Peterson Judge Excuses Accused 'Stealth' Juror

A retired woman accused of lying to get on the jury for Scott Peterson's (search) double-murder trial was excused Tuesday after a judge met with lawyers behind closed doors.

Judge Alfred A. Delucchi (search) dismissed the unidentified Redwood City woman after a brief meeting in his chambers.

Defense lawyer Mark Geragos (search) two weeks ago accused the retired secretary of bragging to her friends on a bus trip to Reno, Nev., that she had "passed the test" to get on Peterson's jury and that Peterson was "guilty as hell" and he would "get what's due him."

Geragos said a fellow bus passenger called his office to report what he had heard. The woman denied the allegations.

Both the tipster and the potential juror were scheduled to return to court next month for a hearing on the matter, but the judge's decision Tuesday made that unnecessary.

Opening statements in the case are scheduled to begin May 17. Before then, at least 18 jurors, including six alternates, need to be chosen.

Peterson could face the death penalty if he's found guilty of killing his pregnant wife, Laci. He's pleaded innocent.