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Judge Denies Peterson Access to Files

July 9, 2003

MODESTO, Calif. (AP) _ Scott Peterson’s lawyer will not be able to view investigation files in an unsolved murder case with similarities to the killing of Laci Peterson, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Peterson’s lawyers wanted to know more about the killing of Evelyn Hernandez, a pregnant woman whose body was found in the San Francisco Bay, in their attempt to find what they call the ``real killers″ of Laci Peterson.

Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Al Girolami ordered authorities to give the autopsy report and photos to Peterson lawyer Mark Geragos, but nothing else. The judge called the contents of the investigation files ``highly speculative.″

Hernandez, a 24-year-old single mother, disappeared in May 2002 with her unborn son, Alex. Her torso was found on the San Francisco side of the bay on July 24, 2002.

The decomposed remains of Peterson, a 27-year-old substitute teacher, and her unborn son were found on the other side of the bay in April. The remains were found near where Scott Peterson said he was fishing on Christmas Eve when his wife vanished from their Modesto home.

San Francisco police said the two cases had no connection and that turning over their files to Peterson’s lawyer could jeopardize the investigation by revealing witnesses and tipping off the suspect.

Peterson, 30, a fertilizer salesman, has been charged with two counts of murder and could receive the death penalty if convicted. He has pleaded innocent.

In related action, the judge will allow prosecutors to listen to newly discovered wiretapped telephone calls made to Peterson earlier this year. Girolami also decided to let reporters listen to their own wiretapped calls later this month.

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