Published January 14, 2015
Two of the first officers to search Scott Peterson's (search) house in the hours after his wife vanished described a "model home" with little out of place. One of them said his fishing story didn't quite add up.
The officers also testified Monday that Peterson became agitated after they questioned him about the disappearance of Laci Peterson (search), who was eight months pregnant at the time.
Modesto police officer Derrick Letsinger said Peterson "threw his flashlight down on the ground," before mumbling a curse word.
Later, officer Matthew Spurlock testified that he heard what appeared to be an expletive and that "it came through what sounded like gritted teeth."
The testimony prompted an angry request for a mistrial by Peterson's lawyer, who said the claims did not appear in any police report and this was the first he heard of Peterson's reaction.
"It's all of a sudden fabricated," said the lawyer, Mark Geragos (search).
Under state law, he said, such a revelation must be turned over to the defense prior to testimony.
After asking that the testimony be stricken from the record, Geragos asked for a mistrial. His request was quickly denied.
Prosecutors charge Peterson killed his wife in their home on or around Dec. 24, 2002, then dumped her body from his small boat into San Francisco Bay. His attorneys have argued someone else abducted her while she walked the dog in a nearby park.
The remains of Laci Peterson and her fetus, a boy the couple planned to name Conner, washed ashore nearly four months later, just two miles from where Peterson claims he launched his fishing trip. Peterson, 31, could face the death penalty or life without parole if convicted in the killings.
While Letsinger said he became suspicious after seeing a crumpled rug, dirty towels on the washing machine and a wet mop out back, Spurlock said things seemed in order.
"It appeared to be a normal house," he said.
Spurlock said he became suspicious after Peterson told him he had been fishing alone on San Francisco Bay that Christmas Eve morning, nearly 100 miles away, but could not say what he was trying to catch.
Testimony from police is expected to mark the next phase of the trial after two weeks of testimony from Laci Peterson's friends and family. Geragos claims authorities bungled the investigation and has charged that two of the lead detectives are lying.
Prosecutors have spent most of their time so far laying out what they claim are repeated lies Peterson told in the days after his wife vanished. Defense attorneys have said his behavior indicated Peterson was simply distracted and in a state of shock.