for me to take in. If I look at the evidence, where he said on 12/9 I will be a widower on Christmas, bought a boat in cash that day, hid it at his warehouse, took it out on a virgin cruise the same day she goes missing and her body turns up there, to me that screams premeditation.

KING: Michael.

CARDOZA: I'll tell you, the caller has a good question. But I will guarantee you, that there will be no evidence in this trial of any type of involuntary or voluntary manslaughter. There will be no instructions that way. And I'll analogize it to the case down in Galveston, the Durst case. If you remember the body was -- the headless body was disposed of in the bay and the jury came back with a not guilty verdict saying there was no evidence of lesser crimes. There will be one issue for the jury to determine in this case. Either a first or a second degree murder, and so far there's been no proof that that's happened in this case.

KING: Richard Cole?

COLE: I think there's some problems with Chuck's thesis. Although it's much more believable than the premeditation thesis. The problem with that is that there's just no evidence in the house. There's no forensic evidence. And there's really no evidence that Scott cleaned up after himself. And I think that's one of the reasons the prosecution is stuck with premeditation. That the only way they can come up with that that happened, and that he committed a murder, is that he carefully planned the whole thing out.

KING: Montreal, hello. Montreal, hello.

CALLER: Yes, good evening. My question is for Nancy Grace. Whenever there is a murder case, the first things people look for is motive.

What is your theory on motive in this heinous crime?

GRACE: Well, my theory on motive is not that Amber Frey was the motive. My theory is that Scott Peterson wanted desperately to be free. And very often, having worked with battered women for many, many years, violence and anger and frustration, and resentment seems to culminate when a woman becomes pregnant. I don't understand it naturally, but those are the hard statistics. And I think Peterson simply wanted to be free. Not necessarily for Amber Frey, but for basically a free bachelor lifestyle. And he ultimately made sure that happened.

KING: But he couldn't have done that by divorce?

GRACE: You know, Larry, I ask myself that a million times. You and I have gone round and round on that. I agree with you. But the reality is that most domestic murders should clearly have been a divorce. That doesn't stop someone from murdering.

KING: How many pregnant women are murdered?

GRACE: In the United States?

KING: Yes.

GRACE: I don't know the number that are murdered in the United States. But I know a recent study in the medical journals showed that the leading cause of death for pregnant women is murder, outside of childbirth.

KING: Chris. PIXLEY: Well, that's true. And yet at the same time, when we talk about battered women, we're certainly not talking about Laci Peterson, and we're certainly not talking about this case. So if that's what was going on with Scott Peterson. If the anger and resentment and frustration about a family on the way was building up, he was masking it very well, just as well as he's hidden this crime.

GRACE: I don't know what you think all those affairs are. That is anger and resentment at being married.

PIXLEY: I think that there are unfortunately a lot of men, and women, who are involved in extramarital relationships that aren't manifesting anger and resentment. There are a lot of other reasons to go behind all of that, and of course, many, many of them do not commit this crime.

KING: We'll be back with some more moments on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE right after this.


KING: Back to some calls. Greenville, hello.



CALLER: I did want to talk with Nancy, because my brother was killed by a hit and run driver, and so I'm a victim just like her. But a lot of people, they visit the scenes and memories about when someone dies and stuff, or even set up memorials like David Smith's children. What is (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and what was the ultimate reason that Scott gave as to why he wasn't moved as the rest of the world seemed to be?

GRACE: At the memorial?

CALLER: No, at the scene when they were pulling the bodies.

GRACE: Oh, OK. As a matter of fact, I'm glad you brought that up. Because I have a list of all the things Peterson had in his car at the time he was arrested. The time his wife's remains were pulled up. It included a fire starter, multiple pairs of clothing, a water purifier. Plenty of Viagra. I'm glad he took that on his golf trip to Torrey Pines. Everywhere but looking for his wife. He said he was playing golf that day. Noticeably not with him were any golf clubs.

KING: Why wouldn't, though, if that's the case, Michael Cardoza, wouldn't a guy who commits a murder trying to get away with it go looking for the wife?

CARDOZA: Well, you would certainly...

KING: In other words, I can reverse what she just said. What he did was so stupid it's unreasonable? CARDOZA: You know what, it may, Larry. I absolutely agree with you, I mean, that's the reasonable thing to do. He did, in part do that. There were some awfully stupid things he did.

What I'm getting the feeling is, that maybe he didn't like Laci, that's why he's having the affair. They're having problems. And he's not dealing with her loss the way he should. But does that mean he committed the murder? I don't think so. And another thing that I find interesting, everybody thinks that Torrey Pines golf course is right next to the border. It's at least 60 miles away from it. And I've said this right from the get-go, those D.A.s, those police, if they wanted some real evidence out of Scott, they should have let him go right to the border. They got that GPS in the car...

GRACE: I'd still like to know what he was doing with a fillet knife.


CARDOZA: That's what they should have done. That would sure have been a lot of good evidence of flight. But instead they're so anxious they grab him right up at the golf course.

KING: Ted Rowlands, when is this trial over?

ROWLANDS: Well, that's a good question. The judge earlier -- actually this week, yesterday, said to the jury that they were two weeks ahead of schedule, at least. And when this all started, the estimate given to potential jurors is -- was that the trial would last until about Halloween. So, you do the math, mid-October, they should get this case.

KING: Myrtle Creek, Oregon, last call. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.


CALLER: My question is for the panel, except for Nancy, please. Everything that I've seen or heard...

KING: People are -- you either love her or hate her, right? Go ahead, dear.

CALLER: Everything I've seen and heard on this case is all based on circumstantial evidence.

KING: Right.

CALLER: Circumstantial evidence is just that. It might be evidence. How can you convict somebody on circumstantial evidence only?

KING: Well, isn't 90 percent of cases circumstantial, Chuck?

SMITH: Yeah, absolutely. KING: Unless there's an eyewitness, it's all circumstantial.

SMITH: That's right. And circumstantial evidence is better than direct evidence. Fingerprint evidence is better than an eyewitness who might be wrong. Circumstantial evidence is what 90 percent of them are, you're right, Larry.

KING: All right, any big surprises coming, Richard? We're almost out of time.

COLE: I think one of the things that I was going to mention with the bodies is there have been references by the defense, and I'm not sure where they're going in this, but it would be intriguing, indicating there might have been fresh water in some of the body tissue. Now, I don't know if they're going to put on a scientist who's going to testify to that, or if this is going to be one of those, you know, one expert versus the other things. But if they could show that there was fresh water in the tissue of the bodies, that would certainly suggest that maybe the bodies had been someplace else for a while before they wound up in San Francisco Bay. And I'm watching that very closely.

KING: Thank you all very much. Ted Rowlands, Nancy Grace, Chris Pixley, Michael Cardoza, Chuck Smith and Richard Cole, getting us up to date.

And I'll get you up to date on tomorrow night right after this. Don't go away.


KING: Alice, you're going to the moon! They did that 35 years ago.

Tomorrow night, Senator John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth Edwards for the full hour. The Edwardses, tomorrow night, on LARRY KING LIVE. Is that right, the Edwardses? I guess right.

But I know a man who'll tell us if it's right, Aaron Brown, a man of renown, the host of "NEWSNIGHT," who will look back on the 35 years ago tonight, when man landed on the moon.

AARON BROWN, HOST, "NEWSNIGHT": Sounds like a good idea, doesn't it?

KING: Yes. Is the Edwardses correct?

BROWN: I would say it's Mr. and Mrs. Edwards, that would be correct, yes.

KING: Oh, OK. Thanks.

BROWN: Thank you.

KING: Thanks for your help.

BROWN: Talk to you tomorrow. Thank you, sir.

KING: Bye.


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