Till murder do us part

Weir Thinking About It
O.J. Simpson to the contrary notwithstanding, you simply cannot get away with murdering someone you are closely connected with, especially if it's your spouse. Every time I look at the facts of the Laci Peterson murder case, I have to believe one of two things; either her husband, Scott, killed her during a fit of rage, or he's one of the dumbest killers of the century.

In my opinion, it's a combination of both. First of all, the spouse is always the top suspect in a homicide. (Yes, that may be a cynical view of marriage, but, hey, detective work is a pragmatic science, and history shows that people who want to deep six their conjugal partners have devised more diabolical plots than Stephen King.) Secondly, the guy had a mistress. (That doesn't' provide any proof, but it sure doesn't look good to a jury.) Then you have the fact that during the early part of the investigation the guy took off with ten grand in his pocket, dyed his hair blond, and was caught near the Mexican border with his brother's ID. In addition, he said he was fishing the night of his wife's disappearance, in San Francisco Bay, about 2 miles from where his wife's body and unborn child were ultimately found.

Yes, all of the aforementioned are circumstantial to the actual homicide, but again, it sure doesn't look good. And anyone who doesn't think circumstantial evidence is enough to get you fitted for an orange jumpsuit has no experience with a criminal trial. The jury doesn't need a video of the actual murder before rendering a guilty verdict.

It's become axiomatic that sensational murder trials are a magnet for high profile attorneys. Mr. Geragos, being the courtroom swashbuckler that he is, predicted that he would not only prove his client innocent, but he would 'find out who did this to Scott's wife and Scott's son.' That sounds reasonable when you consider that, for the past 9 years, O.J. has been searching every golf course in the country for the real killer of his wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ron Goldman. He may not be closing in on the real killer, but he has substantially reduced his handicap.

The fact is, spousal murder is the easiest homicide to solve because, not only is the spouse the prime suspect, but the detectives who do the investigating are experts at breaking down the guilty party. You only commit murder once; they investigate it for a living. They have heard every alibi, witnessed every reaction, studied every facial nuance, and evaluated every feigned attempt at sadness by the 'grieving' widow (er).

It would take someone with nerves of steel and frigid blood to withstand the relentless probe of skilled interrogators. Furthermore, there is no statute of limitations on murder, so they can take their time, if necessary, to put the pieces together over months or years.

In the Peterson case, Scott's nerves must have been shredded to the point of panic when he decided to do a Miss Clairol and head for the border. That behavior, which was similar to O.J's, was the first indication of Peterson's guilt. His attorney tried in vain to exclude that info from the jury, as if it hadn't already been indelibly implanted into their brains through the mass media. That's like when a witness blurts out that the defendant committed murder several times before, and the judge tells the jury to disregard what they heard. You might as well tell them to perform a lobotomy on themselves during the proceedings.

Geragos is a master at planting doubt in the minds of jurors, and he has conjured up so many absurd scenarios in the Peterson case that it has become comical to hear them. I don't subscribe to what Shakespeare wrote in Henry VI about killing lawyers, because they are too necessary for the functioning of a free society. Yet, when I watch a pettifogger like Geragos, using every form of obfuscation to confuse the jury, rather than to get at the truth, I'd like to at least give him my best intimidating police detective stare.     
 
Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City policy department. He is the editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas. BobWeir777@aol.com

Weir Thinking About It
O.J. Simpson to the contrary notwithstanding, you simply cannot get away with murdering someone you are closely connected with, especially if it's your spouse. Every time I look at the facts of the Laci Peterson murder case, I have to believe one of two things; either her husband, Scott, killed her during a fit of rage, or he's one of the dumbest killers of the century.

In my opinion, it's a combination of both. First of all, the spouse is always the top suspect in a homicide. (Yes, that may be a cynical view of marriage, but, hey, detective work is a pragmatic science, and history shows that people who want to deep six their conjugal partners have devised more diabolical plots than Stephen King.) Secondly, the guy had a mistress. (That doesn't' provide any proof, but it sure doesn't look good to a jury.) Then you have the fact that during the early part of the investigation the guy took off with ten grand in his pocket, dyed his hair blond, and was caught near the Mexican border with his brother's ID. In addition, he said he was fishing the night of his wife's disappearance, in San Francisco Bay, about 2 miles from where his wife's body and unborn child were ultimately found.

Yes, all of the aforementioned are circumstantial to the actual homicide, but again, it sure doesn't look good. And anyone who doesn't think circumstantial evidence is enough to get you fitted for an orange jumpsuit has no experience with a criminal trial. The jury doesn't need a video of the actual murder before rendering a guilty verdict.

It's become axiomatic that sensational murder trials are a magnet for high profile attorneys. Mr. Geragos, being the courtroom swashbuckler that he is, predicted that he would not only prove his client innocent, but he would 'find out who did this to Scott's wife and Scott's son.' That sounds reasonable when you consider that, for the past 9 years, O.J. has been searching every golf course in the country for the real killer of his wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ron Goldman. He may not be closing in on the real killer, but he has substantially reduced his handicap.

The fact is, spousal murder is the easiest homicide to solve because, not only is the spouse the prime suspect, but the detectives who do the investigating are experts at breaking down the guilty party. You only commit murder once; they investigate it for a living. They have heard every alibi, witnessed every reaction, studied every facial nuance, and evaluated every feigned attempt at sadness by the 'grieving' widow (er).

It would take someone with nerves of steel and frigid blood to withstand the relentless probe of skilled interrogators. Furthermore, there is no statute of limitations on murder, so they can take their time, if necessary, to put the pieces together over months or years.

In the Peterson case, Scott's nerves must have been shredded to the point of panic when he decided to do a Miss Clairol and head for the border. That behavior, which was similar to O.J's, was the first indication of Peterson's guilt. His attorney tried in vain to exclude that info from the jury, as if it hadn't already been indelibly implanted into their brains through the mass media. That's like when a witness blurts out that the defendant committed murder several times before, and the judge tells the jury to disregard what they heard. You might as well tell them to perform a lobotomy on themselves during the proceedings.

Geragos is a master at planting doubt in the minds of jurors, and he has conjured up so many absurd scenarios in the Peterson case that it has become comical to hear them. I don't subscribe to what Shakespeare wrote in Henry VI about killing lawyers, because they are too necessary for the functioning of a free society. Yet, when I watch a pettifogger like Geragos, using every form of obfuscation to confuse the jury, rather than to get at the truth, I'd like to at least give him my best intimidating police detective stare.     
 
Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City policy department. He is the editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas. BobWeir777@aol.com