California judge imposes third life sentence on Scott Peterson

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Judge rules term must be served consecutively after Scott Peterson on appeal for third life sentence

A California judge has imposed a third life sentence on the former fertilizer salesman Scott Peterson, who was convicted in the drowning death of his pregnant wife, Laci.

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Judge Susan Garsh on Friday made the ruling in San Mateo county, a northern San Francisco Bay Area court district.

She had previously reduced the sentence from death to life in prison for Peterson, 43, who is housed at Terminal Island prison in San Francisco.

Earlier this month, the US supreme court ordered the third retrial.

Before she handed down the sentence on Friday, Garsh said the chances that Peterson could successfully appeal before his scheduled July 20 release date were “marginal”.

Citing the leniency shown to numerous other defendants convicted of murder with prior mental illnesses, Garsh said Peterson showed no such mitigating factors and therefore should serve his sentence the rest of his life.

She cited Peterson’s “egregious” lies to help conceal the crime and his apparent “perverse indifference” to the brutal loss of Laci Peterson’s life.

Peterson maintains his innocence and claimed he was framed by law enforcement who suspect his alibi wasn’t true.

His lawyers will have a chance to appeal again on Friday when the judge again sets a new sentencing date, the court’s website reported.

Prosecutors argued that Peterson killed Laci while she was pregnant to frame his ex-wife, Amber Frey, for the killing and to profit from their insurance.

They argued that each of the four life sentences would be “appropriate and necessary”.

Laci Peterson disappeared on Christmas Eve 2002, with their unborn son, Conner, who was found weighted down and floating in San Francisco Bay about 150 miles away a month later.

Amber Frey, who had a three-month affair with Peterson, was granted immunity by prosecutors and testified that he had threatened to “hang” her when he found out about their relationship.

Peterson’s other two children from his second marriage have served prison terms that brought them to the same terminal health and abuse mental illness that pushed their father to murder his wife, prosecutors said.

Peterson maintains his innocence and claimed he was framed by law enforcement who suspect his alibi wasn’t true.

The mother of Peterson’s children, Sharon Rocha, wrote to Garsh saying Peterson’s juvenile years should not be considered for his life sentence.

“I believe his juvenile attitude was developed into bad behavior, which shows poor judgment,” Rocha wrote.

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