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Jury To Decide Peterson's Fate

Ten days after they first found him guilty of murdering his wife, Laci, and their unborn son, jurors in the trial of Scott Peterson return to court Monday to consider whether he should get the death penalty or life in prison.

The penalty phase is like a mini trial, absent most of the typical rules of evidence.

Jurors are likely to hear very emotional heartfelt testimony from those closet to both Laci Peterson and Scott Peterson.

The impact of his crime on Laci Peterson's family could overshadow all else in the penalty phase, reports CBS News Correspondent John Blackstone. Laci's mother will tell the jury what the murder has done to her, the pain and loss she spoke of soon after Laci's body was discovered.

Scott Peterson's mother will take the stand, too, likely describing a loving son always kind and helpful, Blackstone reports. His father may talk about the ardent golfer and fisherman he knows his son to be. The jurors must decide whether the good in Peterson's life outweighs the bad.

Both families have been present throughout the trial and before that, during the long search for Laci.

Scott Peterson had no history of violence, in fact, no police record before his wife disappeared, reports Blackstone. Will that factor into deliberations?

CBS News Correspondent Steve Futterman reports that even before the penalty phase can begin, the judge will have to deal with a motion filed by defense attorney Mark Geragos. He is asking that a new jury be selected, and that penalty phase of the trial be moved to another county in California, on the grounds that San Mateo county is too prejudiced against Peterson. To bolster his argument, Geragos points to the celebration that took place outside the courthouse tem days ago when Peterson was found guilty.

Parole is not an alternative for Peterson, who faces either a lethal injection or life in prison after being convicted of first-degree murder in the death of his wife, with the special circumstance of killing the fetus she was carrying. Scott faces an additional 15-year term for second-degree murder in that death.

Scott Peterson could spend his remaining years catching glimpses of the bay where he launched his boat on Christmas Eve 2002, not far from where the bodies of his pregnant wife and unborn child eventually floated to shore.

If he is sentenced to death for those murders, Peterson would be transported to San Quentin State Prison overlooking San Francisco Bay.

Cell doors on two of the three units at San Quentin look past walkways patrolled by rifle-toting guards, out at the same water that doomed Peterson when jurors didn't buy his alibi, that he just happened to be fishing when his wife, Laci Peterson, disappeared. The rooftop exercise yard on the original 1934 death row building, which now houses 68 of the best behaved condemned inmates, also overlooks the bay.

Should Peterson, 32, be sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole, he would almost certainly be sent to one of the state's eight maximum security prisons.

There, protecting him from the rough justice of his fellow inmates would be paramount.

"Scott Peterson won't be the first celebrity prisoner we have in California, and he won't be the last. We have a lot of experience in dealing with celebrities," said Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman with the California Department of Corrections. "We do have the capacity to protect someone with Scott Peterson's notoriety."

Peterson would be a likely target, both because his case became a worldwide obsession and because he stands convicted of the grisly murders of a woman and child.

Most likely, Peterson would go to the protective housing unit at California State Prison in Corcoran.

That's the prison home of cult leader Charles Manson, and Sirhan Sirhan, who assassinated Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. Mass murderer Juan Corona lives there, as does Mikhail Markhasev, who killed the son of entertainer Bill Cosby.

Alternatively, he could be sent to a "sensitive needs yard" at one of several prisons. Those are reserved for child molesters, former police officers, repentant gang members or others who would likely be endangered were they allowed into the general prison population.

Erik and Lyle Menendez, the brothers convicted of murdering their parents in their Beverly Hills mansion in 1989, spend their days in such units - Eric at California State Prison, Sacramento, known as "New Folsom," and Lyle at Mule Creek State Prison. There, inmates can participate in schooling, jobs and other programming that earn them early release credits if they are eligible for parole.

Even the relative segregation of death row didn't stop an assault on condemned inmate Richard Allen Davis, who kidnapped and killed 12-year-old Polly Klaas in 1993.

To this day, Davis avoids communal exercise yards, where he is a target because his crimes sparked California's three-strikes law for repeat offenders. Another inmate still managed to punch him, causing him to hit his head on a locker, as he was being escorted through the general San Quentin prison population to a medical appointment in August 2003. Davis wasn't seriously injured, Thornton said, though he was treated.

Should Peterson be sentenced to die, he would join notorious California death row inmates including serial killer Richard Ramirez, known as the Night Stalker for his 14 Los Angeles murders in the 1980s, and Stanley "Tookie" Williams, who co-founded the Crips street gang more than 30 years ago in Los Angeles and has written a series of children's books from death row.