07/20/2004 at 08:00 AM EDT
Scott Peterson's defense attorney Mark Geragos scored points for his side Monday by getting a police officer to admit that no evidence of murder was found in the Peterson home or in the former fertilizer salesman's truck.
"No tissue, no blood," Modesto Detective Henry (Dodge) Hendee said during his morning testimony about several areas on Peterson's pickup truck where investigators thought they had found blood and on a comforter from Scott and wife Laci's master bedroom.
Only one suspected bloodstain was found, and that was on the interior driver-side door, the detective said. Geragos told the jury in his opening statement that the stain on the door was Peterson's blood.
"It was an old scab," Geragos said in his opening statement. "It wasn't Laci's blood and it had nothing to do with Laci."
Hendee said police also found no tissue, blood or bodily fluids inside the truck's toolbox where the prosecutors believe Peterson stuffed the body of his pregnant wife before he drove her body to San Francisco Bay and dumped it into the water. Paterson, 31, has pleaded not guilty.
Hendee also said that authorities did not find any blood at a Modesto warehouse Peterson used for his fertilizer business.
Laci and the couple's unborn child washed up on shore just two miles from where Scott says he was fishing on the day of his wife's December 2002 disappearance and that he believes his wife was abducted by strangers.
During a rigorous cross-examination of Modesto Detective Ray Coyle, who was in charge of keep track of sex offenders in his city, Geragos said one possible suspect, a man with a history of mental problems, confessed to the crime.
The man, who was on a list of sex offenders during Laci's disappearance, confessed that he murdered a woman in Modesto around Christmas time.
"He said he murdered a female named 'Lisa' Peterson, right?" Geragos asked Coyle. "He said the only witness was the dog; he said he broke her neck?"
"Yes," Coyle replied.
Coyle said the man, No. 42 on a list of 285 sex offenders, had been arrested on a traffic violation and confessed he was a murderer. He also owned a light-colored Chevy van and that his "friends" drove the body to the Bay Area and dumped it.
Coyle, however, said the man, who was not identified by name, was not credible because he had a history of mental illness and was "eliminated" as a suspect.