|Opposing sides wrangle
if Conner was born alive
November 17, 2003
Note: This story contains autopsy information that some readers may find too graphic.
Opposing sides in Scott Peterson’s preliminary hearing continued to wrangle late this morning
over whether his son could have been delivered by Caesarian section before he died.
In gruesome testimony that left the defendant’s mother dabbing her eyes with a tissue, a
medical examiner stuck to his opinion that the boy’s body became entangled in ocean debris.
Defense attorney Mark Geragos of Los Angeles expressed disbelief, noting that the tiny
body of Conner Peterson was recovered with a thin stretch of plastic tape
knotted about the head and chest.
“The baby had to be swimming like this,” Geragos said, arms stroking the air as he stood
next to the witness stand. “Wouldn’t you agree that is extremely unlikely?”
Forensic pathologist Brian Peterson, no relation to the defendant, said, “I agree that it is
unlikely that baby would swim.”Also, there was no evidence of injury to the boy’s
skin under the tape, the medical examiner testified.
Scott Peterson faces the death penalty if convicted of double murder. He stayed out of the
courtroom this morning, and so did members of his late wife’s family. His own family
members cringed as the medical examiner inadvertently and briefly
exposed to the audience portions of large autopsy photos.
Brian Peterson, a forensic pathologist on contract with Contra Costa County, acknowledged
that a small rectangular length of unknown substance showed in a photo taken when Conner’s
body was found, but had been removed when another photo was taken in an examination room.
Geragos suggested that it was electrical tape - furthering the prospect of foul play
aside from the prosecution theory pinning blame on Scott Peterson.
But the medical examiner said he thought it might have been kelp. He didn’t remove it and
didn’t know what he became of it, he said, adding that that would be up to a
police criminalist from Richmond. (Enquirer - Autopsy report)
Brian Peterson also acknowledged that Laci Peterson’s skeletal tissue showed traces of
caffeine, but said he did not know how long that substance remains in a body after death.
A source has told The Bee that a toxicology report on Conner Peterson showed no caffeine.
The medical examiner continued to assert that decomposition and tidal action likely
released the boy from his mother’s womb after she was submerged in San Francisco Bay.
The two bodies washed ashore in mid-April.
NE- CYRIL WECHT WILL NOT TESTIFY
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|PRELIMINARY HEARING - DAY 10
Monday - November 17, 2003