Drew Peterson faces a maximum 60-year prison term as jurors found the ex-cop guilty Thursday afternoon of murdering his third wife Kathleen Savio after his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, vanished. Former Bolingbrook, Ill. police sergeant, Drew Peterson, received his sentence “stoically” at the Will County courthouse in Joliet, Ill. The five-year legal mess that surrounded the case has finally come to a close.
But the win over Drew Peterson wasn’t easy for prosecutors.
Said to have made many errors and received various reprimands from the judge, the prosecutors somehow managed to build, and win, a case with fragile evidence and a confident defendant. With only circumstantial and hearsay evidence, no witnesses and without tying Peterson to the crime scene, prosecutors were able to convince jurors that this was not only a murder trial but it was in fact Drew Peterson that was guilty of that murder.
Kathleen Savio’s body was found facedown in the bathtub of her suburban home outside Chicago on March1, 2004. The 40-year-old woman had a 2-inch gash on the back of her head and the incident was believed to be an accident drowning after falling in the bathtub. Not until Peterson’s fourth wife Stacy Peterson went missing in 2007 did police look back into Savio’s death, deciding to investigate the death as a homicide.
Savio had divorced Peterson a year before her death, and prosecutors said the motive was fear that a pending settlement that would ruin Peterson financially. Prosecutors also believe Peterson’s fourth wife disappeared because she was able to link Peterson to Savio’s death.
Illinois passed a law in 2008, named “Drew’s Law,” that allowed hearsay evidence in rare circumstances. This gave prosecutors the ability have friends and family testify at the trial concerning both Savio and Stacy Peterson, but one testimony was not hearsay. Drew Peterson’s former co-worker Jeff Pachter came to the stand to tell the courtroom of how Peterson had offered him $25,000 to hire a hit man to kill Savio. Peterson never followed through, though did mention sometime after Savio was found dead that he didn’t need the hit man anymore.
Done and guilty.
“This man thought he would get away with it,” says Pamela Bosco, spokesperson for Stacy Peterson’s family. “Today’s he’s facing reality. He is never going to see life outside a prison wall.”