Speaking from death row in California, Scott Peterson says he “had no idea” he would be convicted of murdering his pregnant wife, Laci Peterson, and their unborn son, Conner, nearly 15 years ago.
Scott’s comments on his guilty verdict — his first public statements about the case in more than 10 years — are part of a new docuseries on A&E premiering Aug. 15, The Murder of Laci Peterson.
The six-episode series, which traces Scott’s crime and prosecution, is exclusively previewed in a clip above. It features audio from a June prison call Scott had with his sister Janey, where he has been since his 2003 arrest.
“It was just like this amazing, horrible, physical reaction that I had,” Scott, now 44, recalls in the video of hearing the verdict on Nov. 12, 2004.
His conviction on first- and second-degree murder counts came nearly two years after Laci, his 27-year-old wife of five years, apparently vanished near her home in Modesto, California, on Dec. 24, 2002.
“I couldn’t feel my feet on the floor. I couldn’t feel the chair I was sitting in. My vision was even a little blurry,” Scott says in the clip of those moments after being found guilty.
“And I just had this weird sensation that I was falling forward — and forward and down and there was going to be no end to this falling forward and down, like there was no floor to land on.
“I, I was staggered by it. I had no idea it was coming.”
A&E’s new series about the case features what the network is calling “unprecedented access” to Scott and his family, who have always maintained his innocence. (Scott has not yet exhausted his death row appeals, effectively forestalling his execution by lethal injection for years.)
Responding to Peterson’s appeal in 2015, prosecutors reportedly said he was “truly among the worst of the worst.”
Laci’s mother had similar thoughts when she spoke to the Modesto Bee in April: “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that justice was served. Scott Peterson is guilty.”
However, a network executive tells PEOPLE, The Murder of Laci Peterson is not an argument for Scott’s innocence.
Rather, Senior Vice President of Development and Programming Amy Savitsky explains, “it really does give this kind of fascinating full picture, not just of the case itself but set against the backdrop of what was happening in our culture at the time.”
Savitsky describes the series as a “360 look” at what happened, featuring interviews with Scott and his relatives as well as detectives on the case and the reporters and media commentators who observed its every step. (Laci’s family declined to participate, Savitsky says, though their voices are included.)
“We really did want to approach it with the true kind of behind the scenes: from the media perspective, the law enforcement perspective from legal and the family perspective,” Savitsky says.
“I think it’s definitely blowing up some of the things we thought we knew,” she says — for example: the series notes how the defense team did not get access to full discovery of the prosecution’s case, due to a photocopier error.
It’s not a series to highlight an injustice or any perceived failures in the criminal justice system, Savitsky says, but rather one that uses the distance of time to better understand an event that consumed the attention of so many people across the country.
As Nancy Grace says in the clip above, Scott’s trial “feels like it just happened yesterday.”
The Murder of Laci Peterson premieres on Aug. 15 (10 p.m. ET) on A&E.