"When the trial was done, the trial consumed my life," says Richelle. She read books on the subject, and then began writing letters to Scott Peterson. "I wanted to hear what he had to say, so I wrote him and asked him why. The first letter that he wrote to me, he made one statement in there: 'I did not kill my family,' and the rest of the letter consisted of how was I, how did the trial affect me, 'It must have been terrible to look at those photos.' So on and so forth."
Richelle believes that every letter Scott wrote her contained a hidden message. "One of the letters stated, you know, 'It must have been very hard for you, Richelle, to listen to what the media had to say about you during the trial.' I think Scott was trying to get me to say I was watching the media when I was on the trial." When she went public with Scott's letters, he stopped writing, which surprised Richelle.
"My life has changed so much, the person who I was to the person I am now," she says. "I knew I was going to have a breakdown. I had been telling everyone, 'I'm going to lose it. I'm going to lose it. Something's going to happen,' and December 9, 2005, I lost it. I wanted to drive my truck into the wall. I was done. I was done with life. I was done with everything. I ended up in the hospital for most of December.
"This trial will never leave me," she continues. "If I had to rate my life now after the trial, it's been hell. I wonder all the time when I'll be able to get over this and get past this. The main thing I've lost is myself. I don't know who I am anymore and where I'm going or where I'm going to end up."
"I did it hoping that maybe there would be some closure there," she says, "because, aside from the Amber tapes, we didn't hear from Scott, and I wanted to hear something come out of his mouth."
Dr. Phil asks if she got any satisfaction from that, and Richelle tells him no.
Dr. Phil reiterates some of the quotes from Scott's letters to Richelle. "'I did not kill my family.' 'The autopsy pictures must have really affected you.' 'I welcome your letters,' he would tell you at the end of every letter. He showered you with flattery. He showed concern about you. You were talking about different things in your life in your letter and how hard this must have been on you."
"He definitely focused in on how it had affected me," says Richelle, "and he never brings up my family, but I bring up the fact to him that I have four boys, and I know what a joy it is to have them and what he's missing out on."
"He didn't seem to be angry toward you or any of the other jurors," says Dr. Phil.
"No, he actually stated that he felt sorry for us that we had to go through this," she recounts.
Greg is the first to respond. He says, "Actually, when we first met after I found out, it was kind of " it wasn't a good meeting, because I said, 'What morbid fascination would you have to be writing this guy? We put him in prison, sentenced him to life " or death, and now you write him?' And then she kind of came back and said, 'Hey Greg,
Mike adds, "I wasn't surprised because the Richelle whom I know is the kind of person who's going to stand up and let you know what she thinks." With this remark, a smile creeps across Richelle's face. "Which is, I think, one of her good qualities."
"None of you have had any interest, any impulse, any drive to connect with him in any way?" asks Dr. Phil. He singles out Julie.
"No," she says. "At first I did. I thought, wow, I wonder what he would say. I just wanted to hear something from him, because he never took the stand, but I wasn't going to actually go and approach him or anything."
"Yes, I have," she says.
"Do you have any compulsion to write him?" he asks.
Richelle pauses a moment to think. "Maybe."
"Do you think you will write him again?" asks Dr. Phil.
"Probably," she says.
"And, you're looking for what, at this point?" he asks.
"I don't know," she says. "Maybe it's a far dream that I just " I think he'll confess one day."
"So you think he's going to sit down, and write you a letter and say 'I can't take it anymore. I'm just going to tell you: I did it, I did it, I did it,'" Dr. Phil ventures.
Richelle laughs lightly and says, "That would be nice, but I don't think it will come across like that. I think at some point he may slip up."
"Are you staying connected and involved in this waiting for that?" asks Dr. Phil. "That's a loaded question, because if you are, that's not going to happen. If that's what you need to get closure, you need another strategy, because the chance that he's going to confess this to you " I would hate for you to put your life on hold waiting for that, is my point."
"Yeah, I understand that," she says.