Peterson Is 'Stoic,' Parents Tell PEOPLE

Peterson Is 'Stoic,' Parents Tell PEOPLE
Jackie and Lee Peterson
Kimberly White/REUTERS/Landov

updated 06/03/2004 at 02:00 PM EDT

originally published 06/03/2004 02:00PM

In their first interview about the events of the past year, double-murder suspect Scott Peterson's mother, Jackie, tells PEOPLE that she and husband Lee are "standing beside him 200 percent."

Speaking from their suburban home near San Diego, Peterson's parents voiced support for their son, as did Scott's sister-in-law Janey, half sister Susan Caudillo and half brothers Joe and John.

Jackie Peterson calls her son "stoic," a trait, she says, runs in the family.

"How many (of us) have you seen sobbing on national television?" asks Janey. "You have six siblings here, six different personalities, and all of us have coped in a different way. So for anyone to sit there and say, 'Scott's not behaving like he should be for having a missing pregnant wife' – there's no textbook for that."

In the trial that began this week, prosecutors allege that Peterson, who is also charged with the murder of his unborn son Conner, killed his eight-months-pregnant wife Laci, 27, in their Modesto, Calif., home because he was having an affair with his mistress Amber Frey, then drove Laci's body nearly 100 miles to San Francisco Bay and dumped it from his small boat.

The whole family corresponds with Scott nearly daily, and they save up jokes to tell him during weekly prison visits, reports PEOPLE. "You walk in and see his smile," says Jackie, "and you're so glad you came."

Fighting on behalf of their son is also taking a financial toll on the family. They won't talk about how much they are paying attorney Mark Geragos, except to say that he isn't doing it pro bono. It is widely believed his fee for the case is around $1 million.

Lee and Jackie last year sold their mountain cabin to raise money, and they, along with all the siblings, have taken out second mortgages on their homes. The clan has also run through much of their collective savings.

"Money doesn't matter," says Janey matter-of-factly. "We'll sell the farm, we'll sell every car we own. If we end up living on a plot of land in tents and trailers, so be it. We're just going to do whatever it takes."

Says Janey: "we will get through this. There are bad days and very difficult things, make no mistake, but with each one, we have found a way to cope." But most important, she adds, "the victims here are Conner and Laci, not us."

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