Published March 18, 2005
MODESTO, Calif. – With Scott Peterson now in prison, the prosecutors and detectives who helped send him there said they were frustrated by the prevailing view early in his murder trial that the former fertilizer salesman would probably go free.
"What was happening in court wasn't what was being reported on TV," Modesto Detective Al Brocchini (search) said Thursday as the authorities offered their most in-depth public comments on the high-profile case.
The discussion came hours after Peterson, secured with leg irons and shackles around his wrists and waist, was taken to San Quentin State Prison (search). The infamous lockup overlooks the same bay where the body of Peterson's pregnant wife, Laci, was discarded.
District Attorney Jim Brazelton (search) said he never lost faith that the state would win by methodically presenting a wealth of circumstantial evidence.
Peterson, 32, was convicted of two counts of murder in November and sentenced to death Wednesday.
"Things did get hard for a while. Our people were taking a hit," Brazelton said. "But, as the end result showed, they were on top of it. They were on top of it early on."
The authorities declined to offer new evidence or theories on how Peterson carried out the slaying, even though a gag order that had prevented them from discussing their case has been lifted. Instead, during an hour spent fielding questions from reporters, they expressed hope that the public never forgets Laci Peterson (search).
"There is not a sense of joy or jubilation. The job that needed to be done has been done," said Roy Wasden, Modesto's police chief. "There will never be a time we won't regret that this incident took place, but justice has been served."
Brocchini explained how his suspicions became trained on Peterson the night he reported his eight-months pregnant wife missing because "I knew his actions weren't right."
Inconsistent statements about where he had been that day, choosing to take a shower and wash dirty rags before calling anyone to ask about Laci Peterson's whereabouts and expressing concern that his boss would see a picture of his boat were all factors that pointed to Peterson, Brocchini said.
"His major concerns weren't Laci," he said.
Laci Peterson disappeared on Christmas Eve 2002. Prosecutors said Peterson killed her and then dumped her body in San Francisco Bay. The badly decomposed remains of Laci Peterson and her fetus washed ashore four months later.
Brocchini and Detective Jon Buehler (search), who was also assigned to the case, said they would relish the chance to interview Peterson again and would do so on their own, if it meant they would finally learn how he killed his wife and disposed of her body.
But Brazelton, the prosecutor, predicted they would never get the chance.
"I don't foresee him becoming a Ted Bundy, to sit down and give an in-depth interview about what happened," he said. "I think he will go to his grave with his mouth tightly sealed, just like he has all along."