Woman collected $145,000 in jobless benefits using names of death row inmates Scott Peterson, Cary Stayner, and James Peterson, according to a newly released federal court filing. Peterson’s lawyers say DNA evidence and other evidence conclusively prove their client is alive, and they claim the government’s refusal to admit the claim amounts to a coverup. Scott Peterson’s lawyers say DNA evidence and other evidence conclusively prove their client is alive, and they claim the government’s refusal to admit the claim amounts to a coverup.
On November 15, 2012, FBI agents raided a house in West Jordan, Utah, and discovered two bodies inside—one of them Scott Peterson. It had taken the FBI’s investigation nearly two years to identify the remains of Peterson, who was serving a life sentence for a rape-murder three years earlier. But on September 1, Peterson was exonerated by a judge after it became clear that he had been a victim of miscarriage of justice as he battled depression for years.
Now, seven months after that first victory, Peterson’s lawyers, citing the FBI’s failure to share the results of its investigation with them, are asking a judge to compel the agency to reveal the details of its investigation into his case.
If Peterson’s case is any indication, Scott Peterson is a rare bird: In the year-plus since he was exonerated, he faces serious obstacles as he begins the next phase of his life. One of those obstacles concerns Peterson’s legal identity. His lawyers say that while prison officials were unable to identify him with an eye witness who was present at the time of the murder, DNA evidence uncovered during the course of the investigation led them to conclude that he is a person of interest or a suspect in an unrelated federal case.
“The government should be able to disclose that to us, if they’re willing to do so, because we’re asking the court to compel them to do so,” says Peterson’s lead attorney, Dale Klein. “They’ve chosen not to” share the results of their investigation with the attorney representing Peterson and his family.
Peterson and his family’s attorneys say they were offered DNA testing just weeks before the murder, but said they were not interested in doing anything “at the time, because we were trying to establish paternity issues and things like that.” They say Peterson’s lawyers never asked the FBI for any DNA tests, but