Archive for January, 2006|Monthly archive page

Peterson: Motive

Everyone from the armchair psychiatrist to the FBI profiler has speculated about the motive behind the murders of Laci and Conner Peterson. What caused the seemingly normal all-American “golden boy” to kill his beautiful wife and unborn son? Was it for a future with Amber Frey? For the $250,000 life insurance policy? The prosecution contends that it was for freedom. He simply didn’t want the responsibility of being a husband and father and considered murder the ideal means to achieve that freedom.

Speculation aside, it’s my observation that Peterson very plainly stated the motive in a telephone conversation with Amber Frey on January 6 — mere hours after confessing to her that he was married to Laci Peterson, the missing pregnant woman from Modesto.

[Excerpt of 1/6/2003 11:30 p.m. phone conversation]FREY: (sigh) But your whole point of this Eurpoean trip was so that you could have a life and not travel and not have to work so hard and you could have a life. But apparently not with…

PETERSON: The whole point of the business negotiations

FREY: Yes.

PETERSON: Amber, you don’t understand at all.

FREY: The whole point of what business negotiations, Scott?

PETERSON: Are to simplify my life.

FREY: To simplify your life?

PETERSON: That was…is what was supposed to take…going right…being done right now. This situation changed all that.


FREY: Really?PETERSON: And obviously I’m not working.

FREY: Your life would be simplified. If you have a present wife, a baby around the corner, and a girlfriend…how does that…?

PETERSON: You don’t understand.

FREY: What?

PETERSON: You don’t…you don’t know everything.


Amber asked a very good question when she said, “The whole point of what business negotiations, Scott?” Scott had already confessed that there was no trip to Europe — the purpose of which was supposedly to work things out with his employer so that he could travel less and have more free time to spend with Amber. Scott conveniently disregarded her question and continued to try to explain the unexplainable. But Amber got to the crux of the matter. The complications in his life had nothing to do with his career. The business negotiations meant to simplify his life were, in reality, the engineered disappearance of his wife and unborn son — more to the point, murder. The situation that “changed all that” was the intense investigation, public reaction and media furor that ensued, for all of which Scott Peterson had no foresight or provision.

You might consider my interpretation of Peterson’s words to be speculation. That’s okay. You’re probably right. I still say that the murderer himself confirmed the motive put forth by the prosecutor. There are other interesting admissions in the Peterson/Frey transcripts. You’re welcome to post your own observations in the comment section. It might save me writing (and you being subjected to) another entry on the subject.


Latest Favoritest

If you haven’t downloaded Google Earth yet, I highly recommend it. This thing is so cool! Explore the globe from your desktop. If you live in a heavily populated area (which I do not), you can zoom in on your house. I could almost take a dip in my friend’s swimming pool halfway across the country. Are those solar panels in working order?

You can add nifty placemarks, labels and image overlays. I’ve only just begun so I’m sure there are lots of other cool things you can do with it that I’ve yet to discover. In a future entry (yes, on Peterson again) I’ll show you a little of what I’ve done with it.

I ♥ Google.

EVP and the Watery Grave

In mid-March, Laci was still missing and Scott had yet to be arrested or even named a suspect. Sharon, frustrated by the slow progress and desperate to find her daughter, checked the website for messages left by psychics. An e-mail titled “Did EVP Solve The Laci Peterson Case” caught her attention. According to the psychic, Scott had taken Laci “to the marina and either tied her to or dumped her body near the fifth buoy off the Albany Bulb, a point north of the Berkeley pier.” The psychic also conveyed “a sense of urgency, saying that storms and shifting tides were moving her body around and she needed to be recovered quickly.”

The following day, March 16, Sharon (accompanied by her sister Susie Aquino and Susie’s husband Gil) went to the Berkeley Marina to check it out for herself. The three walked the path that runs along the shoreline and around Cesar Chavez Park, stopping frequently to gaze out at the water with binoculars to search for some sign of Laci’s presence. They visited the boat ramp where Scott launched his Gamefisher on Christmas Eve. Finally, they drove north to the Albany Bulb and stared out at the water again. Sharon reluctantly left, feeling certain that Laci was there in the dark, cold water, just as the psychic had written.

I can’t explain it, but I felt her, and in the moments before we left, I told God that I wanted to see something, some kind of sign, that would help me find her. I was ready to handle it, I thought. I stared out at that place where water and sky converged and I felt an umbilical tug between me and my daughter. She was there, I was certain. I had to force myself to walk away.As we drove away, I felt guilty, like I was abandoning Laci.
Months later, I learned two facts that explained why I was so compelled to go to Berkeley and why I felt Laci’s presence there. First, around the time I had been at the marina, the side-scan sonar used by the officers searching the bay had detected what they thought was Laci’s body. But the currents were too strong and they were unable to get to her then and she was gone when they returned. The storms? The shifting tides?

Also, during the trial, Dr. Ralph Cheng, a research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Surveys, testified that, based on where Conner was found, he would’ve been put in the water at a specific location, which, when he calculated it, was almost exactly where the psychic had predicted. [For Laci, pp. 208-210]

The first of these facts is the point of interest for me. Dr. Cheng’s estimation of where Laci’s body was placed into the water is somewhat in line with the psychic’s information. However, the side-scan sonar sighting of an object that some believed to be Laci’s body occurred in a different part of the bay.

Click image to enlarge

Dr. Cheng’s model indicated that Laci’s body would have been placed in the water slightly west of a private mooring buoy (marked with a pushpin in the above satellite image) WNW of the northwestern tip of Cesar Chavez Park, which borders the Berkeley Marina to the north. Based on what Sharon read in the email from the psychic, Dr. Cheng’s calculations coincide closely with the psychic’s description of where Laci’s body was disposed.

The psychic had written that if you stood at the tip [of the Albany Bulb] and looked out, Laci was put into the water in the direction of 11 o’clock. [For Laci, p.209]

Sharon admits that she is usually skeptical about such things but cannot deny that she believes this psychic was onto something. I’m a skeptic too, but I’d sooner scoff at the psychic than at mother’s intuition. Sharon felt Laci’s presence there. I don’t doubt it.

The sonar sighting that Sharon refers to occurred just days before her trip to the bay. Gene Ralston of Idaho, working in coordination with the Modesto police, located an object that appeared to be a human body “wrapped like a package” in the entrance channel that runs between Point Richmond and Brooks Island. As you can see from the above satellite image, that channel is a few miles north of the area indicated by Dr. Cheng and the psychic, and the two locations are separated by Brooks Island.

Among those who closely followed the case, controversy remains about who was correct in determining the original placement of Laci’s body. Did Scott leave Laci and Conner in the shallow waters south of Brooks Island on the afternoon of December 24th, as presented by the prosecution team at trial? Or did he make an earlier trip in the dark of night to launch his boat near Richmond and anchor her body in the 40 ft depths of the Richmond channel? That’s a question for another entry.

Regardless of the answer, Sharon left the San Francisco Bay that day knowing in her heart that Laci and Conner were there and that it was only a matter of time before they came home to her. And that they did.


In the months leading up to Laci and Scott’s wedding, the Peterson family learned that Jackie had a son, Don, whom she had given up for adoption when he was just a baby. Laci accompanied Scott when the family gathered to meet Don for the first time. According to For Laci, Laci told Sharon that she thought Don was very nice and they had invited him to the wedding. Sometime after this happy family reunion and before the wedding, additional shocking news arose. Jackie had another child that she had given up for adoption – a daughter named Anne Bird. Scott went to the family gathering to meet Anne without Laci. Although Anne and Scott seemed to hit it off as newfound siblings, for some reason, Anne did not attend Scott and Laci’s wedding. The two accounts of the reason for her absence present an interesting incongruity:

Sharon writes:

I remember Laci saying that they invited Anne to the wedding, but then explained that Anne declined because she didn’t want to have anything to do with Jackie or Jackie’s family. It isn’t what Anne wrote in her book, but it’s what Laci said – and Laci didn’t lie. (That doesn’t matter. I liked Anne’s book.)
[For Laci by Sharon Rocha, p. 43]

Anne Bird writes:

Early that summer, Jackie called to tell me about Scott and Laci’s upcoming wedding. She said she had wanted to invite me, but that Laci didn’t seem all that comfortable with the idea, never having met me. I told her I totally agreed. I wouldn’t have been comfortable either, especially since I would have found myself in a room with dozens of new relatives, relative strangers, as it were, and I didn’t think I was prepared, psychologically, for something of that magnitude. Scott later called to make sure I understood, and I reiterated what I told Jackie. “I couldn’t go even if you invited me,” I said. “Please. We’ll meet later in the year.”
“Thanks for being so understanding,” Scott said, ever the gentleman. “I’m going to make sure you and Laci meet as soon as possible. You guys are going to love each other.”
[Blood Brother by Anne Bird, p. 31]

Accepting that Laci was telling the truth does not preclude that Anne was also telling the truth…as she knew it. We don’t know whether Laci had direct knowledge of Anne’s reason to decline the invitation. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that it was passed on from Jackie to Scott and ultimately to Laci. It’s evident in Anne’s writing that Jackie was the conveyer (and in my opinion, the source) of the excuse that Laci was uncomfortable with Anne’s attendance. In all likelihood, Jackie would not have wanted to bring her skeletons out of the closet to have them rattling around at the wedding of her favorite son, “the golden boy”. She, like her son, has shown herself to be conniving and deceptive. I surmise that Jackie manipulated the situation, lying to Laci and to Anne to suit her own purposes. The version conveyed through Laci to Sharon portrays Jackie in a sympathetic light as the unfairly rejected mother, whereas Anne’s version makes Laci appear somewhat inconsiderate – more concerned with appearances than with the feelings of her future mother-in-law – while Jackie comes off as the welcoming mother and long-suffering future mother-in-law. Considering what’s been written in the several case-related books and Jackie’s behavior throughout the investigation and legal proceedings, it is apparent that Jackie is a woman to whom appearance is everything and truth matters little.

That’s my interpretation. You are welcome to post your own in the comment section.

By The Way…

My copy of “For Laci” arrived yesterday…FINALLY! I read half of it before it dawned on me that it might have been a good idea to take a few notes. I was just too absorbed to bother with it. A few things have piqued my interest. Hopefully, I won’t forget what they are before I finish the book and get a chance to write about them.

It’s poignant and heartbreaking…even funny in places. Sharon accomplished what she set out to do — introduce the world to Laci (the real Laci, not the exploited and fictionalized victim created by the media) and illustrate what a terrible loss she (and everyone else) suffered when her beautiful, exuberant daughter and grandson were murdered because of one man’s selfish desires and cowardice. As Laci’s mother, Sharon provides what no other person has the capacity to even attempt. She gives a riveting and illuminating account of her bewilderment, panic, shocking realization, despair, anguish, grief, outrage, and determination in her journey to attain justice for Laci. I’m so glad she wrote this book. Thank you, Sharon.

On Blogging

I realize some of you are wondering why I started a blog.

[crickets chirping]

There are a few reasons, one of which is simply curiosity. I wanted to see what it is like to have a blog. After I set this site up, I sat staring at it and asking myself, “Now what?” I don’t consider myself a writer; I don’t have anything profound to say; I’m not particularly entertaining or creative. But what the heck.

The second reason is that I needed a place to put my thoughts in order. I used to discuss cases that interested me at another blog. Things got weird. I got uncomfortable and left. Having no desire to expose myself to another similar situation, I decided to avoid getting involved in another blog or forum. So I set up my own blog and am talking to myself until someone else happens along.

The third reason, which coincides with the second, is that I have a lot of unaswered questions about the Laci Peterson case. I’ve no doubt that her husband, Scott, is responsible and rightfully sitting on deathrow. It’s just that it’s like a jigsaw puzzle with a few pieces missing or that I can’t seem to fit together. The picture is readily discernible, but I’m frustrated and stymied by the gaps and seemingly incohesive pieces. So I’m hoping that I can set my thoughts in order here and maybe, just maybe, a few others will stumble upon my ramblings and help me out with them. So now, if my blog drifts away when I’m done opining about Peterson, you’ll know why — because I’ve got nothing more to say.

I’m not really a blogger. I’m just having a go at it.

Dang It!

Tomorrow is a holiday. No hope of seeing my book order before Tuesday, as it’s being shipped through the U.S. Postal Service. There’s an internal battle going on between impatience and frugality. If I set foot in Wal-mart tomorrow, will impatience win? The suspense is killing you, I know.

Another Lesson Learned

If you are anxious to get your hands on a new book, don’t — DO NOT — choose the Super Saver Shipping option at

I ordered my copy of “For Laci” by Sharon Rocha on New Year’s Day. I’m still waiting. Patience is a virtue with which I was not blessed. I do have a healthy dose of curiosity. In this instance, the two are not a good mix.

Actually, I’m not fond of the word “curiosity” in this context. It sounds too trivial. It’s more a driving need to know. Laci Peterson has been gone from this earth for more than three years. Her husband Scott is in San Quentin — condemned to die for the murders of his wife and unborn son Conner. And I’m still searching for answers that will satisfy.