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Poking Holes In Scott's Story

Scott Peterson and the scales of justice over a faded photo of Laci Peterson
AP / CBS
Prosecutors in Scott Peterson's murder trial played secretly recorded phone calls Wednesday in which police say Peterson lies to friends and family and inquires about selling his home within weeks of his pregnant wife's disappearance.

In one call, Peterson tells his mother he is in Fresno even though his cell phone records show he was in the Berkeley area, about 185 miles north, said Steven Jacobson, an investigator with the Stanislaus County District Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors have suggested Peterson frequented the Berkeley marina to make sure his wife's weighted body had not surfaced. The defense says he was merely checking up on the investigation.

"Were there other calls ... where the cell phone location showed the defendant was in one location but was saying he was in a different location?" asked prosecutor Rick Distaso.

"Yes, sir," Jacobson said.

Peterson also called a real estate friend on Jan. 22, 2003, to inquire about selling his furnished home. "I want to talk to you about, you know, selling the house," Peterson says. "You know, but keep it quiet, obviously ... I mean there's no way if Laci comes back that we're gonna stay there."

Jacobson also testified about numerous calls placed by Peterson from his cell phone on Dec. 24, 2002, the day Peterson reported his wife missing. Prosecutors are trying to show Laci was already missing when Peterson says he left home to go fishing alone.

The investigator said Peterson made a telephone call from home on Christmas Eve more than 35 minutes after the time he claims he left that day to go fishing.

Peterson says he left his Modesto home that morning about 9:30 a.m. for a solo fishing trip on San Francisco Bay and returned home that evening to find Laci gone. He said she was cleaning the house and preparing to walk the couple's dog when he left.

Jacobson said Peterson placed a call to check his voicemail at 10:08 a.m. That call bounced off a cell tower in the Modesto area, indicating he made the call from home, Jacobson said.

However, earlier in the week, a wireless phone expert testifying for the prosecution acknowledged that triangulating one's location by using cell phone towers can be inaccurate.

Prosecutors allege Peterson killed his wife in their Modesto home around Dec. 24, 2002, then dumped her weighted body from a boat into San Francisco Bay. The remains of Laci Peterson and the couple's unborn son washed up a few months later, not far from where Peterson claimed he had gone fishing.

His attorneys claim he was framed after the real killer learned of his widely publicized alibi.