Judge Removes Juror in Laci Peterson Case

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The judge in the Scott Peterson murder trial dismissed a juror Tuesday and replaced her with an alternate, a sign of conflict in the jury room on the fifth day of deliberations.

Judge Alfred A. Delucchi ordered the jury to start over in its deliberations. It was not immediately clear what the juror did to prompt her dismissal.

The judge removed the juror after meeting behind closed doors with lawyers in the case. A day earlier, Delucchi lectured the jury about the importance of deliberating with an open mind, prompting speculation among trial observers that the panel could be reaching a deadlock.

Peterson, 32, is charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of his wife, Laci, and the fetus she carried. Prosecutors claim Peterson killed Laci around Christmas Eve 2002, and then dumped her weighted body from his boat into San Francisco Bay.