Reporter's Notebook: Waiting in Redwood City

Murkiness has consumed Redwood City.

The crisp blanket of gray doesn’t lift until an hour or so before sundown and the hundreds who’ve assembled here from all over the globe seem to have the same gloomy outlook as they await the outcome of Scott Peterson's (search) six-month trial.

Any discontent pales in comparison to what the Peterson and Rocha families have endured. Both have lost a daughter and grandson. Even if Scott’s life is spared by this jury, both have lost any normalcy for years to come.

As for the media, many spent the weekend recharging and coming up with strategies for getting jurors to talk once the penalty phase ends.

If there is any lightness to this very disturbing story, it lies with the plethora of legal observers, experts and court watchers. It seems as if all of them "guaranteed" this jury of six men and six women would come back in just a few hours.

On Friday, many opined jurors would finish their work quickly because they came to court dressed to impress. But the fact is that nobody knows what has or will transpire in the jury room other than those who have been given the task of deciding whether Peterson lives or dies.

The jury has spent the weekend in virtual seclusion in a nearby hotel. Only select phone calls from immediate family members are allowed. Limited reading materials are available, and jurors are only allowed to watch sports and a few other non-news shows on television.

Inside the hotel are a couple of places to eat and down the street are a couple of places to shop. But the jury isn't allowed to leave the hotel to even look for a Christmas gift or card.

Besides those immediately involved in this murder case, there are also others who have come to the courthouse, displaying a variety or reasons for their arrival.

Some carry signs that say "Fry the Murderer." Others have come to oppose the possibility that Scott Peterson could be put to death by the state. Still more have shown up just to get on TV, which is about as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. There are more cameras right now in downtown Redwood City than there are trees.

Everywhere you look, in every restaurant, store and most surely every nearby mall, the media have a presence. Even one of the main streets here now boasts a mobile digital freeway sign, which flashes the message, "downtown businesses still open."

Also still open is the Peterson jury — still debating the convicted murderer's fate.