Peterson Defense Comes Up Short, Legal Experts Say

Problematic Alibi, Lies and the Fetal Birth Debate

Still, legal experts say Geragos did not explain why Peterson's alibi places him near the area where the remains of Laci and their unborn child were found. Peterson has said he was fishing in San Francisco Bay on the day Laci disappeared, but investigators believe he killed her and used his boat to dump her body in the bay. The remains of Laci and her fetus washed ashore separately in April 2003, near the area where Peterson told investigators he had been fishing.

"Geragos never really explained that critical link between Scott Peterson and the murder," legal analyst Royal Oaks told ABC News Radio. "How was it that the body was found at the precise spot he went fishing a long way from home?"

In addition, some argue, Geragos may not have effectively negated the multiple lies Peterson told his mistress in taped conversations before Laci's disappearance — particularly his belief that they could be together and that this would be the first Christmas he would celebrate without his wife. Peterson had told Frey he was a widower.

The defense, some experts believe, also failed to show the fetus could have been born alive, which would have suggested someone else killed Laci Peterson. Prosecutors believe Peterson killed Laci on either Dec. 23 or 24, 2002, and used concrete anchors to sink her body in the bay. They believe the fetus was expelled from Laci's body after her death, which would explain why the bodies washed ashore separately. But the prosecution's current and tidal expert could not give a precise trajectory path for the remains.

Peterson's defense contended Laci was kidnapped Dec. 24 and that her baby could have been born alive and subsequently killed, then dumped in the bay along with his mother. This, Geragos had argued, would prove that Peterson could not have killed his wife and child because he was under too much scrutiny by the media and police after reporting Laci missing.

However, a key defense witness, Dr.Charles March, fell short of proving Geragos' theory when he testified the fetus probably died on Dec. 29, 2002, at the earliest and admitted he based his conclusions, in part, on anecdotal evidence of when Laci may have discovered her pregnancy.

"He [Geragos] was supposed to show Conner Peterson was born alive. That didn't happen," said Guilfoyle Newsom. "Their expert had a complete meltdown on the stand. … I think now the prosecution is in a good place."

Just Enough Reasonable Doubt

But others argue Geragos has created doubt that Peterson killed his wife. During the prosecution's presentation, the lead defense attorney often turned the state's witnesses into his own.

"I think he delivered in terms of presenting exculpatory evidence," Chris Pixley, a Georgia defense attorney, said on "Good Morning America."

"He has been doing that for the past five months, even before he unveiled his defense case," Pixley said.

During cross-examination early in the trial, Geragos had expert Rodney Oswalt dispute the prosecution's theory that two hair fragments taken from pliers found on Peterson's boat -- the only physical evidence allegedly connecting Peterson to the slayings -- were Laci's.

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