A day after investigator Steven Jacobson testified about calls showing Peterson may have lied to many people about his whereabouts, the defense focused on Jacobson's contention that Peterson lied to his mother about following up on a tip that Laci Peterson might have been spotted.
On Jan. 30, 2003, Peterson talked to a reporter about a possible sighting of his missing wife in Longview, Wash. The following day, he told his mother he discussed the tip with authorities in Longview when, in reality, he hadn't talked to anyone there at the time, according to Jacobson's testimony Wednesday.
Under cross-examination Thursday, Jacobson acknowledged Peterson may have called the Longview police Jan. 30, but the call hadn't been properly recorded.
"You did not get audio on that?" Geragos asked, referring to the tapes.
"That's correct," Jacobson said. "Not every one of those calls has audio."
Geragos also noted that authorities could not rule out the possibility that Peterson called Washington police from telephones not being monitored.
In an apparent effort by prosecutors to make Peterson look more worried than hopeful that investigators would find his wife's body, Jacobson testified Wednesday that Peterson made calls to friends and family as police searched San Francisco Bay, telling them he was calling from Southern California when he was actually near the search area.
Jacobson also testified that Peterson made a cell phone call from his Modesto home to his voicemail at 10:08 a.m. on Dec. 24, 2002, the day Laci Peterson disappeared. Peterson claims he left the area about 9:30 that morning for a solo fishing trip on the bay as his wife was cleaning the house and preparing to walk their dog.
Jacobson said cell tower information indicates he made the call from home. That's important because a neighbor has previously testified she found the Petersons' dog wandering loose near their home at 10:18 a.m., indicating Laci Peterson had already vanished, leaving little time for her to have finished cleaning the house, walk the dog and get abducted the defense's explanation.
Jacobson testified Thursday he placed cell phone calls from Peterson's home that bounced off the same cell towers that Peterson's 10:08 a.m. call did.
But Geragos pointed out Jacobson simply called a person during the test and did not call voicemail, as Peterson did.
"It's really comparing apples and oranges, isn't it?" Geragos asked.
"No," Jacobson replied. "That is not correct."
Jacobson refused to say whether he would have gotten different results if he had placed calls to voicemail.
Other witnesses have said determining a person's location from analyzing cell phone tower information can be unreliable.
Prosecutors allege Peterson killed his wife in their Modesto home on or around Dec. 24, 2002, then dumped her weighted body from a small boat into San Francisco Bay. The remains of Laci Peterson and the couple's fetus washed up along a bay shore in April 2003, not far from where Peterson said he was fishing.
His defense attorneys claim he was framed after the real killer learned of his widely publicized alibi.