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Scott Peterson Found Guilty of Killing Wife & Unborn Son

Aired November 12, 2004 - 15:45   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We are just 15 minutes on the head, 15 minutes from the verdict, the jury decision, the verdict in the Scott Peterson murder trial. We obviously are following this very closely as we take you right up to the top of the hour. And we are -- let's go to Jeffrey Toobin right now, who has been with us throughout the afternoon.
As you take a look at the pictures on your screen right now, these are members of the Peterson family heading into the Redwood City courtroom right now to hear this verdict in 15 minutes. And Jeffrey Toobin, as you have been listening over the last hour or so, what are some of the thoughts that you have as we are really just 14 minutes away from this verdict?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: Well, my predominant thought is that it takes a braver man than I to predict what this verdict is going to be. I can make the argument either way. This has been such an unusual jury deliberation and such a short jury deliberation for such a long trial.

Remember, this is a trial that went for about five months, and this jury has been instructed to restart its -- to start its deliberations three different times. The last time just Wednesday, and they didn't sit yesterday because yesterday was Veterans Day.

So this jury will have deliberated formally as a group for less than a single day before they reached a verdict. That's extremely unusual for a length -- trial of this length, even though the O.J. Simpson case deliberated for about the same time. It's still very unusual. Whether that's good for the defense, good for the prosecution, I have no idea.

HARRIS: OK. Well, let's get into your thinking a little bit more as we look at these pictures from outside of the courthouse as the crowd continues to gather there. What is the case for Scott Peterson's conviction in your mind based on all the time you've spent looking at this case?

TOOBIN: Well, you have to start with -- you can't forget the obvious facts. He's the husband. He's having an affair. He's the only person in the world that we know of that has a motive to want Laci Peterson dead.

HARRIS: And what is that motive? What is that motive again?

TOOBIN: The motive is to -- he's an unhappy husband, wants to get her out of his life, period. I mean, you know, the sad fact is spouses kill each other a lot. Most people who are killed are killed by someone they know. And spousal murder, particularly husbands killing wives, is a common motive for murder.

And that is what the prosecution suggests was the motive here. So you start with that.


TOOBIN: The second key fact that argues for his guilt is Scott Peterson said he was at this remote cove 80 miles away from their home in Modesto, California. You know, for people who don't live in California, they don't -- I mean, they might not realize that Modesto is a central city in the central part of the state, and San Francisco Bay is way west, 80 miles away.

HARRIS: I see.

TOOBIN: Out of all the places in the world that Laci Peterson is found dead, she is found dead at precisely the location where Scott Peterson says he was fishing on December 24. That is an extremely incriminating fact. There are some jurors, I suspect, who would convict him on that fact alone.

And after that, the evidence, I think, starts to get a lot weaker. There is no eyewitness. There is no murder weapon. There is no cause of death. That's where the defense arguments come from.

HARRIS: OK. OK. Then I want you to make that argument for us. Make the argument if he is -- if he is acquitted, why will he have been acquitted?

TOOBIN: He will be acquitted on a pure reasonable doubt defense. One of the curious things that Mark Geragos did here is that when he began his defense, he didn't use a reasonable doubt defense.

He said we're going to prove the crime to you. We're going to prove he was stone-cold innocent, and we're going to show you in our defense case why he was stone-cold innocent.

That defense case evolved to a completely different defense by the time Geragos did his defense case, which was a pure reasonable doubt defense. And by the way, there's nothing wrong with that kind of defense, which simply says you cannot convict a man of murder when you don't have a murder weapon, when you don't have a cause of death, when you don't have an eyewitness, when there are so many unanswered questions about how and where Laci Peterson died. That's the core of the defense, and it's a real defense.

HARRIS: And we're 10 minutes away now from this verdict. And Jeffrey, let me ask you, in your assessment, how did the judge handle this case and navigating it through some very difficult times?

TOOBIN: I have some real questions about how the judge and the prosecution handled this case for one specific reason. They called 170 witnesses. The judge allowed these prosecutors to let this case drag on for, you know, four-plus months of a prosecution case. And I think that was both a strategically wrong decision for the prosecution and simply not good trial practice on the part of the judge.

Judges in other parts of the country regularly limit prosecutors on how long they can go on. California is notorious for having trials that go too long and are too expensive and simply are wasteful.

If this trial was in Virginia, which is at the opposite extreme, where the cases are known as running by the rocket docket, this trial would be long over and an appeal, if there was one, would be well under way. I think the way California tries cases, murder cases, any kinds of criminal cases is long and wasteful, and I think is not -- does not do a service to the taxpayers of California, to the citizens of California, to the victims, to anyone involved in the system.

HARRIS: OK. Jeffrey Toobin, stand by.

As we get closer here, we're just nine minutes away from the verdict -- Kyra.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Just outside the courtroom there you see the live pictures. Also outside the courtroom is our CNN correspondent, Ted Rowlands. And by his side, our legal analyst, Chuck Smith.

And Ted, I know we're getting close here. About nine minutes until we get a verdict.

And I'm told we can't listen to the actual interview, but you were one of the reporters back when you were working for that local affiliate, one of the first reporters to talk to Scott Peterson. Kind of take us back. Tell us what he said. Tell us about the questions you asked him and what you are remembering, as we haven't had a chance to hear from this man in a very long time.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the interview itself was a bit anticlimactic for me because he was basically -- well, he had already done the Diane Sawyer interview. He had lied to her point blank. He realized he had been caught in a lie, and he then came up with a new lie with me, saying that he couldn't talk about certain subjects because the police had told him not to.

Of course that was completely a lie. The police wanted him to keep talking and talk about every subject.

But the interview itself to me, I didn't get much out of it. However, I started talking to Peterson right away after his wife was missing, and I had daily phone calls with him, multiple phone calls with him every day. And I was trying to get him to do more interviews.

He wouldn't do it. He said he didn't want to. He wanted to push all of the focus on Laci, his missing wife.

And I got to tell you, honestly, the first couple of days that I met him, I thought, boy, this guy is hiding something. I didn't know what it was.

And then when Amber Frey emerged, unlike other people, I sort of thought, well, maybe that's what he was hiding, maybe it was his girlfriend and that's why he's been acting so strange. And since then, I'm not going to tell you what I think, but it's gone back and forth, and it's difficult. It has to be difficult for this jury.

The Amber Frey situation did not prove a thing. However, it did showcase an individual talking to someone -- a girlfriend in a manner that the average person can't fathom when his wife was missing, saying he's in Paris, saying he's in Belgium, and meanwhile he's at a memorial or a vigil for his missing wife.

That in itself I think was very powerful for jurors to separate themselves from Scott Peterson. He's not just the cheating fertilizer salesman. He is different.

He's a liar, and it is to the core. And I tell you, that is what will be his downfall. And that was his downfall in the beginning.

Because police picked up on it. He wasn't being truthful. And they focused this investigation on him, that is the reason he's here. It's not because of the evidence. It's because of Scott Peterson and the way he conducted himself.

CHUCK SMITH, LEGAL ANALYST: I agree with you, Ted. You know -- I'm sorry.

PHILLIPS: No, that's OK. I just wanted to say real quickly, Chuck -- and I have a question for you, too. We want to look at some tape that we just want to turn around quickly.

In the past half an hour we saw the Peterson family arriving and also Laci -- Laci's -- or rather Laci Peterson's family arriving, I'm told. This is actually a different video from what -- from what I've seen.

This is the Rocha family, I believe. Is that -- that came -- OK. The Rocha family that was arriving there. We also saw Laci's family arriving not long ago.

Sorry about that. A quick tape turnaround there.

But Chuck, from the interview that Ted did, and the other interviews that took place, Justin Falconer, the juror that was on this case, then he was kicked off, you know, talked about, you know, this is a guy that he feels just is not smart enough to commit murder. This is a guy that's just not capable of committing murder.

When you interviewed him, Ted, and then Chuck, as you've seen all these interviews and how he talks and how he portrays himself, and then you saw these number of lies that came out, I mean, is this someone that struck you as somebody that was smart enough to carry out a murder like this and get by with it?

SMITH: Oh, absolutely, Kyra. And I agree with Ted. What was so striking to me about the Amber tapes, you know, a lot of men have affairs and don't kill their wives. But in that time period, in the week or so after the disappearance, when Scott Peterson is talking to Amber Frey but Amber Frey does not let on that she knows he's the guy involved with the missing wife, during that period of time he's having hour-long conversations with her, chit-chatting about "What's your favorite movie," you know, "I'm in Paris." And I was so struck by the heartlessness of this individual, and just there was something wrong with him.

And that's when I began to believe, you know, if this guy, when everybody else in Modesto -- I mean the entire town and a lot of the world is desperately seeking, where is Laci, he is spending his time chit-chatting in the most inane way. I said to myself, "Is this a sociopath? Is this someone who is just so incredibly narcissistic that he could do this?"

And I've got to tell you, that's when it kind of started to turn for me.

ROWLANDS: I think that we know one thing. The jury is on the same wavelength. It took them less than six hours with this new panel to come to a verdict.

It's one of two scenarios. Either They all came in and said the state didn't prove their case. I think he might have done it, but the state didn't prove their case, which is a possible result. Or they all walked in and said, "Who else did it? Of course he did it." And they're going to find him guilty, and we'll find out soon.

SMITH: But Ted, let me tell you, you know, as a former prosecutor, and knowing a lot of current prosecutors, what drives them crazy is what you just articulated. A juror who can say, "You know, I think he did it but they just didn't prove it," a prosecutor would say to you, "Hey, if you think he did it, that's because he did do it. And have the courage to find him guilty."

Don't cop out by saying, "I think he did it but they didn't proved it." If you think he did it, that's because he did do it. That's what a prosecutor would react with that remark.

But can I make this point also, because I listened carefully to Jeff Toobin and I've always admired his work. He should not blame the judge for the length of the trial. He should blame the prosecution. And I think it's a correct criticism.

And putting that together with what Justin Falconer told us, if they lose this case it's because early on they wasted a lot of time. It's like a prize fighter who loses the first five or six rounds because he can't get his act together.

Now, can he win the fight? Yes. But, you know, how he wins the fight, knocks his opponent out.

Did the prosecution knock the opponent out? Maybe not. They've got so far behind that maybe they can't recover. PHILLIPS: Gentlemen, two minutes ark way from an audio verdict. We are assuming it's going to start right on time.

Maybe as we lead up to that point let's go over the possibilities here: acquittal, first-degree murder, second-degree murder. Why don't we address what each one of those means.

Chuck, you want to do that?

SMITH: Yes, Kyra. First of all, the jury has six pieces of paper, six verdict forms. One verdict form is not guilty of the murder of Laci. One verdict form is not guilty of the murder of Conner.

The next verdict form is guilty of the murder of Laci, and the jury fills in either first-degree or second-degree. The fourth form is guilty of the murder of Conner, and the jury fills in first-degree or second-degree.

The last two forms are, is the special allegation that in this case he murdered more than one person, one of which was a first-degree murder true? And the last one is, is that special allegation false? Obviously, there's no way to get there. Six pieces of paper.

And just to tell you a little bit of inside baseball, the forms are with the foreperson when they come into the jury box. The judge says, "Does the jury have a verdict?" "Yes we do."

And, "Have you dated and signed the verdict?" "Yes." "Hand them to the bailiff."

The bailiff walks them from the foreperson to the judge. The judge looks at them to make sure that they're properly filled out. He then hands the ones that are filled out and the actual verdicts to the clerk to read.

If there are three forms, he's guilty of everything. The only way you can do it. Guilty of first of Laci, guilty of first of Conner, true special circumstance multiple murder.

If there are two forms handed, it is either two not guilty or two second-degree murders. We've talked about this and we've figured this out. That's the way it works.

HARRIS: OK. Chuck...

SMITH: The other telling thing -- I'm sorry.

HARRIS: Yes, go ahead. Go ahead.

SMITH: The other telling thing which is fascinating to watch, the jury will file in, and in this courtroom they walk directly in front of Scott Peterson and the defense table as the file their way to the jury box. People should watch carefully. If as they file in they look at Scott Peterson, that might mean because they acquitted him. PHILLIPS: All right. Chuck Smith, Ted Rowlands, hold on. We have now hit the top of the hour. It is exactly 4:00. If you're just tuning in we're waiting for the verdict in the Scott Peterson trial. We were told we would have the verdict via audio from inside the courtroom there right now at the top of the hour. We're waiting for that. As you were hearing our legal analyst, Chuck Smith, say and also our Ted Rowlands, our correspondent that's been covering this story since December of 2002, there are three options here.

There could be an acquittal. Scott Peterson could go home. Number two, he could face first-degree murder charges. He could face a life sentence. And number three, second-degree murder, the lesser charge. He could spend 15 years to life in prison.

Right now we're being told that hundreds of people have gathered outside that courtroom. People that are just curious, they want to hear what this verdict is. People have come from all parts of California to gather around and see what happens here at this courtroom in Redwood City, California.

You remember it was back in 2002, December 24, Christmas Eve, that the story broke that Laci Peterson, a pregnant woman carrying what was soon to be a boy, they planned to name him Conner. She was missing. Once again the investigation unfolded from there. Scott Peterson, the husband of Laci Peterson, questioned continuously by law enforcement as Mike Brooks, our law enforcement analyst said. The focus there was to eliminate Scott Peterson as the possible main suspect in that murder. That wasn't able to happen as the investigation continued.

And evidence surfaced in this case, unraveled as Scott Peterson soon became the prime suspect in the murder of his wife, Laci Peterson. It wasn't long after that, after months of this investigation continued that investigators found Laci Peterson's body and the fetus of their unborn son Conner in the San Francisco Bay where Scott Peterson said he had been fishing that Christmas break.

Now, once again, if you're tuning in, we're awaiting the verdict in the Scott Peterson trial. It was supposed to happen at the top of the hour, 4:00. It is now 4:02. We're waiting for that audio feed. A number of options laid out for the future of Scott Peterson. You remember what took place within that jury deliberations taking place for five months. A number of things happened.

There were questions that took place among that jury pool. Two of those jurors had to be replaced. A new foreman had to take place in that jury. And what was pretty surprising to a number of people was that that verdict came about in six hours. Some comparisons made to the O.J. Simpson case. You remember a verdict happened quite quickly in that case after months of deliberations and everybody remembers. The nation, the world remembers what happens in that case. Not necessarily rolling over into this one meaning that a not guilty verdict will come forward because of a quick decision that was made by the new jury pool. However, questions do remain. Even our analysts saying they're not sure. Their guess is as good as anyone's what could happen in this case. An acquittal has been brought up. Of course we have been talking about that and how that could just stir the nation as they watch this case for almost two years.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And Kyra, as we've watched this whole story unfold this afternoon, what has been so interesting is that when we initially received word that the jury had reached a verdict, we know that the courtroom was cleared. Then we saw very little activity outside of the courthouse and as the hours have moved on here, we have seen more and more activity. We know this is a small community in Redwood City, California. We also know we have watched over the last couple of hours as more and more people have gathered outside of that courthouse anticipating this decision. It has been so long in the making to get to this point. Just about two years as you mentioned.

And all that has gone into this -- when you think about all of the time that's been spent by the jury on this, the attorneys who have been preparing this case, Mark Geragos who we know from his time on the "LARRY KING SHOW" has first taken Scott Peterson apart at some points and now that he would be the defense attorney walking him through this trial into this ultimate decision, it has been a story of twists and turns and we look at this woman, this beautiful woman about to have her first child with her husband, Laci Peterson, and to think that she came to this kind of end.

We were talking earlier with one of our analysts who is Chuck Smith who was talking about pictures, the autopsy pictures and how difficult those pictures were to watch. When you think about this family, the Rocha family, what they have gone through and the fact that on this day there's the possibility they know they have lost their daughter, they know they have lost a grandchild but they could also lose a son-in-law.

Now, that might not mean much at this moment. But there was a time when this family was working through this process when that notion had to be very difficult. That moment when they crossed the line from supporting Scott Peterson to no longer being able to support him.

So here we are at five minutes after the hour of 4:00. We're awaiting this audio feed of this verdict and it is just a very difficult tense moment outside of that courthouse for everyone involved. And Ted Rowlands as we get closer to this decision, I'm just curious as to what your thoughts are two years virtually into this process.

ROWLANDS: Well, you mentioned the families. And Rusty Dornin, a CNN correspondent is in the courtroom right now. She's messaging us the scene in there. She says for the first time she has seen Dennis Rocha, that is Laci's father sitting with Laci's stepfather Ron Grantski and Sharon Rocha. She says Laci's friends are behind them. Some are crying nervously, waiting. We were told it was at the top of the hour. It is now five minutes in. Lee Peterson, Scott Peterson's father is not in the courtroom as of yet. Curiously he's missing. He has sat through this entire trial. Whether or not they are waiting for him because of a logistical reason or whether or not he doesn't think he can handle the emotion, we're not clear. That may be the delay. Lee Peterson is not in the courtroom. However it seems as though all of the other family members are set and according to Rusty's message here which really does translate it, it is very very emotional in that courtroom. We can only imagine outside here. There are hundreds of people that have gathered. And you can feel the motion out here, as well.

HARRIS: And Chuck, I have to ask you you made the point in Rusty's piece that this prosecution team has given this jury enough in your mind to come back with a guilty verdict.

SMITH: Sure. This jury could do one of two things obviously. It is very difficult to tell which way they're thinking. The one thing we know is (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Six hours is all this group needed together to come to a verdict in a case that took 5 1/2 plus months to bring to them. They heard the 184 witnesses. They took six hours to come to a verdict. You can look at it one of two ways. Either they say the prosecution didn't prove it or of course he's the one that did it and we're going to find him guilty. We'll find out in a matter of moments.

HARRIS: OK, Ted. Just another question. We have been talking about it all afternoon long but the crowd has been building in anticipation of this verdict and just sort of take a look around you, sort of a 360 view if you could. All right, 180. And give us a sense of what that scene is like outside of that courthouse right now.

ROWLANDS: There are a number of people on their cell phones, people just standing and milling around waiting for word on which way this jury is going to go. Word came out about 11:30 Pacific Time that the jury had reached a verdict. And from that point on we have seen a steady stream of people making their way outside the courthouse and just gathering. Throughout this trial hundreds of people have come and tried to get public seats. The curiosity factor has been enormous. People have been following this case on a daily basis not only here but across the country and the ones here are here to see firsthand and hear firsthand what this jury has come up with. We are not going to hear the audio feed out here. These people will have to rely on getting it second-hand from the media. But they're here anyway. They just want to be a part of it.

SMITH: In looking at the crowd, I think you sense the same thing that I do. Which is most of them are here wanting to see him convicted. It has just been an unbelievable outpouring in this community in support of Laci and Conner. You hear it all of the time. All the time. All the time. And quite frankly it makes me proud of our community that we have handled it that way.

HARRIS: Chuck, I have to ask you, so you're saying that in this sort of court of public opinion, there is no doubt that Scott Peterson is guilty?

SMITH: I think that is accurate to say. That's what most of the people around here are saying.

ROWLANDS: People have been following the case from the outside, they say he's the husband, the body is washed up in the bay, he had the affair. He is a liar. He did it. It is a much different situation in the courtroom. It is not that clear having sat through the testimony, I think you'll agree that it isn't that clear. It's not as though we know that this jury is coming back with a guilty verdict because we don't. It could very well be a not guilty verdict.

HARRIS: Ted, let me ask you that. So if folks believe that in this so-called court of public opinion, and they get, for example, a not guilty verdict in this case...

OK, I'm understanding that the jury is entering the courtroom right now so -- Chuck, let me change the question. Let me ask you who will we hear from first?

PHILLIPS: Let's go to the audio.

HARRIS: Let's go to the audio? OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the case of People vs. Scott Peterson. Let the record reflect that the defendant is present with counsel. The jury is in the jury box (UNINTELLIGIBLE). It is my understanding that the jury reached at a verdict in this case, is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have, your Honor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you hand the verdicts (UNINTELLIGIBLE), please.

Read the verdicts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: State of California vs. Scott Peterson. We the jury in the above entitled cause find the defendant Scott Lee Peterson guilty of the crime of murder of Laci Peterson in violation of Penal Code Section 187A (UNINTELLIGIBLE) count one of the information filed herein. Dated November 12, year 2004. Foreperson Number 6.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) verdict of the jury with respect to count one?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is, your Honor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Read the grievance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We the jury for the final (ph) degree of the murder to be that of the first degree debated November 12, 2004, foreperson number 6.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And juror number 6, is that the unanimous verdict of the jury with respect to the degree?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is, your Honor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Read count two.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We the jury in the above entitled cause find the defendant Scott Lee Peterson guilty of the crime of murder of baby Conner Peterson in violation of Penal Code Section 187A as alleged in count two of the information filed herein dated November 12, 2004, foreperson number 6.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that the unanimous verdict of the jury with respect to count two of the information?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is, your Honor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Read the degree, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We the jury further find the degree of murder to be that of the second degree dated November 12, 2004, foreperson number 6.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Foreperson, is that the unanimous verdict of the jury with respect to the degree?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is your honor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Read the special circumstances.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We the jury in the above entitled cause find it to be true the special circumstance pursuant to Penal Code Section 190.2 subsections A-3 that the said defendant Scott Lee Peterson has in this case been convicted of at least one crime of murder of the first degree and of one or more crimes of murder of the first or second degree. Dated November 12, 2004. Foreperson number 6.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that the unanimous verdict of the jury with respect to the special circumstances?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is, your honor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Harris (ph), do you want the jury polled as to each count in regards (ph) to this special circumstance?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we do, your honor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you poll the jury as to count one, please?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury please answer yes or no as I call your jury number as seated and ask the following question. Was the verdict as just read as to count one your true and individual verdict, juror No. 1?























UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) poll the jury as to the degree, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was the verdict as just read as to the degree of the said murder to be that of the first degree your true and individual verdict, juror No. 1?























UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to poll the jury as to count two, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was the verdict as just read as to count two your true and individual verdict, juror No. 1?
























UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And would you poll the jury as to the degree?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was the verdict as just read to the degree of said murder to be that of the second degree your true and individual verdict, juror No. 1?























UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you poll the jury as to the special circumstances, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was the verdict as just read as to the special circumstances your true and individual verdict, juror No. 1?
























UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your Honor, the jury has been polled and the verdicts as to count one and count two and the special circumstance allegation are unanimously affirmed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You may enter the verdicts.

Have the verdicts been entered?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The verdicts have been duly entered.

All right. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, as a result of your findings that means we're going to have to have a penalty phase of this trial. I can tell you some information now. The penalty phase of this trial will take less than a week. OK. I'm going give you next week off because the attorneys have to get their witnesses lined up.

So we're going to start the testimony in the penalty phase of this case on November 22. You'll be here the 22, 23, and 24. You'll be home on the 25, 26, 27, and 28. We should finish the testimony by the 29th and hopefully I'll get it to you on the 30th. OK. And to start your deliberations in the penalty phase.

Obviously because of this verdict you're going to be the subject of much scrutiny from the media. So I want to remind you again, you have got to adhere to this strictly, that you are not to discuss this case among yourselves or with any other person or form or express any opinions about this case. You're not to listen to, read or watch any media reports of this trial or discuss it with any representatives of the media or their agents. So you can go home now. This part of the trial is over. The penalty phase will start on, like I said, November 22. It shouldn't take more than four days, I've been advised by counsel, so I should get this case to you hopefully by November 30. You will be sequestered during those deliberations in the penalty phase for the obvious reasons.

I want to thank you all for your diligence. You have been a good jury. You were here on time every day although we're not on time all the time but you have been so I really appreciate that. We'll be in recess now until 9:00 in the morning on November 22. I want to remind you again, don't discuss this case with anybody in the penalty phase (UNINTELLIGIBLE). OK. Thank you very much. We'll be in recess now until November 22 at 9:00 right back here. If you have any problems retrieving your clothing or anything take that up with the sheriff's department.

PHILLIPS: After almost two years, the verdict has been read. And Scott Peterson has been found guilty of first-degree murder. Here is how it lays out. State of California vs. Scott Peterson, guilty of first-degree murder against his wife, Laci Peterson. That comes with death penalty or life without parole. That special circumstance second charge guilty of second degree murder with regard to his baby, his unborn child, baby Conner Peterson. Second degree murder, 15 years to life. The penalty phase, according to the judge, will start in less than a week, testimony will begin.

The judge hoping that will be over by the twenty-ninth of November. Once again the judge reminding the jurors the gag order still in place. They are not to talk to the media or anyone else about this case.

If you're just tuning in, the verdict has been read. Scott Peterson found guilty of murder, first degree murder of his wife, Laci Peterson, with special circumstance and also found guilty of second degree murder of his baby boy Conner. As you know both her body and the fetus found in San Francisco Bay not long after this story broke.

Ted Rowlands, our correspondent just outside of the courtroom, I guess a number of questions, Ted. First of all, what is going through your mind as you were one of the first correspondents on this story when it all began, and then the reaction there outside of the courtroom as everybody heard the two verdicts?

ROWLANDS: Well, the reaction outside the courtroom was cheering. People out here, as we discussed leading up to the verdict, most folks in the court of public opinion think that Scott Peterson is guilty of killing his wife.

When the jury verdict was read, they outwardly cheered. And it was very loud. And they continued to cheer for some time here. It is just starting so settle down. Obviously very emotional.

Rusty Dornin, our correspondent, is inside the courtroom. She has been e-mailing us a very vivid description of what has been going on. She says that the Rocha family embraced and started to cry. She said that Scott Peterson showed absolutely no emotion as the verdict was read and after the verdict was read.

Her last update still no emotion from Scott Peterson. She will be coming down out of the courtroom and will be joining us momentarily with more firsthand knowledge. But interesting that Scott Peterson would have absolutely no emotion to the verdict that this jury feels as though he is responsible for killing his wife.

It will now be up to this jury to decide whether or not he will face the death penalty. We do know this, he will spend the rest of his life in jail guilty of first degree murder without parole.

Now outside the courthouse...

PHILLIPS: Ted, what's happening behind you? Can you tell us what's happening behind you, maybe your photographer can pull into -- there we go.

ROWLANDS: You know what it is, it's members of the media coming out of the courtroom that were inside. I think a lot of the folks out here thought it may have been one of the Rocha family members.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jackie Peterson leaving.

ROWLANDS: Jackie Peterson has just left.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's Jackie Peterson and people were cheering.

ROWLANDS: And I guess folks were cheering when Jackie Peterson left. Something obviously that family doesn't need that at this time.

PHILLIPS: Now that has got to be hard to swallow there. That's not he's easy at all. Ted Rowlands there, just outside the courtroom. Thank you so much.

If you're just tuning in again, once again, the verdict has been read in the Scott Peterson case. He has been found guilty of first degree murder of his wife, Laci Peterson, with special circumstance. What does that mean? It means the death penalty or life in prison without parole. Also found guilty of second-degree murder of his baby boy Conner, as you know, their unborn son. Second degree murder, 15 years to life in prison with a chance of parole.

HARRIS: Now let's bring in Jeffrey Toobin, our legal analyst in New York. And Jeffrey, your thoughts on the verdict?

TOOBIN: Well, everything is obvious in retrospect. It now seems clear that Scott Peterson was the only suspect in this case, the only suspect there has ever been in this case. He's the only person against whom there was any evidence. He's the only person that there could possibly have been who killed Laci Peterson and their unborn son.

The problem for the prosecution was that there wasn't that much evidence against him even though there was no evidence against anyone else. Obviously the jury felt that the absence of a cause of death, the absence of an eyewitness, the absence of all of that evidence that we have been talking about, wasn't that big of deal.

And the thing that it is just so extraordinary now is that this trial is not over. That on November 22, a week from Monday, there is going to be a penalty phase. And penalty phases tend to be very short even in California where things tend to be longer than elsewhere. So I think there could well be a verdict in this whole case before Thanksgiving. HARRIS: Well, I want to remind everyone that we're waiting for Rusty Dornin to come out of that courthouse. And when she does we will certainly go to her for her thoughts and reactions and her firsthand account of what was going on inside the courthouse as the verdict was being read.

Jeffrey, were you as struck as I was during the portion of this proceeding when the jury was polled at how assured and affirmative they were in this verdict?

TOOBIN: You know, it is funny that you say that. I was very struck by that. I happen to be researching a different case right now where a death penalty was overturned because during the polling of the jury, one juror hedged. It seems like a routine practice but in fact it is a very significant part of the trial.

And not only did the jurors all ratify their group verdict, but they did in a clear, loud and I thought rather calm voice. That is often a very emotional moment for jurors when they have -- when they are polled, when they have to...

Jeffrey, stand by for just a moment. Let's go back out to Ted Rowlands who is with Rusty Dornin.

Ted, take it away.

ROWLANDS: Well, Rusty Dornin was inside the courtroom and we were getting your text messages which were very emotional. Just talk us through it.

DORNIN: Yes. It was so amazing, Ted. I think we have been through this really for the last two years. And a lot of reporters even in the room, the tension before that jury came into the room in itself, you could have cut it with a knife.

The family, Laci Peterson's friends were there, three or four of her friends. Of course, her father, her mother, her stepfather, her brother, her sister all sitting in the front row. The Petersons were there. But Lee Peterson was noticeably missing, Scott Peterson's father.

Also defense attorney Mark Geragos was not number in the room. Apparently he is down in Southern California on -- attending to some kind of business or on some other cases.

But when they came into the room and announced that verdict, immediately the side of the room with the Rocha family, Laci Peterson's family and friends, erupted in tears and just cries of relief. The Petersons very somber, very stoic. Scott Peterson had been smiling and laughing and that sort of thing, seeming very confident before the verdict came in.

Once that verdict was in he was straight ahead, he didn't look to either side. I think what you're hearing now are some of the...

ROWLANDS: Gloria Allred is walking out of the courthouse. DORNIN: Some of the prosecutors or people who are well-known for being for the prosecution, many of the folks here as we know have been really pro-prosecution in this case. Very supportive of the pundits.

But anyway, Scott Peterson looking straight ahead, not making any kind of a face after that verdict was announced. Of course, the jury all polled. Peterson family and Scott just not saying anything.

ROWLANDS: Did Peterson acknowledge his family at all or vice- versa?

DORNIN: No. And by the time -- they kicked us out of the courtroom while the family was still there. But the Peterson family staring straight ahead. He was staring straight ahead. We all had to leave the courtroom before we could see anything.

But the Rocha family, during the reading of all the different verdicts, Brent Rocha, Laci Peterson's brother, and her mother kept sobbing and hugging each other throughout the entire reading of all of these verdicts.

And I think it just -- the kind of emotion when you have that many people in a room and this has been going on for nearly two years, it was incredible.

ROWLANDS: What about jury, what was their demeanor as they walked in?

DORNIN: Very somber, very somber as they came in. Of course, you don't have any indication from that. But the interesting thing was as they left I was on the side of the courtroom with the jury. The African-American juror, as she went out she did nod once to the Rocha family before she left. She was the only one that I really saw that looked at the family as they left, and just made some kind of acknowledgement like, yes, we did this.

ROWLANDS: We have been reporting and covering this entire trial and we weren't quite sure what to expect. Obviously this jury had made up their mind early on. It took less than six hours for this panel to come to this decision. Were you surprised?

DORNIN: Well, you know, the funny thing is you and I have talked many times what we thought would happen. And we have come up with many different scenarios. I think towards the end I don't think either one of us thought perhaps it would be this scenario.

The other interesting thing was when the foreman was elected, this last foreman, juror No. 6, I think many of us in the courtroom, I think including yourself, we thought perhaps he was pro-defense because he didn't take notes. He didn't seem like he was paying attention. And we thought from, I think, the juror that was dismissed, Justin Falconer, that we thought he was perhaps more pro- defense. So I didn't know what was going happen with him being a foreman. I had no idea that he would vote guilty in this case. And tell me how you feel about that. ROWLANDS: Yes. I think we both felt the same thing, that it was a circumstantial case and after juror No. 5, the first juror No. 5, Falconer, was dismissed, we were floored at the -- really, the one- sidedness that he had. And he was obviously close to this foreman and we just weren't quite sure what to think.

I think that the fact that this jury took less than six hours is the most surprising thing given the amount of testimony and really the judge's orders to go through the evidence. Obviously they just took a vote and they were all in agreement.

DORNIN: Well, we did hear there was a big battle going on once those deliberations started. And it became very clear that because the first foreman, this doctor, this lawyer, the one that we talked about with the notebooks, taking copious notes that he was so methodical, that there was a battle going on apparently with him over whether perhaps we had hear heard -- whether he would not allow them to take a vote until they had gone through all the evidence of whatever it was.

When he left, boy, there just seemed to be absolutely no problem in them moving forward into some place. And, as we know, the judge did interview each juror when the first juror this week was dismissed, right, Ted, and I think he learned some things then, right?

ROWLANDS: Learned that it was a rancorous atmosphere inside the jury room. And most likely, now that we know what happened, it was that this juror No. 5, the original foreman, was going through all of this evidence and this jury felt as though they were maybe on the same page, that they didn't need to do that. They had their mind made up, obviously. And they had their mind made up that Scott Peterson killed his pregnant wife.

And looking back at the trial, one would have to think that, although a lot of folks said that the Amber Frey tapes proved nothing, I think that those of us that sat through that, it did prove one thing. And that is that Scott Peterson was a little bit different and was lying about everything and in a time when most folks probably wouldn't react that way.

DORNIN: And the other thing is, I think, too, by the time Justin Falconer, the first juror, had quit, it was only four weeks into the trial.

A lot of people criticizing the prosecution's case, people thinking it was weak, that the jury was lost. But when they came together in those closing arguments, I think you'll agree with me on this, they connected all of those dots and those doubts and perhaps they did in the minds of these jurors. Obviously, we are not going to be able to hear anything about what the jury thinks until the penalty phase of this has been concluded, so perhaps not sometime in mid- December.

ROWLANDS: Outside of the courtroom of the courthouse, the court of public opinion erupted in elation when the guilty verdict came down. Undoubtedly, the jury had that pressure going in as well, because the question was, who had killed Laci Peterson?

And they were listening into it. This is the reaction outside the courthouse. Undoubtedly, this jury knew what their friends and family and the rest of the folks watching this trial thought happened. And that, do you think, had something to do with this?

DORNIN: Well, the other thing is, we were talking about this being a circumstantial case and we kept hearing, oh, there's no murder weapon. There's no crime scene. There's no cause of death. There's no eyewitnesses. How can they possibly convict this man?

But I think the strongest thing was he went fishing where his wife and his unborn son's body washed ashore. And that fact alone I think probably had a very strong impact on this jury. And that was the one thing you couldn't get away from. Whether he was just a cheating husband, you know, the idea that he went fishing where they washed up I think really impressed the jury in this case.

ROWLANDS: Justin Falconer, Juror No. 5, the first to be dismissed is on the phone with us.

Justin, your reaction here. I know that you were leaning towards not guilty. Are you surprised?


I'm not really surprised. I'm a little bit surprised. But you know what? Juror No. 6, he is a smart guy. And I'm going to say that everybody in that courtroom saw a whole lot more than I did. And whatever they saw obviously made them believe that he was guilty.

So I'm sure they made the right choice. I'm sure there's vindication for the Rocha family. I'm happy for them. And, you know, I think this is just -- it is going to be interesting to hear from the other two jurors that were dismissed to see if maybe they were holdouts and if maybe that's why they were dismissed.

But, you know, like I said -- I said it before, juror No. 6 is going to pull these people together and they're going to take a shot at a verdict. And whether it be guilty, whether it be innocent -- and although I did lean towards the innocent, there were still a lot of questions in my head. Clearly, these questions weren't in their heads. And whatever the prosecution brought forward after I left was convincing to them, enough so that this was a unanimous verdict.

And I'm happy for them. And I guess now they can start moving on.

ROWLANDS: In the time leading up to this verdict, you said that you might have been the one holdout. Do you think now looking back you would have gone along with this verdict having heard all the evidence?

FALCONER: You know, it is possible that I would have. I'm not going to go back on what I said or try to make excuses. I can say honestly that it is possible that I would hung the jury if in fact I was so convinced he was -- or not convinced he was guilty.

But like I said, something in that courtroom, something that we didn't see out here, or, I'm sorry, that I didn't see out here, convinced them and I think that says a lot. And that's why they're in there. That's why I'm out here. So...

ROWLANDS: OK, thanks, Justin Falconer, juror No. 5, the first juror No. 5. There were two of them before -- three of them before it was all said and done. Of course, a lot of problems with the deliberation process for the first five days, and then a new foreman. And they came to a verdict within just six hours of deliberation.

Right now, more people are coming out of the courthouse and the people standing outside here are cheering. And we're told that portions of the Peterson family are coming out and people cheering them, obviously, a very difficult time for that family.

Rusty Dornin in the courtroom when this verdict was read, and you said the Peterson family showed absolutely no emotion. Are you surprised at that? Because we have heard from them consistently that they felt as though Scott was innocent. In fact, they, beyond any -- on the outside, at least -- of course, they're talking to the media. They say they were stone-cold convinced of it. Do you think down deep they were prepared for this?

DORNIN: I don't think they can ever be prepared for it, but I think, once it happens, I think they were really in shock, you know, because they didn't look side to side. I couldn't see that they were hugging each other or anything like that.

There were also about seven or eight bailiffs standing that moved in to place, moved right in to place and stayed right around the Peterson family. So, Tony, it just really -- it was amazing to watch. And, also, Scott Peterson never turned around and looked at his family and didn't even talk to his attorneys until after the jury was leaving.

ROWLANDS: OK, Scott Peterson, who was possibly going to go home today, is going to spend the rest of his life in jail. The jury has decided that, convicting him of first-degree murder. The penalty phase is next up.

Tony, outside the courtroom, things have dissipated a little bit in terms of numbers, but the emotion still here.

HARRIS: Absolutely.

ROWLANDS: A lot of folks following this.

And the Rocha family still inside the courthouse. They'll have an opportunity to address the media. Whether or not they will take advantage of that or not, we'll have to see. They have been very, very quiet throughout this trial and they have not made any public comment. We'll see if that changes in the next few minutes.

HARRIS: OK, just give us a heads up, Ted. We appreciate it. Let's bring Jeffrey Toobin back in here for just a second.

And, Jeffrey, I have got a question for you. It is something that is raised by Mr. Falconer. He's asking the question. He's curious to know whether or not the two jurors that were dismissed perhaps -- and I know this is a lot of speculation -- were acquittal jurors. If that's the case, we have got a whole another sort of hornet's nest here, don't we?

TOOBIN: Well, I think you can be certain that, as Scott Peterson's lawyers start to think about an appeal, the first thing they will look at will be the process of dismissing these two jurors, because if they were dismissed simply because they disagreed with the other jurors, that they were holdouts for an opposing view of the evidence, that is reversible error.

If, however, they engaged in misconduct, they visited the sites themselves, they read newspaper articles, they surfed the Web, they did their own research, then that's an appropriate reason to dismiss them. But the behind-closed-doors hearings that led to the dismissal of these two jurors will be scrutinized very carefully by an appeals court.

And whether it was an appropriate decision or inappropriate decision to discharge them is something that they'll -- that the appeals courts will look at.


PHILLIPS: Jeffrey, hold on just a second. We're just looking at a quick tape turnaround here. We're watching Scott Peterson's family actually leaving the courtroom after the verdict was read.

We're seeing the closeup pictures now. We had heard the sounds when they first walked out of the courtroom. We had heard a lot of people cheering as they walked out, as Ted Rowlands said, obviously -- well, let's listen for a minute. Let's listen.

OK, there wasn't very much sound there at the end. But you could hear people cheering, obviously not making the family feel too good there as they were leaving the courtroom.


PHILLIPS: No doubt, this is a tremendously difficult time for them as they leave the courtroom.

Go ahead, Tony.


HARRIS: Well, I was just -- I was just -- let's bring Christopher Darden in. Do we have him now, Christopher Darden from Los Angeles?

OK, Christopher, give me your thoughts, your reaction on this verdict. You have been involved in certainly a high-profile case like this. What are your thoughts today?

CHRISTOPHER DARDEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, I was very, very surprised that this jury came to a verdict as quickly as it did.

My belief has always been, No. 1, that they would probably hang and that, if they did not hang, they would certainly find him guilty. So I'm surprised, like most people, that it came so quickly.

PHILLIPS: Chris, Kyra here, too. I've been dying to ask you this question, because I chased for you months and months when I had to cover the O.J. Simpson trial there in Los Angeles.

And I've been wanting to ask you this, because we remember when we were waiting for the verdict in the O.J. Simpson case, how quickly that decision was made. Jeffrey and I talked a little bit about this, too. So I think probably this nation was sort of sitting on pins and needles thinking, oh, my gosh. It was a quick verdict. He's either going to be acquitted or found not guilty.

I'm just curious if you were having flashbacks and if you were sitting there thinking, oh, wow, it's a quick verdict; I wonder if this is going to turn out like the O.J. Simpson case?

DARDEN: You know, no.

I'm sure that there will be a lot of second-guessing of this jury just because the jury came back so quickly after the last juror was replaced. But it can only be a guilty verdict if in fact the jury reached a verdict. And there are plenty of reasons not to reach a verdict in this case and there are plenty of reasons to hang.

But, you know, you take a jury. You sequester that jury after a five-month trial and you put them in a hotel and tell them, we're going to keep you there until you come to a decision, jurors are going try and come to a decision.

PHILLIPS: All right, and I want to ask you this, too, sort of taking it in a different angle. Then we'll bring it back in.

But, after what happened in the O.J. Simpson case, all the discussions about women's rights and women that deal with domestic abuse and all the evidence that was laid out -- and, obviously, the case rocked the nation. Do you think that this case was under even more scrutiny by analysts or by women's rights groups or people in the state of California with regard to a verdict?

DARDEN: Well, you haven't heard a lot from domestic violence advocates or those who are against domestic abuse. This is certainly a domestic homicide. It is reminiscent of the O.J. Simpson case because we do have this relationship between Laci and Scott Peterson.

But this goes even farther and even deeper, because we also have the issue of a dead child.

HARRIS: Well, Jeffrey, let me ask you a question. Do you feel, as you look back on this -- and I understand Chris might have a different opinion of this -- do you feel that by and large for the most part as you review this case, this jury got it right? Jeffrey, are you there?

TOOBIN: Yes, I am.

HARRIS: OK. Do you feel that by and large this jury as you look back over it over the five months of testimony, do you believe now that the jury essentially got this right?

TOOBIN: Well, let me put it this way, OK?

If you take a case like the sniper shootings in Virginia and Maryland, Muhammad and Malvo, that was a case where I thought the jury could do nothing but convict. That was an absolutely overwhelming case. This was not that case. This was a case where I think reasonable jurors could have had different views about the evidence.

But I do think reasonable jurors could have convicted. I don't think that this was some sort of irrational jury by any means. They studied the evidence. They worked long and hard. And so I do think it is a verdict supported by the evidence. If I had been a juror, would I have reached the same verdict? I can't answer that question. But I certainly think it was a rational verdict by this jury.


HARRIS: And, Chris, let me ask you sort of the same question. As you look at this case and you look at the hand that the prosecution was dealt, so to speak, is this a case that you liked going in and as it has played out, do you believe essentially that the jury got it right?

DARDEN: Well, yes. I do believe the jury got it right based on what they heard and saw in the courtroom, though I can't help but wonder how this case might have turned out had some of the court's or the judge's evidentiary rulings been different.

For instance, this issue of Amber Frey being the motive for these murders, well, I don't believe that the prosecution established that at all. However, they were able to introduce this evidence and essentially attack Scott Peterson's character and portray him as an adulterer, a liar and a bad person overall. I can't help but wonder how the case might have turned out had that evidence not been allowed.

However, I think they got it right.


DARDEN: I certainly think they got it right.

HARRIS: Chris, did you hear the verdict as it was being read?

DARDEN: I did, yes.

HARRIS: Well, let me ask you this question. I asked it of Jeffrey a little while ago. I was struck by how affirmed, how strong this jury sounded when it was polled about its decision. Were you struck as well by that?

DARDEN: Yes. Yes, I was.

And when we talk about reasonable doubt and whether or not guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, we always tell jurors that there is no reasonable doubt if they have an abiding conviction in the truth of the charges, which means an enduring belief that the defendant is actually guilty. And I think that these jurors have that belief, that enduring belief, that abiding conviction, a strong belief that Scott Peterson is the murderer in this case.

PHILLIPS: All right, let's bring Chris Darden and Jeff Toobin up together here, side by side, and take the two brilliant lawyers here that work for CNN.

And I want you two to sort of -- I want to see if you guys agree to disagree or if you're on the same page. I kind of want to feel you out about how the defense did and how the prosecution did, taking a look at both attorneys, drawing from your experience, Chris, especially with regard to O.J. Simpson and what you learned during that case, looking at Rick Distaso and Mark Geragos.

Jeffrey, let's start with you. Who was the winner when it came down to this case? The drama, the testimony, the one-liners, what do you think?

TOOBIN: When trials -- trials are a little like political campaigns. If you win, every decision you made was right. If you lose, every decision you made was wrong.

Now, as we know in the real world, it can't really be that way. I have been critical of the prosecution in this case simply for going on too long. I think they called too many witnesses. I think they wasted a lot of time. They got the verdict they wanted. So they can always point to that. I think one thing that really will be criticized fairly on Mark Geragos's part is his opening statement and the way he really overpromised, the way he said, we're going to prove that Scott Peterson is stone-cold innocent.

He didn't have to make that promise. He could have simply said to the jury, look, this is a reasonable doubt case. You are not going to find proof beyond a reasonable doubt. There may have been jurors who said in the jury room, boy, where was that evidence of stone-cold innocence? That I think is a legitimate criticism of Mark Geragos's performance.

PHILLIPS: Chris, what do you think? Was Mark a little too cocky in the courtroom?

DARDEN: He was absolutely a little too cocky. And I think Jeffrey hit the nail on the head, because when I heard him say that and promise to prove that Conner was born alive, I said, OK, we're going to hear that evidence. The defense is going to prove that this baby was actually born several weeks or several days after Laci disappeared.

And that didn't happen. When Mark Peterson (sic) made that promise to that jury, Mark Peterson (sic) helped to shift the burden of proof from the prosecution to the defense. Well, the defense failed to prove him innocent.


TOOBIN: Let me just follow up on something Chris just said, because I think it is really an excellent point.

The emphasis on the fact that Conner was born alive, that was a big part of the opening statement. The expert that Mark Geragos called to prove that was a disaster. That was a real low point of a not very effective defense case. He based his entire theory of the time of birth of Conner Peterson on a casual comment that Laci has made about when she was pregnant. That's not scientific. That was just a joke, frankly. And that was really preposterous, bad evidence.

And I think knowing that that was your expert and making that kind of promise, that's a real error by Mark Geragos in how he tried the case.

PHILLIPS: All right, I'm going to bring up the word that a lot of people have been asking, appeal -- Chris.

DARDEN: Oh, absolutely. If the jury comes back with a death verdict, Peterson will have an automatic right to appeal his conviction and the death penalty on the one hand.

But, of course, the issues with these jurors and how they were dismissed -- were they dismissed because they refused to deliberate or were they dismissed because they concluded that Peterson was not guilty? So that's a huge issue on appeal. But there will certainly be an appeal. There is always an appeal in a criminal conviction in California.

PHILLIPS: I am assuming you are going to agree, Jeffrey.

TOOBIN: Absolutely. An appeal is automatic.

I think it is worth noting, when we get to the penalty stage here, that we're going to have a trial over whether Scott Peterson gets the death penalty. In fact, based on how California is now trying its cases, in fact, the overwhelming likelihood, regardless of what the verdict is in the penalty phase, is, he will not be executed.

There are more than 600 people on California's death row. California is executing people at a rate of less than one person a year. And there's no sign that that pace is going to increase. So, even if Scott Peterson is sentenced to death, the overwhelming likelihood is that he'll die in prison of natural causes.

HARRIS: I'm still amazed, as I think back on all of this, that this jury was able -- and, Chris, let me just toss it to you -- that this jury was able to come back after a week where two of its own were dismissed, two new jurors on the panel, where they are supposed to -- in essence, they are instructed by the judge to start over and review it all again, that here we are, less than a day later, hours later, in fact, after a break yesterday for Veterans Day, that we're here talking about a decision. Aren't you?

DARDEN: Yes. Well, as I say, I'm surprised they came to a verdict at all.

But you have to remember, they have been sitting there for five months. They have seen it all. And at some point during that five- month process, most or all of these jurors came to a conclusion regarding his guilt or innocence. And I'm sure that, by the time they got into the jury room, most if not all jurors had a pretty definite view about his guilt or innocence.

HARRIS: OK, let's send it back out to Redwood City, California, and Rusty Dornin.

And, Rusty, sort of recap those moments again when the jury files in, the judge asks if they have reached a verdict and then we hear very dramatically this verdict.

DORNIN: Well, you could have cut the air with a knife. It was just -- there was so much tension in that room.

And, like I said, it's not -- it wasn't just the families. On the part of many of the reporters even like myself who have been doing this case for two years and have been listening to the trial for five months, it was -- we were all so nervous. Several of Laci Peterson's friends had just been crying before the jury even came into the room.

When the clerk read that verdict, it was this sigh of relief and a tear -- burst outing -- out of tears on the part of Sharon Rocha and Laci Peterson's brother in part and by Laci Peterson's friends.

Scott Peterson had come into the courtroom seeming very confident, smiling, talking with his attorneys, that sort of thing. And when that verdict was announced, his face became like stone. And he just stared ahead, didn't say a word to anyone, didn't make any kind of face, didn't grimace, didn't do anything. His family, the same thing.

His father was not here. We do not know why Lee Peterson, Scott Peterson's father, was not in the courtroom. But he was not there. His own attorney was not there. Also, Mark Geragos apparently went to Southern California on some other cases. He was not here.

But the other members of the Peterson family, his brother, sister-in-law, his mother, they did not express any emotion in the courtroom. And by the time most of the courtroom had been cleared, David Mattingly, another one of our reporters, was in the courtroom still and said that the Peterson family had just not reacted at all.

The jury very somber when they filed in, and of course -- and then when they were polled, strongly each of them answering yes to the question, did they vote for this verdict? And when they were filing out, one of the jurors did nod -- I was about six or seven feet away -- did nod directly to the Rocha family as she left.

So it was -- no one knew the way this was going go. I think we have all been going -- Ted and I have been going back and forth on this for months which way this was going to go.


DORNIN: And I think it still was a surprise to everyone.

HARRIS: How do you -- I'm struck by something you said just a moment ago. Scott Peterson has just been found guilty of murdering his wife and his unborn son, and you're here to tell us, having been in the courtroom, there's no reaction at all from this guy.

DORNIN: None at all. But that was -- I think Ted can attest to this, too.

ROWLANDS: That's Scott Peterson, though, yes.

DORNIN: That's Scott Peterson.

ROWLANDS: There was no reaction in this guy when his wife was missing. There was no reaction when he was caught in different lies.

He did not show a lot of reaction, except for, at certain times, he would break down. So, a couple times during interviews, he broke down. But 90 percent of the time, this guy was just stone-faced. And even in the interview that he did, within hours of his wife being reported missing with police, which was captured on tape and shown as part of the evidence here, he was going through his day. He was going through what he thought Laci might be wearing with the investigating officer that night, when his wife was first reported missing, absolutely no emotion.

A lot of people read a lot into that, saying, how could this man who was searching for his wife be sitting for an hour in a police interview with no emotion?

DORNIN: And I think that sparked a lot of the media attention to begin with, because police kept saying, he's a suspect. You know, he's not a suspect, but he's not a suspect.

And then he just -- he never showed any emotion. He wouldn't talk about it. He wouldn't say, look, please help find my wife. He just never did anything.


HARRIS: You know what? And talk about this -- Rusty, talk about this sense of nervousness that even you felt. I think we have been there as reporters where you're awaiting a big decision. We certainly felt that with the whole O.J. Simpson trial, where you're waiting for a verdict in what you know is a big case and that this verdict will have ripples throughout a community and certainly for these families involved. Give me a sense of what that feels like for you and what you could sense from all of the courtroom observers as this jury came back?

DORNIN: Well, the interesting thing is, you know, like I said, Ted and I have been covering it for two years. We do know the family members. We have interviewed them. We have talked to them.

You can't help become somewhat involved, personally involved, in a case like this. And any reporter who says they don't is lying, because you do become involved. You care about what happens. And there was just a sense of nervousness. I was talking to some of the "Chronicle" reporters. And they were almost breathless before this was going to happen about what was going to happen.


DORNIN: My goodness. I can't believe this is really finally happening.

So it is something that just -- because we were involved in this every single day, hearing this testimony.

HARRIS: Right.

DORNIN: And, as I said, involved with the members of the family as well, don't you think?

ROWLANDS: Yes. And I think that the public also was nervous.

Outside the courtroom here, you could hear a pin drop. There were literally hundreds of peopling wait to listen in on this verdict. And they did end up broadcasting it out here, so that people could hear it. And it was dead silence until the verdict was read.

DORNIN: But I think the interesting thing is, most of the court observers here and the people that we know that go to that court every day, they were definitely pro-prosecution. And they believed that Scott Peterson was -- oh, I think Chuck Smith has new some information. Or is that what we're hearing?

HARRIS: Yes, that's it.


HARRIS: Let's bring in Chuck Smith.

Chuck, are you there?


HARRIS: OK, Chuck, we haven't gotten your reaction to all of this. But, actually, you have a little bit of reporting to do for us.

SMITH: Sure. On Wednesday, Bill Cody, the chief investigator from the San Mateo County DA's office, was brought in by Judge Delucchi to investigate something. I found out just a few moments ago what it was. An anonymous fax was sent to Judge Delucchi at the courthouse which indicated that juror No. 6, the firefighter who turned out to be the foreperson, several months ago, allegedly made statements to friends and colleagues that he thought the evidence was garbage, he would never vote to convict Scott Peterson.

HARRIS: Oh, my.

SMITH: That he would do anything to hang up the jury.

HARRIS: Oh, my.

SMITH: Now, interesting that interesting that he's the guy that ends up as the foreperson and they convict?

HARRIS: All right. So he's the guy that is the foreperson who you're telling us made some statements to friends saying that he would never convict, because the evidence was garbage.

SMITH: Right.

HARRIS: And now he takes over the role as foreperson of the jury and we get a unanimous verdict.

SMITH: He allegedly made those statements. This was an anonymous fax.

Inspector Cody was asked to go out and investigate it, try to find out its source, never could. So we don't know that the foreperson in fact made these statements.

HARRIS: I see. I see.

SMITH: It might be someone who was trying to get him booted off.

HARRIS: Oh, my. OK, a little more intrigue.

All right, Ted, let's go back to you. And this is additional information. I'm sure we're going to sort it out over the next few days and weeks and months.

But give me a sense now of what happens here in terms of the penalty phase of this trial. Where do we go from here?

ROWLANDS: The judge told the jury they're going to have a week off. Next week, we'll be off, so that the attorneys can gather their witnesses for the penalty phase and then that will begin the following Monday. That, of course, is the week of Thanksgiving. So they'll work three days, take Thursday, Friday off, and finish it up the following week of the 30th.

And what the penalty phase is going to entail is basically an introduction of Peterson's criminal record, if he has one, which he doesn't, and testimony from friends and families. And I think that both sides will agree that, in the penalty phase, Peterson is going to come off looking pretty good, because this is a -- really had a -- a guy with a Boy Scout history.

Even his in-laws, who later thought that he killed his wife, had absolutely no reason to suspect him. And it is going to be difficult for the prosecution to come up with character witnesses against Peterson. However, because the crime is as heinous as it is, the jury has every right to sentence him to death for that crime and disregard all of the mitigating circumstances that will be introduced by the defense.


DORNIN: This is a guy who used to help his next door neighbor, would go over and fix something, would help somebody with a flat tire. They could call him up and say, Scott, can you help me with this?

All of those things, we can expect to hear, I think, in the penalty phase. They talk about him being as just being a really upstanding citizen willing to help people, willing to go the extra mile to do something for someone else.

ROWLANDS: Or to, if you talk to investigators, go the extra mile to have people believe that he's the perfect person and will do anything.


ROWLANDS: And you talk to investigators, they believe that is the motive, not necessarily Amber Frey. But the motive was that he wanted out of his relationship.

HARRIS: Right.

ROWLANDS: He wanted out of the life that he had created.

And rather than get a divorce, to him, it was more important to keep his standing the way it was and kill his wife.

HARRIS: My goodness. OK.

ROWLANDS: And that's what investigators believed from the very beginning and told us off the record. And I guess the jury agreed.

HARRIS: Ted and Rusty, let me have you stand by as we continue to follow this story and report post-verdict -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Really quickly, right before we get to "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS," we want to bring Chris Darden and Jeffrey Toobin back in.

I asked you both sort of gut reaction with regard to a verdict. Now I'm going to ask you with regard to the sentencing, both of you, what do you think? What do you think is going to happen to Scott Peterson in the next phase?


DARDEN: Well, I think it is very much up in the air.

I can imagine prosecutors arguing to the jury, hey, if he wanted to kill his wife to get out of a marriage, why couldn't he wait until she at least gave birth to this child, and that this child is an innocent victim who did nothing to no one and certainly didn't deserve to die this way.

PHILLIPS: Jeffrey?

TOOBIN: Well, I have been extremely cowardly in making any predictions in this case.

PHILLIPS: Be brave, Jeffrey. Be brave.


TOOBIN: But I actually do think that he will get life in prison. He will not get the death penalty.

I think, given how anomalous this act, horrible as it is, from the rest of his life, given the peculiarity of the circumstances, given the fact that there may be some jurors on that jury who think, well, he -- I'm not 100 percent guilty -- he did it. I have proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but I don't have proof beyond any doubt. I think, if you combine all those things together, I think he will not get the death penalty.

PHILLIPS: Jeffrey Toobin, Chris Darden, thanks, gentlemen. I know you're sticking around for "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS."

And, as we hit the top of the hour, that's exactly where we're going. Wolf is going to take the breaking news from here.

If you're just tuning in, once again, the verdict is guilty in the Scott Peterson case.

HARRIS: Absolutely, guilty of murder in the case of Laci and guilty of murder in the case of baby Conner.

Let's go live now to Wolf Blitzer in Washington, D.C.


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