Scott Peterson murder case to be aired again — in civil court

MODESTO, Calif. — Convicted murderer Scott Peterson may face a second full-blown trial when his former in-laws seek a multimillion-dollar civil judgment against him for the deaths of Laci and Conner Peterson.

Judge Roger Beauchesne ruled Friday that Peterson's conviction and death sentence would not speak for themselves during a wrongful death trial. That means his in-laws will have to prove again in court that Peterson killed Laci and Conner.

Defense attorney Nareg Gourjian of Los Angeles cited a videotaped deposition at San Quentin State Prison in which Peterson insists he is innocent and the victim of a shoddy investigation by Modesto police.

"We're obviously disputing that he killed his wife," Gourjian said.

The civil trial is set to begin July 8 and should take about five weeks, said Gourjian, an associate of attorney Mark Geragos, who represented Peterson during a trial that garnered nationwide attention.

Attorneys for Laci Peterson's father, Dennis Rocha, and mother, Sharon Rocha, argued that the facts of the case were already settled. Beauchesne disagreed.

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