IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Scott Peterson has been resentenced to life in prison: Here's what to know

Peterson spent nearly two decades on death row for killing his wife and unborn son before his death penalty conviction was overturned last year.

Scott Peterson was resentenced to life in prison without parole by a California court on Wednesday for the 2002 murder of his wife and unborn son.

Peterson, 49, appeared in person in court, where the family of his slain wife, Laci Peterson, faced him for the first time in nearly 17 years.

Here's what to know about Wednesday's court appearance in San Mateo.

Why is Scott Peterson being resentenced?

Peterson initially received the death penalty 16 years ago in 2005, following his 2004 conviction for the murder of his wife on Christmas Eve in 2002.

However, his death penalty sentence was overturned last year when a court reduced it to life without parole.

He was moved off death row last week after the California Supreme Court overturned his death sentence because his trial judge had excluded potential jurors opposed to the death penalty.

Will he still be doing life in prison?

Yes, the court procedure on Wednesday does not alter his conviction for the murder of his wife and unborn child.

"There’s no change in the evidence that brought the conviction," NBC News legal analyst Lisa Green said on TODAY Wednesday. "The change here was that the death penalty was deemed to be unconstitutional because jurors were struck from the panel. A court looked at that and was stunned that that happened, so Peterson is no longer on death row, but his guilt or innocence, that remains the same today."

Did Scott Peterson speak in court?

No, Peterson did not make any comments. He would have only been able to speak if the judge granted him the opportunity, which did not happen on Wednesday.

He has never spoken in court about the murders, but had hoped to get a chance, according to his attorney.

“Essentially what Scott wanted to do was to make it clear that how he’s been presented in the media and in court isn’t who Scott Peterson is,” Pat Harris, Peterson's lawyer, told Savannah Guthrie on TODAY on Dec. 9. “When you have things like a billboard outside the courtroom with his picture saying ‘man or monster,’ that he is not a monster, that he did not commit this crime.”

“He wants the opportunity for people to know that he is innocent, and that he would never have hurt Laci and Connor, and I think it’s frustrating for him,” Harris said.

Did the family of his late wife, Laci Peterson, speak in court?

Laci Peterson's mother, Sharon Rocha, gave a new victim impact statement on Wednesday, calling Peterson "a coward."

“I’ve seen no sorrow or no remorse from you at all," she said. "I know you’re going to say you have no remorse because you’re innocent, but you haven’t shown any grief or sorrow either for them. I still feel the grief every day after 19 years.

"No matter what happens, no matter what transpires in the future there are two things that will never change: Laci and Conner will always be dead and you will always be their murderer.”

Wednesday marked the first time Laci Peterson's family and friends had faced Scott Peterson in person in nearly 17 years. Laci's brother, Brent Rocha, and her sister, Amy Rocha, also made statements.

"You have broken all of our hearts by taking Laci and Conner’s life,” Amy Rocha said. “I am heartbroken that she never got to meet my family, her family. ... There have been so many special occasions that Laci and Conner should have been here for. It makes me sick being here today in front of you again.”

Will Peterson get a new trial?

The chances are slim, but there is a possibility, according to Green.

Peterson's legal team has argued for a new trial by claiming that his previous trial was flawed due to juror misconduct. They claim one of the jurors lied in order to get selected on the case and convict him.

Harris, Peterson's lawyer, told TODAY his team was "cautiously optimistic" he would be granted a new trial at a hearing in February 2022.

 “I think there’s a great deal of evidence that the juror did commit misconduct, essentially when she filled out the juror form, the juror questionnaire, and also when she was questioned in court, she did not tell the truth about incidents in her own life when she was a victim of domestic violence while she was pregnant," Harris said."

“I think that was obviously a very important thing for her, part of her life, and if she had been honest about it, she would not have been selected for the jury.”

Harris acknowledged that the "bar is high" for a retrial, but, given the chance, he said his team would present evidence they believed would exonerate Peterson.

Green said the likelihood of a new trial was "possible" but "not likely."

"For the court to have to overturn this verdict, they’re going to have to find what’s called prejudicial misconduct. Not just the possibility of bias, but actual evidence showing that this juror essentially intended to reach a certain unfair result."

Peterson's sister-in-law, Janey Peterson, who is married to his older brother Joe, maintained on TODAY in August that he is innocent and says she is fighting for him to get a new trial.

A key part of Peterson’s case hinged on his affair with massage therapist Amber Frey, who testified she was unaware that Peterson was married. She also said Peterson told her that his wife had died.

Janey Peterson was asked if Peterson's affair could have been a motive for murdering his wife.

"I don’t think you can take that leap,” she said.