The judge, jury and courthouse will all be the same. The defense's motions have been heard and denied. Now, all that's left is the penalty phase of the Scott Peterson murder trial. A jury of six men and six women will hear testimony starting today in an effort to determine if Scott Peterson should face the death penalty or life in prison for murdering his wife and the couple's fetus in December, 2002.
The penalty phase of the trial is very different from the criminal phase and witnesses can testify to almost anything on Peterson's behalf in an effort to spare his life. The prosecution will call witnesses who will discuss the loss of Laci Peterson and how it affected their lives. The testimony is often emotionally charged, unlike the more fact based first part of the trial.
The jury will make a recommendation to Judge Alfred Delucchi who will then make the final sentencing decision. Peterson either faces life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty. He was convicted of first degree or premeditated murder with regard to his wife, Laci and second degree murder with regard to the couple's fetus.
The judge also ruled yesterday that when the sentencing of Peterson is announced, there will be an audio hookup in the courtroom which will allow the media to hear the decision as it is being made. Cameras will not be permitted in the courtroom.
The first part of the trial lasted more than 23 weeks and 184 were called to testify. The penalty phase is expected to be signifcantly shorter although it is not certain how many witnesses the defense and prosecution will call.