My colleagues have joked with me that whenever I run out of column material, I can always write about Scott Peterson. I can't help it; the case intrigues me.
Often the media makes a "star" out of the villain, or in this case, the accused villain. We see pictures of Scott Peterson on every newspaper Web site in the country, and we see footage of him on every news television program.
But I will suggest that perhaps the star of this case is Amber Frey.
For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, Peterson's wife Laci disappeared on Christmas Eve 2002. While people go missing every single day, the media decided that Laci Peterson deserved an insane amount of press coverage. Why? Maybe because she's pretty, and it was Christmas Eve. Maybe because she was pregnant. Maybe because it was a slow news day.
Laci's husband Scott has been accused of her murder and the murder of their unborn child. The woman with whom Scott Peterson was having an affair, Amber Frey, testified against Scott in his murder trial.
Recorded phone calls between Scott and Amber were played in a courtroom last week.
According to a report, in a series of phone calls recorded Jan. 6, 2003, Frey asked (Scott) again and again to explain how he told her he had "lost" his wife, Laci, weeks before she actually went missing. She also demanded to know why Peterson said he would be spending the first holidays without his wife.
"This has to be the biggest coincidence I have ever heard of. I mean are you psychic? I mean you predicted your wife would be missing?" Frey said.
"No," Peterson said.
"How can you not expect me or to even think or even to, to let this pass that you possibly had planned this?" she asked.
"I did nothing like that," he said.
"Oh, well, then again, this is the biggest coincidence ever," she said.
During Frey's constant demand for the whole story about his wife's disappearance and his lies about being single and being in Europe while he was actually in Modesto, Calif., with a missing wife, Peterson starts to cry.
"I wish I could tell you everything," he said.
"Save your tears," she replied.
Amber Frey could have easily faded away and left the problem to the man with whom she'd had a relationship. But she didn't. She had the courage to go forward and tell her story to police. The transcript of the phone call also shows her courage. As soon as she got a funny feeling about Scott's story not adding up, she did the right thing, and she has not been properly commended for her efforts.
Put yourself in Amber Frey's shoes for a moment. She thought Scott was her boyfriend. He was handsome and charming, and he spent time with her and her child. She was likely embarrassed to find out that not only was he married, he was being accused of his wife's murder.
Instead of hiding away to protect herself, she was forthcoming with her story, and her testimony could possibly lead to a conviction for her former lover, Scott Peterson.
This woman did what many of us would be afraid to do. She knew she would be scrutinized on the witness stand. She was brave.
I'm really encouraged by women like Amber Frey, who make sacrifices in order to do what's right. Sometimes doing the right thing isn't easy, but you still have to do it.
Courtroom pundits say Frey's testimony was powerful it could be the crux of the entire trial.
I'm a big fan of the "innocent until proven guilty" philosophy. However my prediction on this case?
Save your tears, Peterson.
April Avison is the city editor of the Daily Herald. Her column appears on Mondays. She can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .