M O D E S T O, Calif., Sept. 3, 2003 -- As accused murderer Scott Peterson prepares for his preliminary hearing, which has been delayed until next month, the feud between his family and the family of his late wife has intensified.
When Laci Peterson's mother, Sharon Rocha, held a private funeral for her late daughter and unborn grandson, Conner, last week, she didn't extend an invitation to the family of Scott Peterson, who is charged with murdering them but has pleaded not guilty.
Rocha invited about 200 mourners to attend the burial services in a quiet Northern California cemetery. The Peterson family said they found out about the services by reading a newspaper account.
Jackie Peterson, Scott's mother, had begged Rocha via e-mail to delay the funeral until the outcome of the trial, saying it would exonerate her son.
In an e-mail obtained by Oakland's KTVU, Jackie Peterson wrote to to Sharon Rocha:
"The past eight months fill the most difficult moments in all our lives. Arriving soon will be more trying times for all of us.... We are writing with an appeal to your heart. Though by law, you are granted the decision on how to handle the remains of all our loved ones, we ask you to postpone the service until such times Scott is exonerated and we all join together as a family to mourn your daughter, Scott's wife, our and yours grandson and Scott's son who has been taken from all of us so cruelly."
In response, the Petersons received an e-mail from the Rochas' lawyer, Adam Stewart: "Dear Mr. and Mrs. Peterson, You have been aware for several months that our firm represents the interests of the Rocha family. Despite this, you continue to contact members of the family and friend via email, mail and telephone. We ask that you discontinue this practice immediately. The family wishes to be left alone during this difficult time."
Laci Peterson was eight months pregnant when she disappeared Christmas Eve. Her body and that of her unborn son washed ashore along San Francisco Bay in April.
Scott Peterson is being held without bail in the Stanislaus County Jail. Peterson's preliminary hearing was delayed Tuesday by his attorneys, who say they need more time to wade through thousands of pieces of evidence, including some 1,500 items the defense had not even seen yet. The hearing is now scheduled for Oct. 20.