Witness is excused after brief re-direct question about placement of electrodes.
Attorney Connor asks for a sidebar.
Judge informs jurors that testimony has concluded for the day, they are excused.
Judge Burmila grants the State leave to file a motion regarding the alleged 25k hit man who Peterson attempted to hire. Defense has been given until Aug. 8 to address the motion.
Judge leaves bench and court is adjourned for the day.
Prosecution calls paramedic Michael Johnson, firefighter paramedic with the Bolingbrook FD who also was at Kathy Savio’s house the night body found.
Peterson spoke to Johnson “be respectful to the scene as we entered up the stairs”
Johnson denies putting towel by Savio’s body
He probably wouldn’t recognize the house if he saw it again. Witness says he never worked on Savio’s body.
Johnson steps down.
Prosecution calls Timothy Berkeley, firefighter/paramedic
Berkery was Louis Oleszkiewicz’s partner on ambulance the night
Berkery said Peterson asked for “professional courtesy” for his ex-wife.
Guess what? Berkery says he didn’t put the blue towel by the body, either.
He’s “100% sure”
State calls Michael Newton, who works for Bolingbrook Fire Department.
Newton was in charge of the scene the night Savio’s body was found.
Peterson asked Newton to treat the scene with respect. “This is my ex-wife.”
Newton is 100 percent certain that he did not place any towels at Savio death scene.
Newton said he knew Peterson for over 20 years
Newton says Peterson “did seem upset”
Under re-direct Newton says again that he did not place the mystery towel on the bathtub.
Newton steps down from stand
Judge Burmila has asked Attorney Joe Lopez to stop tweeting during the trial.
Judge: witness can discuss the timeline of events, but not speculate on what the outcome of a future scheduled hrg would be.
Harry Smith may not testify.
Defense asking about Smith’s undisclosed testimony. Goes to credibility.
Judge: “The fact that she was not there at the trial and the trial isn’t held does not necessarily extinguish her interests.”
Judge: “You can’t say she was going to get everything she wanted, and the only way she’d get everything was if she was there.”
Judge: “Once they were divorced, pension became an asset of their marital estate and it was going to be resolved.”
Connor: “Judge White’s previous ruling was that he would have to find that Kathleen Savio was murdered to prevent her testifying at a specific hearing”
Judge: “The State’s argument is absolutely incorrect…you have perverted Judge White’s ruling 100%.”
Greenberg: “I believe the hearsay statement they’d like this (witness) to testify to was found unreliable by Judge White.”
Greenberg: “I don’t think he’s got any relevancy at this point; I don’t know what it is that they want him to testify to.”
Greenberg: “they can’t use this to show Mr. Peterson’s state of mind in any way.”
Connor argues that jury has to consider financial motives of the divorce.
Connor referencing Savio’s death “if I’m dead, I’m certainly less of a threat to the other side”
Connor “Ms. Savio was long dead by the time the case was set for trial.”
Judge “these parties were divorced, & they entered into an agreement, the issues were already agreed upon, were they not?”
Connor: “They were going to be addressed at the April 6 hearing . . . but one party was dead by then,”
Connor “the bar was a subject of dispute in the case . . whether that was or was not marital property was still in dispute”
Debate is over what was at issue in divorce when Kathy Savio died, what Peterson knew about how estate would be settled.
State: Kathy Savio disadvantage in divorce case b/c she was dead. Judge: Just because it makes logical sense, doesn’t mean it makes legal sense
Prosecutors are explaining to the judge what they want to ask Harry Smith, a cautionary move before he takes the stand.
Prosecutors call Harry Smith, Kathy Savio’s divorce attorney.
Smith still hasn’t taken the stand.
(The judge has said he’ll force Smith to answer questions about talks he had with Savio he still considers privileged.)
Attorney John Connor says some of Smith’s testimony includes prior bad acts and issues of “mental cruelty.”
Connor tells judge the witness may be asked about what statements were to be brought in during the divorce trial.
State: Smith will show motive was to stop Savio from testify in divorce.
Court back in session. Jury about to come in.
Cross examination of locksmith, Robert Akin
Attorney Joel Brodsky begins cross of witness. Witness talks about his background and resume as a locksmith.
“Authority has to be involved…I just don’t do that” Akin discussing wellness check calls
“All I know is that Sergeant Peterson requested a wellness check”
“I assumed he wanted me to be there instead of Chris” (other locksmith, Christopher Wolzen)
Witness says he was not on call the night of Peterson’s call.
Looking at photo, witness doesn’t remember the screen door being there. Witness is shown the police report to help remember.
After reading report, witness “It looks like he (Peterson) was holding the door for me.”
Akin steps down from the stand
Akin: Peterson was standing behind him holding a flashlight.
Other people who were there went into the house before Peterson.
Akin: Heard screams inside house. Peterson said “I’ve gotta go.”
Akin: I got the heck out of Dodge.
This was a “wellness check.” Each check is different, no one was charged for this service this time.
Lunch break. Court resumes 1:30
The state calls locksmith Robert Akin, the locksmith who was used to enter Kathleen’s home.
Akin is owner of Larry’s Lock Service. Occasionally works for Bolingbrook Police.
Akin has been the owner of his locksmith company since 1978. When he unlocks a door for a wellness check, the police officers usually go in to make sure all is well. Police are normally there by the time Akin arrives.
Akin has known Peterson for close to 30 years. “I see him through business dealings…I know him” “One time he [Peterson] had a bar…we changed the locks there”
Peterson was wearing his uniform when he arrived at Savio’s home.
“I did not see any lights”
“first thing I noticed was the lock was upside down”
“I went to pick the lock but it had no resistance” “it was clearly unlocked”
“Door knob was locked, but deadbolt wasn’t locked. “Wow, this is unlocked.”
Savio divorce attorney Harry Smith in hallway. He may be called as witness earlier than thought.
Court is in a brief break to work out an electronic problem.
Prosecution redirect of Louis Oleszkiewcz.
EMT says he’s positive towel in photo of Savio body was not there when he worked on her.
EMT says the hand towels that were in Savio bathroom were not big enough for someone to use after bathing.
Defense recross: Asks if there was shampoo or conditioner in the tub. Chuckles heard in courtroom
Oleszkiewcz steps down from stand
The jury is excused due to “equipment malfunction” in the courtroom. Judge off the bench.
Greenberg begins cross of EMT.
When he arrived at scene, 2 other EMTs and police already there.
EMT says he’s not trained to know how long a body has been at a crime scene.
EMT says “waxy” texture is more of a visual appearance than physical.
EMT is asked to ID other items in the bathroom from a photo.
Oleszkiewicz did not see Peterson in the bathroom while he was on the scene.
Defense cross-exam moves from location of towels to medicine chest (Zoloft, Celebrex, Sudafed)
Defense has also brought up other items in Savio bathroom medic didn’t notice – glasses, open contact case.
In State Police report: Medic said Peterson “appeared sad about death of his wife,” his eyes red.
First witness of the day, Louis Oleszkiewicz, Bolingbrook firefighter and paramedic.
Oleszkiewicz says he was called to the Savio home. He received a call at 10:49 pm for an “unresponsive female.” He arrived 4 minutes later.
There was no activity in the heart.”She felt cold to the touch, waxy and dry. Her hair was matted”
Witness uses a laser pointer to indicate things in photo. “This towel [blue towel] right here was not there that evening” even after leaving and coming back to Savio’s bathroom.
Witness says he spoke to police 3 or 6 days after the incident. He IDs Peterson in court. He says he recalls Peterson being upstairs.
Attorneys ask for a sidebar.
Defense is now trying to help edit the judge’s jury instruction. They want stronger wording against the state.
Judge adding “or anything regarding a bullet” to jury instruction.
State to call three paramedics who responded to Savio’s house when her body was found.
Jurors are entering the courtroom.
Judge Burmilla tells the jury they cannot consider the bullet statement
Judge Burmila: I told them (the jurors) not to pay attention if one side objects.” “The defendant’s ability to have a fair trial has not been extinguished.”
Motion for a mistrial denied. Jury to be instructed to ignore disputed testimony. Judge says that striking all of Pontarelli’s testimony has the potential to hurt Peterson. Prosecution asked the question knowingly but they did not intend to cause a mistrial.
No reaction from Drew Peterson.
In response to Koch’s arguments, Atty Greenberg reacts “Wow! This is a wow moment…I’m geniunely shocked…it’s our fault?”
State asks the judge to deny the motion for a mistrial and says “we’re ready to proceed.”
Greenberg: “They (the prosecution) don’t know the rules of evidence, and I’m sorry, they don’t think they have to follow them” “Rules say they’re supposed to give us notice, character evidence, in a reasonable amount of time before trial.” “I’ve been practicing for 27 years and I’ve never seen people who think they could just ignore the rules and do whatever they want” “If you let this trial go on, it’s going to be an unfair trial.”
Court is in session
Peterson attorneys renew motion for mistrial with prejudice. They don’t want to start over.
Attorney Greenberg imitates Glasgow’s voice while complaining about hit man comment in prosecution’s opening statement.
Defense: “They are trying to show everyone is afraid of Mr. Peterson. What evidence do they have that he did something?” “So far we have a jury that thinks that everyone is afraid of Mr. Peterson. How is that fair to Mr. Peterson?”
Prosecutor Chris Koch responds that Judge White never “barred” previous bad acts, i.e. bullet in driveway.
Judge White on In Session just responded by saying the “bullet” never came up while he was trial judge.
Prosecution will file a motion to admit the alleged $25k hit man testimony that got them in trouble during opening statements.
Peterson is at the defense table smiling and talking to atty Lopez. Prosecutors have just arrived, Glasgow talking with deputies.
Atty Greenberg: “Nothing’s happening. The judge is going to deny our motion. And then…they’ll (the prosecution) will screw up again.”
Atty Glasgow: The claims by defense that prosecutors are trying to goad judge into declaring a mistrial are “absolutely false.”
Attorneys are speaking with the judge. Court hasn’t started yet
Drew Peterson’s trial for the murder of Kathleen Savio continues today. Yesterday, the introduction of barred testimony by Savio friend and neighbor, Thomas Pontarelli, resulted in a request for a mistrial.
Judge Burmila angrily admonished the Prosecution for their actions and is considering a mistrial with prejudice, although he also suggested to the Defense the alternative of simply barring all of Pontarelli’s testimony. Court was adjourned to allow the Defense to deliberate and for both teams to consult case-law. This morning a decision is expected to either continue with sanctions for the Prosecution or declare a mistrial.
If the trial does in fact go forward, the Prosecution is expected to call more witnesses who observed the scene of Kathleen Savio’s death, including a paramedic Louis Oleszkiewicz, a locksmith, Robert Akin, and Chris Wolzen, the supervisor who dispatched the locksmith.
As always, we’ll have our eyes and ears open and will be posting updates. Check back throughout the day for the latest news and don’t forget to check the comment thread.