Peterson Family Denied Money from House

Peterson Family Denied Money from House
The former Peterson residence
Brian Lowe/ZUMA

04/13/2006 01:55PM

Scott Peterson's mother has lost a legal battle to the parents of the slain Laci Peterson over money from last year's sale of Scott and Laci's house.

Jackie Peterson said in court Thursday that she had continued to pay more than $35,000 for mortgage and other expenses for the Modesto, Calif., residence during a time when Scott was arrested and convicted of killing Laci. (Peterson, 33, is on death row at San Quentin Prison.)

An attorney for Laci Peterson's mother, Sharon Rocha, said creditors can only be reimbursed for debts that have accrued before a death, not after -- and the probate judge agreed.

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Jackie Peterson suggested that Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge David Vander Wall look past the fact that she was appearing without a lawyer and that she might not have followed all the correct legal procedures.

“They know I was making the payments, and the estate profited unfairly from these payments,” she said. “The house was neglected and rundown. I'm not looking to prolong the close of this or to profit from it. I just want to be reimbursed.”

Judge Vander Wall was brief in his response. “I don't think there's any basis for a creditor's claim,” he said.

Sharon and Dennis Rochas, who are divorced, did not attend the hearing, but the decision enables them to share $385,000 after administrative costs. The money includes their $108,000 share of the profit on the couple's house (the Petersons collected $100,000 last year), about $30,000 that Laci had in various savings and retirement accounts, and a $250,000 life insurance policy.

Jackie Peterson had no comment after the hearing. When asked how Scott was doing, his sister, Susan Caudillo, responded: “He's an innocent man. How do you think he's doing?”

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