Media Await Sentencing

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Our show is on the road for a few days and so I have taken pics for you (check out the pics by clicking on the link in the photo essay box to the side).

The media presence is somewhat toned down in Redwood City (search) — in part because everyone in the media has many resources about three hours away from Redwood City for the Jackson case. We figured that since we have brought you so much in-depth coverage of the trial that we needed to complete it.

After the show last night we ran into Mark Geragos (search) — Peterson's lawyer. He was checking into the same hotel where we are staying. He usually stays at a different hotel so it was a surprise to see him. We talked briefly and he was not particularly optimistic about the prospects that he can save his client from execution. I don't think anyone thinks that the judge will reject the jury's recommendation of death. There is a possibility of granting a new trial, but that seems remote since to do so would mean the judge would have to admit to a major blunder. If Peterson does ultimately get a new trial, most think it will be an appellate court, which will order him a new trial.

What most are bracing themselves for is a very emotional day in court. This is Sharon Rocha's (search) only chance to tell the court the impact of the murders on her. Technically her statement is for the court, but she really wants to deliver her message to her son in law. Likewise, we should expect Peterson's family to beg for his life. It is actually extremely uncomfortable, to put it gently, to sit in a courtroom listening to the families in these death penalty cases. It is horrible to watch such pain.

Since we are on the road, I am going to put you, the viewers and e-mailers, to work. Here are your e-mails:

E-mail No. 1:

Hi Greta,
I love your program and thank you for being there for us every night. I would like to comment on Ashley Smith’s statements… First she claims, or I heard, the abduction took place in the parking lot where she lives. Then she said in an interview - believe aired on “Your World w/Neil Cavuto,” that while she was driving home, she saw and recognized the blue truck — and maybe the driver too, the police was chasing. She further claimed the blue truck was following her car… and admitted she had the opportunity to call 911. Even if she did not have a cell phone with her, she could have taken him to the nearest police station and run for help.
I am a Christian, but not a foolish and I personally believe there is more to this story. I believe she knew him and perhaps had an affair with him in the past. Why she offered him to take a shower or eat a meal in her apartment while her life was at risk? I have not heard anyone asking her if she was raped… I would like to ask her if she had sex with him that night. I believe that when she left her apartment around 2:30 am, she went to bring him home.
In addition, when I watched the surrendering of Brian Nichols on Saturday, I noticed this is a big condominium complex. Most condominiums in Atlanta have security guards on the premises. How did Brian Nichols get in this parking lot?
There are many young women out there who are listening to the heroic actions of Ashley Smith, which are contradictory to what anyone in law enforcement would advise you to do. Why she left her apartment at 2:30 a.m. when there is a killer on the loose? Why when she realized a blue truck was following her car she did not call 911 or went to a police station? Why she brought the suspect driver/killer to the parking lot where she lives? And furthermore, why she brought him to her apartment?
So say the least Ms. Smith is nuts, she is lying and using the Name of God in vain. I believe the city of Atlanta should not pay the $60,000 reward until she is fully ‘debriefed.’
Gil in New Jersey

E-mail No. 2:

Why only $10,000 reward for the female victim. They said leading to the arrest and apprehension of the suspect. God please get together and reward this lady.
Larry Davis
Skipperville, Alabama

E-mail No. 3:

I cried and cried during Ashley’s interview. To your e-mailer saying she was stupid for getting out of the car, 1: she is only 25, 2: how could anyone doubt this was fate after listening to her story. What an angel, a total pure angel. What amazing stories she will have to tell her little girl. I agree with the e-mailer also that said, finally, someone who deserves to earn money from a book, I bet Gloria has already contacted her. She probably beat the police to the parking lot at the apartment.

E-mail No. 4:

[From Greta: I think this viewer is objecting to the video we showed of Brian Nichols in court. I am not sure why that would be objectionable — it is news. To see the video, click on the video link in the box above.]

Greta you should be ashamed of your show behavior tonight. I would describe you as a leach in the worst way. Preying on the terrible events on last week. This man has a family who are probably hurting and they are innocent bystanders who love their son. The young woman who saw something in this man needs to be commended. You on the other hand are tearing him down with your show.
Today’s court events were a disgrace. They needed 19 guards. That is ridiculous! This man killed 4 people and that is terrible. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them. But my thoughts and prayers go out to this man and his family also. You have had good shows in the past, but lately it seems they have been very bad. Exploiting people and events will never succeed. I hope you go back to informative shows, not exploitation.
Marcia Etlicher

E-mail No. 5:

Dear Greta,
I know Sharon Rocha has been to hell and back with the death of her daughter and her grandson, but I think her recent letter blasting the media and the public for taking her seats in the courtroom was a bit too much. If not for the interest of the media and the public, I don't believe Scott Peterson would have ever been convicted. So she should be thanking the public for their interest in this case and the media for their coverage, instead of complaining that they are taking up seats she'd like to have for her family and friends.
Thank you.
Barb Christianson

Answer: Barb — I don't think any of us can truly understand the pain of a family member who loses someone to murder. Sharon has shown great dignity throughout this ordeal and if she wants more seats (or wants to blast the media), I can understand. Perhaps the judge should put a camera in the sentencing to help resolve the problem.

E-mail No. 6:

I am a 62-year-old retired male and told my son that if I ever need to take a hostage, could he get me Ashley Smith.
Hugh Denny
Bay St. Louis, Missouri

E-mail No. 7:

I almost fell off the couch when you interviewed a male juror in the rape trial of Brian Nichols. I thought this man said more than once he came home and told his WIFE, that Brian Nichols is guilty. As if he was talking nightly about the case to his wife. He also said that he thought it may be another hung jury, because others gave him the impression that Nichols was not guilty. Ring any bells? Does the Atlanta Justice system work different than others?
I always hear Judges stating that during the trial, no reading, watching TV or talking with anyone about the trial, period. Not only did he talk to his wife, or was I mistaken? He was just thinking to himself, every night about the case, not actually talking to anyone? But he did feel that others thought Nichols was not guilty. I think something was wrong in this rape trial. Just heard today that Nichols may have had a very good job, making as much a $100,00 per year. Not the profile of a typical rapist. Plus, the first trial was 8-4 for not guilty. I now wonder if the rape trial was a mistake.
Thank you,
Don Boyd
Clinton Township, Michigan

E-mail No. 8:

I am very sympathetic to the family of Laci Peterson and could only imagine losing one of my daughters. But in all fairness, the very same media and the people who watch, read, or listen to the news coverage have also a vested interest. Laci's family cried out for help and the media answered by getting the public involved in her search. Ideally, it would have been nice if the formal sentencing proceeding could have been held in a location that would have accommodated all. But to totally ignore the media (and thereby the public) isn't fair. After all, the death penalty does not exist for revenge or to bring back the murder victim, but more importantly, it is to serve as a deterrent to the rest of the public. In that regard, I believe executions should be televised and that first time felons should be required to watch them as part of any sentence or probation. Maybe then, we would see less of the hideous crime of capital murder.
As always... great show tonight, thanks.
Todd Scott
Elko, Nevada

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