Convicted murderer Scott Peterson was denied a new trial in the 2002 death of his pregnant wife, Laci Peterson, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Peterson was turned aside more than a year after the California Supreme Court ordered Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo to consider whether juror misconduct denied him a fair trial.
Peterson’s team had argued that Juror 7, a woman named Richelle Nice, had been untruthful and hid details of her personal life that they said presented a conflict.
Nice was accused of “prejudicial misconduct” because she did not disclose that she was the victim of domestic violence and had sought a restraining order in 2000 over fears that her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend would harm her unborn baby.
Court documents from Tuesday’s decision, obtained by NBC Bay Area, say the court did find that several of Nice’s answers in a juror questionnaire were “false in certain respects,” but they said the answers were not “motivated by pre-existing or improper bias” against Peterson.
Her answers “were the result of a combination of good faith misunderstanding of the questions and sloppiness in answering,” Massullo wrote.
Nice, who co-wrote a book about the case with other jurors, has denied that she was influenced by her personal experiences.
Peterson was convicted of murder in 2004 and sentenced to death the next year. The California Supreme Court overturned his sentence in 2020. Last year, he was resentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Laci Peterson, 27, was eight months pregnant with their son, Conner, when she was killed in December 2002, five years after she and Peterson married.
Prosecutors said he dumped his wife’s body in Berkeley Marina on Christmas Eve and tried to cover up the crime by making it appear as if she was missing, according to online court records. Her body washed ashore later. Peterson’s attorneys have argued that she was killed after she stumbled upon a burglary.