Mark Geragos and Scott Peterson
By many accounts, this was not the spectacular finish most expected from Scott Peterson's defense attorney, Mark Geragos.
Geragos ended Peterson's defense Tuesday, "not with a bang but a whimper," in the words of Gloria Allred, the attorney for Peterson's former mistress, Amber Frey.
After only six days and 14 witnesses, the last of whom was a police officer testifying about a burglary across the street from the Peterson residence that is somehow related to Laci's disappearance, Geragos quietly said, "Defense rests," reports PEOPLE. By contrast, the prosecution's case lasted 19 weeks and presented 176 witnesses.
Peterson is charged with the murder of his pregnant wife, Laci, and the couple's unborn son. Laci Peterson disappeared from the couple's home on Dec. 24, 2002. Her body and that of her fetus later washed ashore.
Some trial observers said the defense's less-is-more strategy is potentially risky. "To end the case with a witness talking about a burglary that was done pretty incompetently and somehow infer that these were the mastermind killers – that's not a very powerful ending to a case," said law professor Robert Talbot.
Other observers seemed to agree that the defense lost its footing last week with the testimony of Dr. Charles March, who spoke about the age of the fetus, whose meltdown on the stand may have crippled Peterson's case.
The defense and prosecution will each have a chance to offer rebuttal witnesses, a process that is expected to be wrapped up by week's end. Closing arguments are anticipated for early next week.
If convicted, Peterson faces the death penalty or life without parole.