A juror removed today from the murder trial of Scott Peterson believes the former fertilizer salesman has a good chance of being acquitted in the deaths of his pregnant wife, Laci, and the couple’s unborn son.
Justin Falconer, also known as Juror No. 5, told the Associated Press he would have voted against convicting Scott, based on evidence he’s heard thus far.
“He’d be innocent because the prosecution hasn’t given us any reason to believe otherwise so far,” he said. “Yeah, he lied about a couple of things that we saw in there, but I haven’t seen anything to make me believe that he committed this crime.”
While the judge did not specify why he ousted Falconer from the case, Juror No. 5 reportedly admitted he discussed with his girlfriend media coverage of the case – specifically, his exchange with Laci Peterson’s brother.
The two were seen briefly speaking last week at the courthouse metal detector. The judge examined the video footage, but decided there was no inappropriate behavior as the two were said to be joking about providing television cameras with an unobstructed shot.
Judge Alfred Delucchi then issued a warning to the remaining members of the jury.
“You’re not to listen to, watch or read any media reports of this trial,” Delucchi said, according to AP.
Peterson’s defense attorney, Mark Geragos, sought a mistrial based on media coverage.
“I’ve got a client who is on trial for his life,” he said. “I think it’s an outrage what is going on in this case.”
The motion for a mistrial was denied.
Laci Peterson, 26, disappeared Christmas Eve of 2002. She was nearly eight months pregnant at the time with a son she had already named Connor.
Scott Peterson said he last saw his wife when he left to go fishing in Berkeley. Laci’s body and the remains of the unborn baby washed ashore in San Francisco Bay near where Peterson claimed he was fishing.
Scott faces the death penalty if convicted.