DECEMBER 24, 2010 – SILENT NIGHT

The pretty 35-year-old woman is pushing her 7 year old son in a swing, on an unseasonably warm December day. Even though he is just about too old to be swung by his mama in a park, it is clear that he is enjoying this last hurrah of “little kid-dom.” The two are obviously close, and share the same brilliant smile and infectious laugh. She is excited for him to see his surprises under the tree this Christmas. He is just as excited from anticipation……

If only.

This particular murder resonates strongly with me for very personal reasons. It was cold and calculated, another death by spouse. Even though the evidence was all circumstantial, the husband was convicted and sent to death row.

I imagine what would have been any different had she known what he was planning. Or at least strongly suspected. I imagine she would have gone to the Modesto police and spoken with an officer, and the conversation would have gone like this:

“My husband is going to kill me.”

“How do you know this?”

“He bought a boat!!”

“…..and?”

“He’s made a bunch of cement anchors in buckets!”

“OK, is there more?”

“He’s planning on going fishing on Christmas Eve!!”

….and then the officer, noting with sympathy her late stage pregnancy, would have patted her hand and told her to go home, relax and put her feet up with a cup of cocoa, after persuading her that her fears were groundless.

Laci Peterson would be 35 years old today and her son, Conner, would be 7.

If Laci’s husband’s girlfriend, Amber Frey, had not bravely recorded all those conversations and then showed up at court to testify, it’s likely that the man would be out on the street. Granted, I was at first suspect of someone who appeared to be of easy reputation. But now I realize how brave she was to do what she did. When he was arrested and found with $15k cash, dyed hair, a gun and a map to Amber’s house, it was clear just how brave she was. I hope she is having a very blessed Christmas this year.

The defense attorney, who I would see some mornings during the trial, jogging down Chevy Chase Canyon with a bodyguard, said that because there was a similar murder in May that same year, of Evelyn Hernandez who was nine months pregnant, that his client must be innocent. No one ever brought up that perhaps Evelyn was practice.

This Christmas, the angels sing for them, and for all such victims.

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Tell Mrs. Crabby all!