REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Attorneys in Scott Peterson's (search) murder trial are preparing for closing arguments after testimony concluded this week.
Jurors were sent home Wednesday with orders to return Monday for closing arguments after prosecutors and defense attorneys decided against calling additional witnesses.
Evidentiary hearings and work on jury instructions was set for Thursday and Friday, out of the jury's presence.
Prosecutors had said they planned to call eight rebuttal witnesses Wednesday after Peterson's defense attorneys ended their case Tuesday. But when jurors returned Wednesday afternoon, Judge Alfred A. Delucchi (search) said attorneys for both sides had decided against having additional testimony in the five-month-long case.
"You'll be glad to know the attorneys got together and stipulated to all testimony this afternoon," he told jurors after they entered the courtroom. Sighs of apparent relief could be heard from the jury box.
Instead, he read four statements to the jury that both sides had agreed to enter into the record. They dealt with testimony regarding cement work done at the home of a Peterson neighbor, a printed e-mail recovered from the Petersons' home, a store receipt and a printout regarding San Francisco Bay taken from Scott Peterson's computer.
It was not immediately clear how some of that information figured into the case against the former Modesto fertilizer salesman, who is charged with murdering his pregnant wife, Laci, on or around Christmas Eve 2002.
Prosecutors and Peterson's defense attorney are expected to elaborate during closing arguments. Delucchi told jurors they should expect to get the case Nov. 3.
It was unclear who the prosecution's eight rebuttal witnesses were because the list is sealed and attorneys are bound by a gag order.
One of the defense rebuttal witnesses was to be a neighbor of the Petersons who was prepared to testify about the cement and construction work the neighbor had done in his back yard.
Prosecutors claim Peterson made five cement anchors, one of which was found in the boat authorities allege he used to dispose of his wife's body. They said he used the others to sink the body, but those anchors have not been found.
Peterson told police he made only one anchor and used the remainder of the bag of cement to repair his driveway.
A prosecution witness, however, testified the cement samples taken by police from Peterson's driveway were not from the same mix that made the anchor. A defense expert later disagreed, testifying the samples did indeed match.
Prosecutors suggested the concrete samples taken by the defense were contaminated by construction work done by Peterson's neighbor. But the judge on Wednesday read the neighbor's testimony, which said he hadn't done concrete work near the Petersons' driveway.
Prosecutors allege Peterson killed his pregnant wife, then dumped her body into the bay. The bodies of Laci Peterson and the fetus she carried washed up about four months later, a few miles from where Peterson claims to have been fishing alone the day his wife vanished.
Defense lawyers claim someone else abducted and killed Laci, then framed their client after learning of his widely publicized alibi.
The defense called 14 witnesses over six days, while prosecutors called 174 witnesses over 19 weeks.