Laci Peterson’s Family Is 'Horrified' Court Will Reexamine Murder Conviction of Husband Scott
"They haven't even begun to consider what they'll do if he ever walks free again," says a source close to Laci Peterson's family
Laci Peterson's family is dealing with another painful bombshell -- and a close insider tells PEOPLE they are stunned at this week's decision to reexamine her husband Scott Peterson's murder conviction.
"This was a closed case," says a source close to Laci's family. "The family wasn't moving on, of course, but they were definitely moving forward. Now they're facing the very real possibility of having to sit through another trial. They're horrified. They're horrified and disgusted."
After his appeals, the California Supreme Court overturned Peterson's death penalty conviction and ordered a new sentencing trial for him. In its ruling in August, the court said Peterson's guilty verdict will stay in place.
But now, that guilty verdict is in question.
On Wednesday, Peterson won another legal victory when the California Supreme Court ruled that a lower court should take a second look at his case to determine whether his convictions should be overturned, and if he should receive a new trial.
The court ruled that a juror committed "prejudicial misconduct" by failing to disclose that she had previously been involved with other, unrelated legal proceedings. According to CBS News, the juror filed a lawsuit in 2000 to obtain a restraining order after her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend allegedly harassed her while she was pregnant.
Peterson's attorney told the Los Angeles Times that the juror had been asked whether she was ever a crime victim or involved in a lawsuit. She allegedly said no at the time, despite the lawsuit, which had been filed four years before the Peterson trial.
"Laci's family is stunned," says the insider. "This juror may be the reason that they have to go through this all over again. It's a nightmare. They've already suffered an unimaginable loss."
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Laci was eight months pregnant when she disappeared from her Modesto home during the day of Christmas Eve, 2002. Her body was found in April 2003 in the San Francisco Bay. Peterson claimed that Laci was killed as she walked the couple’s dog after Peterson left to go on a solo fishing trip on Christmas Eve morning.
But as the case moved forward, jurors heard about Peterson's dark secrets, including a months-long affair with a woman named Amber Frey, who was unaware that Peterson was married when she started dating him.
Frey later worked with prosecutors, taping damning phone calls with Peterson. During the trial, she testified for several days about her relationship with Peterson, her realization that he was still married and that Laci had vanished. Frey first called police in Modesto in late December 2002 to disclose the affair.
Frey's testimony proved crucial in the court proceedings. Peterson was convicted by a Redwood City jury in 2004 and in 2005 was sentenced to death. He has remained on death row while his appeal worked its way through the courts.
Now as Peterson's future is uncertain, Laci's family is processing the newest development — and steeling themselves for difficult days ahead.
"Right now, they're preparing themselves that there may be another trial," the insider says. "They haven't even begun to consider what they'll do if he ever walks free again. It's just awful for them."
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