Frank Swertlow and Stephen M. Silverman
July 21, 2004 08:00 AM

Three weeks after Scott Peterson told Diane Sawyer in a TV interview that he could not bear to enter the nursery of his unborn son, Peterson had turned the once sparsely furnished room into a cluttered storage area.

The nursery tale was part of the testimony from Modesto police Detective Darren Ruskamp during Tuesday’s Day 26 of Peterson’s double-murder trial. Ruskamp was part of a search team that combed the Peterson home on Jan. 26 and 27, 2003, and Feb. 18, 2003.

On the stand, the detective, supported by photos and diagrams, said that Scott Peterson had rearranged his home shortly after his pregnant wife Laci went missing on Christmas Eve 2002.

In the nursery, said Ruskamp, Peterson had dumped bedding on a chair and the floor near the unborn Conner’s crib. He also moved furniture from the warehouse where he ran his fertilizer business to his home.

Such details were aimed at showing that Peterson was either insensitive to the disappearance of his wife or that he already knew she and their son were dead.

Prosecutors accuse Peterson, 31, of killing Laci in their Modesto home and then dumping her body into San Francisco Bay. He has pleaded not guilty.

Defense attorney Mark Geragos countered Ruskamp’s statements during cross-examination, saying that Peterson had moved a mattress and a box spring against his dining room window to block the view of intruding reporters and passersby who had routinely gathered in front of his home.

The office furniture, he suggested, was moved to his house because a truck crashed into the fertilizer warehouse.

Ruskamp also admitted, under questioning by Geragos, that Laci’s cookbooks, bathrobe and makeup remained in their same places between the police searches, suggesting that Scott was awaiting her return.

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