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Archive for Sunday, June 1, 2003

Judge orders autopsy reports on Laci Peterson and unborn child sealed

June 1, 2003

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— The autopsy report on the deaths of Laci Peterson and her unborn son will remain sealed -- for now -- even though portions already have been leaked to the media.

Superior Court Judge Al Girolami ruled Friday that releasing the reports could hamper the investigation into Peterson's death and prejudice public opinion before her husband is tried for the murder.

Scott Peterson, 30, is accused of killing his wife and unborn son last December.

Laci Peterson, 27, was eight months pregnant when she vanished just before Christmas. Her body and that of the baby -- whom the couple had planned to name Conner -- washed ashore last month in San Francisco Bay, where Scott Peterson says he was fishing when his wife disappeared.

Girolami is scheduled to hear more arguments Friday from prosecutors, who had asked that the autopsy reports be released to the public.

Their request came after media reports described portions of the autopsy results.

Prosecutors said those leaks were biased toward the defense.

Girolami ordered that leaks stop and indicated he would consider a gag order to stop the prosecution and defense teams from talking.

A spokeswoman for Laci Peterson's family members said Thursday that they were "devastated" at hearing autopsy reports without warning on television. The reports indicated the unborn son had plastic tape wrapped around his neck and a cut across the shoulders.

Meanwhile, friends of Laci Peterson removed personal articles Friday from the home where she and Scott Peterson lived.

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