Could a Nearby Burglary Spring Scott Peterson from Prison? His Sister-in-Law Thinks So

Scott Peterson's case is now being investigated by the L.A. Innocence Project

<p>ZUMA Press/</p> Laci and Scott Peterson

ZUMA Press/

Laci and Scott Peterson

• Scott Peterson's case has been taken up by the L.A. Innocence Project, which said in a court filing that new evidence supports his "longstanding claim of innocence"

• Peterson's sister-in-law, Janey Peterson, spoke to PEOPLE last June about his case

• Janey Peterson believes burglars killed Laci Peterson after she witnessed a burglary and confronted the perpetrators

Scott Peterson was convicted of his wife’s murder in 2004, but he has continued to maintain his innocence over the past two decades. Now, new evidence could help his case, his advocates believe.

Peterson was bolstered after the Los Angeles Innocence Project said in a statement to PEOPLE that it was investigating his innocence claim.

Laci Peterson, eight months pregnant with their son Conner, went missing on Christmas Eve 2002 from their home in Modesto, Calif.. Her body was found in the San Francisco Bay months later, not far from the body of her unborn baby. She was 27.

But new legal filings from the L.A. Innocence Project, first reported by ABC News, claim that “new evidence now supports Mr. Peterson's longstanding claim of innocence and raises many questions into who abducted and killed Laci and Conner Peterson."

Related: Scott Peterson’s Sister-in-Law Has Maintained His Innocence: Here’s Why She Thinks He Didn’t Kill Wife Laci

Scott became the prime suspect in her murder after it came out that he’d been having an affair with another woman. He was sentenced to death in 2005, though his death sentence was overturned in 2020 after the California Supreme Court found that the trial judge made jury selection errors.

But Scott’s conviction remains upheld, despite his claim of innocence, which has been vehemently supported by his sister-in-law, Janey Peterson. She has pointed to a burglary committed across the street from the Petersons’ home on the same day Laci went missing.

In a 2023 interview with PEOPLE, Janey, now an attorney who has advocated for her brother-in-law, said an evidence claim was filed last April that features a startling document: a signed exhibit from a person claiming to have heard a man confess to being part of the burglary that took place that day. According to the person who signed the exhibit, one of the burglars said that the other burglars killed Laci.

The redacted exhibit, shared with PEOPLE, claims the confessed burglar said Laci had confronted the burglars after having caught them wheeling out a safe. The other burglars then killed Laci and later dumped her body in the bay after supposedly seeing on the news that Scott had been fishing there, the person’s signed statement says.

Related: L.A. Innocence Project Takes Scott Peterson's Case, Says New Evidence 'Supports' Claim He Didn't Kill Wife Laci

"That's always been our theory," Janey told PEOPLE last June. "There's always been evidence that points to the burglary, but it's all either been a couple degrees of hearsay or whatever."

The L.A. Innocence Project also hopes to conduct new DNA testing on a blood-stained mattress found in the back of a burned-out van on Dec. 25, 2002, according to the filings. (The DNA testing could potentially link Laci’s death to the burglars.)

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“We are very excited to have the incredible attorneys at the L.A. Innocence Project lend their considerable expertise to helping prove Scott Peter’s Innocence," Scott’s attorney Pat Harris tells PEOPLE.

Janey has long been her brother-in-law’s staunchest defenders, with the case inspiring her to go to law school. She passed the bar last year and plans to focus her career on wrongful convictions.

“Our family is living our lives with this weight of injustice over it,” Janey told PEOPLE. “And you can't ignore it. All of us in the family and we feel the weight of this injustice.”

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