SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Amber Frey, a pivotal witness at the 2004 Scott Peterson murder trial, renewed her pledge Thursday to testify again if he is awarded a new trial because of jury misconduct.
Frey was having an extramarital affair at the time Peterson murdered his wife, Laci, and the couple's unborn child. She testified at the original trial that she did not know he was married at the time she began dating him. The ruse included a call from Peterson where he claimed he was in Paris celebrating New Year's Eve.
When she saw news reports of Peterson's missing wife, she called Modesto police and began cooperating in their investigation, recording his phone calls to her. Those calls were ultimately entered into evidence at his murder trial and proved to be pivotal to his conviction.
At Peterson's Wednesday resentencing hearing, attorneys for both sides traded verbal jabs about those recording and how they should be interpreted.
Peterson was resentenced by a San Mateo County Superior Court judge to life in prison without parole for the slayings. His death sentence had been overturned on appeal by the California Supreme Court in August 2020, but the justices let Peterson's murder conviction stand.
Now, Judge Anne-Christine Massullo will decide if Peterson gets a new trial on the murder counts after a February 2022 hearing on his claims of juror misconduct at the original trial.
If he's given a new trial, Frey is ready to once again take the stand. Speaking through her attorney Gloria Allred, Amber called Laci's family "the living victims of Scott Peterson."
The still deep pain Laci's family is suffering nearly two decades after the slayings was very much on display Wednesday as her mother, Sharon Rocha, and her siblings Amy and Brent read emotional victim impact statements in court before the resentencing.
"Scott, 19 years ago today you were in the midst of planning Laci's murder. You can bat your eyes, but it is the truth," Sharon told the judge. "I see no sorrow, no remorse from you at all...I think about Laci every single day. She would have been 46 years old today, but she'll always be 27 to me. I miss her so much. I miss her friendship. I miss her laughter. I miss her personality, her humor, her companionship. I miss my daughter. Something that obviously you don't miss."
Amy Rocha fought off tears while reading her statement.
"Because of you, our holidays have never been the same," she said. "Every Christmas Eve I realize the nightmare we still all live in now. After becoming a mom myself I think of how she was robbed of that most wonderful experience. She would have been the best mom. You have broken all of our hearts."
Peterson, now 49, has spent nearly two decades on San Quentin's Death Row for the crime that captured the nation's attention. He was convicted in the San Mateo court after his trial was moved from Stanislaus County due to the massive pretrial publicity that followed Laci's Christmas Eve 2002 disappearance and the massive search that followed.
But Massullo said he couldn't stay on death row once prosecutors said they would not again seek his execution. He was moved to the county jail for resentencing and is expected to remain there until Massullo decides on whether he should get a new trial.
She plans about a weeklong hearing from Feb. 25 through March 4 to hear defense claims that the woman known as Juror 7 falsely answered questions during the selection process.
They say she actively sought to join the jury and later co-authored a book on the case.
Massullo will have 90 days after next year's hearing to decide if Peterson should get a new trial.
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