Watch CBSN Live

Peterson Wants Out Of Modesto

Scott Peterson, charged with murdering his wife and unborn son almost a year ago, is expected to ask Friday that his trial be moved out of Modesto, Calif.

Attorneys for Peterson say the former fertilizer salesman can't get a fair trial in the town where he lived with his wife, Laci.
She disappeared last Christmas Eve. Four months later, her body and that of her unborn son washed up on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay.

Prosecutors will ask the court to approve their proposed survey of recent jurors in Modesto and other areas who aren't eligible to serve on the Peterson trial. The district attorney believes it's a good way to measure the impact of pre-trial publicity without tainting the jury pool for Peterson's trial.

A judge announced last week that the high-profile trial will start on Jan. 26, as the accused murderer pleaded innocent to the crime for a second time.

Peterson, 31, was arraigned again because a judge last month said there was enough evidence for prosecutors to take the case to trial.

Also last week, prosecutors for the first time hinted at parts of their theory behind the Laci Peterson slaying — saying Scott bled inside the truck he allegedly used to haul her body away after killing her.

Laci Peterson, 27, was eight months pregnant when she was reported missing last Christmas Eve. Her remains washed ashore in April a few miles from the area where her husband said he had gone fishing.

Assistant District Attorney Rick Distaso revealed that authorities believe Laci Peterson was killed at home, explaining why lawyers grappled at the preliminary hearing over a mop and bucket used to clean up the kitchen area in the couple's house.

Authorities believe her body was transported in the truck, then weighted down and tossed into in the San Francisco Bay.

In court papers, prosecutors said cement-like material was found in the bed of the pickup truck. A detective at the preliminary hearing said there was evidence Peterson fashioned several concrete anchors in his warehouse, but only one of those anchors was found in the boat he said he took fishing the day Laci vanished.

Prosecutors had refused to return Peterson's pickup truck because they believe it was used in the murder and wanted to keep it as evidence.

But defense lawyer Mark Geragos, who is also representing Michael Jackson, persuaded Judge Al Girolami to order prosecutors to return the truck to his family. With legal bills mounting, the family has made $643 in monthly auto payments for nearly a year.

The judge said photos of the truck would be sufficient to show the evidence prosecutors claimed to have, CBS News Correspondent John Blackstone reports.

Girolami also refused to lift a gag order or unseal any of the sealed court documents. A lawyer representing The Modesto Bee and four other newspapers had asked the judge to release police reports filed in support of arrest and search warrants.

Geragos had asked the judge to ease the gag order to allow him to respond to what the lawyer said were untrue statements about the case. Geragos hoped he could use the unsealed information "to try to stick a fork in some completely unfounded rumor or some piece of misinformation that, all of a sudden, seems to be a legend.

View CBS News In