Scott led police on a fast chase during the search for Laci, a witness testifies

By Lyndon Stambler and Stephen M. Silverman
Updated September 02, 2004 08:55 AM

Scott Peterson led police on a high-speed chase after reading articles in a local paper about searches for his missing wife Laci in San Francisco Bay and in nearby reservoirs, Officer Alexander Bettis testified in the double-murder trial Wednesday.

On Jan. 5, 2003, 12 days after Peterson’s pregnant wife disappeared, the former fertilizer salesman went home, changed his clothes in the afternoon and drove a gray Subaru at speeds of 85 to 90 mph to the Berkeley Marina, said Bettis. He the stayed there for five minutes and before returning home to Modesto.

The next day, Peterson again drove to the marina, this time at 80 mph, said the officer, who further testified that, on this visit, Peterson actually was driving behind his unmarked police car. “It was kind of a cat and mouse thing,” Bettis said. “I wasn’t sure if he was following me.”

Peterson is accused of killing Laci in their home and dumping her remains into the bay. He has pleaded not guilty.

During his cross-examination of Bettis, Peterson’s attorney Mark Geragos pointed out that Peterson was spending several hours a day at the Red Lion Inn, the command post for the search for Laci, and that he spent hours diligently passing out missing persons posters at various churches throughout the area.

Geragos also said that with so many officers keeping tabs on Peterson, “After a while that would make you paranoid, right?”