Peterson's Defense: 'A Life Worth Saving'

12/01/2004 at 03:00 PM EST

Peterson's Defense: 'A Life Worth Saving'
Lee Peterson
DAN HONDA/CONTRA COSTA TIMES/EPA/Landov
Scott Peterson's father took the stand Wednesday to try to convince a jury to spare his son's life in the second day of the penalty phase in the murder case.

Scott looked attentively at his father as Lee Peterson told jurors about his own unhappy childhood and how meeting his wife, Scott's mother, Jackie, was the highlight if his life.

"She is the best thing that has ever happened to me," he said.

He also talked fondly about his son as being a dedicated golfer and a good student who never had any disciplinary problems.

Earlier in the day, defense lawyers told jurors that Peterson's was "a life worth saving."

Defense co-counsel Pat Harris said that although the jury has spent five months listening to testimony about Peterson, the defense witnesses will show another side to the defendant.

"You don’t know who Scott Peteron is and it is our job to show you," Harris said. "This is a man who affected people lives in a million small ways."

Scott Peterson, 32, was convicted Nov. 12 for the 2002 murders of his wife Laci and the 8-month-old fetus she was carrying. During this phase of the trial, jurors will recommend whether the former fertilizer salesman should be put to death or receive life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Other witnesses who will testify on behalf of Peterson include his high school golf coach, a college professor and his mother, Jackie Peterson.

The defense is fighting a tough battle to try to counter Tuesday's emotional testimony from Laci Peterson's family – especially her mother, Sharon Rocha.

Throughout Rocha's 45-minute testimony, she often broke down in tears, especially when she talked about her daughter being buried with her unborn son, Conner. At one point, Rocha screamed at Peterson: "Divorce was always an option – not murder."

Laci's older brother Brent, younger sister Amy and stepfather Ron Grantski also took the stand Tuesday, and all testified about Laci's captivating smile. "She lit up every room," said Grantski. "She always, always had a smile."

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