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Lawyer Says Peterson Investigation Shoddy

June 29, 2004|From Associated Press

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — Defense attorneys in Scott Peterson's double-murder trial attempted to show jurors Monday that there are ways to explain Laci Peterson's disappearance and murder other than the prosecution's contention that her husband killed her.

Defense attorney Mark Geragos has used several prosecution witnesses to show that the investigation, which led to charges that Peterson killed his pregnant wife, was shoddily executed and designed from the start to implicate his client.

In a rambling cross-examination of Modesto Police Det. Allen Brocchini, Geragos asked about several tips police received early in the investigation, including one that Laci was being held in a storage bin about 30 miles from her hometown of Modesto.

The day began with Judge Alfred A. Delucchi admonishing the Modesto Police Department for violating a gag order in the case.

In cross-examination Thursday, Geragos got Brocchini to admit that he deliberately deleted from his report a witness account that could be favorable to Peterson. On Friday, Modesto Police Sgt. Ed Steele told the Associated Press that Brocchini omitted the material because it is in other police reports provided to the defense.

All parties are bound by the order that prevents them from talking to the media. "This has to stop," Delucchi told a Modesto police captain in the gallery. "Go tell the chief that he's going to have to sit on his folks ... or there's going to be trouble."

After the admonishment, Geragos resumed his cross-examination of Brocchini, the first investigator assigned to the report that Laci Peterson had vanished. Last week, Brocchini acknowledged several investigative lapses.

On Monday, Geragos questioned him about a tip police received Dec. 26, 2002, two days after Laci was reported missing.

"There was a tip that was received ... regarding Laci being held in a storage container in Tracy, Calif. You hear about that?" Geragos asked.

Brocchini said he knew of it but did not have much information.

Geragos said police flew over the area with a helicopter equipped with a heat-seeking device and saw what could have been a sign of life, but officers never searched the area.

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