May 19, 2004 01:25 AM

A piece of potential evidence that could be significant to the Scott Peterson trial has surfaced, as court officials continue jury selection in Redwood City, Calif.

Authorities involved in the case are processing a blue tarp, which may be stained with blood and was reportedly sent to Judge Alfred Delucchi on Friday. A source close to the prosecution, who confirmed the existence of the tarp (pictured on the Web site http://www.ScottIsInnocent.com), says: “They are testing the tarp as we speak and we’ll see what they turn up and where the trail leads.”

The ScottIsInnocent.com site states that a person calling himself Citizen Q has claimed responsibility for sending a letter and the package with the tarp to the judge. Marlene Newell, a former executive secretary who operates the Web site, told PEOPLE that this individual claims Laci Peterson’s body had been placed in a well-like structure located on the shore of the San Francisco Bay. (Photos of the well are also posted on the site.) Citizen Q theorizes that the body was moved from this structure, which is submerged during high tides, and dumped in the bay. He claims to have discovered the blue tarp near the well sometime this year, folded up and placed beneath some rocks.

The significance of the tarp will be determined in the next few days, depending on whether the stains are in fact Laci Peterson’s blood, and whether the tarp itself can be traced back to Scott Peterson.

Court officials have reportedly received several letters claiming to have information about Laci Peterson’s killer, but the letters’ contents have been sealed to the public.

Peterson’s attorney Mark Geragos declined comment, citing a gag order. Peterson could face the death penalty if convicted of murdering his wife and their unborn son, Connor. He has pleaded not guilty. Opening statements are set to begin June 1, according to the Associated Press.

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