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Peterson Defense Seeks Donations

In a plea to the public to help "free the man we know is innocent," Scott Peterson's attorney is seeking donations to continue the investigation into the murders of Peterson's wife and the fetus she carried.

The 32-year-old former fertilizer salesman was convicted Nov. 12 of first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Laci, and second-degree murder in the death of her eight-month-old fetus. Last week, the jury recommended a death sentence.

Upon learning of his death sentence, Peterson clenched his jaw. He leaned over to speak with his attorney, Mark Geragos, but showed no other emotion, reports CBS News Reporter Tim Ryan.

Judge Alfred A. Delucchi will formally sentence Peterson on Feb. 25. The judge will have the option of reducing the sentence to life, but such a move is highly unlikely.

But Peterson still might not be executed for decades — if ever — and it can take years for even the first phase of the appeals process to begin. Since California brought back capital punishment in 1978, only 10 executions have been carried out. The last execution, in 2002, was for a murder committed in 1980. The state's clogged death row houses 641 prisoners.

Geragos, a Los Angeles defense lawyer, has set up a Web site seeking financial help in the continuing search for what the defense regards as the real killer.

"We believe Scott Peterson has been unjustly convicted. This site will continue to monitor the happenings in this case until justice is finally served," the site reads. "With your support, you can help us continue to investigate the murders of Laci and Conner Peterson so that we can free the man we know is innocent."

Geragos has said he plans "on pursuing every and all appeals, motions for a new trial and everything else."

The site notes that donations will be used only for investigators, not for attorneys' fees.

"For Scott to get the justice he deserves, the investigation must continue. Unfortunately this does not come without a price," the site reads.

Geragos did not return repeated telephone calls.