REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Though prosecutors in Scott Peterson's (search) double-murder trial have said that his Christmas Eve morning fishing trip seemed unusual, and was simply a cover-up to dispose of his wife's body, Laci Peterson's (search) stepfather acknowledged Tuesday that he, too, went fishing that morning.
"Almost exactly the time that Scott Peterson went, correct?" defense lawyer Mark Geragos (search) asked.
"That is correct. Ninety miles closer," Ron Grantski (search) replied tersely from the witness stand.
Scott Peterson's father, Lee, marveled at the revelation.
"I think Ron's comment early on was, 'Who goes fishing on Christmas Eve,' and lo and behold he went fishing," Lee Peterson said as he left the courthouse midday Tuesday.
Scott Peterson, whose trial is in its second week of testimony, claims he went fishing at the Berkeley Marina the morning of Dec. 24, 2002, then came home to find his wife missing. His lawyers say someone abducted her while she walked in a nearby park, then framed Peterson after learning his alibi.
But prosecutors contend Scott Peterson killed his wife in their Modesto home, then drove her body to San Francisco Bay and dumped it from his small boat.
The remains of Laci Peterson and her fetus, a boy the couple planned to name Conner, washed ashore in April 2003 — not far from where Scott Peterson said he was fishing.
Scott Peterson, 31, could face the death penalty or life without parole, if convicted.
Grantski testified that he was suspicious of Scott Peterson early on and asked him directly if he had a girlfriend.
"I said, 'I think your Berkeley fishing trip is a fishy story. Did you do something else? Do you have a girlfriend?"' Grantski testified. "He said, 'No,' and he turned around and walked away."
Prosecutors claim Peterson's affair with a massage therapist was his motive for murder, but Grantski testified Peterson and Laci appeared to have a loving relationship.
"Even when Scott should've been mad at Laci, he wasn't. Is that correct?" Geragos asked.
"Yes," Grantski replied.
Grantski took the stand a day after Laci Peterson's mother, Sharon Rocha, who also spoke of a seemingly loving relationship.
Both indicated Scott Peterson was nearly emotionless throughout the search for Laci and shunned friends and family members trying to help, even avoiding the media as others tried to convince him he needed to get the word out.
Prosecutors have tried to portray this attitude as indifference and the actions of a man who is clearly guilty.
But Geragos downplayed that, showing Peterson as a man who rarely showed emotion.
"His personality was such that he was not an overly emotional person?" Geragos asked.
"That is correct," Grantski replied.
"I never saw him lose control," Grantski later told prosecutors.
Geragos read transcripts of phone conversations with Scott Peterson that Grantski and Rocha recorded in the days after Laci vanished, before the bodies surfaced.
Geragos said Grantski could be heard pressing Scott for details in an apparent interrogation.
"Police are going to be seeing you soon. Your life is crumbling," Geragos said, quoting Grantski from the tapes.
Geragos said Grantski then urged Scott to "come clean" about where Laci was.
"He said, 'I wish I knew ... we all want to know,"' Geragos said of Peterson's response.
"We all want her back and I'm sorry you guys feel that way," Geragos said, again quoting Peterson from the tapes.
Geragos then questioned Grantski about Scott Peterson's state of mind.
"You don't remember him saying, 'My world is done without Laci and my child'?" Geragos asked.
"I don't remember him saying that," Grantski replied.
Laci Peterson's brother, Brent Rocha, took the witness stand next, describing how Peterson stayed away from the media as the search went on.
"Scott said he didn't want to talk to the media" gathered in front of his home, Rocha said. "He stayed in the house. I went out in front with two of Laci's friends ... and tried to get the word out that Laci was missing."
Under cross-examination by Geragos earlier, Grantski acknowledged that Scott told him, "This isn't about me, this is about Laci," in explaining why he shied from the cameras.
Brent Rocha said Peterson did not participate in a public vigil for his missing wife, staying off the stage as his own parents and Laci's family pleaded for the public's help.
Geragos then changed tactics and focused on the likeliest of motives -- money.
Laci Peterson was set to inherit nearly $160,000 from her grandparents when she turned 30, Brent Rocha testified. The money was part of a trust that was to be shared among Brent, Laci and their sister, Amy, he said.
"If something happened to one of the three of you, all that would do was increase the share for the other two, correct?" Geragos asked.
"Yes," Rocha replied.
"If Conner Peterson had been born alive, then Scott Peterson would have financially benefited, is that correct, to the extent that he was the guardian of Conner Peterson?" Geragos asked.
Rocha waffled in his answer before agreeing.
"There was absolutely no (financial) motivation for Scott Peterson ... is that correct?" Geragos asked.
"Yes," Rocha replied.
Prosecutors have never publicly mentioned money as a motive for the killings.