Fishing Expert Testifies in Peterson Trial
POOL-Bart Ah You/ZUMA
07/27/2004 at 08:00 AM EDT
Monday's Day 29 in the double-murder trial of Scott Peterson turned fishy, with the prosecution aiming to poke holes in Scott's story that he was fishing in San Francisco Bay on Christmas Eve 2002, the day his pregnant wife Laci went missing.
The couple's financial planner also testified on the life insurance policies that they purchased 18 months prior to Laci's disappearance.
Assistant Stanislaus County, Calif., District Attorney Rick Distaso spent nearly an hour questioning Angelo Cuanang, a writer and commercial fisherman who co-authored the book, "Sturgeon."
On the stand, Cuanang detailed the ideal rod, lures and conditions for catching sturgeon and stripped bass in the Bay area. Through Cuanang, Distaso attempted to prove that Peterson lied about fishing for sturgeon or striped bass that fateful day, and that a large fish – or possibly, even a body – could easily be pushed back into the water from a 13-to-14 ft. boat like Scott's.
The former fertilizer salesman, 31, is charged with murdering his wife and unborn child in their Modesto home and then dumping the remains in the bay. He has pleaded not guilty.
Holding up Peterson's rod and reel in the courtroom, Distaso asked Cuanang: "Would you say this rod was rigged up for sturgeon fishing?"
"No," the witness responded.
Defense Attorney Pat Harris, under cross-examination, got Cuanang to admit, however, that not all recreational fisherman would have his level of expertise in catching sturgeon or any other saltwater fish.
A second witness, Brian Ullrich, a financial advisor for Laci and Scott Peterson, then testified that he called Scott in April of 2001 to meet with him about his financial portfolio. Ullrich told the jurors that the couple purchased two live insurance policies for $250,000 each from him as well as two IRAs.
Prosecutor David Harris concluded his questioning of Ullrich by asking, "If something would happen to Laci Peterson, who would get the money?" "Scott Peterson," answered Ullrich.
Under cross-examination, Mark Geragos quickly countered with, "If something happened to Scott who would get the money?" "Laci Peterson," answered Ullrich.