Photos were the centerpiece at the Scott Peterson trial Wednesday - grisly pictures of bodies found - and later, pictures of a pregnant employee of the prosecutor's office, posing inside a toolbox, to illustrate a police theory on how the crime might have happened.
First up were photos of bone and tissue from the decomposed bodies of the victims: Laci Peterson and her unborn child.
Jurors and others at Scott Peterson's double murder trial cringed as prosecutors displayed the horrifying photos.
"The most powerful way to bring the jury back to what the case is about are the images of a dead fetus and the mother," said former San Francisco prosecutor Jim Hammer. "The whole tone of the trial has changed."
Last week, prosecutors repeatedly questioned witnesses about Peterson's affair with a Fresno massage therapist - his motive, they say, for the murder of his pregnant wife.
Previous testimony in the six-week-old trial also focused on Peterson's allegedly incriminating behavior after his wife vanished.
Defense attorneys, for their part, have never denied that Peterson had an affair but they insist that doesn't make him a killer.
Wednesday, prosecutors spent the morning guiding two sheriff's deputies through graphic testimony about the poor condition of the remains and where they were discovered.
The gruesome photos drove Laci Peterson's mother and stepfather from the courtroom.
Meanwhile, defense attorneys questioned the evidence-collection process in the areas around where the two sets of remains were found.
"Fair to say that there was nobody going around collecting evidence?" defense attorney Mark Geragos asked Deputy Chris Martinez of the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department, who collected the fetus from the marshy shoreline along the bay in April 2003.
"When I was there, no," Martinez responded.
Prosecutors also zeroed in on the Berkeley marina where Peterson claims to have launched a solo fishing trip on Dec. 24, 2002, the day his wife vanished.
A string of marina workers testified the skies were cloudy over San Francisco Bay that day and activity was light.
Peterson told police he returned home that afternoon and immediately washed his clothes because they were wet from rain. Police have testified they found that suspicious and said it didn't rain.
Sylvester Goosby, a marina maintenance worker, described the day as "drizzly" and said he saw no one at the boat launch ramp. On cross-examination, however, Goosby said "people drive in and out of the marina all the time," adding that some people live on their boats.
Prosecutors claim Peterson drove his pregnant wife's body from their Modesto home and dumped it into San Francisco Bay from his 14-foot aluminum boat.
In later testimony, they attempted to show that Peterson could have concealed his wife's body in a large toolbox in the back of his pickup truck for the hour and a half drive to the bay.
Prosecutors used a re-enactment of sorts to make their point, showing jurors pictures of a pregnant woman whose measurements were nearly identical to those of Laci Peterson at the time she vanished.
One picture showed prosecution employee Kim Fulbright - at the time 38 weeks pregnant, 5-feet-2-inches tall and 157 pounds - lying in the fetal position inside Peterson's toolbox. Another showed her on the floor of his boat, where she could barely be seen above the rim.
Prosecutors appeared to use her to counter defense claims that someone would have seen Laci Peterson's body in the truck, or in the boat as Peterson motored onto the bay.
On cross-examination, defense lawyer Mark Geragos attacked the photos as a ridiculous charade, insisting that a live person could not be used to mimic a dead body with any reliability.
Testimony in the trial is to resume on Monday.
By Brian Skoloff