SAN MATEO, Calif. (NewsNation Now) — The California Supreme Court has ordered a trial judge to reexamine Scott Peterson’s convictions for killing his pregnant wife Laci and their unborn son 18 years ago.
The ruling Wednesday comes less than two months after the state’s Supreme Court overturned Peterson’s death sentence in August. It sends the case back to San Mateo County Superior Court to determine whether Peterson should receive a new trial, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Peterson was convicted in 2004 of first-degree murder in the death of his 27-year-old wife, Laci Peterson, and the second-degree murder of their unborn son.
The court said a juror committed “prejudicial misconduct” by failing to disclose that she had been involved with other legal proceedings. The juror had filed a lawsuit in 2000 to obtain a restraining order after her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend harassed her while she was pregnant, the Times said.
The juror said she feared for her unborn child.
Yet when asked as a potential juror whether she had ever been a crime victim or involved in a lawsuit, she answered no, Peterson’s attorneys told the Times.
Prosecutors claim that Peterson dumped his wife and son’s bodies from his fishing boat into the San Francisco Bay in December 2002. The bodies surfaced month later near the area where he said he was fishing.
Peterson, who’s now 47, contended on appeal that he couldn’t get a fair trial because of the massive publicity that followed, although the proceedings were moved nearly 90 miles away from his Central Valley home of Modesto to San Mateo County.
Investigators chased nearly 10,000 tips and considered parolees and convicted sex offenders as possible suspects. Peterson was eventually arrested after Amber Frey, a massage therapist living in Fresno, told police that they had begun dating a month before his wife’s death, but that he had told her his wife was dead.
The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate KRON contributed to this report.