SEARCH

Entries in Drew Peterson (19)

Friday
Feb222013

Prosecution Eyes Charges for Drew Peterson in Fourth Wife's Disappearance

Giovanni Rufino/NBC NewsWire(JOLIET, Ill.) -- A spokesman for the lead state prosecutor in the Drew Peterson case said that the prosecution may be looking at filing charges against the former Illinois police officer for the disappearance of his fourth wife after he was sentenced to 38 years in jail for killing his third wife.

"[Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow] is not precluded necessarily from charging someone with murder if there is no body," Glasgow's spokesman, Charles Pelkie, told ABC News. "These cases have been prosecuted in the past."

Drew Peterson was sentenced on Thursday for the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, whose body was found in a bathtub, her hair soaked in blood in 2004.

But prosecutors also have their eyes on the case of Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, who went missing in 2007. Her body has never been found.

"What [Glasgow] intends to do is review that case, as well as another missing person case, the Lisa Stebic case, as well as a number of other missing persons cases, some going back 25 years," Pelkie said.

Pelkie said attorneys in Glasgow's office are looking through those cases, assessing their strengths and weaknesses in order to determine what they need to do "with respect to an eye toward charging."

Pelkie said Glasgow is "not a state's attorney who believes that you don't forgo a murder case when the defendant has already been convicted and is going to jail for another murder."

Meanwhile, Savio's family is thankful Peterson is now behind bars.

"I think that since everything has been happening, we've kind of been on pins and needles since he was convicted," said Elizabeth Savio, Kathleen Savio's niece. "Now that he has been sentenced, we're hoping we can continue that feeling, basically, now, because there is evidence that they are going to be charging him with Stacy's disappearance."

Savio said she did not attend the sentencing on Thursday, but was glad that Peterson's true colors came out when he shouted in court, "I did not kill Kathleen!"

"Finally, at the end, where he is the most vulnerable," she said, "it was nice to able to show who he really is as a person."

Savio characterized her family's experience with the trial as "an emotional rollercoaster," but said she expected they will be there to provide support to Stacy Peterson's family if further charges are filed against Drew Peterson.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep042012

Jury to Begin Deliberations in Drew Peterson Murder Trial

Giovanni Rufino/NBC NewsWire(JOLIET, Ill.) -- The fate of former Illinois cop Drew Peterson will go to the jury in Joliet, Ill., Wednesday morning, after prosecutors and defense attorneys finished their closing arguments Tuesday. Peterson is accused of murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

Defense attorney Joe Lopez pleaded with the jury during his statement to remember that there is no physical evidence tying Peterson to the scene of his wife's death in 2004.

Savio's death was initially ruled an accident after she was found dead in her bathtub. After Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy, disappeared without a trace in 2007, however, police exhumed Savio's body and reexamined it as part of the Stacy Peterson investigation. They then changed the cause of death to homicide and charged Drew Peterson.

He has denied any involvement in Savio's death, and prosecutors admit there is no physical evidence connecting him to the scene of the crime. He has never been charged in connection with Stacy's disappearance.

Prosecutors Tuesday reminded the jury that a witness called by the defense admitted that the chance of a healthy adult drowning in a bathtub was "one in a million."

Forensic pathologists testified for both sides about Savio's injuries; experts for the prosecution said that her injuries pointed to homicide, while those for the defense said they indicated an accidental fall in the bathtub.

The jurors, who have arrived in court in matching outfits on many days of the trial, did not coordinate their clothing Tuesday.

Judge Edward Burmila recessed court Tuesday following closing arguments and said he planned to instruct and charge the jury beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Peterson's attorneys said before court Tuesday morning that Peterson is ready, whatever the jury may decide.

"He's a bit anxious but prepared emotionally for whatever happens," attorney Joel Brodsky said.

Drew Peterson, a former Bolingbrook, Ill., police sergeant, faces 60 years in prison if convicted.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep042012

Drew Peterson Prosecution Tells Jury to Use 'Common Sense'

Giovanni Rufino/NBC NewsWire(CHICAGO) -- Drew Peterson was the only person who had the motive and means to kill his wife, Kathleen Savio, and make it look like an accident in 2004, Illinois prosecutors said today.

Prosecutor Chris Koch began his closing statement by telling the Joliet, Ill., jury that when they "walked into this courthouse, you did not leave your common sense at the front door. It is clear this man, Drew Peterson, murdered Kathleen Savio," according to ABC News station WLS.

The attack on Peterson was the first of the closing statements of the five-week trial in which Peterson is accused of first-degree murder in Savio's death. The defense will offer its closing statement next.

Savio's death was initially ruled an accident after she was found dead in her bathtub. After Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy, disappeared without a trace in 2007, however, police exhumed Savio's body and reexamined it as part of the Stacy Peterson investigation. They then changed the cause of death to homicide and charged Drew Peterson.

He has denied any involvement in Savio's death, and prosecutors admit there is no physical evidence tying him to the scene of the crime. He has never been charged in connection with Stacy's disappearance.

Prosecutors today reminded the jury that a witness called by the defense admitted that the chance of a healthy adult drowning in a bathtub was "one in a million."

"Drew Peterson had the motive and means to make his third wife, Kathleen Savio's bathtub drowning look like an accident," Koch said.

The prosecution finished its closing statement this morning but will have a chance for rebuttal after the defense's closing argument. The case is likely to be handed to the jury for deliberations by this afternoon.

Peterson's attorneys said before court this morning that Peterson is ready for whichever way the verdict may fall.

"He's a bit anxious but prepared emotionally for whatever happens," attorney Joel Brodsky told WLS.

The defense's closing statements are expected to focus on the lack of physical evidence and eyewitness accounts tying Peterson to the scene of Savio's death.

Peterson's trial has revolved around statements that both of his wives, Savio and Stacy Peterson, made to others. Stacy Peterson's divorce attorney testified last week that she once asked him whether she should disclose in divorce proceedings that Drew killed Savio.

According to other witnesses, Savio made statements to friends and family members showing anxiety that Drew Peterson would hurt her, and had threatened to kill her in the past.

The hearsay testimony was the subject of contentious legal battles between defense attorneys and prosecutors.

The former Bolingbrook, Ill., police sergeant faces 60 years in prison if convicted.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep042012

Drew Peterson Murder Trial Winds Down with Closing Statements

Giovanni Rufino/NBC NewsWire(JOLIET, Ill.) -- The murder trial of former Illinois cop Drew Peterson will wrap up Tuesday as attorneys for both sides offer closing arguments to the Joliet, Ill., jury.

The final statements will close a five-week trial that has been marked by heated legal battles and three calls for mistrial by attorneys for Peterson, 58, who is accused of killing his wife, Kathleen Savio, in 2004.

Savio's death was initially ruled an accident after she was found dead in her bathtub.  After Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy, disappeared without a trace in 2007, police exhumed Savio's body and reexamined it as part of the Stacy Peterson investigation. They then changed the cause of death to homicide and charged Drew Peterson.

Drew Peterson has denied any involvement in Savio's death, and prosecutors admit there is no physical evidence tying him to the scene of the crime.  He has never been charged in connection with Stacy's disappearance.

Peterson's trial has revolved around statements that both of his wives, Savio and Stacy Peterson, made to others. Stacy Peterson's divorce attorney testified last week that she once asked him whether she should disclose in divorce proceedings that Drew killed Savio.

According to other witnesses, Savio made statements to friends and family members showing anxiety that Drew Peterson would hurt her, and had threatened to kill her in the past.

The hearsay testimony was the subject of contentious legal battles between defense attorneys and prosecutors.

On Tuesday, the prosecution will offer its closing statements to the jury first, tying together the hearsay statements of both women and the expert testimony of forensic pathologists who testified that Savio's injuries were clearly the result of murder.

Peterson's attorneys will also rely on expert testimony from the forensic pathologists they called to the stand, who argued that Savio's injuries were in fact the result of an accidental slip and fall in the bathtub.  They are expected to emphasize that there is no physical evidence or eyewitness accounts placing Peterson at the scene of Savio's death.

The prosecution will then offer a rebuttal before the case is handed to the jury for deliberations. Judge Edward Burmila on Friday read the jury detailed instructions on deliberating.

The former Bolingbrook, Ill., police sergeant faces 60 years in prison if convicted.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug312012

Drew Peterson Trial Focuses on Whether Wife's Injuries Point to Murder

Giovanni Rufino/NBC NewsWire(CHICAGO) -- Prosecutors in the Drew Peterson murder trial lined up a series of forensic experts as the trial's final witnesses on Thursday to rebut defense claims that Peterson's third wife died by falling in her bathtub and drowning.

The first of the prosecution's rebuttal witnesses was Dr. Michael Baden, a nationally-known pathologist who has testified in numerous prominent murder cases.

Peterson's defense lawyers have pointed to the initial autopsy following the death of Kathleen Savio which concluded she died from a fall in her bathtub.

"I disagree with that opinion.  The injury pattern, in my opinion, could not be caused by a fall," Baden said according to ABC News affiliate WLS-TV.

The prosecution rested its case after calling an additional pathologist to describe Savio's injuries, winding down testimony in the high-profile trial.  The jury will receive instructions on the case from Judge Edward Burmila on Friday, and closing statements will be made next Tuesday before deliberations begin.

Savio's death was initially ruled an accident after she was found dead in her bathtub in 2004.  In 2007, however, when Peterson's fourth wife Stacy disappeared, police exhumed Savio's body and reexamined it, changing the cause of her death to homicide.  Peterson was then charged with murder.

Both the defense and the prosecution have produced expert witnesses to testify about Savio's injuries and whether they showed signs of murder or an accidental fall.

Peterson has denied wrongdoing in both cases, claiming that he had no ties to the scene of Savio's death and that Stacy left him.

Peterson's attorneys rested their defense on Thursday after Peterson declined to take the stand to testify and instead left his son, Thomas, to testify as their final witness.

Thomas Peterson, dressed in a suit and tie on the stand, told jurors that the believed his father was innocent and not implicated in the death of his mother.

When asked to recall the night Drew Peterson told him and his brother that their mother was dead, Thomas Peterson told the court, "He was very, very shaken up about it.  I'd never seen anyone so sad."  Thomas Peterson was 11 when his mother died.

The defense's final day of testimony also included a bombshell dropped seemingly in favor of the prosecution, as a divorce attorney who once represented Stacy Peterson testified that at one point, Stacy told him that Drew had killed Savio.

"She wanted to know if, in my opinion, if the fact that he killed Kathy could be used against him in the divorce proceeding," attorney Harry Smith told the court.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug302012

Drew Peterson's Son Believes Dad Is 'Innocent'

Giovanni Rufino/NBC NewsWire(CHICAGO) -- Drew Peterson's 19-year-old son took the stand in his father's murder trial Wednesday, telling the jury that his dad did not kill his mother.

Dressed in a suit and tie, Thomas Peterson told the court, "I believe that my dad is innocent."

When asked to recall the night Drew Peterson told him and his brother that their mother, Kathleen Savio, was dead, Thomas Peterson told the court, "He was very, very shaken up about it.  I'd never seen anyone so sad."

Thomas Peterson was 11 years old when his mother died.

Drew Peterson, 58, also informed the court that he would not take the witness stand.

Peterson, a former Chicago police sergeant, said the first-degree murder charges against him are bogus, and he did not kill his third wife, Savio, in 2004.  Her death was originally declared an accidental drowning after she was found dead in her bathtub.

In 2007, however, Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, vanished, and police exhumed Savio's body as part of the investigation into Stacy's disappearance.  A new report by forensic pathologists found that Savio had been killed and Peterson was charged with homicide.

Peterson has maintained his innocence in both cases, and he has not been charged in connection with Stacy Peterson's vanishing.

When Thomas Peterson was asked about Stacy Peterson's disappearance, he replied, "She left on her own accord, so I don't know."

Before Stacy Peterson disappeared, she allegedly told divorce lawyer Harry Smith she believed her husband was guilty of killing his third wife.  The defense called Smith to the witness stand on Wednesday, hoping to establish that Stacy Peterson's claim was simply a made-up attempt to extort money from Drew Peterson.

"She wanted to know if, in my opinion, if the fact that he killed Kathy could be used against him in the divorce proceeding," Smith told the court.

The defense immediately went into damage control mode, calling Smith a hostile witness and accusing him of perjury.

"It backfired completely.  That will be probably the main thing that leads to his conviction," said ABC News legal analyst Kathleen Zellner.

Earlier this week, two doctors testified that Savio's death was consistent with an accident.  Last week, the prosecution presented a witness who said the tub's edges were not jagged enough to cause the kind of wound Salvio sustained.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug152012

Drew Peterson Withdraws Mistrial Request, Wants Jury to Decide Case

Giovanni Rufino/NBC NewsWire(CHICAGO) -- Accused wife-killer Drew Peterson on Wednesday withdrew his third request for a mistrial in his murder case, with his attorneys saying in court that they want a jury to decide the case.

Judge Edward Burmila had stopped court proceedings Tuesday after a prosecutor disregarded his order not to mention a restraining order that Peterson's wife had sought against him, prompting the defense to call for a mistrial for the third time in the three-week-long trial, according to ABC News affiliate WLS-TV.

"There was one thing I told you not to go into and that's exactly what you did," Burmila said Tuesday.

Prosecutor Kathleen Patton apologized for mentioning the order of protection, saying it was her mistake, not that of the state prosecutors.

"I'm sorry," Patton said.  "It's my fault.  I can't believe I did it."

Burmila adjourned court, saying he would return with a decision about the mistrial request Wednesday morning.  Peterson's attorneys, however, arrived at court Wednesday morning and withdrew their request before Burmila ruled, WLS reported.

Former police sergeant Peterson, 58, is accused of killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio.  Her death was originally declared an accidental drowning after she was found dead in her bathtub.

In 2007, however, Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, vanished, and police exhumed Savio's body as part of the investigation into Stacy's disappearance.  A new report by forensic pathologists found that Savio was murdered, and Peterson was charged with homicide.

Peterson has maintained his innocence in both cases, and he has not been charged in connection to Stacy's disappearance.  

Burmila previously denied two requests for a mistrial based on prosecutorial missteps, both stemming from the prosecution's mention of evidence that had not been cleared yet by Burmila.

Legal wrangling over what evidence the jury is allowed to hear has played a pivotal role in the case against Peterson, as the prosecution tries to prove the murder charge by showing that Peterson intimidated his wife through actions and statements.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug142012

Drew Peterson Murder Case: Judge Considers Mistrial Again

Giovanni Rufino/NBC NewsWire(CHICAGO) -- The murder trial of former Illinois cop Drew Peterson may be called a mistrial after the judge overseeing the case blasted prosecutors for ignoring his orders in the courtroom.

Judge Edward Burmila called a recess Tuesday afternoon to consider the request for a mistrial and allow the prosecution to come up with a reason the trial should not be stopped, according to ABC News station WLS. It is the third time in the three-week-long trial that Burmila has considered a mistrial request by the defense.

Peterson, 58, is accused of killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Her death was originally declared an accidental drowning after she was found dead in her bathtub.

In 2007, however, Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, vanished, and police exhumed Savio's body as part of the investigation into Stacy's disappearance. A new report by forensic pathologists found that Savio was murdered, and Peterson was charged with homicide.

Tuesday prosecutors in the murder case were told by Burmila not to mention a restraining order that Savio once asked for against Peterson.

One of the prosecutors then mentioned the restraining order in court, prompting Burmila to scold her in court.

The prosecutor apologized to the judge following the incident, but the defense called for a mistrial, arguing that the statement would unfairly influence the jury.

The judge will reconvene both sides Tuesday afternoon to hear the prosecution's response to the request for mistrial before making a decision.

Burmila previously denied two requests for mistrial based on prosecutorial missteps, both stemming from the prosecution's mention of evidence that had not been cleared yet by Burmila.

Legal wrangling over what evidence the jury is allowed to hear has played a pivotal role in the case against Peterson, as the prosecution tries to prove the murder charge by showing that Peterson intimidated his wife through actions and statements.

"So far, I think both sides have had good moments and both sides have had some tough moments. It is like any trial. When you get to week three, a little bit of fatigue sets in, so we will have to work through that. I think that the jurors will get a little bit fatigued. So hopefully we can keep it interesting," said Steven Greenberg, one of Peterson's attorneys.

Tuesday's testimony also included statements from a toxicologist who processed tissue samples from Savio during the 2004 and 2007 death investigations. He testified that no drugs or alcohol were found in Savio's system at the time of her death.

Two pathologists were scheduled to take the stand this week for the prosecution. Both of them said Savio's death was a murder when they reexamined the body in the second autopsy. Drew Peterson's attorneys brought in experts to say Savio's original autopsy showed it was accidental.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug102012

Drew Peterson Choked Wife, Friend Testifies

Giovanni Rufino/NBC NewsWire(CHICAGO) -- Drew Peterson once grabbed his wife around her neck and asked, "Why don't you just die?" according to a friend of Kathleen Savio's who testified in Peterson's murder trial Thursday.

Peterson, 58, is on trial for killing Savio, his third wife, and making it look like an accident.  She was found dead in her bathtub in 2004 and the death was initially ruled an accidental drowning.  After Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, vanished from their home in 2007, police exhumed Savio's body and reexamined it for signs of murder, finally charging Peterson.

On Thursday, Savio's friend Mary Parks testified about conversations the two women had regarding Peterson.

"Kathy told me that her husband, Drew Peterson, said he could kill her, make her disappear," Parks said on the stand, according to ABC News affiliate WLS-TV.  Parks teared up as she recalled the conversation about Peterson grabbing Savio's neck.

Savio told Parks that her estranged husband told her, "Why don't you just die?"

"She unzipped the top, it opened and I saw marks on her neck," Parks said.

According to her testimony, Parks took nursing classes with Savio, but did not see her again after their graduation in December 2003.  Savio died in February 2004.

When Parks heard of the death, she called the Will County State's Attorney's Office and asked if the case was being investigated, she testified Thursday.

The testimony on Thursday marked the second day hearsay statements were allowed into the court transcript, following a significant decision Wednesday by Judge Edward Burmila to allow Savio's friends to testify about Peterson's alleged threats.

On Wednesday, Kristen Anderson, who lived in Savio's basement after Savio and Peterson split up, said that Savio slept with a knife under her mattress because she was so afraid of Peterson.

"She showed me a knife that she kept in between her mattresses for protection," Anderson said.

Anderson recalled a conversation in which Savio confessed that Peterson once told her, "I could kill you and make it look like an accident."

After the statement, Anderson broke down in tears and had to leave the courtroom, according to WLS.  She returned later and continued testifying about Peterson's threatening behavior, including an incident in which Peterson broke into the home, dressed in SWAT gear, and held a knife to Savio's throat while threatening her.

Anderson said she called police three times about Savio's case in 2004, but those calls were never returned.

Burmila's decision to allow the testimony was hailed by the prosecution, which has no physical evidence tying Peterson to the scene of the crime.

"Judge Burmila made an historical ruling today," prosecutor James Glasgow told WLS.

Defense attorney Michael Lopez said his client was disappointed in the ruling.

"He's upset," Lopez said, according to the report.  "But you have to deal with the cards they give you."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug072012

Drew Peterson's 'Incriminating Letters' to Girlfriend Burned

Giovanni Rufino/NBC NewsWire(NEW YORK) -- Drew Peterson wrote "incriminating" jail-house love letters about the death of Kathleen Savio and the disappearance of Stacy Peterson, but those letters were destroyed in a 2010 house fire, the woman he wrote to told ABC News.

Peterson, 58, is currently on trial for the murder of Savio, his third wife, who was found dead in her bathtub in 2004.

Savio's death was initially ruled an accident, but after Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007, Savio's body was exhumed as part of the investigation and the cause of her death was changed to homicide. Peterson was then charged with murder.

Peterson has denied wrongdoing in both of his wives' cases. He has said that Stacy called him at 9 p.m. one Sunday night and told him she was leaving for another man and had left her car at a nearby airport. Drew's attorneys have stressed that there is no evidence tying Peterson to the scene of Savio's death.

Diana Grandel, 40, the woman whom Peterson wrote love letters to while in jail, told ABC News that some of Peterson's letters, including the ones that dealt with details of Savio's death and Stacy Peterson's disappearance, burned in a house fire in 2010.

"Some of the things Drew and I talked about, a lot of the letters that are more incriminating to him, burned in the fire when my house burned down," Grandel said. " He told me that (Stacy) took nothing with her, and in another interview he said she took bikinis and a purse. But he offered me the bikinis, the purses, the clothes, he offered me all of it. Everything, you name it, he offered it to me."

"I don't .....believe it for a second," Grandel said about Peterson's claim of innocence.

Grandel exchanged steamy letters with Peterson while he was in prison, rekindling a relationship that had begun when she was a teenager and he a Bolingbrook, Ill., cop 17 years her senior. Grandel would not elaborate on their relationship when she was younger.

"I lost touch with him when I turned 18 and I got a serious boyfriend. I wasn't into hanging out with cops anymore, so I lost touch. When I heard he got in trouble my first thought was, you know, I need to support this guy. This just is not him, it couldn't have happened this way," she said.

In the letters obtained by ABC News, Peterson told Grandel he loved her and asked her for detailed descriptions of her body and explained what he would do with her in bed once he was out of jail.

"My love, no one on the planet has been lied to or used more than I have," he wrote in one letter."YOU ARE MY ONE AND ONLY ROMANTIC INTEREST. Sweetie you need to understand that I am a fun loving guy and sometimes I can't stop the obnoxious things that come out of my mouth."

"I have an idea," he wrote in another letter, dated April 15, 2010, "Don't ask questions, just answer mine. OK. Where are you staying? How long will you be there? Tell me your sizes, HEIGHT - WEIGHT - BODY MEASUREMENTS - SHOE SIZE - BRA SIZE."

The two wrote letters for more than six months, but stopped after Grandel began to suspect that Peterson was not telling the truth about what happened to his wives. In 2010, Grandel's house caught fire, taking with it some of Peterson's letters and all of Grandel's belongings. Peterson then offered Grandel the clothes of his ex-wife Stacy.

"After he offered to give me Stacy's clothing when my home burned down, I had a change of heart," Grandel said.

After having been moved by her insurance company to a hotel room and then a new apartment, Grandel said she missed her home so badly that she began to believe that Peterson's story about Stacy taking off from their home without a word in 2007 could not have been true.

"I thought, there's no way this girl walked away from everything for no reason. And I thought, this guy killed Stacy, and I thought I didn't want anything to do with that, so I told him I didn't want to speak with him anymore because my opinion had changed," she said.

Grandel hasn't spoken to Peterson since August 2011.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio