Peterson Defense Tells Jury

Murder Case Wasn't Proved

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- Prosecutors failed to prove that Scott Peterson murdered his pregnant wife, Laci, and were telling jurors, "don't bother with the five months of evidence," a defense attorney said Tuesday.

Mark Geragos told jurors that prosecutors portrayed Peterson as a "jerk and a liar" but have not shown him to be guilty. Geragos accused authorities of waffling on their theory of the crime, first saying Peterson's affair with Amber Frey was his motive for murder, and later pointing to Peterson's desire to be free from marriage.

"Clearly Amber was not the motive. Nobody was going to kill Laci Peterson and her child for Amber Frey," Geragos said.

The jurors heard the prosecution's closing argument Monday and could begin deliberations Wednesday. The trial began with jury selection in March and opening statements in June.

The prosecutors tried to make jurors hate his client, Geragos said. "If you hate him, then maybe what they're asking you to do is just convict him. Don't bother with the five months of evidence. . . . Don't bother with the fact that the evidence shows clearly that he didn't do this and had absolutely no motive to do this," Geragos told jurors.

Prosecutors say Peterson killed his wife on Dec. 23 or 24, 2002, then dumped her weighted body into San Francisco Bay. Defense lawyers say someone else abducted and killed Laci.

* CLAYTON, N.C. -- A woman upset about the firing of a friend took five people hostage at a Caterpillar plant before releasing them unharmed and surrendering, Sheriff Steve Bizzell said. The woman said she had explosives on her body. "She's irate about the treatment that her friend got," Bizzell said.

* JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The editorial page editor of the Florida Times-Union ended his 42-year career after a committee found instances of plagiarism and improperly attributed material in editorials, the publisher announced. Publisher Carl Cannon said he accepted Lloyd Brown's resignation after a committee Cannon appointed found three instances of plagiarism and other times when borrowed material was not properly attributed in Times-Union editorials dating to 1996. "At no time have we ever attempted to pass off someone else's work as our own," the paper quoted Brown as saying. "If other material was used without proper attribution, it was inadvertent."

* CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Strangers contributed more than $2,600 to help win the freedom of Robert Smitty, who was jailed eight days after he donated his kidney to a man he met over the Internet, Smitty's attorney said. Smitty was released after paying $1, 150 of the $8,100 he owed in child support.

-- From News Services