Saturday, April 26, 2003
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 
Hidden Monsters in the Midst

Those of you that read farkleberries know that crime and punishment are a frequent theme, but I hadn't taken the time yet to post about one the biggest cases in the headlines - the Scott Peterson murder case. What Peterson is accused of doing - murdering and decapitating his very pregnant wife around last Christmas Eve, then dumping her body (and that of their unborn son, Connor) in the San Francisco Bay where the bodies would wash ashore months later - is so monstrous and repulsive it defies reason.

The case is such a tangled web that it will take an O.J. Simpson-style trial to sort out the details.

What I find so confusing and disturbing is Scott Peterson's on-camera sangfroid. So far he's acted a lot more like a featured star on "Lives of the Rich and Famous" than a grieving husband and father-to-be, and in interviews with Diane Sawyer he seems almost too calm and too glib to believe. On Thursday night's ABC News special, I thought I caught a glimpse of a smile on his face when Sawyer questioned him on the details of the night Laci disappeared.

It may have been the half-grimace of a man trying valiantly to suppress tears; but why suppress tears when you've lost your family, the world is watching, whispers say you are a prime suspect, and you're being judged by a television audience of millions?

Scott Peterson's family seems unanimous in their belief that he is a truly good man, utterly incapable of the crime he is accused of - at least, they are showing a unified front to the cameras. What's true is that right now the prosecution's case is mainly circumstantial, and it will be hard to develop a clear-cut case against Scoot. Even in modern-day criminology, where DNA testing can identify and match biological material to within a miniscule fraction of total certainty, the fact is that Laci was Peterson's wife, so her DNA and physical evidence will be found scattered widely all over the crime scenes.

In Peterson's exclusive interview with Sawyer, he said:
"Violence towards women is unapproachable...it is the most disgusting act, to me."
If the case bears out that Scott Peterson did indeed kill his wife and son, then the most disturbing thing about this case isn't that committed the crime. It's that he managed to conceal this murderous potential so seamlessly for so many years - from his family, friends and acquaintances, his wife - from just about everyone around him.