Human Development

Scott Peterson Trial and Sentence Gave Massive Exposure to Humanity of Unborn Child (12/04)

The massively publicized trial of Californian Scott Peterson for the double murder of his pregnant wife Laci and unborn son Connor ended with the jury’s recommended sentence of death by injection for the convicted murderer.

Setting aside arguments over the death penalty, the case itself gave extraordinary public exposure to the reality of the humanity of the unborn child, who in this case was Connor Peterson.

Fox News began its report on the sentencing with the statement, “the jury that convicted Scott Peterson of murdering his wife and unborn baby…”.

“Child, “baby”, “son” were often used by parties in the case to refer to the obviously living, moving and precious to his mother and relatives little Connor. Use of ideological motivated or reality avoidance euphemisms of past decades were harder to justify given the blunt realities of the case.

“Fetus”, “product of conception”, “clump of tissue” just didn’t cut it although the media nevertheless still did their best through language manipulation to undermine the humanity of Connor Peterson.

The charges, conforming to California law, considered that two persons were considered to have been murdered, Laci Peterson and her seven and one-half month gestation unborn child Connor. California’s fetal homicide law of 1970 states: “Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.”

One cause for concern in the judgment is that the jury classified the murder of Connor as one of a less serious degree than that of his mother. However, both were ruled as murders. The death sentence option was available to the jury explicitly because it was determined that two people were murdered.

Concerned Women for America (CWA) stated in its Dec 12 report, “One of the several statutory means of finding ‘special circumstances’ for capital murder in California is murder of two or more victims. Conner, who was at least seven-and-a-half months gestation, was just as much a victim of murder as his mother. The fact that the jury found Peterson guilty of second-degree rather than first-degree murder for his death defies logic. Nonetheless, the sentence of death leaves no doubt about their perception of Conner”.

CWA further explains that the California statute that allowed these charges and sentencing “distinguishes between a human being and a fetus while providing as much legal protection for the unborn as possible under Roe v. Wade. For Scott Peterson, it’s a distinction without a difference”.

Newsmax.com reported Tuesday that the California law “that allowed an unborn child to be deemed a murder victim created a serious legal problem for the abortion industry, which thrives on the fiction that unborn babies are not human life and are therefore expendable and cannot be treated as victims”.

Juror Richelle Nice, said of all the factors in the Peterson case, the killing of Conner – whom she called “little man” – hit her the hardest. “That was his daddy that did that to him,” she said, adding that she decided on the death sentence because of the nature of the crime. The other two jurors to speak out on the case, reports Newsmax, also stressed Conner’s murder as one of the key factors in their decision to impose the death penalty.

Associated Press quoted juror Greg Beratlis stating one of the things about the murders that influenced him was that “Those bodies”, Laci and her son Connor, “were found in the same place”. Juror Michael Belmessierihis stated on CBS’ that Peterson “lost his wife and his child”.

14wfie.com reported that Juror Richelle Nice said the death of little Connor, who she called “little man”, hit her the hardest. She said, “That was his daddy that did that to him.”

Jury foreman Steve Cordosi said that the washing ashore of the victims bodies where they did was one the items that convinced him of Peterson’s guilt.

Randy Thomasson of the Campaign for California Families (CCF) told USA Today that the Peterson case “put the unborn child on the map for everyone to see.”

Thomasson, in a report in Agape Press, further stated what is undoubtedly crossing many minds as a result of the Peterson case. He said, “Why is it wrong for Scott Peterson to murder his pre-born son, but okay for politicians and judges to continue to allow late-term abortions?”
[LifeSiteNews.com Special Report – Tuesday December 14, 2004]