REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – The 12 jurors selected for Scott Peterson's (search) murder trial all said they would be willing to sentence the former fertilizer salesman to death if they convict him of killing his wife and the couple's fetus.
Completing an arduous process that began 12 weeks ago, six men and six women were selected Thursday to decide whether Peterson murdered his pregnant wife, Laci Peterson (search), so that he could carry on an extramarital affair.
The jurors, who appear to range in age from 20s to 60s, include a school coach, a social worker, a firefighter, a former police officer, an adoption worker and a former security guard.
Others include a Teamster who works the graveyard shift and hasn't followed the high-profile case, and a woman whose fiance was convicted of murdering a stranger two decades ago. Six alternates also were chosen.
Experts lauded the jury for its diversity and fairness, while remarking on its potential risk — to both sides.
"You really have a variety of life paths involved here," said David Graeven, a jury consultant with San Francisco-based Trial Behavior Consulting, after reading brief biographies of the jurors. "This grinding process that took so long ultimately resulted in a diverse group of individuals."
Opening statements are set for Tuesday. Peterson, 31, could get the death penalty if convicted.
Before the jurors left the room Thursday, Judge Alfred A. Delucchi ordered them to avoid news coverage of the case and told them to hunker down for a trial that could last up to six months.
"Unless you're dead, you're it," Delucchi said.
Jury selection involved nearly 1,600 prospective jurors, all of whom had to fill out long questionnaires. The court twice had to summon additional people. Many were excused because they opposed the death penalty or because they had already concluded Peterson is guilty.
The bodies of Peterson's wife and the couple's fetus washed up along San Francisco Bay in April 2003, not far from where Scott Peterson said he spent the morning of Dec. 24, 2002, on his fishing boat.
Prosecutors say Peterson killed his wife in their hometown of Modesto and dumped her body in the bay because he was having an affair with massage therapist Amber Frey (search).
The defense has argued that Scott Peterson returned from the fishing trip to discover his wife was missing.