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Entries in Stacy Peterson (5)

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

Tuesday
Jul312012

Drew Peterson Lawyer Attacks Dead Wife as Trial Opens

Giovanni Rufino/NBC NewsWire(JOLIET, Ill.) -- Drew Peterson's lawyer told the jury in his murder trial Tuesday that the woman he is accused of killing was bossy, lied, had a terrible temper and went to therapy.

Lawyer Joel Brodsky, Peterson's lead defense attorney, attacked the character of Kathleen Savio, Peterson's third wife, in his opening statement. Brodsky's opening argument was interrupted by objections from prosecutors, just as the prosecutor's opening statement was marked by objections from Brodsky.

The contentious start to the trial foreshadows what is expected to be a battle over the prosecutor's key evidence: comments that Savio made to others before she died in 2004, and comments that Peterson's fourth wife Stacy Peterson made to people. Stacy Peterson has been missing since 2007.

Brodsky told the jury that Savio was on antidepressants and had been known to fly into jealous rages during the time that she and Peterson were divorcing in 2004. He described her as bossy and a liar, and said she would yell so loudly that other police officers where Peterson was a sergeant could her hear over the phone.

Savio was found dead in her bathtub one Monday morning in February that year, and her death was ruled an accidental fall by state police, Brodsky said.

"This was a household accident," he said. "Kathy slipped and fell in a household accident, case closed."

Peterson, 58, was charged with Savio's murder years later, after his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared and Peterson became the focus of media attention and police investigators. Police exhumed Savio's body of as part of the investigation. A new forensic analysis performed on the body in 2007 showed that Savio did not die accidentally, but rather was murdered. Police then charged Peterson.

Brodsky said today that the only reason Savio's body was exhumed was the media's involvement in the case once Stacy disappeared. She has never been found.

Brodsky said that the defense would present forensic pathologists to testify that Savio's death was accidental. The prosecution will likely present its own expert witnesses to testify that it was homicide.

The defense's portrait of Peterson was in stark contrast to that presented by prosecutors just hours earlier, as they argued to the jury that Peterson stood to gain financially from Savio's death, and had the police knowledge to stage the crime scene to make it look like an accident. Peterson was a police sergeant in Bolingbrook, Ill., at the time of Savio's death.

"The evidence shows this wasn't an accident," prosecutor James Glasgow told the jury of seven women and five men. He noted that at the time of Savio's death, Peterson was financially supporting her, his girlfriend Stacy Peterson, two homes and his children.

Both of the opening statements were interrupted frequently by objections from attorneys. Legal wrangling over what evidence could be mentioned during opening statements had plagued the trial since its start Tuesday morning, when Brodsky called for a mistrial within minutes of the prosecution's opening statement. Brodsky's request was denied.

The arguments over what the jury will be allowed to hear are expected to play a pivotal role in the case, as the prosecution tries to prove their murder charge by admitting statements Savio and Stacy Peterson made to acquaintances.

Judge Edward Burmilia has said he will rule on each issue as it comes up during trial.

The first witness to testify in the trial was the woman who found Savio dead in her bathtub in 2004. Mary Pontrelli, a close friend and neighbor of Savio's, said that she knew Savio and Peterson had a rocky marriage that exploded when Savio discovered Peterson was cheating on her with another woman.

Savio also had a deadbolt installed on her bedroom door, a door which had a large hole in it when photographed by investigators after Savio's death, direct questioning of Pontrelli revealed.

Pontrelli described the Monday night when Drew Peterson came to her home and said he had not been able to reach Savio for 24 hours. He was trying to drop his children off at Savio's house after a weekend in his custody.

According to Pontrelli's testimony, Peterson and Pontrelli first contacted Savio's boyfriend and then a locksmith to get into Savio's home to check on her. Once inside, Peterson waited downstairs and checked the garage for Savio's car while Pontrelli went upstairs and found Savio dead in her bathtub, her hair soaked in blood.

Peterson then came upstairs and took Savio's pulse, Pontrelli said. At some point in the night, Peterson told Pontrelli he was the beneficiary of Savio's will, Pontrelli said.

Defense attorneys, upon cross-examination, pointed out the Pontrelli had changed the details of her story in various accounts she gave to police, prosecutors, and grand juries. Pontrelli said she could not remember what she told police the night of the incident.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul312012

Opening Statements to Begin in Drew Peterson's Murder Trial

Giovanni Rufino/NBC NewsWire(JOLIET, Ill.) -- Opening statements will begin Tuesday in the murder trial of former Illinois cop Drew Peterson, who's accused of killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

A jury of seven men and five women in Jolliet, Ill., will decide whether Peterson, 58, killed his former wife in 2004 and made it look like an accident.

Peterson skyrocketed to notoriety in 2007 when his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared.  Cops exhumed Savio's body as part of their investigation into Stacy's disappearance, eventually changing the cause of Savio's death from an accident to homicide and charging Peterson with murder.

Stacy has never been found, and the case has garnered widespread media attention focused on Peterson, whose story was made into a Lifetime movie, with Rob Lowe playing Peterson, earlier this year.

In the trial, prosecutors will argue that bruises on Savio's neck, together with Peterson's history of domestic violence and his statements to his fourth wife about Savio's death, prove that he murdered Savio.

Peterson, who was a sergeant in the Bolingbrook, Ill., police department, was in the middle of a bitter divorce from Savio and had already begun seeing Stacy Peterson at the time of Savio's death.

Kathleen Zellner, a Chicago attorney who has been following the case, noted that the prosecution is expected to try and use statements that Stacy Peterson made to her minister before her disappearance, in which she said that Peterson had admitted to killing Savio.  If the judge admits the hearsay statements of Stacy Peterson, the testimony could be damaging to Peterson, she said.

Last week, Peterson's legal team told ABC News that there is no forensic evidence tying Peterson to Savio's murder, and that prosecutors should not have pursued the case.

"We have always said, and this has never changed: They simply don't have any evidence.  They have conjecture, rumor, speculation, hearsay, but they don't have any evidence.  Even a predispositioned jury is going to want to hear evidence, and they don't have any," Peterson's attorney Joel Brodsky said.

Brodsky said he was so confident that the state had no case that he was convinced a judge would throw out the case as soon as the prosecution rests.

"I don't know why they are prosecuting this.  I am serious.  This case should never have been brought," Brodsky said.  "If they can prosecute Drew Peterson on this garbage, rumor, back fence gossip, then nobody's safe."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul302012

Drew Peterson Murder Trial Hinges on Words of Two Absent Women

Giovanni Rufino/NBC NewsWire(JOLIET, Ill.) -- The murder trial of former Illinois cop Drew Peterson could hinge on the statements of two women who won't be at that trial: his third wife he is accused of murdering and his fourth wife who has disappeared.

A jury of seven men and five women will hear opening arguments Tuesday on whether Peterson, 58, killed his then-wife Kathleen Savio in 2004 and made it look like an accident.

Peterson skyrocketed to notoriety in 2007 when his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared.  Cops exhumed Savio's body as part of their investigation into Stacy's disappearance, eventually changing the cause of Savio's death from an accident to homicide and charging Peterson with murder.

Stacy has never been found, and the case has garnered widespread media attention focused on Peterson, whose story was made into a Lifetime movie, with Rob Lowe playing Peterson, earlier this year.

In the trial, prosecutors will argue that bruises on Savio's neck, together with Peterson's history of domestic violence and his statements about Savio's death to his fourth wife prove that he murdered Savio.

Peterson, who was a sergeant in the Bolingbrook, Ill., police department, was in the middle of a bitter divorce from Savio and had already begun seeing Stacy Peterson at the time of Savio's death.

Kathleen Zellner, a Chicago attorney who has been following the case, noted that the prosecution is expected to try and use statements that Stacy Peterson made to her minister before her disappearance, in which she said that Peterson had admitted to killing Savio.  If the judge admits the hearsay statements of Stacy Peterson, the testimony could be damaging to Peterson, she said.

"What the judge is going to do is he's going to wait and make individual rulings each time the prosecution tries to introduce hearsay, not give a blanket ruling, but listen to see if they open the door in some way that makes the hearsay admissible.  He'll make this a day by day ruling on these different pieces," Zellner said.

"Essentially we've got Peterson confessing the murder of Savio to his fourth wife, but we still have the question of whether that will come in," Zellner added.

Prosecutors will also try to admit Stacy Peterson's statements to her minister that she saw Drew Peterson arrive home with women's clothing around the time of Savio's death.

Savio's sister may take the stand to describe Savio's statements that Peterson threatened her with a knife and said he could make her death look like an accident.

"That doesn't concern us," Peterson's attorney, Joel Brodsky told ABC News earlier this week.  "Anybody that knows anybody that has been through a divorce knows that people say things and do things that is totally out of character, and clearly Kathy was trying to build a case to try and get as much money as she could."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr132012

Drew Peterson Trial: Words From Grave

Giovanni Rufino/NBC NewsWire(CHICAGO) -- An appellate court granted prosecutors’ request to use hearsay testimony from friends and family of two ex-wives of Drew Peterson, the ex-Illinois police officer who was charged with murder in one of their deaths and is the sole suspect in the other’s disappearance.

Peterson, 57, was charged with killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio, whose body was found in a bathtub in 2004, and was named a person-of-interest in the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson. He has been imprisoned since his May 2009 arrest on charges of killing Savio, but denies involvement in either case.

Steven A. Greenberg, one of Peterson’s lawyers, said the appellate court’s ruling is disappointing.

“We’re disappointed but we’re not afraid of the case and it doesn’t change anything because the trial court already found many statements were unreliable,” said Steven A. Greenberg, one of Peterson’s lawyers.

A lower court ruled to exclude many secondhand statements as testimony on the grounds that they were unreliable.

“As a lawyer and an American, it’s pretty scary when courts say that we can try to convict people beyond reasonable doubt based on evidence that’s unreliable,” Greenberg said. “This should not be a game of chance or gotcha.”

The prosecutors, who have based their case on hearsay testimony, took the ruling as a victory.

In a pre-trial hearing that ended last February, a judge heard testimony from more than 60 witnesses, including Savio’s family and friends, who said that Savio told them she expected her husband to kill her.

Stacy Peterson‘s minister, Neil Schori, who testified in the pre-trial hearing, claimed the reason she disappeared was because she knew the truth about how Peterson’s third wife had died.

The hearing centered on a 2008 Illinois state law, dubbed “Drew’s Law,” which allows for hearsay evidence in first-degree murder cases if prosecutors can show a defendant killed a victim to prevent him or her from testifying.

Savio’s death was originally ruled an accident, as her autopsy showed that she drowned. Within a year, Peterson married Stacy Peterson, and they had two children. In 2007, Stacy Peterson disappeared. Peterson was named a person-of-interest and shortly thereafter police re-opened the case surrounding Savio’s death and exhumed her body.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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