The former juror at the center of Scott Peterson’s bid for a new trial in the murder of his pregnant wife walked into the jury room during deliberations in 2004 and blurted out “that he should basically pay for killing ‘little man,’ ” a former fellow juror testified Tuesday.
That conflicts with juror Richelle Nice’s sworn declaration in 2020, but not with the amended testimony she gave Friday and Monday during a hearing into whether she was biased during Peterson's trial in the slayings of his wife, Laci, 27, and the unborn child they planned to name Conner.
Nice testified she held no ill will toward Peterson until after she heard the evidence against him, that he dumped his wife's body into San Francisco Bay on Christmas Eve 2002. She said she didn't recall making the statement recounted Tuesday by fellow former juror Gregory Beratlis.
Beratlis said it was the first time he had heard Nice use the “little man” phrase to refer to Conner.
Nice was an alternate juror who joined the jury deliberations after two original jurors were removed.
Peterson’s attorneys contend, among other things, that Nice sought to be on the jury because she wanted notoriety and for financial reasons.
But Beratlis denied that he, Nice and other co-authors of a post-trial book about the case had discussed a book deal during the trial.
That seemingly is contradicted by anticipated testimony from documentary producer Shareen Anderson, who had been expected to testify Tuesday.
Her testimony and that of her cameraman on the television documentary “The Murder of Laci Peterson” will now be delayed until March 24 and 25 to give Peterson’s attorneys time to subpoena Anderson's records from the filming.
Nice has also sworn that there were no book discussions while the trial was underway. Peterson’s attorneys said that Anderson’s contradicting recollection from a post-trial interview with Nice came only Monday night during a discussion with a defense investigator.
Stanislaus County Deputy District Attorney David Harris objected to admitting what he called an “extremely late, highly suspect statement” from Anderson that he said is also contradicted by her cameraman.
But California Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo expects to allow the testimony, forcing a three-week delay in a hearing that had been expected to end no later than Friday.
She will have 90 days after the hearing ends to decide whether Nice lied on a pre-trial questionnaire to get on Peterson's jury and was biased against him, thereby denying Peterson a fair trial.