REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP) _ The 12 jurors selected for Scott Peterson's murder trial all said they would be willing to sentence the former fertilizer salesman to death if they convict him of killing his wife and the couple's fetus.
Completing an arduous process that began 12 weeks ago, six men and six women were selected Thursday to decide whether Peterson murdered his pregnant wife, Laci, so that he could carry on an extramarital affair.
The jurors, who appear to range in age from 20s to 60s, include a school coach, a social worker, a firefighter, a former police officer, an adoption worker and a former security guard.
Others include a Teamster who works the graveyard shift and hasn't followed the high-profile case, and a woman whose fiance was convicted of murdering a stranger two decades ago. Six alternates also were chosen.
Experts lauded the jury for its diversity and fairness, while remarking on its potential risk _ to both sides.
``You really have a variety of life paths involved here,'' said David Graeven, a jury consultant with San Francisco-based Trial Behavior Consulting, after reading brief biographies of the jurors. ``This grinding process that took so long ultimately resulted in a diverse group of individuals.''
Opening statements are set for Tuesday. Peterson, 31, could get the death penalty if convicted.
Before the jurors left the room Thursday, Judge Alfred A. Delucchi ordered them to avoid news coverage of the case and told them to hunker down for a trial that could last up to six months.
``Unless you're dead, you're it,'' Delucchi said.
Jury selection involved nearly 1,600 prospective jurors, all of whom had to fill out long questionnaires. The court twice had to summon additional people. Many were excused because they opposed the death penalty or because they had already concluded Peterson is guilty.
The bodies of Peterson's wife and the couple's fetus washed up along San Francisco Bay in April 2003, not far from where Scott Peterson said he spent the morning of Dec. 24, 2002, on his fishing boat.
Prosecutors say Peterson killed his wife in their hometown of Modesto and dumped her body in the bay because he was having an affair with massage therapist Amber Frey.
The defense has argued that Scott Peterson returned from the fishing trip to discover his wife was missing.
Thumbnail sketches of the 12 jurors and six alternates seated for the Scott Peterson double-murder trial, as reported by the Daily News of Palo Alto, Calif.:
A 40-something white man who works as a head coach at a local school. He has coached 500 youths, including the son of a sheriff. He said everyone deserves a fair deal in the trial. He said he would expect people accused of a crime to defend themselves, but after the judge explained the burden of proof was on the prosecution, he would work to put that out of his mind, saying, ``I have to constantly remind myself.''
A white man in his 50s who consulted his parish priest before deciding he could vote for the death penalty under some circumstances. He works mostly outdoors, but did not reveal his job. He's a member of the Native Sons of the Golden West, but said that meant only that he was born in California. He said that although he had previously opined that Peterson was guilty, he could put that aside.
A 30-something female Hispanic county social worker with two sisters who also work for government agencies. She is studying at night to get her master's degree. Asked if she could be fair, she said, ``I tend to really want to do what's in the best interest of the people I serve.''
A former Colma police officer, a middle-aged man who now works as a project manager. The man said he was once arrested for assault and battery of a police officer during a union demonstration.
A husky white man in his late 20s or 30s with a crew cut. He's on disability from his job as an airport screener for a private firm and formerly worked as a store security agent. He apparently raises a child as a single parent. He said he has followed the case very little and smiled and shook his head when defense lawyer Mark Geragos asked if Peterson's affair would make him think he's guilty of murder.
A young, white Half Moon Bay firefighter-paramedic who agrees with his captain that there is not enough information to say whether Scott Peterson is guilty. He doesn't watch much television, spending as much as five hours a day on his bicycle when he's not on duty. He knows many police officers through his job, but said that won't make him favor the prosecution. ``I know a lot of people with badges I'm ashamed to be associated with,'' he said.
A retired PG&E employee, an Asian woman in her 50s or 60s. She seemed very responsive to Geragos and said she could believe Peterson was falsely accused. ``I don't see a motive for something that heinous,'' she said, but acknowledged prosecutors could be ``keeping the case close to the vest.''
A Teamster in his late 40s or 50s who works the graveyard shift and didn't follow the case. He was once accused of violating a restraining order during his divorce. He somewhat agrees police are too quick to arrest in high-profile cases. And he says he believes strongly in the concept of innocent until proven guilty.
A white woman in her late 30s or 40s whose fiance was convicted of murdering a stranger in the early 1980s and was later killed in prison. She apparently married him after his trial. She said that would not affect her views on the Peterson case. She works in packaging for a biotech company and has been married to her second husband since 1990.
A white 40ish woman who suffered a series of personal tragedies so severe she was questioned about it in the judge's chambers. She spends much of her time with her husband and children. She said that because so much has happened to her, she has learned to tell the truth and honestly feels she can be fair. Asked about stealth jurors, she drew a laugh when she said, ``I think they should get a life.''
A black woman in her 40s who works as a chief accountant. She had a close relative who was a deputy sheriff, but said it would not affect her. She expressed caution about accepting all kinds of evidence, repeatedly saying, ``it depends on the circumstances.''
A white 30-something adoption worker who belongs to the Executive Women's Golf Association. She once worked on child abuse cases and found some police officers difficult to work with because ``they would rather go to a 10-car pileup'' but said that won't influence her attitude toward the prosecution.
A white man in his late 40s or 50s who is both an attorney and a doctor. He works with a medical company that makes medications for heart patients. He advises them on legal issues, but has never practiced criminal law.
A white woman in her 30s with nine tattoos and four sons. She is willing to quit her bank job to serve on the jury, and told her partner he would have to support her. Her brother was in and out of prison for drugs, leading her mother to become a drug counselor at a methadone clinic.
A retired white man in his 50s or 60s whose future son-in-law owns The Shack, the San Luis Obispo restaurant once owned by Scott and Laci Peterson. The man is an avid boater, but said he is not very familiar with the Berkeley Marina, where prosecutors say Scott took Laci's body to dump it. He said he had not followed the case, and believed there was no direct evidence against Scott.
A white woman in her 40s whose husband believes Peterson is guilty. She said she had told him that everyone deserves his day in court. She watched some of the USA Network movie on the Peterson case, but said she got bored. When asked what she thought of stealth jurors, she expressed anger, saying, ``This is somebody's life. It's not a game.''
A white woman in her 60s who, until her recent retirement, worked in a human resources department. Her duties included mediating job disputes and she says she's accustomed to listening to both sides. She had a grandchild taken from her by his other set of grandparents and did not see him for almost five years, but the situation was eventually resolved. She doesn't know a lot about the case because she watches PBS.
A white British-born professional in his 50s who works for a city department that was involved in planning for the Peterson trial. He deals occasionally with both police and media, but said it wouldn't affect him. He said he doesn't read crime news and could put aside what little he had heard about the case to judge Peterson fairly.