'The Murder Of Laci Peterson' Tells All Sides Of The Story

by Kayla Hawkins
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While true crime has reached critical mass (you can tell because there's a thoughtful, satirical spoof of the genre trappings, American Vandal, making the rounds on Netflix right now), audiences' increased appetite for murder mysteries means more reconsiderations of cases long thought dormant. These offerings range from completely fictional ones like the now Emmy-winning The Night Of, to the highly scrutinized and ripped from the headlines, like Manhunt: Unabomber, which is deeply inspired by true events. A&E has made many a documentary, but can this trend guarantee their latest, The Murder of Laci Peterson, Season 2? While audiences can do a lot to help their favorite show get renewed, they can't give this case, which began back in 2002, more unsolved details that need a docuseries to tie them up. There hasn't been an announcement from A&E about the future of the series yet, but if there is an additional season, it probably wouldn't have much to do with Laci and everything to do with her husband and convicted murderer, Scott Peterson.

As the penultimate episode of The Murder of Laci Peterson showed, there allegedly may be some discrepancies in the timeline presented during the case. For example, handwritten notes from the Petersons' mailman, Russell Graybill, were not presented at trial. According to People Magazine, the notes claimed the following:

The family dog, McKenzie, [allegedly] did not bark at him when he delivered their mail between 10:35 and 10:50 AM. The account of Graybill, a defense witness, diverges from that of prosecution witness Karen Servas regarding McKenzie’s whereabouts, leading to different conclusions of when Laci was killed.

Scott's defense claims this allegedly disrupts the prosecution's timeline that Scott Peterson had allegedly already killed his wife and was on his way to dispose of her body during that window of time. But, as People reported, Graybill did testify at the 2004 trial, and, though his notes weren't shown, his live testimony didn't sway the jury. People reported that his testimony included him saying "there was nothing out of the ordinary" about Scott and Laci's home that day.

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According to reports from Modesto Bee, in August 2017, the California Attorney General's office responded to Scott Peterson's 2015 habeus corpus appeal of his first and second degree murder convictions for killing his wife and their unborn child. Some of his claims for why he thinks he should get a new trial include the trial not including the notes of the local mailman and that sitting "juror Richelle Nice [didn't] mention that she had been assaulted while pregnant four years earlier." However, according to the Modesto Bee, supervising deputy attorney general Donna Provenzano claims "the excluded testimony was far more damaging to Peterson’s defense." Additionally, the paper reported that Nice was only asked in pre-jury interviews whether she'd ever been involved "'in a lawsuit,' Provenzano noted — not a restraining order, which Nice had sought."

So, there really isn't enough material to sustain another season of television. The Murder of Laci Peterson explores the many details of the case, from Laci's life, to her disappearance, to the discovery of her body, to the trial and Scott's conviction. There's even an episode already dedicated to Scott's claims of innocence. All that is to say that this is a comprehensive look at multiple sides of the case, and, while there may be more that audiences still don't know, another docuseries might not be the best form to explore Scott Peterson's continued attempts to appeal his death row conviction.

The true crime genre relies on a central mystery that's captivating for the audience to explore, and if no new evidence emerges — and if Scott's appeals are quickly shut down, as the AG's response suggests they will be — then it might be best to shut ideas of The Murder of Laci Peterson Season 2 down in favor of A&E exploring another case instead.