This thesis provides extensive knowledge of the infamous Scott Peterson murder case, which made national headlines in 2002 and 2003. The thesis focuses mainly on Scott Peterson, who was convicted in 2004 of murdering his pregnant wife Laci. A synopsis of the case is provided at the beginning of this work, and also begins by discussing the early lives of Laci and Scott, and their marriage before her disappearance on Christmas Eve 2002. This thesis details the progression of the case extensively, and discusses how Scott Peterson became incriminated in Laci’s disappearance, especially after the revelation of an extramarital affair he had been having at the time of Laci’s disappearance. The thesis also covers the widespread media attention that the case received, noting why the case received the coverage that it did and how this coverage influenced the case against Peterson. It dissects the infamous interview Peterson gave on national television, and why this interview was unsuccessful in showing Peterson’s innocence. This thesis also details the conditions in which Laci and her unborn son, who the couple planned to name Conner, had been found, near where Peterson placed himself on the day of Laci’s disappearance. It also proposes that Peterson’s arrest was not during an attempt to flee to Mexico, as the media has perpetrated. This thesis takes a close look at the Scott Peterson jury, including jury selection, dismissal of jurors during the trial, and how the jury interpreted evidence presented at the trial. This thesis also notes the prosecution and defense attorneys who were appointed to the Scott Peterson case, and how their performances evolved throughout the trial. It discusses why the jurors decided to convict Peterson of the murders of his wife and unborn son, and sentence him to death by lethal injection. This thesis also notes the media attention the case has received after Peterson’s sentence, and how the case led to the passing of

the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, widely know as Laci and Conner’s law. It also compares the Peterson case to that of Casey Anthony, who received similar media attention for a similarly heinous crime, but was acquitted. Lastly, it debates whether Peterson will ever be executed, given the current death penalty moratorium in California. This thesis also includes an exclusive letter from Scott Peterson, providing insight on his case. Overall, this thesis encompasses knowledge of the Peterson case more broadly than the coverage it typically receives.


Scott Peterson, Amber Frey, Laci Peterson, Famous murder cases, Crime, Crime in media

Document Type


Year of Completion



Criminal Justice


George Thorsen