b. Fetal development evidence
In an effort to support its theory that Laci was killed on December 23 -- and thus Scott was the only possible killer -- the state presented testimony from Greggory Devore a doctor who specialized in high risk obstetrics and maternal-fetal medicine. Dr. Devore was contacted by the Modesto Police and asked to review the Conner’s fetal records to determine his age at death. Dr. Devore
reviewed two ultrasound examinations and Conner’s femur bone. Using “an equation by [Phillipe] Jeanty.” an expert in fetal biometry, Dr. Devore estimated that Conner died on December 23, 2002.
Dr. Devore admitted that this was an ESTIMATION and Conner may have died a day or two before or after this date.
Of course, a day or two before the 23rd was impossible (since Laci had been seen by her sister on December 23) and a day or two after meant that Scott was not the killer.
c. The movement of bodies in water
Apart from the general proximity of Brooks Island and the points where the bodies washed ashore, there was no evidence connecting the bodies to the place where Mr. Peterson was fishing.
To connect these two points, the prosecution relied on the testimony of hydrologist, Dr. Ralph Cheng. Dr. Cheng was a senior research hydrologist with the United States Geological Survey.
Dr. Cheng provided the police with a map which contained a “projected path” that the bodies might have taken to the shore, and he pinpointed an area in the bay for the officers to search [for evidence such as the anchors].
Beginning May 16, 2003, the police,... searched this “high probability area,”... nothing of relevance was found to Scott’s case....
The state called Dr. Cheng as an expert witness at trial to give his expert opinion that the bodies had been placed on the bay bottom near where Mr. Peterson said he was fishing. In establishing his expertise, Dr. Cheng explained that as a Senior Research Hydrologist with the United States Geological Survey, his “particular assignment is [to] study of the movement of WATER in San Francisco Bay” as affected by currents and tides.
On voir dire of his expertise by defense counsel, Dr. Cheng
acknowledged that his work had never explored the movement of BODIES in water or the bay.
Dr. Cheng was then asked detailed questions about the movements of bodies in water, the precise subject he had admitted his studies did NOT involve.
Dr. Cheng produced a “vector map,” which charted the movement of Conner’s body, hour by hour, in the days prior to April 13. Dr. Cheng’s map, People’s Exhibit 284, shows the vector diagram and concludes that Conner’s body migrated to Richmond (where it was found) from the high probability area near Brooks Island where
Scott said he was fishing on December 24.
Of course, this was the same “high probability” area that police had searched for more than two weeks with dive teams, sonar equipment and the sophisticated REMUS machine without finding anything at all to connect Scott with the crime.
Interestingly, however, Dr. Cheng could NOT reproduce the same trajectory for Laci’s body. When asked for an explanation why he could not provide a vector diagram that showed how Laci’s body ended up in Point Isabel, Dr. Cheng confessed that “Well, I’m not – I’m not the expert in that area here. I don’t know how the
body is behaving in water.”(Id.) Dr. Cheng admitted he had no experience at all with how bodies move in water:... http://scottpetersonappeal.org/SPA1/ScottPete...