REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Secured with leg irons and shackles around his wrists and waist, Scott Peterson was taken to death row at San Quentin State Prison (search) early Thursday after being sentenced to die for murdering his pregnant wife, Laci.
Peterson was transferred under heavy security from the San Mateo County (search) jail to San Quentin at 3:10 a.m. The infamous prison, which overlooks the bay where Laci's body was discarded, is about 20 miles north of San Francisco.
Peterson is the 644th person awaiting lethal injection in California.
On Wednesday, a judge sentenced a stone-faced Peterson to death after each of Laci's family members had a chance to address him in the courtroom.
"You decided to throw Laci and Conner away, dispose of them like they were just a piece of garbage," Laci's mother, Sharon Rocha (search), told Peterson. "We had to bury Laci without her arms to hold her baby and without her head," she said, her voice breaking.
Peterson, wearing a dark suit and shackled at the waist, stared at his former mother-in-law without expression, chin up.
Laci's father, Dennis Rocha, said: "You're going to burn in hell for this."
And Laci's brother, Brent Rocha, said he bought a gun during the investigation into Laci's disappearance and contemplated shooting Peterson to death.
"I chose not to kill you myself for one reason, so you would have to sweat it out and not take the easy way out," he told Peterson.
Peterson's attorney, Mark Geragos (search), tried to get Judge Alfred A. Delucchi to allow Peterson's parents to speak, on the basis that they were related to Conner. But Delucchi said the hearing was an opportunity for only Laci's relatives to speak.
At one point during the family testimony, Brent Rocha recounted a conversation he said he had with Peterson long before Laci vanished. Rocha said the former fertilizer salesman lamented about his life not being what he had hoped it to be.
Scott Peterson's father, Lee, shouted, "What a liar!" He walked out of the courtroom after being admonished by the judge.
Peterson, 32, betrayed little emotion at the hearing. It was the same stoic demeanor he displayed during more than six months of trial, which ended with a jury's recommendation of death.
Peterson was invited to make a statement, but he declined after several minutes of discussion with his attorneys.
The judge had the option of rejecting the jury's recommendation and imposing a sentence to life without parole, but such a move is all but unheard of. The judge also denied a defense request for a new trial.
He ordered Peterson to pay $10,000 restitution for funeral expenses and an additional $5,000, though the reason for that amount was unexplained.
Laci Peterson, who was eight months pregnant, disappeared on Christmas Eve 2002, and prosecutors said Peterson killed her and then dumped her body in San Francisco Bay. The badly decomposed bodies of Laci Peterson and her fetus washed ashore four months later.
Prosecutors said Peterson strangled his wife to escape marriage and impending fatherhood. At the time of his wife's disappearance, he was having an affair with Amber Frey (search), a massage therapist.
Ten of the 12 jurors who recommended the death penalty returned to court Wednesday for the sentencing, four months after the panel found Peterson guilty of murder.
"We wanted to see it all the way through to the end," juror Richelle Nice said outside the courthouse.
As prosecutors and Laci Peterson's family left the courthouse, about 100 people cheered and clapped.
"Our family is going to make it," said Ron Grantski, Laci's Peterson stepfather. "We're stronger because of this, and Scott got what he deserved."