The nonprofit organization told People on Friday, January 19, that they are representing Scott, 51, and “investigating his claim of actual innocence.”
The L.A. Innocence Project – which is known for working to exonerate wrongly convicted and incarcerated individuals – is seeking new evidence following Scott’s original trial after stating they believe his state and federal constitutional rights were violated in the original trial, according to ABC News.
The organization filed the paperwork on Wednesday, January 17, claiming that they found “new evidence [that] now supports Mr. Peterson’s longstanding claim of innocence and raises many questions into who abducted and killed Laci and Conner Peterson.”
Laci disappeared on Christmas Eve in 2002 when she was 27. She was eight months pregnant with the couple’s son, Conner, when she vanished. Scott initially helped look for Laci, though became the prime suspect in her disappearance when it was revealed he was having an affair.
Her body was found in San Francisco Bay four months after she went missing, while the unborn baby’s body was discovered one mile away. Scott was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder following a high profile trial in 2004, and he was sentenced to death row in 2005.
However, a major development happened in the case in 2020 when Scott scored two major legal victories. He was first given the chance to face a new penalty phase trial after his death penalty sentence was overturned by California Supreme Court in August 2020. The decision was made after it was determined there were jury selection errors by the trial judge. Then in October 2020, the California Supreme Court ruled that a lower court should take a second look at his case to decide if his guilty verdict should be overturned.
Scott’s death sentence was officially canceled during a 2021 hearing and he was resentenced to serve life in prison. He eventually submitted a bid for a new trial, though a San Mateo County Superior Court Judge denied the request.
Attorneys for the L.A. Innocence Project claim that updated witness statements point to multiple areas of interest, including burglary of a Modesto home across the street from the Petersons that took place in December 2002. Scott’s attorneys initially argued that Laci was killed after she witnessed the men breaking into the neighbor’s house while he wasn’t home.
The organization also shared their plans to conduct new DNA testing on a blood-stained mattress, which was found on December 25, 2002, in a burned out orange van that was discovered near the Peterson’s home. The team hopes that the investigation will determine if it was Laci’s blood on the mattress, which they say could link her to the burglary.
Not only has Scott maintained his innocence, but his family has also said they believe he wasn’t involved in Laci’s death. “There is no forensic evidence, there is no timeline to this crime,” his sister-in-law Janey Peterson said during a 2021 appearance on the Today Show. “Scott Peterson is innocent, and we are now trying to reverse that.”
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