REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Scott Peterson (search ) assured some of his in-laws he was fishing the day his pregnant wife disappeared, although he told one member of his extended family and a neighbor that he had been golfing. It's a contradiction prosecutors in Peterson's capital murder trial revisited several times Wednesday in their effort to assert that Peterson switched his alibi after saying he returned to an empty home on Christmas Eve day, 2002.
Peterson, 31, ultimately told authorities he went fishing alone on San Francisco Bay (search ).
Prosecutors charge Peterson killed his wife in their Modesto home, then dumped her body from his small boat. Peterson's attorneys have speculated someone else abducted her while she walked their dog.
When the remains of Laci Peterson (search ) and her fetus washed ashore nearly four months later, just two miles from where her Scott Peterson claims to have been fishing, he was arrested and charged with murder. He has pleaded not guilty.
Harvey Kemple, the husband of Laci Peterson's mother's cousin, testified he was immediately suspicious after Peterson told him on that Christmas Eve he had been golfing all morning. Another witness, neighbor Amie Rachel Krigbaum, also said she heard the same story from Peterson.
Kemple later testified that Peterson didn't seem upset about his wife's disappearance.
He recalled a July Fourth barbecue when Peterson left food on the grill too long, which he used as a reference point to gauge Peterson's emotional state.
"I saw more reaction out of him when he burnt that ... chicken than when his wife was missing," Kemple said.
While prosecutors portray Peterson's seemingly indifferent behavior as that of a guilty man, the defense says Peterson rarely displayed emotion publicly, and that he was in a state of shock the day he says he last saw his wife.
Defense attorney Pat Harris hinted Peterson may have simply been distracted, not lying, when he told Kemple he'd been golfing.
Kemple acknowledged that Peterson was peppered with questions that first night by friends and relatives. Kemple said Peterson paced in the driveway, talking on his cell phone, as he asked him about his day.
"A lot of people were constantly coming up to Scott Peterson asking him over and over ... the same questions, right?" Harris asked.
"By all means," Kemple said.
The defense honed in on discrepancies in witness statements.
Kemple's wife, Gwendolyn, testified Wednesday she told police that on Christmas morning, the day after Laci vanished, Scott Peterson "did nothing" as others gathered at the house distributing fliers and searching the nearby park as they had done the evening before.
But in testimony Tuesday, Laci's brother said Peterson left the house that day, drove to his warehouse to retrieve tape, and returned to help post fliers throughout the neighborhood. The two accounts of Peterson's actions conflicted.
Defense attorney Mark Geragos (search) attacked Gwendolyn Kemple's statements.
"Why did you tell police he did nothing?" Geragos asked.
"I didn't see him doing anything," she said.
"Are you as sure about this as you are about everything else?" Geragos pressed.
She hesitated and appeared puzzled.
"Yes," she replied.
Later, Peterson neighbor Karen Servas, who testified she found the Petersons' dog wandering in the middle of the street on Christmas Eve morning, said she didn't view Peterson as emotionless — more "like he was in shock."
Testimony resumed Thursday with a postal worker taking the stand to answer questions about a package delivered to the Petersons' home on Dec. 24, 2002.