Presumed Guilty: What the Jury Never Knew About Laci Peterson's Murder and Why Scott Peterson Should Not Be on Death Row

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No one knows the story behind the sensational headlines of the Scott Peterson murder trial better than defense attorney Matt Dalton. For six straight months after Peterson's arrest, Dalton was the defense's only full-time investigative attorney on the case. During that time, he lived in Modesto and investigated every element of the case, interviewing scores of witnesses, reviewing more than 35,000 pages of police documents, and meeting almost daily with Scott Peterson in jail.

What he has uncovered will astound even the most informed observers of the Laci Peterson murder case and challenge the most deeply held beliefs about what really happened to Laci Peterson on Christmas Eve, 2002.

This is the first book to go inside the Peterson defense team, and the only book to detail all the evidence that the jury did not hear -- evidence that might have led to Scott Peterson's acquittal, and that will surely play a crucial part in his pending appeals.

Among the revelations in Presumed Guilty:
  • Reports from numerous witnesses who saw Laci Peterson alive and well the morning of December 24, after the police claim Scott Peterson had already killed her; none of them testified at trial
  • The story of another woman, eight months pregnant, who was harassed by two men the morning of December 24 only five blocks from the Peterson home
  • The burglary that reportedly occurred directly across the street from the Peterson home on the morning of December 24, and the confessed burglars' questionable claims that the burglary happened days later
  • Previously unreported details of the autopsy reports on Laci Peterson and her son, which cast strong doubts on key elements of the prosecution's case
  • The disappearances of six pregnant women, in addition to Laci, reported missing and presumed dead within eighty miles of Modesto between 1999 and 2002


Compelling, provocative, disturbing, Presumed Guilty is the fascinating story of one lawyer's relentless efforts to find the truth behind one of the most complex and notorious murder cases in American history.
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About the author

Matt Dalton spent thirteen years as a prosecutor involved in all aspects of criminal litigation with the Long Beach, California City Prosecutor and the Los Angeles County District Attorney. In 2003, he left the DA's office and joined the firm of Geragos & Geragos. Weeks later he met with his first client: accused murderer Scott Peterson. Matt Dalton earned degrees from UCLA and Loyola Law School and, while working as a prosecutor, received commendations for outstanding contributions to domestic violence prosecutions. He is currently in private practice in Los Angeles.

Bonnie Hearn Hill is a California-based writer and a former newspaper editor.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Dec 23, 2005
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Pages
208
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ISBN
9781416526926
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
True Crime / General
True Crime / Murder / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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What happens if, after being given up for adoption in childhood, you reestablish contact with your biological family -- only to discover that your newfound brother is a killer?

Anne Bird, the sister of Scott Peterson, knows firsthand.

Soon after her birth in 1965, Anne was given up for adoption by her mother, Jackie Latham. Welcomed into the well-adjusted Grady family, she lived a happy life. Then, in the late 1990s, she came back into contact with her mother, now Jackie Peterson, and her family -- including Jackie's son Scott Peterson and his wife, Laci. Anne was welcomed into the family, and over the next several years she grew close to Scott and especially Laci. Together they shared holidays, family reunions, and even a trip to Disneyland. Anne and Laci became pregnant at roughly the same time, and the two became confidantes.

Then, on Christmas Eve 2002, Laci Peterson went missing -- and the happy façade of the Peterson family slowly began to crumble. Anne rushed to the family's aid, helping in the search for Laci, even allowing Scott to stay in her home while police tried to find his wife. Yet Scott's behavior grew increasingly bizarre during the search, and Anne grew suspicious that her brother knew more than he was telling. Finally she began keeping a list of his disturbing behavior. And by the time Laci's body -- and that of her unborn son, Conner -- were found, Anne was becoming convinced: Her brother Scott Peterson had murdered his wife and unborn child in cold blood.

Filled with news-making revelations and intimate glimpses of Scott and Laci, the Peterson family, and the investigation that followed the murder, Blood Brother is a provocative account of how long-dormant family ties dragged one woman into one of the most notorious crimes of our time.

1 corinthians 10:13, niv
"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

Amber Frey's life was full of blessings: an exciting new business, a beautiful home, and most of all, her infant daughter, Ayiana. But Amber had been through some unhappy relationships, and she longed for a true and loving partner. In November 2002, she went on a blind date with Scott Peterson. He was handsome, charming, thoughtful, and romantic. Best of all, he was single and ready to settle down . . . or so he said.

Their connection was immediate. Over the next few weeks, Amber and Scott grew closer and closer. Scott won her over with his warmth, humor, and intelligence, and he even won the heart of little Ayiana. Before long, he began to speak of the beautiful future the three of them were destined to share as a family.

Soon enough, however, Amber began to suspect that Scott Peterson might not be the man he claimed to be. On December 9, he broke down in tears and told her that he had been married, but had "lost" his wife. This was weeks before Laci Peterson, eight months pregnant at the time, was even reported missing. Scott Peterson hadn't lost her, but clearly he was planning to.

Suddenly a relationship that seemed full of promise was turning into Amber's worst nightmare.

Amber launched an investigation of her own. The moment she was able to confirm her worst suspicions, she contacted the Modesto Police Department, in northern California, and offered to do whatever she could to help. She began secretly taping her conversations with Scott, pressing him for information but never letting on that she had heard the news of Laci's disappearance. Those conversations became the basis for the prosecution's case against Scott Peterson for the murder of his wife and unborn child.

Amber's whole world was turned upside down in the process. She lost her privacy, as every detail of her life was scrutinized by the media, who couldn't seem to get enough of this tragic, heart-wrenching story. But she soldiered on, looking deep inside herself and drawing strength from her faith.

Witness is the chilling story of how a young woman became ensnared in Scott Peterson's web of lies, then risked everything to seek justice for Laci Peterson and her unborn child, Conner. It is also a story of forgiveness and faith, and of one woman's struggle to live with an open and honest heart.

The Scott Peterson murder case is the most gripping and highly publicized crime story of the 21st Century. It has captivated a public hungry for the answer to one question: Why would a man with no known history of violent crime or mental illness, with a pretty wife about to give birth to his son, brutally murder her?

To get "inside Peterson's head," the national media turned to forensic psychiatrist Keith Ablow, M.D. His appearances resulted in a deluge of e-mails with most stating that his theories about the spawning of a killer inside Peterson were the first that made sense to them. Members of Scott's and Laci's families have also stated that his comments were the first that helped them understand what happened inside Scott's mind.

Inside the Mind of Scott Peterson takes readers into the mind of a killer, including:
· How Scott Peterson's empathy for others was shattered by a three generation "blood line" of childhood loss and abandonment

· How Peterson came to expertly "imitate" a person, while having no true, core self

· Early signs that Peterson was losing his capacity to empathize with others

· Why an addiction to sex took root in his psyche

· Why Peterson's meeting Amber Frey while his wife was pregnant triggered the "perfect" psychological storm

· Clues to Peterson's guilt in his interviews with Gloria Gomez and Diane Sawyer

· What Peterson was probably thinking as he listened to testimony in court and received his death sentence

Why Peterson could kill again, if released.

Using contacts at the FBI, and hiring private investigators and researchers, Keith Ablow delves deeply into Scott Peterson's life story to answer the question: How did an All American boy turn into a ruthless killer?

As the nation continues to follow the case this summer, and Peterson awaits appeal on his death sentence, Ablow's extensive psychological profile will be a window on Peterson's soul and the pathological gears turning in his mind.

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