Laci Peterson Murder: Re-examining Alleged Evidence of a New Timeline for Her Death

In A&E's series The Murder of Laci Peterson, defense experts uncover new evidence they say could clear Peterson

When Laci Peterson and her unborn son, Conner, were murdered in December 2002, the story quickly became international news.

Authorities zeroed in on her husband, Scott Peterson. He was arrested in April 2003 and was convicted of murder in 2004, after which he was sentenced to the death penalty.

The latest episode of the ongoing A&E docuseries The Murder of Laci Peterson, airing Tuesday night, takes a close look at the timeline prosecutors used, in part, to convict Scott. An exclusive clip of the episode is above.

The episode highlights several pages of information that were allegedly inadvertently separated from the rest of the documents presented during discovery, including handwritten notes from the Petersons’ mail carrier, Russell Graybill. (The series claims that several pages did not scan correctly, so the evidence was presented to the defense team separately.)

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Family photo via The Modesto Bee/AP

In Graybill’s work notes, he claims the family dog, McKenzie, did not bark at him when he delivered their mail between 10:35 and 10:50 a.m. The account of Graybill, a defense witness, diverges from that of prosecution witness Karen Servas regarding McKenzie’s whereabouts, leading to different conclusions of when Laci was killed.

Servas testified that she found McKenzie wandering around the neighborhood at around 10:18 a.m. on the day of her death and returned the dog to the Petersons’ fenced yard. The prosecution says that this indicates that Laci was killed before 10:18 a.m.

But the defense now contends that Laci walked McKenzie after Servas returned the dog to the yard, indicating that she was alive between 10:35 and 10:50 a.m., while the mail carrier was on their street. Defense attorneys say that Scott was logged in to his work computer during this time, meaning that he could not have killed her.

Although the handwritten notes were not presented at trial, Graybill testified in Scott’s 2004 trial and his testimony did not sway jurors who convicted him of first-degree murder — a decision that Scott says “staggered” him.

In court documents, prosecutors have argued against the veracity of Graybill’s recollection on Dec. 24, 2002 — when Laci went missing — and noted that in his trial testimony Graybill said “there was nothing out of the ordinary” about the Peterson home that day.

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Justin Sullivan/AP

According to the court documents, Graybill has said that “[n]either the prosecutor nor the defense asked me whether or not the gate was open or McKenzie barked on the morning of December 24, 2002” — an explanation the prosecution described as “technically correct,” though he was asked if there was anything unusual that day at the Petersons’ house.

What’s more, prosecutors have argued that, in the context of Scott’s trial, Servas had the stronger testimony because of supporting evidence for her recollections, such as cell phone records and store receipts.

“Personally, in my opinion, this television series on A&E is not a search for the truth,” John Goold, a spokesman for the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office, tells PEOPLE.

“It’s called the ‘Arts and Entertainment’ channel for a reason,” Goold says. “Not the ‘Truth’ channel.”

Scott, now 44, sits on death row in San Quentin State Prison in California. His attorneys have requested a new trial.

The Murder of Laci Peterson continues Tuesday (10 p.m. ET) on A&E.

• Reporting by ADAM CARLSON

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