Jury Foreman in Peterson Trial Dismissed
Removal comes just one day after another juror was replaced by an alternate
The jury foreman in the Scott Peterson double-murder trial was removed by the judge Wednesday.
The dismissal by Judge Alfred A. Delucchi came just one day after another juror was replaced by an alternate, forcing the panel to start deliberations from scratch.
No other details have been revealed as to why the foreman, juror No. 5 Gregory Jackson, was removed. He has been replaced by an alternate juror – a man whose son-in-law, coincidentally, owns the Shack, a San Luis Obispo, Calif., restaurant that Scott Peterson and his wife, Laci, once ran. (The judge and attorneys decided early on that this wasn’t a conflict of interest.)
The new foreman is juror No. 6, a young firefighter.
Meanwhile, there was no further comment about why juror No. 7, Frances Gorman, a retired gas and electric company employee, was dismissed. But earlier Tuesday the judge held a hearing to investigate whether one of the jurors had conducted research into the case, which is prohibited.
In a brief decision before the jury and attorneys on Tuesday, Judge Delucchi said, “We had to replace a juror,” adding that the panel must now “set aside all past deliberations.”
On Monday, the judge lectured the jury about remaining objective in reaching their decision. The jurist’s comments came after a swirl of rumors that the jurors had reached a stalemate in the case.
“The people and the defendant are entitled to the individual opinion of each juror,” Delucchi said on Monday. “Do not hesitate to change your opinion for the purpose of reaching a verdict if you can do so.”
After Delucchi’s lecture jurors asked to review numerous pieces of evidence. These included tidal charts seized from Peterson’s computers; an anchor found on Peterson’s boat that prosecutors allege is similar to the ones he used to sink his wife’s body; and transcripts and recordings of calls between Peterson and his mistress, massage therapist Amber Frey.
Also requested was information regarding a life insurance policy on Laci Peterson.
Peterson is charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of Laci, and her unborn child. Prosecutors contend that Peterson killed his wife around Dec. 24, 2002, in their Modesto, Calif., home, then dumped her weighted body from his boat into San Francisco Bay.
Should the jury convict Peterson, they will have two choices before them: first- or second-degree murder. The latter would spare him the death penalty.