REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – In one of hundreds of recorded telephone calls between Scott Peterson (search) and his mistress in the days following the disappearance of his wife, Amber Frey (search) told him about a conversation with a friend who was worried about her.
Thursday, jurors heard a taped phone conversation from Jan. 4 where Frey told Peterson about a conversation with the friend. "She said she was worried about me and concerned and said 'I hope you're OK, Amber ... I'm scared.' I have no idea what she's talking about."
Peterson responded, "Yeah, weird."
Prosecutors resumed Thursday playing recorded telephone calls between Peterson and Frey as authorities searched for his wife, Laci Peterson (search). The audio tapes were an effort by the authorities to show jurors that Peterson did not care about his wife and had motive to kill her and their unborn child so he could be with Frey.
In one conversation played Wednesday to jurors, Peterson told his mistress days after the disappearance of his wife that his favorite movie was the gory 1980 motion picture "The Shining."
On that exchange Jan. 4, 2003, Peterson and Frey were overheard conversing about movies, a call Peterson made to Frey in which he said he was in Paris — although he was in his hometown of Modesto.
"So what's the best movie of all?" Frey asked.
"Oooh! The best movie ever made is 'The Shining,"' Peterson replied on the tape, referring to the thriller in which Jack Nicholson (search) goes insane as he attempts to write a book and tries to murder his wife.
Some jurors chuckled as they listened. Prosecutors only played the tapes and didn't describe the movie to the jury.
Frey briefly testified Wednesday after the tapes were played. Prosecutor Dave Harris, in his final words to her, asked if police, beginning Jan. 6, 2003, took her "under their protection." She said "Yes."
Gloria Allred, Frey's attorney, said the exchange about "The Shining" was the "bombshell" of Wednesday's developments.
"That, frankly, gives me more chills than when I saw the movie," Allred said after the daylong hearing.
Frey, who was in court for the third day Thursday, had told jurors that she began recording the calls at the request of police after discovering that her lover was not only married, but suspected in the disappearance of his pregnant wife on Christmas Eve in 2002.
Officers from the Modesto Police Department bought her an electronic recording device. Ultimately more than 300 calls were recorded between Peterson and Frey, a massage therapist who has become the government's star witness in the double murder trial.
Some of the calls, in which Peterson calls Frey "sweetie," "sweetheart" and other sweet nothings, were made on Dec. 31, the same day he attended a vigil in Modesto for his missing wife.
"I need a better vocabulary or a book or a thesaurus or something to find the right words to describe you," Peterson said on a Jan. 4 call played to jurors. Moments later he added: "Maybe an author whose trained with language could give us a color picture."
In an earlier taped discussion played to jurors, Frey asked: "Do you want to be together with me?"
"Well, I mean, obviously ... I think that we, you know, would be wonderful together," Peterson responds.
It was legal for Frey to record the messages, even without a warrant, because it was done at the direction of the police, said Chuck Smith, a former San Mateo County prosecutor who is watching the trial.
Frey testified Tuesday their relationship, in which Peterson told her he was not married, had quickly progressed in two weeks from a hotel-room tryst after one blind date to something serious enough for her to trust him alone with her young daughter.
Prosecutors appear to be trying to show that Peterson began hatching the murder plot at about this time — evidence shows he searched for used boats on Dec. 7-8, as well as numerous Web sites for fishing information, currents in San Francisco Bay and details on area boat ramps.
Prosecutors allege Peterson killed his wife in their Modesto home on or around Dec. 24, 2002, then drove to the bay and dumped her weighted body from a small boat he had purchased just weeks earlier. The badly decomposed remains of Laci Peterson and the couple's fetus washed ashore in April 2003, not far from where Peterson said he launched a solo fishing trip the day she vanished.