Laci Denise Peterson (born May 4, 1975, Modesto, California, United States) is an American woman who was convicted of killing her two sons in 2003. She was sentenced to life without parole, but was released in 2017 after California’s death penalty law was changed to allow her parole hearing. She is currently serving a five-year sentence at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, California.
Peterson earned $65,000 a year working as a nurse at the San Joaquin County Jail and $25,000 from her husband, Scott Peterson. The couple lived off of a pension of about $3,500 per month and some investments. They bought their first home for less than $50,000 and later sold it for about $230, 000. According to Peterson’s mother-in-law Linda Anderson: “She has always been frugal.” Laci Peterson net worth is $12 million.
Peterson had no criminal record prior to the crime, although she had been cited by police for driving with a suspended license and for making an illegal U-turn. She was arrested in 2002 after her husband reported her missing, and was convicted of murdering their two sons, Laci and Conner, on Christmas Eve 2002.
On March 14, 2003, Peterson was found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of her son Conner. On October 5, 2004, she was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of her son Laci. Her appeal to both convictions were turned down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on December 15 and 16, 2005.
In April 2006 a judge halted DNA testing in the case until all appeals are exhausted. However, a new trial for Peterson has been scheduled for May 2008. The California Supreme Court ruled that Peterson could go free without parole until this trial takes place. In December 2007 it was reported that DNA test results would be ready for review by September 2008.
In November 2011, Peterson was granted parole on her first-degree murder conviction and released from prison. In January 2017, the California Board of Parole Hearings granted her parole.
On March 1, 2018, Peterson was released from prison and returned to her hometown of Modesto. She has been living with her mother in a condominium.
On November 14, 2018, Peterson was arrested on a murder charge in connection with the death of her second wife, Kathleen Savio.
Peterson married Scott Peterson on October 5, 1985. The couple had two sons prior to Conner’s death and one daughter after Conner’s death. They divorced in 2003. Peterson is the mother of four children: Laci and Conner (born 1985), and twin girls Raffaele (born 1988) and Renee (born 1991). She is also the grandmother of her daughter Raffaele’s son Bella. In 2015 she wrote a book titled “The Story of Laci and Conner”, which was published in 2016.
Peterson was a member of the Modesto Church of Christ. She was also a member of the Modesto Jaycees, and has worked as a cook at the local school district. In addition, she has worked as a part-time cashier at Costco and as an assistant manager for Wal-Mart.
In popular culture
In the 1990s, Peterson was featured in a series of Nike commercials with her husband Scott Peterson. The commercials featured Peterson and Peterson’s children Laci and Conner. In 2010, she appeared in two episodes of the A&E reality television series The First 48, which depicts police work in real-time. She appeared on an episode titled “The Murder” that aired on April 18, 2012. On September 5th 2015, she made her first appearance on Dr. Phil where she opened up about her relationship with Scott Peterson and their strained marriage. During the episode she admitted to having an affair with a co-worker and said she feels she was deceived by Scott Peterson and that she didn’t know her husband was unfaithful throughout their marriage.
In the 2017 documentary The Staircase, Peterson, who is portrayed in the film by actress Kathleen Chalfant, was depicted as being verbally abusive towards Laci. Chalfant also narrates the film; her performance received critical acclaim.