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Juror in Scott Peterson trial wrote him 17 letters while he was on death row saying she was ‘haunted

A juror who helped sentence Scott Peterson to death admitted in court to sending him 17 letters – including one sent from the psychiatric unit – as a court works to decide whether her behavior should see the killer husband retried.

Richelle Nice’s participation in Peterson’s conviction is at the center of a retrial bid sought by his legal team, who’ve also contended that she omitted crucial details about her past as a domestic abuse survivor during the jury selection process.  

Nice revealed Monday in court that she penned more than a dozen letters to Peterson after she helped convict him, while he was on death row for the murder of his wife Laci and their unborn son, Conner, on December 24, 2002.  

‘What happened that night Scott?’ she wrote in an August 2005 letter. ‘What pushed you to the limit, where you felt like you had to kill someone who not only loved you so much, but was carrying a part of you inside of her?’

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Nice, who is testifying with impunity, began writing to Peterson after he was exiled to death row. In one missive, written on December 17, 2005 from a mental hospital, she divulged that she suffered a psychiatric breakdown and had been locked in a ‘crazy unit.’ 

‘I never knew how much this trial had an impact on me, plus I never had a great life,’ she wrote. ‘All the pressure just hit me. I think it has been the time of year. Our verdict, Laci and Conner.’

Richelle Nice, one of 12 jurors who helped send Scott Peterson to death row for killing his wife and unborn son, admitted in court Monday to sending him letters in jail

Richelle Nice is pictured outside a California court on February 25. Her behavior during Scott Peterson’s trial for murdering his wife could see Peterson granted a retrial 

Nice, who received eight replies from Peterson, refuted suggestions during questioning that her infatuation with the case might have signaled bias.

Prosecutor David Harris asked: ‘Miss Nice, did you have a bias against Mr. Peterson?’ 

‘Nope,’ she replied.

Harris said in a follow-up question: ‘Did you decide the case based on just the facts, not preconceived notion?’

‘Absolutely,’ she said.

Scott Peterson, pictured at the San Mateo County Superior Court in Redwood City, California on March 1, 2022, is seeking a retrial

Scott Peterson, pictured at the San Mateo County Superior Court in Redwood City, California on March 1, 2022, is seeking a retrial

He was initially sentenced to death for killing his wife Laci and their unborn son Conner on December 24, 2002

He was initially sentenced to death for killing his wife Laci and their unborn son Conner on December 24, 2002

 Peterson’s lawyers have claimed that Nice, dubbed ‘Strawberry Shortcake’ because of her dyed red hair, lied ahead of trial in 2014 when responding to a jury selection question about whether she or her associates had ever witnessed or been victimized by a crime. 

Peterson was sentenced to death in 2005 for the murders, but was last December re-sentenced to life without parole

Peterson was sentenced to death in 2005 for the murders, but was last December re-sentenced to life without parole

Although she was once granted a restraining order against a boyfriend convicted of assaulting her – and claimed to be terrorized while pregnant by her boyfriend’s ex girlfriend – she failed to disclose her history in the jury questionnaire.  

While grilled on the stand Friday by Peterson’s lawyer Pat Harris, Nice claimed that although her boyfriend was convicted of assaulting her, he never actually did.

She said her then-boyfriend Eddie Whiteside called the cops on her in November 2001 after she assaulted him in their bedroom during a fight. When police arrived, she said they noticed a cut on her lip that was caused by her braces and they arrested him for assault.

‘Eddie never hit me,’ she told court on Friday. ‘Now, or any time. Eddie never hit me, so I was not a victim of domestic violence.’

However, Nice did admit during testimony that she failed to disclose being victimized by her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend, who slashed his tires, broke into their home and threatened her. 

In one letter Nice wrote to Peterson in December 2015 from a psychiatric hospital, she divulged that she suffered a mental breakdown and had been locked in a 'crazy unit. She's pictured on March 16, 2005 in Redwood City, California

In one letter Nice wrote to Peterson in December 2015 from a psychiatric hospital, she divulged that she suffered a mental breakdown and had been locked in a ‘crazy unit. She’s pictured on March 16, 2005 in Redwood City, California 

Nice, dubbed 'Strawberry Shortcake' because of her bright red hair, told court last Friday that she has never been the victim of a domestic assault despite obtaining a restraining order against a boyfriend convicted of assaulting her. She's pictured outside court on December 13, 2004

Nice, dubbed ‘Strawberry Shortcake’ because of her bright red hair, told court last Friday that she has never been the victim of a domestic assault despite obtaining a restraining order against a boyfriend convicted of assaulting her. She’s pictured outside court on December 13, 2004

Peterson was sentenced to death in 2005 for the 2002 murder of his wife, Laci, and unborn son, Connor. He was last December re-sentenced to life without parole. 

Laci vanished from their home in Modesto, California while pregnant on Christmas Eve 2002. Investigators learned that he was secretly dating Amber Frey, who believed him to be a widower during their courtship.

The 27-year-old’s corpse was found floating in San Francisco Bay in April 2003, with Connor’s fetus found to have been mutilated.

Investigators said Peterson took the bodies from their home and dumped them from his fishing boat.

If he were alive today, Conner would be a 20-year-old man. 

While Nice’s testimony has now concluded, fellow juror Justin Falconer could testify that Nice talked a lot about Conner, referring to him as ‘little man.’ 

Peterson’s attorneys said he would also testify that Nice said she was having financial problems and that they joked about a post-trial book and movie deals.

Peterson's  pregnant wife Laci (pictured) vanished on Christmas Eve 2002 and was discovered months later floating in the San Francisco Bay

Peterson’s  pregnant wife Laci (pictured) vanished on Christmas Eve 2002 and was discovered months later floating in the San Francisco Bay

If Peterson gets a new trial, his lawyers said they can present new evidence that burglars were nearby on the day Laci Peterson disappeared

If Peterson gets a new trial, his lawyers said they can present new evidence that burglars were nearby on the day Laci Peterson disappeared

They said they could also prove that witnesses saw her alive that day, and that her fetus was 'alive for at least another five to six days' based on an examination of the fetal remains

They said they could also prove that witnesses saw her alive that day, and that her fetus was ‘alive for at least another five to six days’ based on an examination of the fetal remains

Peterson told his mistress Amber Frey (pictured together) that he was a widower during their courtship. She testified against him during trial

Peterson told his mistress Amber Frey (pictured together) that he was a widower during their courtship. She testified against him during trial 

To have his conviction thrown out, Peterson’s attorneys must prove to the judge that Nice committed misconduct and did so ‘based on a bias toward convicting Scott.’ 

She said in a sworn declaration last year that she didn’t ‘feel `victimized´ the way the law might define that term,’ and didn´t think the restraining order was a lawsuit. 

If Peterson gets a new trial, Harris said they can present new evidence that burglars were nearby on the day Laci Peterson disappeared, that witnesses saw her alive that day, and that her fetus was ‘alive for at least another five to six days’ based on an examination of the fetal remains.

However, prosecutors said Peterson´s attorneys have presented no evidence to support their assertions that he deserves a new trial because Nice had a ‘darker motive’ to be on the jury ‘and was in essence a stealth juror.’

Two filmmakers who worked on the post-trial television documentary ‘The Murder of Laci Peterson’ are to testify that they noticed on Nice´s wall a photograph of a child wearing pajamas that said ‘Little-man.’


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