Can Scott Escape His Lies?

09/30/2004 at 12:00 PM EDT

Can Scott Escape His Lies?
The Modesto Bee/AP
He walks into court each morning wearing his familiar non-chalant grin, as seemingly carefree as a man strolling to the first tee for a round of golf. But whether Scott Peterson is simply confident in the outcome of his murder trial – or perhaps just disconnected from the possible death sentence that hangs over him – is unclear. Certainly his family, who sit behind the defense table at every session, is not immune to the pressure. "I can't speak for Scott," says his sister-in-law Janey Peterson, "but we're all feeling anxieties now." In a show of solidarity the Peterson clan wear a blue and yellow ribbon pin. "We won't take it off," says Janey, "until we find out who killed Laci."

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With the Peterson trial entering its endgame in Redwood City, Calif., that hour may be drawing near. After four months of the prosecution presenting its case, defense attorney Mark Geragos is about to get his turn to sow more reasonable doubt that Scott murdered his wife, Laci, and their unborn son. So far, though, Peterson's breath-taking pattern of deceit and sleazy behavior – his infidelities, his fuzzy alibi, his lies to cops and loved ones alike – remains the most powerful evidence against him, if not the only evidence. On Sept. 27 lead detective Craig Grogan disclosed that Peterson had had two affairs before Amber Frey during his five-year marriage. "There are going to be some battles in that jury room," says Stan Goldman of Loyola Law School in L.A. "Some people are going to see this guy as obviously guilty, and some are going to see this as a case in which the prosecution has put on nothing that really connects him to it."

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