Scott Peterson moves to new prison

Scott Peterson

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

Convicted killer Scott Peterson moved last week from San Quentin State Prison, where he spent much of the last two decades, mostly on death row, to Mule Creek State Prison in Amador County.

Mule Creek State Prison is known for housing sensitive needs yard inmates, who would be safety or security concerns if housed with the general population. High-notoriety inmates are among those who qualify for the sensitive needs yard designation. 

Scott Peterson, a 50-year-old former San Luis Obispo resident, met his wife Laci Peterson while they both were attending Cal Poly.

In 2002, Laci Peterson, 27, was due to give birth in four weeks when she disappeared on Christmas Eve. Scott Peterson told police he had left the couple’s Modesto home that morning to go fishing in Berkeley.

Nearly four months later, Laci Peterson’s remains washed up on a rocky shore of San Francisco Bay. A passerby found them a few miles from where Scott Peterson said he had gone fishing.

In 2004, a San Mateo County jury convicted Scott Peterson of the first-degree murder of his wife and the second-degree murder of the fetus. He was sentenced to death for the murders.

Scott Peterson also attended Cal Poly at the same time as Kristin Smart and was once investigated for a possible connection to Smart’s disappearance, but was ruled out as a suspect in the case. Recently, the defense attorney for Paul Flores attempted to make the argument that Peterson was a possible suspect in the Cal Poly student’s disappearance. But, a judge did not allow it, and earlier this month, Flores was convicted of Smart’s murder.

In Aug. 2020, the California Supreme Court overturned Peterson’s death sentence after determining individuals who could have served on the jury were wrongfully dismissed after they indicated objections to the death penalty.

Then in Nov. 2021, Peterson was taken off death row and moved to San Mateo County Jail.

After the state Supreme Court decision, prosecutors opted not to seek another death sentence. In Dec. 2021, a judge sentenced Peterson to life in prison without the possibility of parole for his wife’s murder, plus a concurrent sentence of 15 years to life for the second-degree murder of their unborn child.

Following the issuance of his new sentence, Peterson remained in San Mateo County Jail for several months. Earlier this year, he returned to San Quentin, though not the death row housing unit.

Even though Peterson has been resentenced, he is still attempting to get his murder conviction overturned. Peterson’s attorneys have argued their client should be granted a new trial on the basis of juror misconduct.

In Oct. 2020, the state Supreme Court ordered San Mateo County Superior Court to determine whether a juror committed prejudicial misconduct by failing to disclose her prior involvement with other legal proceedings, including being the victim of a crime.

A ruling on whether Peterson will get a new trial is expected in the coming weeks.