Gone Girl’ killer who murdered wife and unborn son leaves death row

Scott Peterson has spent more than a decade on death row in notorious San Quentin prison in the US, for murdering Laci Peterson, who was eight months pregnant with son Connor, in 2002

A man on death row for killing his wife and unborn son has been told he faces being re-sentenced to life behind bars instead.

Scott Peterson has spent 15 years on death row in San Quentin prison in the US, for murdering Laci Peterson, who was eight months pregnant with son Connor, in 2002.

California Supreme Court threw out his sentence last year, and prosecutors have decided they no longer want to seek his execution.

The salesman said he was fishing in San Francisco Bay when his 27-year-old wife vanished on Christmas Eve 2002.

Her body was found in the bay months later and it is claimed the case inspired the book and film Gone Girl, though the author has denied that.

The court overturned Peterson’s death sentence last year after it found jurors who personally disagreed with the death penalty but were willing to impose it were dismissed improperly.

The high court last year also ordered Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo to decide if Peterson should get a new trial to determine if juror misconduct occurred during Peterson’s 2004 trial.

An hour-long hearing on Wednesday, prosecutors and Peterson’s attorneys argued over whether lawyers with Habeas Corpus Resource Center could stay on as his counsel for Peterson’s new trial.

Although the Supreme Court threw out the death penalty, in a ruling in August it said there was considerable incriminating circumstantial evidence against Peterson, including that he researched ocean currents, bought a boat without telling anyone, and couldn’t explain what type of fish he was trying to catch that day.

He also sold his wife’s car, considered selling their house, and turned the baby nursery into a storage room before their bodies were found, indicating that “he already knew Laci and Conner were never coming back”.

No date has been set for a retrial.

Gone Girl is a book by Gillian Flynn, which was later turned into a film starring Ben Affleck, and featured a couple, the woman went missing and the man was found to be having an affair.

When asked by Entertainment Weekly in the US back in 2012 if her novel was based on any particular real-life case, she mentioned the high-profile disappearance that had been splashed across the media a decade earlier.

“One could point to Scott and Laci Peterson – they were certainly a good-looking couple,” she said.