REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — Prosecutors appeared Thursday to be trying to establish a financial motive for Scott Peterson to want his pregnant wife dead.
Laci Peterson, along with other family members, had inherited more than $100,000 worth of jewelry from her grandmother in the months before she vanished Dec. 24, 2002, witnesses have testified.
On Thursday, prosecutors questioned a jewelry store clerk who said she remembered Laci Peterson bringing in various items to be appraised.
Mary Anna Felix testified that Laci Peterson told her that it was her husband who wanted to know how much the jewelry was worth -- and when Felix estimated the jewelry to be worth more than $100,000, "she said that he would be very happy."
Felix also said Laci Peterson wore a diamond pendant, and told her she never took it off, even when she slept, for fear of losing it.
Prosecutors showed a picture of the pendant sitting atop a dresser in the Petersons' home. The photo was taken after Laci Peterson vanished.
Robin Rocha, Laci Peterson's aunt, testified that she and Laci inventoried the jewelry when the grandmother died and that after Laci disappeared, a watch and a pair of two-carat diamond earrings were missing.
Prosecutors have said that Peterson's affair with a massage therapist drove him to murder. Thursday's questioning introduced another possible motive -- that with Laci Peterson out of the way, Scott Peterson might have thought that he could profit from the jewelry.
Prosecutors allege Scott Peterson, 31, killed his pregnant wife in their Modesto home on or around Dec. 24, 2002, then dumped her body from his small boat into San Francisco Bay. Scott Peterson has told police he went fishing on the bay Christmas Eve morning and returned to an empty house.
Defense lawyers claim someone else abducted Laci Peterson and dumped her body in the bay.