Scott Peterson on his conviction: 'I had no idea it was coming'

Peterson, who was convicted of murdering his wife and their unborn child, breaks his silence in newly released audio in a new A&E series.
8:23 | 08/16/17

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Transcript for Scott Peterson on his conviction: 'I had no idea it was coming'
here with a new development in the murder trial that mesmerized this country 15 years ago. Scott Peterson found guilty of murdering his pregnant wife lacy. Now with Peterson's appeal pending he is speaking out from prison. Here's ABC's Diane Macedo. I was staggered by it. I had no idea it was coming. Reporter: You're listening to the voice of Scott Peterson in newly released audio talking from death row about the moment he was found guilty of murdering his wife, lacy Peterson, and their unborn child. It was crazy here. It was like this amazing horrible physical reaction that I had. I couldn't feel my feet on the floor. I couldn't feel the chair I was sitting in. My vision was even a little blurry. Reporter: Scott Peterson and the case against him is now back in the spotlight in a new series called "The murder of Laci Peterson" on A&E. There is a trend now of convicted killers speaking out from behind prison walls, always declaring their innocence. Reporter: Jailhouse phone interviews like the ones featured in "Serial," "Making a murderer" -- Poor people lose all the time. Reporter: And "20/20's" "Menendez brothers" -- There's still a lot of purpose in life, even in confinement. Reporter: Are capturing the public's attention, causing many to re-examine decades-old crimes and in some cases presenting new insights. It's not a coincidence that "Making a murderer" and the Netflix series was successful and actually produced some measure of justice years later, and I think, and I'm hopeful that the same thing will happen here. Reporter: Mark geragos was Scott Peterson's trial attorney. Although he no longer represents Peterson, he still visits him in prison. He looks good, and he's adjusted I suppose is the best way to put it. But you know, it's got to be tough, sitting there, having everybody assume that you're guilty, being declared by a jury to be guilty. And he hasn't spoken out about this since his conviction. What made him want to speak out now? Well, there's an appeals process that's ongoing. So it felt like a moment I think for him and for his lawyer to step up and say something about the case. Reporter: John marks is the executive producer of the A&E series re-examining the case that gripped the country nearly 15 years ago. Laci Peterson, eight months pregnant, disappeared on Christmas eve 2002. Within days it turned into a media frenzy with Scott making public appeals for help in finding her. Any law enforcement in people's area, any hospitals, any birthing centers, just keep the word out there because she will be giving birth real soon. We need to bring them home. I think that's the best way we can do it all. Reporter: Scott told police he'd been fishing the day Laci disappeared but investigators were skeptical and eventually searched Peterson's home and the waters where he said he'd spent the day. Then about a month after Laci went missing a woman named amber Frye comes forward with a bomb shell admission that changed everything. Scott told me he was not married. We did have a romantic relationship. When she came forward, it turned the tide. Because it proved everything he had been saying was a big fat lie. Reporter: The image of Peterson as the loving husband had been turned on its head. Months passed, and still no signs of Laci. And then finally, the remains of lass sxw Laci and her unborn child washed ashore in San Francisco bay. No parent should ever have to think about the way her child was murdered. In my mind I keep hearing Laci say to me mom, please find me and con sxr bring or and bring us home, I'm scared, please don't leave us out here all alone. Reporter: Scott Peterson was arrested on two felony counts of murder. I will never forget those big brown eyes. It seemed like in every picture she reminded me of the brown-eyed girl in the song. And she was like America's sweetheart. Like your little sister or your next-door neighbor girl. And for her to be murdered just before she's about to give birth is almost sacrilegious. Just wrong. Reporter: His trial was a media circus outside, but cameras were not allowed inside the courtroom for most of the trial. Biggest mistake I ever made was not having cameras in the courtroom. Because what ended up happening is people just assumed by watching people commenting on the case who weren't in the courtroom that what they heard or saw was true. Reporter: Scott Peterson never took the witness stand, so the jury never had a chance to evaluate his story directly, though he did speak with ABC before being arrested. Did you murder your wife? No. No. I did not. Reporter: That interview was played in court, including Scott's claim that he told Laci about his affair with amber Frye. I told my wife. When? Early December. Reporter: And the world watched as the verdict came in. Scott Peterson murder trial. A jury has just convicted him of guilty. Reporter: The jurors rejected the defense's argument that Scott Peterson had been framed, and the next month Peterson was sentenced to death. You know that Scott was a married man? Reporter: The A&E series revisits some of the key players and moments, including never before reased 2004 audio recordings where Peterson tries to explain why he continued talking to his mistress after Laci went missing. Why did you talk to amber after Laci had gone missing? Throughout it all she starts giving media interviews during the search for Laci and conner. I saw what happened with the search for command rah levy with Gary Condon when it was revealed he had sex with her. There was no more search for her. Every hour I could keep the search going it would bring Laci and conner home. Scott Petersson says he kept talking to his mistress because he thought by doing that it would help find Laci and conner. I have never heard anything so outlandish in my life. He did not want amber Frye to find out he was married. He did not want amber Frye to find out he was married to a woman who was missing. Reporter: In the A&E series the phone interviews with Scott Peterson were conducted by his sister-in-law Janie. Squle knows he's being recorded. He knows he's being interviewed. And he knows he's being record for this series. So are you worried he tailored his answers at all? He did. I'm sure he was very careful about what he said. But we're not telling this from Scott's point of view. How I would put it is Scott's voice is a voice in this series. And that's auth entically what he wanted to say. Peterson points to defense theories about his innocence. There are so many witnesses who saw her walking in the neighborhood after I left. The state contends that Laci Peterson was killed in the late night hours of December 23 into the morning hours of December 24. That is their theory. Based on a lot of circumstantial evidence. The defense theory has varied. Why? Because it's not true. Reporter: The twists and turns of the trial captivated a nation, with the day-to-day details sometimes shrouded in the media frenzy. People had a ton of information. So you'd think, wow, we knew everything we needed to know about this case. And yet what's strange is that with all that information flowing at people very little was ultimately known about the actual facts of the case. Reporter: The second look at the Peterson case follows other true crime sensations like "Making a murderer." If you're not sorry, I can't help you. Reporter: Brendan dassey, a subject of "Making a murderer," had his conviction overturned after the show focused attention on how investigators got his confession. He had spent nearly a decade behind bars. What do you think your mom would say if she knew you were sitting here lying to me? Reporter: Still A&E producers say this is not an exoneration piece and they look at all sides of the Peterson case. We did not tell him we're setting out to exonerate you. The petersons understood that. This is really an attempt by our team to tell this sprawling, incredibly complicated story at its greatest length and really fill in all the missing details. Reporter: Scott Peterson's appeal to get off death row is pending. For "Nightline" I'm Diane Macedo in New York. Our thanks to Diane Macedo for that report. The documentary series "The murder of Laci Peterson" airs Tuesday nights on A&E. Next, Hollywood stunts gone

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