Scott Peterson's Life Ahead on Death Row

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This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," March 16, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.


RON GRANTSKI, LACI PETERSON'S STEPFATHER: Our family is going to make it. We're stronger because of this and Scott got what he deserved.


JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Laci's family after confronting Scott Peterson (search) in court. Now that Scott's been given a death sentence, how will he hold up as San Quentin's newest inmate? Heather Nauert takes a look at conditions that await Peterson on death row.

HEATHER NAUERT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDANT: Right. Well, when he first gets to prison, he'll be strip-searched and then given clothes. And then he goes to an adjustment center where apparently, for a few weeks, he'll be examined by a psychiatrist under prison guard. He then heads to death row.

We're joined now by Kevin Fagan, a reporter for The San Francisco Chronicle, who's visited the prison where Scott will be held. And he's also witnessed executions there.

And that's today's big question: What will Scott Peterson face on death row, Kevin?

KEVIN FAGAN, REPORTER, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: Well, he's not going to have a very fun life. He's going to be in a 4x10 cell; he'll be let out in the morning for a few hours to go exercise, shoot some hoops, maybe lift some weights if he's lucky; and then it's back to the cell.

It's not going to be fun.

NAUERT: Will he be spending most of his time in a cell by himself and then get an hour of the day where he interacts with other prisoners?

FAGAN: That's right. He'll get a few hours in the morning where he can go in the exercise yard.

But in the time that he's in the adjustment center, which is where he goes first, it's going to be very locked down for him. Every time he steps out of that cell they're going to chain him, they're going to strip-search him, they're going to keep a real close eye on him.

NAUERT: And what are they trying to do, first off, when he's in that adjustment center? Are they trying to make sure he doesn't commit suicide? What is the point?

FAGAN: A whole range of things. They'll try to make sure he doesn't commit suicide, which happens fairly frequently on the row, actually. More people die from suicide and getting shanked by other prisoners than die through the execution chamber every year, to tell you the truth.

While he's in the adjustment center they're going to be determining whether he's OK to be put in one of the other two cellblocks they have for condemned prisoners. They've got something called the East block and then the North block. And life's easier there than it is in the adjustment center. But if he's a problem, they keep him in the adjustment center.

NAUERT: And what will determine whether he's a problem or not? Is it how well he gets along with other prisoners?

FAGAN: Right. How well he gets along, what his attitude is toward his own outlook, whether he feels suicidal, whether he feels he has a chance on appeal. They'll ask him a whole range of questions.

NAUERT: You've spent some time there yourself. How are they likely to treat him, the other prisoners?

FAGAN: They're not going to like him. They don't like child killers. Richard Allen Davis (search) is under constant watch for having killed Polly Klaas. The other prisoners have a, kind of, rough code of honor and if they can get at you, they'll get at you.

So, the guards are going to have their hands full trying to keep Scott Peterson alive at certain points.

NAUERT: Now, a lot has been said about these windows that apparently look out over the bay where Laci and her unborn child's bodies were found. Is that really so? Because I've also heard an entirely different description of what the inside of that prison is like: that it's very grim, that there's really virtually no light there. What does it look like?

FAGAN: Yes. You don't get any million-dollar views. Occasionally he might snatch a sight outside where he can see the water, but mostly his view is going to be of some concrete block, either that, or he's in the exercise yard where all he sees is guards with guns and more concrete blocks.

NAUERT: What about visitors? What kind of visitors is he allowed to have?

FAGAN: He gets anyone he wants four days a week. It's kind of a very loose visiting room, where he'll have the celebrities of death row right there in the room with him. He'll have Ramon Salcido (search), who often gets visitors. He's the one who sliced his own child's throat and killed seven people in the early '90s.

And he'll have the Night Stalker, Richard Ramirez (search) and Richard Allen Davis. There's a whole range of people and they all get to visit on the same day.

NAUERT: Hmm. Some notorious fellow cellmates there.

OK. Kevin Fagan, thanks a lot from the San Francisco Chronicle. We appreciate it.

FAGAN: Thank you.

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