The Most Bizarre Things About The Scott Peterson Case

True crime aficionados will likely be well acquainted with the Scott Peterson case. In 2004, Scott was convicted of murdering his wife, Laci Peterson, and their unborn son, after initially reporting Laci's disappearance to the police. Scott first reported his pregnant wife missing on Christmas Eve 2002, and claimed that she'd disappeared while walking their dog. Per ABC News, at the time, Scott told Modesto police detectives Jon Buehler and Allen Brocchini "he had been out on his boat at the Berkeley Marina in Richmond, California, to go fishing — about 90 miles from the couple's Modesto home. Detectives immediately launched a search, saying they were thrown by Scott Peterson's behavior."

At the time of her disappearance, Laci was approximately seven and a half months pregnant with the couple's son, Connor. Sadly, on April 13, 2003, "the remains of a male fetus washed ashore on a San Francisco Bay beach, and the following day, a woman's decomposing torso was discovered near the marina, about a mile away from where the baby was found," per ABC News. It was also soon discovered that Scott had been having an affair with a woman named Amber Frey at the time of his wife's murder. Join us as we examine the most bizarre things about the Scott Peterson case.

Laci Peterson didn't tell anyone about her marital problems

From the outside, Laci and Scott Peterson reportedly appeared to have the perfect marriage, with their first baby on the way. However, the truth was apparently much more sinister. During Scott's murder trial, prosecutors exposed his affair with mistress Amber Frey, and alleged other infidelities during the marriage as well. However, as reported by SFGate, if she knew of her husband's cheating, Laci hadn't confided in those closest to her that she was having difficulties in her marriage. Per SFGate, it was revealed at trial that Laci reportedly "never spoke of [Scott's] extramarital affair ... she didn't tell any of it to the people most likely to be her confidants."

Per East Bay Times, at his trial, Scott's defense attorney, Mark Geragos, suggested that "Scott Peterson was a serial philanderer who cheated on his wife at least three times before she disappeared Christmas Eve 2002." As such, Geragos suggested that Scott's recent affair with Amber — and alleged admissions of previous affairs — wasn't "abnormal behavior" in the couple's marriage. However, the fact that Laci hadn't confided in family or friends about her husband's infidelities suggests that she either didn't know about them, was trying to hold her marriage together or, at the very least, wanted to keep up appearances. Either way, it's a little strange and completely devastating that the mother-to-be hadn't mentioned her marital troubles, or her husband's wandering eye, to anyone in her life.

No one knew about Scott Peterson's new boat

As well as reportedly not mentioning Scott Peterson's infidelities to any friends or family members, Laci Peterson had kept another key piece of information secret at the time of her death. As reported by SFGate, the prosecution revealed Laci's friends and family had no idea about a pretty significant purchase Scott had recently made. As noted by the publication, "Laci Peterson never spoke of the 14-foot aluminum boat her husband bought weeks before her disappearance," a particularly troubling omission from those she was closest to, as prosecutors also argued in court that Scott used the boat to dispose of his wife's body.

Per SFGate, "Laci Peterson's only sister and long-time facialist had no idea that Scott Peterson was cheating on his wife or that he had recently bought a fishing boat." The fact that Scott had so recently made such a large purchase, and that Laci had failed to tell anyone else about it, suggests that there may have been some tension behind-the-scenes of their marriage. It's also especially chilling, given the fact that Scott used a fishing trip as his alibi for the time of Laci's disappearance. Regardless, it's definitely strange that a large purchase like a boat wasn't known about by anyone else in Laci's inner circle at the time of her death.

Was Scott Peterson actually a sex addict?

During Scott Peterson's murder trial, prosecutors painted him as a sex addict, pointing to both his extramarital affairs, as well as other behaviors that indicated he had certain appetites. One of Scott's relatives seemingly backed up the claim, telling Fox News, "He has a sexual problem and has a need to sleep with other women." Scott's family also alleged that Laci Peterson was aware of her husband's cheating, but that she'd forgiven him. According to Fox News, "Peterson's mother has told relatives and friends that she knew her daughter-in-law was aware of at least one affair, and that she once saw the couple arguing over it."

Before Laci's body was found, her brother, Brett Rocha, initially supported Scott, until he discovered his brother-in-law was cheating. Brett said, per New York Post, "I am only left to question what else he may [have been] hiding ... We have so many questions that he has not answered." In fact, Scott's behavior changed drastically after his wife's disappearance, and secrets about his proclivities started coming to light. As reported by People, "A satellite TV employee testified that 15 days after Laci went missing, Scott began ordering ... explicit adult material, starting with the Playboy Channel and graduating to more hardcore attractions." However, Scott tried to conceal these subscriptions from investigators, and reportedly "abruptly cancelled the X-rated satellite channel right in front of the eyes of one of the cops in the house."

Peterson's attorney, however, contended that it was unfair to assert that Laci objected to Scott's viewing of sexually explicit material, and called the employee's testimony an attempt to "assassinate [Scott's] character." 

Scott Peterson's arrest featured multiple red flags

When police searched Scott Peterson's car after Laci Peterson's body was discovered, they found a slew of suspicious and strange items that seemed to suggest that Scott may have been planning on fleeing the country. Per ABC News, the search found "a rope, knives, four cell phones, camping supplies, children's books." One of the detectives, Allen Brocchini, told ABC News, "The guy had like, I don't know, $14,000, $15,000, cash, he had his brother's ID ... Hiking boots and ... a shovel and [a] fishing pole." Detective Jon Buehler said of Scott, "This guy is like James Bond without the secret agent mission."

Per the Daily Mail, Scott was also in possession of over 200 sleeping pills, a gun, and a dagger. He also reportedly had a bounty of newly purchased camping equipment in the vehicle. Even more disturbing, though, was the fact that Scott "had a map to the workplace of his mistress and approximately 10 Viagra tablets" in the car, along with his selection of money, weapons, medication, and a shovel. Scott had also attempted to change his appearance, and had blond hair at the time of his arrest. Speaking with Today (via The Modesto Bee), Peterson's friend, Mike Richardson said Scott said color change happened when "he was swimming in a friend's pool, and it got bleached." 

He went to a Christmas party with his mistress

In public, Scott Peterson appeared to be a devastated husband that wanted to locate his pregnant wife, Laci Peterson, after her disappearance. However, Scott's actions in the lead up to her disappearance told a very different story. According to ABC News, Scott's "alibi [was] potentially damaging," as not only did he go "fishing the morning of Christmas Eve, while Laci cooked and cleaned for the brunch they were having the next day," he was also seemingly pretty brazen about his affair prior to his wife's disappearance. Per the publication, "Then there are the photos of Peterson and girlfriend Amber Frey at a Christmas party together," suggesting that Scott was quite publicly seeing Frey before his wife went missing.

As reported by CNN, Scott and Amber (above) were photographed at said party together on December 14, 2002, ten days before Laci went missing. The photographic evidence was even used against Scott in court, and as CNN wrote, "The prosecution showed photos of Frey and Peterson at a Christmas party in mid-December. That same night, Laci Peterson went to a holiday party alone." CNN continued, "On December 15, the day after the party, Frey sent Peterson a Christmas card with a picture of her and her daughter." However, Scott reportedly mailed the sweet card back to Amber soon after.

The bizzare attempt to blame Laci Peterson's death on a satanic cult

Scott Peterson's legal team attempted to find reasonable doubt that the husband was involved in Laci Peterson's disappearance and murder. One such avenue that Scott's defense lawyers pursued was the possibility that Laci had been kidnapped by a satanic cult operating in the area, and that they also caused her death. If you're thinking that this suggestion sounds a little far fetched, you're probably not alone.

Per ABC News, former assistant district attorney and ABC News consultant Kimberly Guilfoyle-Newsom explained, "The defense is trying to create reasonable and or imaginary doubt ... But nevertheless, think about it. People across America are going to want to believe that someone other than the husband is responsible for this gruesome death." While the idea that a satanic cult may have kidnapped the pregnant Laci Peterson is an unusual alternative, it wasn't very well received in court.

As ABC News explained, "But when the defense first floated the idea that cult followers may have killed Laci Peterson, some legal analysts described it as offensive. Experts in the occult say organized satanic cults simply don't exist. And no physical evidence has been presented to support the defense's satanic claim."

Scott Peterson told his mistress his wife was dead, before she was

While Scott Peterson's mistress, Amber Frey, received a lot of backlash for having gotten involved with a married man who turned out to be a murderer, it would appear as though Frey had no idea Scott was still married to Laci Peterson when she started dating him. As reported by ABC News, "jurors learned that [Scott Peterson] had lied about being married in order to date Frey and continue a relationship with her."

In an interview with Matt Lauer, Amber Frey revealed that Scott had initially told her that he was single and had never been married. However, a few weeks into their courtship, on December 9, 2002, Scott lied again when told Amber that he was a widow, and that he'd lost his wife, but regretted lying to her about it. As Amber recalled, "I didn't feel it was appropriate to pry on how [his wife had died]. Just because he was so emotional, almost like putting salt on a wound. ... You know, he's sitting you know, right in front of me here. And we're holding hands. And he's like, you're not angry? And I said, no. How could I be angry? I could understand." At the time, Laci was very much still alive, and Amber had no idea about the extent of Scott's lies. But it's definitely chilling that Scott called himself a widow before he'd murdered his wife.

Scott Peterson called his mistress from a candlelight vigil for his wife

Scott Peterson lied to his mistress, Amber Frey, about way more than his relationship status. After Laci Peterson disappeared, Scott's behavior reportedly became more erratic, and Scott began telling Amber that he was traveling when he was, in fact, still nearby. Hauntingly, "During one phone conversation, which took place as loved ones gathered for a candlelight vigil in honor of Laci, Scott Peterson told Frey that he was celebrating New Year's Eve in Paris on a business trip," per ABC News. The fact that Scott could tell such an elaborate lie while attending a vigil for his then-missing wife is not only bizarre, but pretty just downright creepy, too.

In a transcript from one of their taped phone calls, shared by CNN, Scott even admitted some of his deceit to Amber and said, "I have not been, traveling during the last couple of weeks. ... I have lied to you ... that I've been traveling." Amber even pressed Scott about the lie he told about being a widow and asked him, "Why did you tell me it would be the first holidays without her?" However, he refused to give her an adequate answer for why he'd reportedly said that.

In yet another odd twist about Frey and Peterson's relationship, Frey earned a pretty penny when she penned a book about her affair with the convicted murderer. 

The Petersons' dog became an important piece of evidence

One piece of evidence that Scott Peterson's defense team attempted to use to exonerate the suspect was Scott and Laci Peterson's dog. At the time of Laci's disappearance, Scott claimed that his pregnant wife had been walking their dog, McKenzie, a golden retriever. McKenzie was discovered by a neighbor, Karen Servas, who testified, via CNN, that she "saw the Petersons' golden retriever standing in the street, its leash attached but its owners nowhere in sight" on Christmas Eve 2002, the day Laci went missing. She returned the dog to the Petersons' backyard and shut the gate.

Laci's friends and family have long disputed the narrative that Laci would have walked the dog as, at around eight months pregnant, she was reportedly experiencing fatigue and exhaustion. In fact, Laci's friend, Stacey Boyer, revealed at the trial, via Los Angeles Times, "Every time she would start to do something, she would have to stop and rest."

Meanwhile, Scott's sister-in-law, Janey Peterson, appeared on "Dr. Phil" in 2018 and claimed that there's proof that Laci took the dog for a walk. Per Janey, "The mailman signed an affidavit that said if McKenzie was in the yard or in the house, he would bark at the mailman. And on December 24, the mailman came by and McKenzie was not on the property." Basically, the dog's whereabouts became an important, yet odd piece of evidence in the timeline of Laci's disappearance.

Laci Peterson's body was dismembered

One of the most disturbing parts of the case regarding Laci Peterson's murder was the state of the pregnant woman's body upon discovery. After Scott Peterson reported Laci's disappearance on Christmas Eve 2002, her body wasn't found until almost four months later. The fetus of Laci's unborn baby was discovered on April 13, 2003, on San Francisco Bay beach, and Laci's remains were discovered approximately a mile away the following day, per ABC News. Not only were mother and baby found near to the location that Scott had told police he went fishing on the day of Laci's disappearance, but both corpses had been significantly tampered with or damaged while submerged in water.

The fact that Laci and her baby had likely been underwater for almost four months meant that both corpses were in a poor condition. Crucially, "Laci Peterson's head and parts of her limbs were missing and plastic tape was wrapped around the neck of her child, according to the full autopsy and coroner's photographs," per ABC News. Fox News reported that jurors were shown the horrific photos of Laci's body. Forensic pathologist Dr. Brian Peterson told the jury, "The only internal organ that was present was the uterus ... I was limited by the fact there was so much of the body absent. ... In this case, there was no brain to examine because the head was missing. There was no heart or lungs to examine because the chest was empty."

Jurors felt Scott Peterson had no emotion at trial

It would appear as though Scott Peterson didn't endear himself to the jury during his trial, meaning that he made a very bad impression with some of the jurors deciding his fate. The fact that Scott never spoke during his own trial, to defend himself or give evidence, also impacted the impression the jury developed of the murder suspect, who was subsequently found guilty of murdering his pregnant wife. Per CBS News, juror Michael Belmessieri said, "Scott Peterson is a cold blooded killer. He has no remorse ... treated [his family] like garbage." Meanwhile, fellow juror Steve Cardosi said, "I still would have liked to see, I don't know if remorse is the right word ... He lost his wife and his child — it didn't seem to faze him. And while that was going on ... he is romancing a girlfriend. That doesn't make sense to me. At all."

Juror Greg Beratlis told CBS News that he was particularly impacted by Scott's silence throughout the murder trial, which took place over a six month period. "Anything — a plea for his life, or just his opinion on everything that went on in the last two years," Beratlis said. "I would have liked to have heard his voice on that." Basically, Scott's strange silence in court made some jury members feel as though he had no emotion about his pregnant wife's murder at all.

Scott Peterson lied about cement

Perhaps one of the more damning pieces of evidence in the murder trial involved cement purchased by Scott Peterson. Per Fox News, "Prosecutors claim Peterson used the cement to make five anchors, one of which was found in his boat. The others, which they allege he used to sink his wife's body in the bay, have not been discovered." The cement was crucial, because Scott had told investigators that he'd purchased a "90-pound bag of cement to repair his driveway," and had only made one anchor from the cement mix. However, per NBC News, "A prosecution witness testified earlier that the concrete samples taken by police from Peterson's driveway were not from the same mix as the anchor." Instead it was suggested that Scott used all of the cement bag to make anchors, and none of it to repair his driveway.

The cement theory is so important, because prosecutors suggested that the missing cement played a key role in the disposal of Laci Peterson's body. Detective Henry Dodge Hendee revealed in court that "investigators had discovered four to five residue rings and a powdery substance on the defendant's boat trailer. Prosecutors maintain that the rings were left behind by homemade cement anchors — possibly used to weigh down Laci Peterson's body on the floor of San Francisco Bay," via SFGate. While it's unclear if this is exactly what happened to Laci, Scott's cement purchase was definitely a strange detail of the case which didn't work in his favor.