Published January 14, 2015
After more than five months, the jury in the Scott Peterson double-murder trial has reached a verdict. Read on for key details about the case:
— Jurors have two choices should they decide to convict Peterson — first- or second-degree murder.
— First-degree convictions, carrying the death penalty of life without parole, would mean jurors believe Peterson planned the killings of his wife, Laci, and their unborn child in advance.
— Second-degree murder convictions don't require a finding of premeditation, and carry sentences of 15-years-to-life for each count.
— Prosecutors allege Peterson killed Laci in their Modesto home on or around Dec. 24, 2002.
— They say he then drove to the San Francisco Bay and dumped her weighted body from a small boat he had purchased weeks earlier.
— Authorities hope to show jurors that Peterson's motive for killing his wife and their unborn child was to be with Amber Frey.
— Prosecutors also say financial gain — from a hefty insurance policy on his wife — was also a motive.
— Testimony about the intensity of Frey and Peterson's early relationship appeared to counter one aspect of Peterson's defense: his lawyers have scoffed at the idea that a man would murder his pregnant wife to be with a single mother he had only just met.
— Prosecutors appear to be trying to show that Peterson began hatching the murder plot around the time he started dating Frey. Evidence shows he searched for used boats on Dec. 7-8, as well as numerous Web sites for fishing information, currents in San Francisco Bay and details on boat ramps in the area.
— Peterson's lawyers say he was fishing alone the morning Laci disappeared, and argue that someone else abducted Laci while she walked in a nearby park.
— Attorneys claim Peterson was framed after the real killer learned of his widely publicized alibi.
— The badly decomposed remains of Laci Peterson and the couple's fetus washed ashore from the bay in April 2003, not far from where Peterson said he launched a solo fishing trip the day she vanished.