SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Scott Peterson is off death row after the California Supreme Court ruled sentencing was unfair and jury selection was impartial.
Lara Yeretsian served on Scott Peterson’s original defense team. She says removing the death sentence puts him one step closer towards freedom.
“We truly did believe that he should be acquitted,” Yeretsian said.
John Guinasso was juror number eight during the Scott Peterson trial. He said, “to overturn that, I’m surprised and disappointed because that was part of my life taken away.”
Guinasso says he drove seven hours, every day, for six months to make it to court.
Mike Belmessierri was juror number four. He says serving on the jury was his civic duty.
“I sat with 12 citizens and they made a decision,” Belmessierri said. “It was decided after careful consideration and healthy debate that Scott Peterson was guilty of murdering his wife and unborn child.”
Both were surprised to learn the death penalty decision was thrown out.
Monday, State Supreme Court ruled 13 prospective jurors were wrongfully dismissed during the Scott Peterson trial because they revealed they had general objections to the death penalty.
Peterson’s lawyer, Mark Gergaros, put a statement on Twitter after the decision. It says in part, “We are grateful for the California Supreme Court unanimous recognition that if the state wishes to put someone to death, it must proceed to trial only with a fairly selected jury.”
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It also goes on to say that his team looks forward to the court reviewing new evidence that will be presented in a separate state petition.
For now, Peterson still sits in San Quentin Prison. While the murder conviction against Peterson stays, the court now orders a new penalty phase trial. They have 90 days to decide what’s next.