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FIRST-PERSON: A ‘schizophrenic’ Scott Peterson verdict

McMINNVILLE, Ore. (BP)–Pro-life groups rightfully are applauding the guilty verdict of Scott Peterson for murdering not only his wife, Laci, but also the couple’s pre-born child. However, the verdict is not quite deserving of a standing ovation.

In rendering its decision, the panel of six men and six women remained consistent with the schizophrenic manner in which the unborn are still viewed in the United States.

Though Peterson was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, the jury found that in causing the death of Conner (the name the couple had given their unborn child) he was guilty of the lesser crime of murder in the second degree.

To fully comprehend the jury’s verdict, it is necessary to understand the difference between first- and second-degree murder.

Murder in the first degree is unlawful killing that is willful, deliberate or premeditated. On the other hand, second-degree murder is understood to be unlawful killing that is not premeditated.

It is worth pointing out that it was the judge in the case who provided the option of murder in the second degree. In his instructions to the jury, Judge Alfred Delucchi added the lesser charger after finding, in his opinion, ample evidence to support a case that did not involve premeditation.

What evidence could possibly cause a judge to conclude that the murder of Laci Peterson was premeditated while the murder of Conner was not? Further, how could the jury come to the same conclusion? If Scott Peterson planned the murder of his wife, it stands to reason that the death of his unborn son also was premeditated.

While California law allowed for Peterson to be charged with two counts of first-degree murder, and prosecutors took full advantage of the statute, judge and jury were unwilling to afford pre-born Conner the same status as his mother. Why? After three decades of Roe v. Wade, many are still unwilling to grant full and complete personhood to the child in the womb.

While 30 states allow for the charge of murder when an unborn child is a “victim of violence,” each exempts abortion. A thin subjective line separates abortion from being considered murder. That line is whether or not a woman intended to carry her baby to term.

If a child is wanted by his or her mother and his or her life is taken while still in the womb, murder or manslaughter can be said to have occurred. However, when a mother chooses to terminate her pregnancy, the unborn child is not considered to be a victim of murder and/or manslaughter. Only tortured logic can allow a person to accept both views at the same time.

As the Scott Peterson trial unfolded, it was clear that Laci had every intention of giving birth to her unborn child. Upon the revelation she was carrying a boy, she named him Conner. A charge of murder was in order because Laci wanted the child in her womb.

However, it likely was the same schizophrenic reasoning that justifies abortion that led the judge to introduce the option of second-degree murder. The jury, numbed by three decades of abortion propaganda, simply could not equate Conner’s life with the life of his mother.

The jury chose to convict Conner’s killer –- his own father –- of murder in the second degree, a charge that is more than manslaughter but less than premeditated homicide.

In Conner Peterson’s case, Lady Justice was not blind, she was cross-eyed.
Kelly Boggs is pastor of the Portland-area Valley Baptist Church in McMinnville, Ore.

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