Drew Peterson goes on trial

The former Bolingbrook, Ill. police sergeant is accused of drowning his third wife, Kathleen Savio

WRITTEN BY: Scott Hixson
Drew Peterson allegedly drowned his third wife in a bathtub
Image Source: camerakarrie via Flickr
Drew Peterson allegedly drowned his third wife in a bathtub

Drew Peterson has been awaiting his trial date for three years since his arrest on charges he murdered his third wife Kathleen Savio. Now his day in court has finally arrived, but will the public hear from the accused? It doesn’t appear so.

Drew Peterson, the former sergeant in the Bolingbrook, Ill. Police department, has become something of a celebrity since his arrest with his outlandish and inappropriate behavior towards the media and the prosecutor’s case against him.

Peterson, 58, is accused of drowning Kathleen Savio in 2004 and using his experience in the police force to make the death appear as an accident.

Peterson’s trial has been delayed numerous times during recent years as litigators and appellate courts debated the decision to allow hearsay evidence in the trial. Such hearsay evidence includes statements allegedly made by Kathleen Salvio and Stacy Peterson, Drew Peterson’s fourth wife who has been missing since 2007, regarding threats made against them by Drew Peterson. One such piece of hearsay evidence may include testimony from Stacy Peterson that she saw Drew Peterson return home around the time of Salvio’s death with women’s clothing.

Peterson’s attorney remains confident that prosecutor’s have no 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, told ABC News.

Brodsky continued, ““First, they are not going to be able to say that (the death investigation was botched) because it wasn’t. By saying that if they had done a better job in the investigation, then they would have been able to prosecute Drew Peterson, that lowers the burden of proof. Where you don’t have evidence, you presume innocence.”

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

One of the biggest questions in the trial is whether Drew Peterson will take the witness stand in his defense, but judging by Peterson’s abrasive character, that possibility is looking less and less likely.

“There’s no upside. If you put him on and they hate him, that could push it over the edge,” said former Cook County, Ill. Prosecutor and DuPage County, Ill. judge, Brian Telander.

“All those trophy fish you see hanging on the wall have one thing in common,” another attorney added bluntly under the condition of anonymity. “They opened their mouths.”

Attorney San Amirante, who represented infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy and later became a Cook County judge, said of the trial, “I can’t fathom a circumstance in which he’d testify, but it’s up to him.”

Regarding Peterson’s behavior towards the media and the case in general while in custody, Richard Kling, a professor at Chicago Kent College of Law, put it succinctly: “Drew’s worst enemy was himself.”

“My belief is the jury wants to hear from the defendant,” said former Cook County and DuPage County prosecutor, Paul DeLuca. “But if he gets up there and makes the jury angry, that’s not good at all.”

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