REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – With police in his house hours after his pregnant wife vanished, Scott Peterson (search) was quick to offer evidence that he had been miles away most of the day, an officer testified Tuesday.
As Peterson and Modesto Police officer Jon Evers walked around the home that Christmas Eve 2002, Peterson volunteered a parking receipt from a marina in Berkeley, where he said he had launched a solo fishing trip.
"I had a quick conversation with Scott about where he went fishing," Evers testified, "and he said, 'In fact, I have a parking receipt. Would you like to see it?"'
Evers was the first police officer dispatched to the couple's home in the hours after Laci Peterson (search) was reported missing. He also testified Tuesday that though he didn't see "any obvious evidence of a struggle," there were small clues, such as a crumpled throw rug, that gave him the sense that things were out of place in the otherwise tidy home.
His testimony paralleled that of two other officers Monday.
Officer Derrick Letsinger said Monday that he didn't smell bleach and didn't notice any signs of a recent cleaning, he did say that he became skeptical after seeing a crumpled rug, dirty towels on the washing machine and a wet mop behind an otherwise "model home."
Another officer, Matthew Spurlock, said there was something else that seemed suspicious: Peterson told him he had been fishing, but could not say what he was trying to catch.
Prosecutors argue that Peterson's pregnant wife, Laci, was killed in the couple's Modesto home and her body was dumped in San Francisco Bay around Christmas Eve in 2002.
Defense lawyers say authorities bungled the investigation almost as soon as they responded to a report that Laci Peterson was gone. His attorneys have asserted that someone else abducted Laci while she walked the dog.
On cross-examination Monday, Peterson's defense attorney Mark Geragos (search) got Spurlock to testify that, despite his fears, everything seemed in order when he entered the Peterson home.
"It appeared to be a normal house," he said.
And under fierce questioning from Geragos, Letsinger acknowledged that police did not test the home that night with Luminol — a chemical that can detect unseen traces of blood and body fluids.
The officers' recollections dribbled out in a heated day of testimony that included a request for a mistrial, which the judge quickly denied. Geragos had argued a mistrial was warranted because of testimony that Peterson had uttered what sounded like a curse word. Such a claim did not appear in any police report, Geragos said.