REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - A jury decided Monday that Scott Peterson should be executed for murdering his pregnant wife, Laci, whose Christmas Eve disappearance two years ago was the opening act in a legal drama that captivated the nation.
Cheers went up outside the courtroom as the jury announced its decision after 11 1/2 hours of deliberations over three days. The jury had two options in deciding the 32-year-old former fertilizer salesman's fate: life in prison without parole or death by injection.
Judge Alfred A. Delucchi will formally sentence Peterson on Feb. 25. The judge will have the option of reducing the sentence to life, but such a move is highly unlikely.
Peterson clenched his jaw when the verdict was read but showed no other emotion.
In arguing for death, prosecutors called Peterson "the worst kind of monster" and said he was undeserving of sympathy. The defense begged jurors to "go back there and please spare his life."