Dec. 14, 2004-- -- Three members of the jury that recommended the death sentence for Scott Peterson after finding him guilty of the slayings of his wife and their unborn son have no regrets about their decision.
Jury foreman Steve Cardosi and fellow jurors Richelle Nice and Greg Bertalis said today on "Good Morning America" they believed they had meted out justice for Laci Peterson and the baby the couple had planned to name Conner.
"They can rest in peace," said Nice, a magenta-haired unemployed mother of four. "Justice was done."
Jurors recommended on Monday that the judge impose the death penalty when he formally sentences Peterson on Feb. 25. On Nov. 12, the same jury found Peterson, 32, guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Laci and second-degree murder in the death of the unborn baby.
Accumulation of Mounting Evidence
The jurors said the accumulation of damning information convinced them that Peterson had committed the slayings and should be executed.
"There were so many things," said Cardosi, a firefighter and paramedic from Half Moon Bay, Calif. "Saying that one particular thing brought me to a decision just wouldn't be accurate or fair to the process. There were many things."
However, Cardosi conceded that the fact that Peterson's alibi -- he said he was fishing the day Laci disappeared -- placed him near the area where the remains washed ashore was very damning. Prosecutors had argued Peterson used his boat to dump Laci's body in San Francisco Bay.
"The bodies washed up where he was," Cardosi said.
He said he thought the penalty was "appropriate justice."
"Given the nature [of the crime] and how personal it really was against his wife and child," he said during Monday's news conference.
Bertalis, who works in youth sports, said he found the premeditation to be particularly chilling.
"It wasn't an act of 'he flipped out and did something.' I can understand that," he said. "This was planned."
Jurors Say They Kept Open Minds
What was not planned, according to the jurors, was their verdict. They insisted they had open minds before the trial began.
"Nobody in this room or outside influenced my voting on any of this," Bertalis said.
They were divided, however, on Peterson's attitude and whether he should have taken the stand. Peterson did not testify in his own defense, but Nice indicated she had a good picture of him from other testimony.
"I heard enough from him," she said.
Bertalis, on the other hand, said he wanted to hear something to indicate the defendant had feelings.
"I would have liked to have heard something," Bertalis said. "A plea for his life or just his opinion on everything that went on in the last two years. I never got that."
Cardosi was struck by Peterson's attempts to pursue his romance with Amber Frey while his wife was supposedly missing.
"I still would have liked to see, I don't know if 'remorse' is the right word," Cardosi said. "He lost his wife and his child -- it didn't seem to faze him. While that was going on ... he is romancing a girlfriend."
Jurors Used Code Names
All three said the process was difficult. To ease the stress of their task, they didn't want to know each other's names, referring to one another by code names. They said their experience had a profound effect on each of them.
"I think I appreciate life a lot more," said Bertalis.
The foreman downplayed questions about whether there had been friction among the jurors.
"Anytime you put 12 people in a room together and you expect them to agree, to think that's going to happen easily is very naïve," Cardosi explained. "It takes discussion, it takes emotion. It's incredibly draining."
He said jurors felt particularly emotional, because they had been barred from talking about the case outside of deliberations.
"We haven't been allowed to speak of these things amongst ourselves or anybody," Cardosi said. "We're all kind of choked up."