Judge delays defense phase of Peterson trial, telling jurors legal problems have arisen

Tuesday, October 12th 2004, 12:58 pm
By: News On 6

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP) The judge in the Scott Peterson trial on Tuesday delayed the start of the defense phase of the trial for a week but told jurors to expect to begin deliberations early next month nonetheless.

``I hate to tell you this, but we've got some problems that have arisen here. Some legal issues have come up,'' Judge Alfred A. Delucchi told the jurors.

It was not immediately clear what issues the judge referred to. Before addressing the jurors, he met with lawyers in his chambers.

The defense was to have begun its case Tuesday. Prosecutors had rested their case Oct. 5 after presenting 174 witnesses over 19 weeks.

Delucchi said closing arguments should be presented Nov. 1 and 2, and that the case should go to jurors Nov. 3.

Laci Peterson was reported missing on Christmas Eve 2002 and the bodies of her and her fetus washed up separately about four months later not far from where her husband says he was on a solo fishing trip in San Francisco Bay.

Prosecutors allege Peterson killed his pregnant wife, then dumped her into the bay. Defense lawyers claim someone else abducted Laci and possibly held her captive while police homed in on Peterson.