The jury that convicted Scott Peterson of murdering his pregnant wife began deliberating yesterday on whether he should die or spend the rest of his life in prison. Prosecutors, in closing arguments...

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REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — The jury that convicted Scott Peterson of murdering his pregnant wife began deliberating yesterday on whether he should die or spend the rest of his life in prison.

Prosecutors, in closing arguments, labeled Peterson “the worst kind of monster” because “he’s the kind that no one ever sees coming.” Defense attorneys insisted “to kill him at this point serves absolutely no purpose.”

Peterson, 32, was convicted Nov. 12 of first-degree murder for the killing of his wife, Laci, and second-degree murder for the killing of their unborn son. Four months after she disappeared on Christmas Eve in 2002, her body and the body of the fetus washed up on a rocky, debris-strewn shore along San Francisco Bay.

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At the end of his closing arguments, prosecutor David Harris held up photographs of the ravaged corpses. “That is not something that should be rewarded by sparing his life,” he said.

“The death penalty,” he said, is “a hard choice, but it’s the right choice.”

Laci’s mother, Sharon Rocha, cried quietly during the presentation, punctuated with photographs of Laci’s life, and images of her husband partying with his mistress, Fresno message therapist Amber Frey.

Peterson’s father, Lee, appeared uncomfortable and fidgeted.

Final defense arguments were delivered by Mark Geragos who, in an uncharacteristically humble stance, literally begged the jury to spare his client’s life at least five times, and began his remarks with a confession: “I feel like I let my client down.”

After the jury makes its recommendation, San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Alfred Delucchi said he expects to render formal sentencing Feb. 25.