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Laci Peterson Forced to Stop Exercising, Friends Testify

June 22, 2004|From Associated Press

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — Friends of Laci Peterson testified Monday that pregnancy had forced her to stop exercising, as prosecutors tried to discredit her husband's story of what happened the day she vanished.

Scott Peterson has said that his wife planned to walk the couple's dog the morning he left for a solo fishing trip and returned to an empty home.

Prosecutors, who charge that Peterson murdered his wife and their fetus, contend that she stopped walking the dog weeks before, at her doctor's urging.

They have called other witnesses who suggested that Peterson lied constantly as soon as his wife disappeared.

The trial began its fourth week Monday with testimony from Laci Peterson's friend Stacey Boyers.

Boyers stopped several times to wipe tears as she described the last time she had spoken with Laci and the frantic scene at the Petersons' home on Christmas Eve 2002 -- the day the pregnant schoolteacher was reported missing.

She also testified how tired Laci Peterson was because of her pregnancy.

"She told me that it didn't seem like it was the holidays because it was kind of depressing," Boyers said.

"Every time she would start to do something, she would have to stop and rest," she said.

Prosecutors allege that Peterson's affair with a massage therapist drove him to murder his wife in their Modesto home on or around Dec. 24. They allege that Peterson, 31, then dumped her body into San Francisco Bay, using the fishing story as a cover-up.

Defense lawyers assert that someone abducted Laci from a nearby park, then framed her husband after hearing his widely publicized alibi.

Under cross-examination, Boyers acknowledged that Laci Peterson was a private person who didn't share all the details of her life.

Friends and family members learned only after Laci Peterson had vanished that she knew of a previous affair that Peterson had, according to testimony.

Peterson contends his wife also knew of the affair with massage therapist Amber Frey.

"You didn't know anything about the fact that she knew about this affair?" defense lawyer Mark Geragos asked.

"No," Boyers replied. "Laci and Scott seemed happy."

Debra Wolski, Laci Peterson's prenatal yoga instructor, took the stand, testifying about Laci's weakened state.

"She could barely walk.... She was in pain.... She needed help getting back to the car," Wolski said of the last time Laci attended her class -- four days before she vanished.

Geragos attacked Wolski's testimony, pointing out discrepancies in her statements.

He cited a police report in which Wolski said that Laci told her the only exercise she got was walking the dog in the morning.

On the witness stand Monday, Wolski said Laci told her she had stopped walking the dog.

Police "just manufactured this statement?" Geragos asked of the report.

"I don't know," she replied.

Wolski then said she hadn't told police Laci walked the dog every morning, an acknowledgment that portions of the police report were inaccurate.

Geragos has charged that authorities focused solely on his client, ignoring other leads, and that they conducted a sloppy investigation rife with inaccurate reports.

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