Peterson Charged County Over $200G

Scott Peterson (search) apparently ran out of money during his more than six-month murder trial last year, and his lawyers charged Stanislaus County more than $200,000 for experts, a county auditor said Wednesday.

State law allows for the hiring of experts at taxpayer expense in capital cases where the defendant is indigent.

In Peterson's case, the roster of defense consultants was extensive, including tidal experts, DNA and forensic anthropology analysts, and authorities on dog tracking, boating, fishing and cement.

Peterson was convicted Nov. 12 of murdering his pregnant wife, Laci. He was sentenced to death last week.

The case was moved from the Stanislaus County (search) town of Modesto to San Mateo County after a judge decided the former fertilizer salesman could not get a fair trial in the couple's hometown.

About halfway through the trial, defense lawyer Mark Geragos sought Stanislaus County money to pay for experts. Larry Haugh, Stanislaus County's auditor-controller, said the county paid $229,000 for Peterson's experts.

"I think at some point, Peterson and his family just ran out money," said Loyola University Law School Professor Laurie Levenson.

Geragos would not comment Wednesday on his request for funds. The lawyer has refused to say how much he was paid.