5 Convicted Murderers Who Might Actually Be Innocent

Their cases were supposedly open-and-shut – but could these famous killers be wrongfully imprisoned?

Scott Peterson
5
Scott Peterson (center) is the subject of a new docuseries that suggests he could be innocent. Bart Ah/Getty1/5

Scott Peterson

In August, A&E released the six-part docuseries, The Murder of Laci Peterson, which offered a different perspective on a case that has long been perceived as closed. The series features exclusive audio from death row inmate Scott Peterson, who had little to say following his pregnant wife's disappearance and murder, and did not take the stand at his 2004 trial. In addition to hearing from his family and attorneys, legal analysts and journalists, the prosecution's winning case is thoroughly presented through trial footage and interviews with jurors who stand by their decision to convict and sentence Peterson to death.

Arguably amongst the most damning evidence for the jury was Peterson's brief affair with Amber Frey, with whom he continued to communicate after Laci's disappearance. Frey was secretly recording their calls for police, and although she obtained nothing incriminating, the audio was incredibly damaging. There was no other evidence to suggest Peterson was unhappy about being married and becoming a father, but the prosecution presented his infidelity as proof of both – as well as a motive to kill.

What they didn't have was a theory for how or where Laci was killed, because police found no blood or other physical evidence at the Peterson home, at Scott's warehouse or in the boat he allegedly used to dump the body in the San Francisco Bay. Peterson told police that he spent the day fishing near the Berkeley Marina – and that's exactly where Laci's body and her fetus were found (separately) three months later. An impossible coincidence, prosecutors claimed. But Peterson's alibi was common knowledge – if someone else killed Laci, the docuseries posits, they would have known just where to dispose of her remains in order to evade suspicion by framing Peterson.

And then there are the over two dozen neighborhood witnesses who reported seeing a pregnant woman who looked like Laci walking a dog later that morning, after the prosecution claimed she was already dead. The police dismissed these Laci sightings as not being credible with little if any followup; but the docuseries presents a newly uncovered statement from the Petersons' regular postman which seems to corroborate those accounts. The couple's dog McKenzie always barked when he delivered the mail, the postman stated, but on Christmas Eve, the house was quiet, which meant no one was home. According to the timestamp on his digital scanner, this was during the same timeframe as the many Laci sightings. And if Laci was still alive and walking the dog after Peterson left the house, he would not have been able to commit the crime.

So who did kill Laci, if Scott Peterson is innocent? Multiple witnesses reported a burglary across the street from the Peterson's house on Christmas Eve morning, and one witness even claims that she saw Laci confronting the two men involved. According to the docuseries, It's a compelling theory.