By Stephen M. Silverman
November 07, 2003 01:00 PM

In testimony potentially damaging to Scott Peterson, a detective in the case said that on the same day Peterson bought a fishing boat that would provide his alibi when his pregnant wife vanished two weeks later, Peterson told his mistress he was a widower planning his first Christmas alone.

Detective Allen Brocchini, who launched the Christmas Eve investigation into Laci Peterson’s disappearance, said Scott Peterson bought the boat Dec. 9 — the same day Fresno massage therapist Amber Frey later told the officer that she confronted Peterson about being married, reports the Associated Press.

The revelation in a Modesto, Calif., courtroom Thursday could conceivably point the way for prosecutors to show that Peterson, now 31, was plotting the demise of his wife weeks before he returned from his Dec. 24 fishing excursion and reported her missing.

Four months after he made that report, Peterson, a former fertilizer salesman, was arrested driving a Mercedes convertible he had purchased for $3,600 cash, using his mother’s name, “Jacqueline Peterson.”

When asked why he used that peculiar name, Peterson told the seller that it was the name his parents gave him, Brocchini said, according to AP.

Brocchini also said that at the beginning of the investigation into Laci’s whereabouts, Peterson denied he was having an affair and never told the detective about Amber Frey.

Frey said she met Peterson on Nov. 20 and that he said he was single, though three weeks later, as she began to grow suspicious that might not be the case, she confronted him.

“He said he lost his wife, this would be the first holiday he was without his wife,” Frey told Brocchini.

Peterson called Frey on Christmas and the following three days, Brocchini said. Among things he said, according to the detective, was that he was out of the country but would be able to spend more time with her after Jan. 25.

The hearing, which will determine whether Peterson goes on trial for murder, will resume Wednesday.