REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Jurors mulling whether Scott Peterson (search) deserves the death penalty or life in prison failed to come to a decision Friday. They will resume deliberations Monday.
The same six-man, six-woman jury convicted Peterson Nov. 12 of one count of first-degree murder for the killing of his pregnant wife, Laci Peterson (search), and one count of second-degree murder for the death of the fetus she was carrying, a boy the couple planned to name Conner.
About 3:30 p.m. Friday, Judge Alfred A. Delucchi called lawyers for both sides, meeting them in the hallway between his courtroom and his chambers. He could be seen putting a hand on the shoulder of prosecutor Dave Harris as he spoke.
Shortly thereafter, he told a courtroom packed with media representatives that the jury had requested to leave early. They will continue to be sequestered in an area hotel over the weekend.
Jurors sat through more than a week of testimony in the sentencing phase of the trial, during which the prosecution argued that Peterson, 32, is "the worst kind of monster" who deserves the death penalty. The defense said his life should be spared.
Whatever the jurors recommend, the judge will have the final say on what sentence to impose.
"This is somebody who had everything and threw it away," said prosecutor Dave Harris. "He had a plan and he executed it."
Prosecutors say he killed Laci in their Modesto home on or around Dec. 24, 2002, before dumping her body into San Francisco Bay. The remains of Laci and the fetus were discovered about four months later a few miles from where Peterson claims to have been fishing alone the day his wife vanished.
Defense lawyer Mark Geragos (search) told jurors that Peterson lived a good, charitable life for the 30 years before the murders, and pleaded with panelists to spare his client's life.
"There does not need to be any more death in this case," Geragos said, speaking of "the sanctity of life" and begging for "compassion and mercy."
Earlier, Harris reminded jurors that Thursday marked the anniversary of the beginning of Peterson's "monstrous plan" to murder his wife.
"Two years ago today, the defendant, Scott Peterson, bought a boat," he said. "He told (his mistress) Amber Frey his wife was 'lost."'
Defense attorneys called 39 witnesses in seven days in the penalty phase of the double-murder trial. Prosecutors called just four of Laci's family members on the first day, Nov. 30, including her mother, Sharon Rocha (search), whose heart-wrenching testimony directed at her former son-in-law brought most of the jurors to tears.
"Thirty-nine witnesses," Harris said. "And those 39 witnesses pretty much all said the same thing. This man who sits here, this convicted double murderer, is not the man that I know."
He walked over to the defense table, stood directly in front of Peterson and pointed at him. "They didn't know the real Scott ... that he's a manipulator, that he's a liar."
The prosecutor then showed a television news segment recorded before Peterson was arrested in which he sobbed uncontrollably and talked about how much he missed his wife.
"He played the part of a grieving husband," Harris said. "The great fraud. He turned on tears and played the part. ... He's not a person who deserves your sympathy."
Geragos told jurors he's been "tormented" by the Peterson case, and dreams about it every night.
"You can't find a more tortured, emotionally-charged case than when something like this happens to what I consider to be two very fine families," he said.
He also reminded jurors about the harsh conditions Peterson would endure in prison.
"He will stay in that cell every single day until he dies," Geragos said. "He's going to have to look over his shoulder at all times. ... He's going to be a marked man.
"Some guard's going to walk by and bang on the door ... and say, 'Peterson, your mom's dead."'
Jackie Peterson (search), Scott Peterson's mother, seated in the first row of the gallery directly behind her son, cried and wiped her eyes with a tissue as Geragos made his final pitch.
"All that's being asked of you is to punish him with life without parole. Just don't kill him," Geragos said. "That's all I am asking of you. End this cycle."
But the prosecutor said Peterson only has himself to blame for hurting his family and friends.
"The person that's responsible is right there, right there, that's the one that's responsible," he said. "Leaving his wife's body to rot on the bottom of the ocean. Leaving his son to be found as trash in the debris. ... That is not something that should be rewarded by sparing his life."
FOX News' Catherine Donaldson-Evans and The Associated Press contributed to this report.