MODESTO, Calif. -- Laci Peterson's sister testified yesterday that Scott Peterson said he had golf plans last Dec. 24, throwing into question his story about going fishing the day his pregnant wife vanished.
Amy Rocha, a hairdresser, said that she cut Scott Peterson's hair Dec. 23 and that he had offered to pick up a gift basket for their grandfather near the country club where he was a member.
"He said he was going to be out that way golfing," she testified. "I assumed all day."
Peterson, 31, told police he last saw his wife about 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 24 as he left to go fishing near Berkeley. He told them he returned to Modesto late that afternoon, shortly before family members reported Laci Peterson missing about 6 p.m.
On the third day of a preliminary hearing to determine if Peterson will stand trial for the slaying of his 27-year-old wife and unborn son, prosecutors began laying the foundation for Laci Peterson's disappearance with testimony from the last people to see her alive.
Among them, Laci Peterson's mother, Sharon Rocha, told a jammed courtroom that she thought "the world" of Scott Peterson before last Dec. 24.
She recalled Peterson calling at 5:17 p.m. on Christmas Eve to say her daughter was missing.
"I was getting really scared by then when he said `missing.' He didn't say she wasn't home or he couldn't find her. He said `missing.' "
She and others described a happy but weary-looking Laci Peterson who was "ecstatic" and looking forward to her first child.
Housekeeper Margarita Nava said she cleaned the family's modest single-story house the day before the disappearance was reported. Nava said Laci Peterson seemed tired after shopping for groceries, but otherwise appeared much the same as the three previous times she cleaned the house.
"Like all the other days I had gone, she was content," Nava said. "She looked happy."