Drew Peterson Verdict: Jury Finds Peterson Guilty of Murdering Wife Kathleen Savio
Sep 06, 2012 05:11 PM EDT
On Thursday, after 13 hours of deliberation a jury of 12 found former police officer Drew Peterson guilty of murdering his third wife Kathleen Savio in 2004.
The case is one of its kind for the Illinois justice system, as it is the first case allowed to continue purely on hearsay or "Drew's Law," a term coined as a result of the Peterson case. In fact it was for this very reason that the case faced chances of a mistrial, not once, but three times. The first two times was because defense attorney Joel Brodsky called for the case to be dismissed on grounds of mistakes committed by prosecutors. The third time it was the defense that withdrew their petition for a mistrial before the judge could rule.
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After closing arguments on Tuesday Peterson's attorney Joel Brodsky told the Associated Press, "He's emotionally and mentally prepared for whatever happens."
Now Peterson awaits his sentencing, which will take place on November 26. He could face a maximum sentence of 60 years. Prosecutors say the motive behind the murder was money. According to prosecutors Peterson would have to pay Savio $300,000 in a legal settlement, which he could not afford.
In closing arguments of the five week trial, the defense reiterated its fundamental argument throughout the case, which was that prosecutors were basing their accusations on hearsay evidence. Defense attorney, Brodsky has constantly argued that prosecutors only possess hearsay evidence and lack any physical evidence to incriminate Peterson.
Peterson's lawyer told ABC's Good Morning America, "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 predisposition jury is going to want to hear evidence, and they don't have any."
Evidently, the jury disagreed finding the various testimonies from a number of witnesses sufficient enough to convict Peterson of murder. The testimonies included Savio's sister and brother in-laws, another witness who said that Savio told her that Peterson once held a knife to her throat and threatened to murder her, another witness, who claimed to be the ex-lover of Peterson, testified in favor of prosecution telling the court that she was sure Peterson killed Savio. Probably, one of the most significant testimonies was by one of Peterson's co-workers, who testified that Peterson offered him $20,000 to kill Savio.
Savio, was discovered dead in her bathtub in 2004, to which Brodsky told jurors, "This was a household accident...Kathy slipped and fell in a household accident, case closed," according Huffington Post.
And although Will County Deputy Coroner Matt VanOver, investigating officer, testified "There were no obvious signs of struggle or foul play in the bathtub. I don't know how else she could have drowned...If a person would have fallen in that bathtub; I'm of the opinion that those bottles around the edge of that bathtub would have gone flying... It's a fairly small tub, and if a person would have fell, it's unlikely they would have come to rest that way," as reported by the Chicago Tribune
Prosecutors, remained adamant that the former cop had a hand in the death of his third wife and believe that the evidence provided in the court was sufficient to incriminate him, which it did.
Will County States Attorney James Glasgow insisted "The evidence shows this wasn't an accident," according to ABC News.
Peterson was a former sergeant in the Bolingbrook Police Department in Illinois. In 2007 he became the chief suspect for the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson. The Search for Stacy led the police to discover the body of Kathleen Savio, who was found in her dried bathtub in 2003. Peterson instantly became the prime suspect in her murder. Police believe that Peterson had something to do with the disappearance of his fourth wife as well, but has not been tried with Stacy's murder due to lack of evidence.
Peterson lawyer Brodsky says that they are planning to file for appeal.