Sometime after 10:30 on the morning of December 24, 2002, the Medina house across the street from Laci and Scott was burglarized. Steven Todd* was arrested for the Medina burglary. According to a declaration which the state itself prepared, several weeks after Laci’s disappearance, Lieutenant Xavier Aponte — a guard at the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco, California — reported a call he had monitored between inmate Shawn Tenbrink and his brother Adam Tenbrink. During the call, Adam said his friend Steven Todd admitted Laci saw him burglarizing the Medina home on December 24, 2002. Aponte said he taped this conversation, but then lost it. If Lt. Aponte was correct — and Laci saw Todd burglarizing the Medina house after 10:30 on December 24 — then Laci was alive when Scott left.

* According to link below, “Steven Todd and Donald Pearce were arrested for the Medina burglary on January 2, 2003”.

Neighbor Diane Jackson told police she saw the Medina burglary on December 24. She saw three men outside the home removing a safe. In front of the house she saw a van which she described as “an older model . . . tan or light brown.”

Detective Cloward also received a call from Tom Harshman reporting that on December 28, 2002, he saw a woman fitting Laci’s description urinating by the side of the road next to a van and then being pushed into the van.

Information about the burglary was not recognised by the defense until the trial was in progress. Unfortunately, the defense could not call Aponte or the Tenbrink brothers during the trial. Aponte and the Tenbrinks are not mentioned in the trial record.

On October 12, 2004, the day the defense was supposed to begin its CIC, the prosecutor presented the defense with a letter from an inmate in the Stanislaus County jail claiming to have information about the abduction of Laci Peterson. Court was recessed until the following Monday October 18.

During the week of recess from Oct 12-18, Jensen (& Harris?) interviewed the inmate. It was after that they they searched the discovery for the names he had given them, including the Tenbrink brothers, and found the Aponte tip.

From the DMNT: Investigator Jensen contacted NORCO officials and was eventually put in touch with a Lt. Xavier Aponte… After further conversations with Lt. Aponte, it was determined that he could not locate the taped recordings. The defense then subpoenaed the phone call records from NORCO. Officials at NORCO were very cooperative but after a lengthy search and several delays, they too were unable to locate the tapes. As a result, Investigator Jensen traveled to NORCO and interviewed Lt. Aponte in person. …………………

It was not until December 1 that Jensen (& Harris?) went to Norco to interview Aponte.

We can assume that Geragos asked for a mistrial and that Delucchi refused. It’s also apparent that Delucchi told Geragos he could not mention this information at trial unless the tape recorded conversations between the Tenbrink brothers were found.

Scott was found guilty on November 12 and was sentenced to death on December 13.

See also :

Filing: AponteTip

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