The judge says he has received a second letter claiming to know who killed Laci Peterson.

By Stephen M. Silverman
April 27, 2004 01:00 AM

The judge in the Scott Peterson double-murder trial says he has received a second letter from someone claiming to know who killed Peterson’s wife, Laci, and that a hair sample and fingerprint were included, it is being reported.

Judge Alfred Delucchi, who is presiding over the case in Redwood City, Calif., said Monday that this new letter came from out of state — and that it named “people who may have been involved.”

Last week, the suspect’s defense team said they were investigating claims made in an apparently unsigned earlier letter, saying that someone other than Scott Peterson, 31, killed Peterson’s pregnant wife, the Associated Press reported.

“We received a letter from an anonymous citizen indicating who they feel is responsible for the killing in this case,” Delucchi said during a break in jury selection.

Defense attorney Mark Geragos — recently removed from the Michael Jackson case by the star himself — said his office would investigate the claims, but he declined further comment, citing a gag order in the case. Both letters reportedly have been turned over to the attorneys in the case.

The jurist reportedly sealed the first letter last Thursday, the same day that one more prospective juror was added to the pool of 50 people. (As jury selection continues this week, Delucchi is sticking to his request that 70-80 potential panelists be selected before the group is narrowed down to a panel of 12, plus six alternates.) Opening statements in the case are scheduled for May 17.

Since Peterson’s arrest a year ago for the December 2002 slaying of Laci and their unborn child, his defense team has rendered a few of their own theories as to what might have happened, including Laci’s possible abduction by a satanic cult.

Prosecutors earlier this month said that, in anticipation of the defense’s strategy, they would conduct DNA tests on blood found inside a van that witnesses reportedly saw in the neighborhood around the time of Laci’s disappearance — despite their belief the vehicle in question was not involved, AP reports.

Geragos, however, has hinted that the van and its occupants may have been linked to the victim’s abduction and murder.