August 13, 2004 in Nation/World

Tapes played at Peterson trial

Kim Curtis Associated Press
 

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – In one of the last recorded telephone calls between Scott Peterson and Amber Frey, she confronted him about the disappearance of his wife, and he confessed he had been lying about his marital status and whereabouts.

“The media has been telling everyone that I had something to do with her disappearance,” Peterson told Frey in the Jan. 6, 2003, call. “So the past two weeks I’ve been hunted by the media… . I know that I am, you know, I’m destroyed.”

Later in the conversation, Frey said, “So, you know, you and I . . .”

“Are destroyed,” Peterson said.

Prosecutors in Peterson’s double murder trial resumed Thursday playing tapes of phone calls between Peterson and Frey that were recorded as authorities searched for Laci Peterson in late December 2002 and early January 2003.

The audio tapes are an effort by authorities to show jurors that Peterson’s motive to kill his wife and their unborn child was to be with Frey.

Frey, a massage therapist who has become the government’s star witness, did not take the stand Thursday and sat in the courtroom audience only briefly. In earlier testimony, she told jurors she called police after discovering her lover was not only married, but suspected in the disappearance of his pregnant wife.

At the request of police, she began recording her calls with Peterson with a device bought for her by the Modesto Police Department.

In a Jan. 6 call heard by jurors Thursday, Peterson, who had pretended for weeks to be calling Frey from Europe, confessed to her that he had been lying.

“I am so sorry I’m going to hurt you in this way. I don’t want to do this over the phone …” Peterson said. “During the last couple of weeks I have lied to you that I’ve been traveling.”

Instead, Peterson said he had spent the past weeks helping authorities search for his wife.

“You’ve been calling … having conversations with me when all this is happening?” Frey asked.

“Yeah,” Peterson said, and Frey responded, “Really? Isn’t that a little twisted, Scott?”

He answered, “It is.”

On one of the tapes heard Thursday, Peterson stammered, apologized and repeatedly changed the subject as Frey barraged him with questions about his marriage and his unborn child. She asked him repeatedly if the baby was his, and said his refusal to answer led her to believe it was not.

Frey asked Peterson, “What if she’s found dead?” He responded, “My God, don’t say that.” Frey persisted, and Peterson said, “All our questions are answered and then we can find the bastards that did it.”

Prosecutors allege Peterson killed his wife in their Modesto home on or around Dec. 24, 2002, then drove to the bay and dumped her weighted body from a small boat. The badly decomposed remains of Laci Peterson and the couple’s fetus washed ashore in April 2003, not far from where Peterson said he launched a solo fishing trip the day she vanished.

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