Peterson Trial: Laci Alone for Holidays

09/08/2004 at 07:00 AM EDT

Peterson Trial: Laci Alone for Holidays
AL GOLUB/EPA/Landov
Tears flowed Tuesday in the Redwood City, Calif., courtroom where Scott Peterson stands accused of murdering his pregnant wife Laci.

Terri Westera, a real estate agent whose daughter, Stacey Boyers, had been friends with Laci since the third grade, detailed Laci's lonely 2002 holiday season, having to celebrate while her husband was absent.

Scott Peterson, 31, is charged with killing his wife in their Modesto home on Christmas Eve 2002 and dumping her remains into San Francisco Bay. He has pleaded not guilty.

Westera testified that she sold Scott and Laci's first home to them, and later became heavily involved in the search for Laci by helping coordinate rescue efforts. Westera added that a visibly upset Scott had approached her soon after Laci's disappearance, about selling the house. She told him, "Now is not the time."

A week later, Scott approached another real-estate agent to assist in the sale of his home.

At one point, Westera began to cry when prosecutor Rick Distaso asked her to recall the last time she saw Laci, at a friend's Christmas party in Dec. 2002 – which Laci attended alone because, as Laci said, Scott had to rendezvous with a boss at San Francisco International Airport.

Scott Peterson's mistress, Amber Frey, testified in an earlier court appearance that she was out with Scott on the night in question.

The liveliest moment of the day occurred when Judge Alfred Delucchi warned Peterson's attorney Mark Geragos to "calm down" as the lawyer raised his voice while cross-examining Sarah Yoshida, the state Department of Justice investigator, about test results on the two pliers found in Scott's boat.

"(Too) argumentative?" Geragos coyly asked, restraining himself, while the courtroom broke out in laughter.

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