Drew Peterson trial – day sixteen. Phone records tech and Bolingbrook cop testify

UPDATE 02:09:

Brodsky argues that through this letter the State is putting Kathleen Savio’s credibility at issue. Should that happen, “Then I want Mr. Smith to take the stand and tell us about this privileged information he has, about how she took the stand and lied . . . they can’t have their case [sic] and eat it, too.”
Judge: “This exhibit is going to be admitted. This is a statement signed by Ms. Savio . . . if the defense wants to call Mr. Smith to impeach him, tell me the date and I will compel him to be here.”
Judge: “You know what, I’m going to take a break – you guys get your act together, and let me know when you’re ready.”
Judge allows as evidence transcripts of 2 interviews Drew gave to NBC and CNN about Savio’s death. No video comes in, though.
The attorneys have just disappeared into the back hallway. They are presumably on their way to Judge Burmila’s chambers.
Chuck Pelkie has just informed us that attorney Harry Smith will now NOT be testifying today. He MAY be back on Monday.
Jury has been excused for the day.

UPDATE 01:35:

Savio divorce attorney Harry Smith may take the witness stand after all.
Prosecutors trying to stop defense from questioning Smith about alleged perjury Savio committed on case involving DP and Stacy
State wants Smith to testify on letter Savio wrote indicating fear that Peterson would kill her.
Prosecutor Koch: “The next witness the State intends to call will be Harry Smith. There are a couple of questions I’d like to bring to the Court’s attention . . . there’s a letter that was presented to Harry Smith, that Miss Savio presented to Mr. Smith . . . we believe Harry Smith can testify as to the foundational elements of that letter.”
Burmila just told attorneys to stop talking with each other, “for like the 50th time.”

UPDATE 11:55:

Trial is back in session, but jury is not yet here. Judge and attorneys discussing.
Prosecutors tell judge there will be no more witnesses today, only stipulations.
Discussion of documents to be admitted or not.
Judge rules one can be admitted and the other not (The documents are phone-related.)
Court in recess until 1:15 p.m.

UPDATE 11:15:

Prosecutors want to call Stacy’s sister Cassandra Cales to testify to Stacy’s cellphone number (to identify which cell phone her sister used).
Greenberg objects to this witness, insisting that it’s hearsay. Judge: “I don’t believe it is . . . how would that be hearsay?” Greenberg: “How come we got a list of people last night, and now we’re getting different people?” Judge: “That I can’t answer.

UPDATE 10:50:

The jurors are now back in the courtroom, and prosecutor Connor calls the next witness: Brian Hafner.
“I am a lieutenant with the Bolingbrook Police Department.” He’s been with the Bolingbrook P.D. for about 21 years. The witness says he is familiar with the kinds of documents that are placed into Bolingbrook P.D. personnel files.
Hafner IDs a Jan. 6, 1984 memo indicating that Peterson has been appointed to a role of evidence technician. He IDs Peterson in court.
Hafner IDs July 9, 1981 “Certificate of Completion” for course in evidence handling, intro to forensic science techniques given to DP.
Hafner IDs April 11, 1988 “Certificate of Achievement” for crime scene training class completion.
State ends questioning Hafner. Greenberg begins cross.
Greenberg asks witness if they would be taught to stage a crime scene, an accident, or how to clean one up in those courses.
Upon Greenberg question, Hafner says there are no certificates post-1988.
Jury is leaving the courtroom.
State withdraws objection, jury brought back in.
Greenberg continues cross.
Hafner cannot say if DP ever processed a crime scene while an evidence technician or even as to how long DP was an evidence technician.
Hafner: I don’t know what was taught in the classes, or how long Drew Peterson was an evidence tech.
“I’m sure they taught something, but I would not know (what),” Hafner said.
Judge bars testimony that ex-cop once received training on how to subdue subjects.
Greenberg has no further questions for Hafner. Hafner steps down.

UPDATE 10:10:

Jury is out while attorneys argue over next witness, who could testify to Drew’s training in holding techniques and restraints.
Judge may bar testimony that DP was trained in how to restrain people without sustaining personal injury. Arguments going now.
Judge says “you can’t be serious” to prosecutors request on restraint training, suggesting it is improper speculation.
Connor: “It’s to show that he obviously has more training than the average individual regarding restraint techniques.”
Greenberg: Certificate DP has from restraint training is 25 years old. Crime scene investigation has changed since then, he says.
Burmila says the injuries on Savio’s body are not consistent with police techniques, and the state cannot prove Drew Peterson used them on Savio.
Greenberg: “We’re going to need a continuance, to get the underlying documents . . . we don’t even have our files here on this stuff. I don’t know if we can even find out what he was taught. That’s like saying that when I graduated from law school I was qualified to be a criminal defense attorney. I was not. I may still not be.” Judge: “No comment.”
Burmila bars witness testimony that DP could injure someone w/o showing injury.
Info about DP’s training, however, “could be relevant,” and is admissible, says Burmila.
Trial in a brief recess.

UPDATE 09:42:

Norman Ray Clark

Court is in session, jury is in the courtroom, state calls Ray Clark, records custodian for Sprint/Nextel.
Connor begins direct examination.
“I work for Sprint Nextel. I’m a custodian of records for them . . . I’m responsible for maintaining and retrieving various business documents.”
Pair of phone lines had “direct connect” capability. It’s commonly known as “chirp.”
Phone lines ended in x3149 and x2917.
Clark explains that bill shows summary of minutes used, rather than each chirp, because bill would get “unwieldy.”
Clark IDs a bill as belonging to Drew Peterson.
Clark: record of chirp wouldn’t be made if chirp made to a phone that was turned off.
State ends questioning Clark. Defense moves in for cross by Attorney Greenburg
Clark says he was notified that he would testify in case just yesterday.
Clark says he doesn’t know if Drew Peterson had more than one account. He was only asked to discuss this particular record.
Clark: Bill record doesn’t indicate which number was chirped or when it was chirped. Bill only shows minutes used during a particular time.
Clark: “it does not indicate with whom they’re speaking, between the two numbers, or any one else – based on the bill.”
Greenberg ends cross of Clark. Prosecution re-directs.
Clark leaves the stand after saying there is no way to prove — or disprove — Stacy’s claim that she tried to contact Drew several times during night when she woke up and he was missing.

UPDATE 09:00:

The first witness of the day will be Ray Clark, a Sprint records custodian.
Second witness could be James Poortinga, a former ISP sergeant. A third could be Bolingbrook police officer Brian Hafner.
Jury colors today are black and white.
Witness list today does not include Savio divorce attorney Harry Smith.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Drew Peterson’s trial for the murder of Kathleen Savio continues today. Yesterday only one witness took the stand. Pastor Neil Schori testified to what Stacy Peterson told him she saw on the night that Kathleen Savio was killed.

As always, I’ll have my 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 comments thread.

We’re following:
Jon Seidel
Stacy St. Clair
In Session
Glenn Marshall
Diane Pathieu
Kara Oko
Dan Rozek
Diane Pathieu

~By commenting you agree to be bound by the rules of this blog. You can contact admins directly by sending an email to petersonstory@gmail.com.~

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81 thoughts on “Drew Peterson trial – day sixteen. Phone records tech and Bolingbrook cop testify

  1. P I? P-U! Ex-Bolingbrook cop? I’d like to begin investigating him. Good for Neil, standing up for himself.
    I’ll be out of pocket all day today, but believe that it hurts me more than you all. I’ll be with you in spirit.

  2. Catch up with you later, Cheryl!

    Huebl is actually ex-Chicago cop. Desperate to be in films or TV, he takes the unpopular side of things and tries to get negative attention. He’s kind of gross, too. Ask me someday to see the creepy photos he takes of women on the street when they aren’t looking.

  3. I’m not sure if the Nextel witness helped or hurt the prosecution. we’ve heard for a while that Stacy had used the “walkie talkie” function on the phones to try to locate Drew and that it wouldn’t be reflected on the bill if he didn’t answer the phone.

    It might help the jury to know why there is no record of the supposed call…also it reminds them of Stacy’s testimony via Schori. :)

  4. Previously Hafner testified at the hearsay hearings:

    Bolingbrook Police Lt. Brian Hafner testified that he trained Drew Peterson in a variety of suspect control techniques. He said as an officer, Peterson knew how to use arm and wrist locks known as “come alongs” that allow cops to compel suspects to come along with them, or risk a great deal of pain.

    Hafner was shown photos of Kathleen Savio’s body where she was found, slumped forward, dead in a dry bathtub. He testified that the position of Savio’s right arm was consistent with a police hold known as an “arm bar,” which Peterson had been trained to use.

  5. Kind of think the Nextel guy did nothing to advance the States case. To some degree all it does it is remind the jury that, yet again, the State has no specific evidence with which to implicate Peterson. Wow …who would have thunk there would be no record of Stacey’s repeated middle of the night calls to Peterson.

    I seem to recall that ex-LAPD’s Mark Thurman Fuhrman was convinced he’d found the smoking gun…ie that ISP had not followed up on these telephone records after the autopsy. Sadly the use of a wallkie-tallkie removes one of the few possible pieces of inculpatory evidence that may have been subject to “objective” corroboration. This loss follows on from the State’s inability to get Steven’s girlfriend Ms Schoon to say she heard the washing machine going in the middle of the night when she was living in Drew and Stacey’s basement with Steven on the night of the murder.

    While its likely that Schori was a powerful witness on the stand…the one response he gave relating to Stacey stating that Drew claimed to have “killed his own men” while in the US Army may well undercut the value of Stacey’s claim her husband claimed to have killed Kathy. It makes it seem Drew was prone to exaggerating his powers presumably to frighten Stacy into submission.

    Also reviewing Schori’s testimony on the IS transcription its not clear that Stacy ever directly said that the events involving the SWAT Uniform and the women’s clothes occurred on the night Kathy was murdered. That said… it was clearly implied.

    BTW the media reported the Defense erred by refering to their own client as a “murderer”. I think to some degree this is wishful thinking. To me the defense attorney raised a valid point. Why would a Pastor allow a vulnerable 23 year old woman place herself in harms way by returning the home of a man who he now believed to be the cold-blooded killer of his last wife? Answer—either he’s either totally imcompetent or he did not fully believe Stacy at the time. Neither answer will inspire the jury to hang its hat on the only witness to positively place Drew inside Kathy’s bathroom in the early morning hours of Feb 29.

  6. Oxy, I see that you are wearing your “negatron” shirt to trial today. As I’m sitting in the next chair I’ll don the “positron” shirt, but I might be hard pressed to represent it.

    These last witnesses don’t have the Umph that I would want to give the jury on my last day of testimony.

  7. Well seeing as i’ve been labelled as today’s pessimist…I may as well get my money’s worth.

    Here’s where i think the case stands:

    Even if the State can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was a murder…(which is unlikely after we will have heard from 3 esteemed defense-sponsored pathologists already fully endorsed as “I fine” pathologists by one of the state’s own expert witnesses)…believe that so far all the have done is to suggest that Drew had the motive to want Kathy dead.

    Just because during the course of a contentious divorce a man wishes his wife dead, does not in itself make a man a murderer….even if this man is controlling and based on prior actions appears to have the know how to scare his wives. Sure he joked with a potential hitman …but his lack of follow through just underscores yet gain that Peterson was a “talker”

    Equally just because Kathy warned friend he would kill her and make it look like an accident doesn’t mean he actually did it. Princess Diana made similar accusations before her death, and i don’t recall seeing her father-in-law Prince Philip whom she claimed would kill her being arrested.

    Wiith only a couple of hours left in the State’s case-in-chief the jury doesn’t know how he committed the murder without being detected. Especially how he entered a heavily bolted home…avoid Kathy’knife kept in the bedroom for protection…avoided leaving a blood trail…knew that he would not encounter Kathy’s boyfriend who she could well have driven back to her place if he’d been drinking.

    Nor do the jury know what weapon he used to kill Kathy. Nor why police did not investigate the used condom that was placed in the bedroom…ie not in the Kitchen where her boyfriend disposed of his condom on Friday night.

    Which leaves Stacy’s powerful testimony…if only the jury could have heard from her or at least in some objective way corroborate her story.

    Oh and by the way did i mention that Drew is no ordinary man. He’s devoted his life to public service…a family man…etc etc etc ….(vomit starting to seep through my keyboard)

    Over to you Fac for a dose of positivity.

  8. wow, is what i have to say, I think from what i read thus far the PROS doing good, but come the def they are going to disprove the pros case , but the pros gets more than defense, they get a rebuttle near end of all this first it pros then defens then pros again … but me thinks drew will be conviced, brodsky will be cocky and ther rest of their team will be like there stuff dont stink ya know that is how i bet the jury sees it … and as for the judge he should of been thrown off the case .. he is not fair

  9. @ Fac – While you’re supping wine, I suggest you also buy a crate of booze to get you through next weeks testimony….got the feeling those damn “fine” pathologists are going to be sooooooooo boring.

    What a pity we never got to hear from Baden….his celebrity may have impressed the jury. (And tbh, I was looking forward to hearing the defense go after the Fair and Balanced network.)

    And obviously divorce attorney Harry Smith was another one the State chose not to call. He could have testified to the fear experienced by Kathy (and Stacy)…but I suspect the State chose not to take the risk on opening Pandora’s box and opening the door to attacks on Kathy’s truthfulness.

    Regrettably from the standpoint of holding Drew Peterson accountable…the defense did a fantastic job of blocking the state from introducing or at least limiting the most incriminating “suggestive” evidence eg

    the lock picking set
    the training in immobilizing choke holds
    the pristine alibi folder
    the blue towel’s sudden appearance
    the likely murder of his fourth wife
    numerous affairs
    abuse relating to the daughter of his second wife
    the surveillance of his ex-wives
    the fact that he broke procedure to handpick the locksmith
    the restraining order

    i’m sure you can think of other incriminating evidence that the state was not allowed to present.

    While I acknowledge the defense did a great job, I would love to ask each defense attorney how they would feel about having their daughters and /or wives spend time alone with their client.!

    I look forward to reading your “Positron” spin later today…assuming the judge doesn’t grant the defense’s motion to dismiss the case for lack of evidence…(which thankfully he wont)

  10. Although Baden is a celebrated and famous pathologist, I’m actually a bit relieved that he didn’t testify.

    I heard him on a radio appearance a year or so ago and he made numerous factual errors in relation to the case. I cringe to think how the defense would have torn him up on those.

    Besides, the whole issue with FOX paying for the interview and producer, Steph Watts being in the room and “helping” was pretty unprofessional. I don’t think the did anything wrong, but a TV producer with a video camera has no place in the autopsy room, IMO.

  11. A couple of media updates that go to heart of the legal tragedy playing out in Joliet.

    Prosecutors on Friday said they wanted to call someone who would say Peterson completed courses that included lesson on how to put a strangle hold on someone without injuring himself.

    Judge Edward Burmila told prosecutors they haven’t entered any testimony about just how Peterson might have killed his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in 2004. So, he says there are no grounds for entering evidence about his skills in subduing others.

    Chicago Daily Herald 8/24

    (Ruby) and Lopez spoke briefly on the sidewalk, and appeared to end the conversation on good terms.

    “If you win, are you going to be happy if (Peterson) kills another person too?” Ruby asked Lopez.

    “Someone might kill him,” Lopez replied.

    Chicago Sun Times 8/24

  12. ABC News adds some more detail to the exchange with the Judge.

    *** Prosecutors made the request as they wound down their four-week presentation of evidence. The state hasn’t offered any testimony about how the former Bolingbrook police sergeant might gone about killing Savio, Judge Edward Burmila said, and so he wouldn’t allow them to encourage jurors to speculate he used a stranglehold.

    “You can’t be serious,” the judge balked. “You don’t even have any evidence linking him to the scene. Now you want to say this is what he did there?” ***

    I suspect its not a good sign for the prosecution when the Judge starts to miimic John McEnroe when referring to the evidence against the Accused.

  13. Agreed Lostacres…not a great day for the Prosecution.

    Given the absence of new news and given my earlier pessimism about the lack of hard evidence against Drew Peterson, i thought it might help to remind people of what happened the last time a man called Peterson faced a murder conviction in a high profile trial.

    The evidence against Scott Peterson was essentially circumstantial… with no eye witnesses and minimal forensics to directly confirm he murdered his wife, Laci and ultimately transported her body by boat and threw it overboard into a N California bay.

    The case came down to Scott’s incriminating actions before the murder…his affair (apparent motive)..and his internet search relating to currents in the bay. Additionally, when arrested, Scott appeared to be on his way over the border…complete with false facial hair. money, passport etc. He had also sold off some of his missing wife’s property even before her body was found.

    Primarily on the strength of this evidence a jury convicted Scott Peterson.

    IMO, the primary difference between the two cases is California explained to the jury how Scott killed Lacy. By contrast, Illinois’ failure to explain how Drew murdered Kathy denies a juror the ability to rationalize his or her own reliance on circumstantial evidence. Its tough to send a man to prison for the rest of his life without a juror being able to explain in simple English what the accused did to deserve that punishment.

    Of course, added to that in the Illinois case is the additional doubt about whether there was indeed a murder, as opposed to an accident. This was not a factor in the Scott Peterson case, and seems it will make it even harder for a jury to convict Drew Peterson.

    That said, there does appear substantially stronger circumstantial evidence going to motive in the Drew Peterson case, especially relating to Kathy’s statement about Drew wanting to kill her and Stacy’s testimony via Pastor Schiro that Drew confessed to her and had her fake an alibi.

    By contrast, poor Laci was ignorant of her Scott Peterson’s desire to kill both her and their unborn son; and after the murder, Scott fervently maintained his innocence, (and still does)

    So, possibly, room for some hope of a conviction in the Drew Peterson trial. As one poster put it in a Facebook comment on the In Session page….based on the prosecution’s case against Drew Peterson, “this is the one occasion when I hope our legal system doesn’t work.”

  14. True, the defense team likes to talk about how the state has not described exactly how Drew killed Kathleen, yet the jury is going to have to think about how incredibly motivated Drew was to have Kathleen dead and gain 100% of the assets. Sure the division of assets took place but he sitll ended up with everything as beneficiary of her (questionable) will (and I DO wish that could have been talked about).

    Plus, I think it is clear to the jury that Kathleen believed Drew would kill her, and that it would appear to be an accident.

    Then she had a freak accident and died.

    Will they believe that it’s just a wacky coincidence? I don’t think so. Will it be enough to convict?

  15. Hmm the Way Lopez is LOL’ing along on his twitters.

    I quite frankly to not find anything slightly amusing about 1 woman loosing her life, most likely two, and most likely others by most likely, one person. It seems to belittle life in general. I guess its just another day in the office for them. Just does not sit right with me, but I guess those are the ways of this world we live in.

  16. I don’t follow murder trials — this is the only one I’ve ever followed. But, been in a few trials and that is my only experience.

    This REALLY REALLY bothers me:

    *** Prosecutors made the request as they wound down their four-week presentation of evidence. The state hasn’t offered any testimony about how the former Bolingbrook police sergeant might gone about killing Savio, Judge Edward Burmila said, and so he wouldn’t allow them to encourage jurors to speculate he used a stranglehold.

    “You can’t be serious,” the judge balked. “You don’t even have any evidence linking him to the scene. Now you want to say this is what he did there?” ***

    What is up with this judge? He has been judge AND JURY throughout this proceeding. He denies evidence based on his on his own bias rather than allow the jury to decide the relevance of the material.

    Prosecution clearly showed through other witnesses that Kathy had been threatened by Drew. He held a knife to her throat. He choked her. He told numerous people that he wanted her dead. Now the lady is dead and he wants to say that the Prosecution can’t bring in evidence that he was trained in stranglehold positions that would have left no marks on her?

    Seriously. This man has a real problem with Glasgow and it is seething just under the surface.

  17. Rather than comparing Casey Anthony and Scott Peterson with this case, perhaps there is more relevance to compare cases where Police Officers (with more skill, access, influence, training, know how, than the average person) killed someone, eg La Fayette Police Sergeant Sam Parker or Delaware State Prosecutor Thomas Capano.

    Both these men were convicted and they would have thought they committed the perfect murder too……..

  18. atlgranny, I completely agree. We can just HOPE that the jury, WITH some knowledge on who DP is, BEFORE they were told not to watch any news about him, has been paying attention. The Pros has been presenting this case well, perhaps more cut and dry, rather then the dramatics of the def. I believe this judge shows incompetence or biased. I do not know. I am not a law person, so I cannot say to what his decisions are based on… law, or something else. To a layperson, his decisions are concerning, very much so

  19. I’m baaaack…
    I wish I could agree with you, lost, but I just can’t. I totally agree w/granny, that this judge has been both judge and jury. To think that it would be prejudicial for the jury to hear that Drew knew how to apply a chokehold? Every cop in America knows this! To say that the prosecution has not even proven Drew was at that house? Whose fault was that, Judge? To say that he wasn’t sure Ric Mims was the ‘right person’ to testify?
    Do all, or ANY other judges do this?
    This judge has known beforehand every move the prosecution was going to make, and had his reasons for not allowing them ready, 9/10 in favor of the defense.
    I say, regrettably, that as of right now, the jury would be wondering why they were asked to waste their time.
    If it winds up a guilty verdict, I’ll eat these words.
    (Oh-and I was wrong in which city Huebl was a police officer, but he was close, wasn’t he? Friend of Drew’s, no doubt).
    I know judges are supposed to control their courtrooms. Are they also supposed to control the case?

  20. Hope glaskow puts K.S. letter in evidence monday. Might just put the icing on the cake. This is what jury said, helped convict Jenson of murder.

    http://articles.cnn.com/2008-02-21/justice/jensen.verdict_1_poisoning-death-verdict-letter?_s=PM:CRIME

    She also made foreboding comments to police and to her son’s teacher, saying she suspected that her husband was trying to kill her.Her letter, read aloud in court, said in part: “I pray I’m wrong + nothing happens … but I am suspicious of Mark’s suspicious behaviors + fear for my early demise,” the letter says. ” Read the letter
    After the verdict, jurors told reporters that the letter gave them “a clear road map” to conviction, as one female juror phrased it.Another female juror said he believed Mark Jensen was trying to push his wife over the edge. “He tortured Julie hoping she could be classically diagnosed as a nutcase,” she said.Watch jurors discuss ‘road map to murder’

  21. I had to spend the day running errands and picking up my grandson in another city 25 miles away. But it looks like I didn’t miss much going on in the courtroom.

    I’m disappointed that the phone records aren’t detailed enough to indicate how many phone calls Stacy made and at what time. I remember when Mark Furhman found those records and was so excited about them. I too thought they would be the smoking gun proving what Stacy had told Pastor Schori.

    I’m not happy with Judge Burmila’s attitude in regards to what the prosecution has shown and not shown. This case is based on circumstantial evidence and I don’t think it’s possible to show in detail how Drew killed Kathleen. The point is to show that this was a homicide, not an accident. And to then show that Drew Peterson had the motive, means, and opportunity to to kill Kathleen.

    I wish the judge had allowed a written accounting of the value of the marital assets that was the subject of the settlement hearing. That in itself shows the motive.

    As to means and opportunity………..I think the prosecution has shown that Drew Peterson had the means as he was able to enter Kathleen’s home any time he wished. They’ve also shown that Drew had the opportunity……..no alibi for the night Kathleen died.

    The testimony of Jeffrey Pachter shows that Drew had the desire to see Kathleen dead.

  22. @ Hen…i think you make a valuable point about relevant trials with which to compare this case. On the face of it a murder trial involving a Cop or a DA might seem more relevant. But maybe not for the purpose for which imo it makes sense to perform such comparison.

    First of all, let me say that legally I believe this case is in many ways unique due to botched 2004 investigation, followed by the subsequent disappearance of wife number 4. .

    So why bother to make any comparison?
    Only because it might provide insight into the way jurors might be thinking.

    As Americans we all share some common history. Most people do not follow murder trials unless it receives saturation TV coverage over a sustained period of time. Only a handful of cases reach that level, notably.OJ Simpson, Scott Peterson, Casey Anthony. All three cases were televised live and were included in our national news for years.

    Its likely that Drew Peterson’s jurors are at least aware these trials. They’ll bring this shared history with them into the jury room….even if its only at a relatively unconscious level.

    Among those famous cases, Scott Peterson stands out, not only as the only case with a murder conviction, but also the case where the evidence was primarily circumstantial. For many of those jurors it may define their understanding or at least provide a benchmark against which to test their thinking of whether a conviction is possible.

    So while the cases to which you refer may seem to be more on point in terms of the know-how of the defendant, i would suggest they are unlikely to be known to the jury and therefore less relevant in predicting whether the jury will convict.

    BTW, if you want to read about a case involving a police lieutenant being convicted for the killing of his wife on the most flimsy of circumstantial evidence check out the case of
    Lt Thomas James Barton in Middletown, Ohio. By comparison Drew Peterson’s conviction should be a slam-dunk.

  23. The reason I made the list comparing the facts of People v. Peterson to the Casey Anthony case, was because so many were disheartened by Casey’s acquittal in that circumstantial case.

    With that disappointment so fresh in people’s minds, it seems like a lot of people have approached this trial very cynically and in fear that the outcome will also be an acquittal.

    I tried to point out that they are actually very different cases — at least as far as evidence and motive go – so there’s no reason to assume that they will end up with the same outcome.

    I actually think the case of Sara Widmer is an interesting one to look at, but only because it involves a wife who drowned in the bathtub and a husband who was convicted of doing it with no physical evidence to prove he did. He was however, on the scene and placed the 911 call.

  24. @ Fac…thanks for the reference to the Widmer case, I will go check it out.

    BTW…for the worst case of wrongful conviction involving a prisoner currently in jail, check out the Ryan Ferguson Missouri murder case

    This case is significantly worse than the Lt Jim Barton case that I previously mentioned…(Ironically, although Barton’s guilt is not supported by the evidence, he did in fact show deception during a polygraph test)

    By contrast you will be absolutely floored by the Ryan Ferguson conviction. Maybe a good starting point is this 2010 appeal submitted by Kathy Zellner an excellent Illinois criminal attorney who I’ve seen serving as a talking head in the Drew Peterson case.

    http://justiceforryanferguson.com/petition.html

    The appeal also involves our old friend pathologist Dr Larry Blum

    After reading some of the transcripts I suspect you’ll quickly figure out who actually committed the crime…and wont believe this person is currently at liberty while Ferguson rots in jail.

    Perhaps that they mean when they say “‘Justice is Blind!”

  25. Casey Anthony wasn’t convicted because the jurors didn’t understand how circumstantial evidence can lead to reasonable doubt. I don’t know how well this Illinois jury has been instructed regarding how to process circumstantial evidence: Defendant made multiple threats to victim + Previous wife of Defendant testifies he made the same threats to her + Defendant joked to others about killing victim and making it look like an accident + Defendant offered $25K to hit man + Victim found dead in a dry bathtub days before hotly contended property division + Defendant told wife #4 to lie to police + Defendant inherited 100% of Wife #3′s estate + Wife #4 disappears = Defendant killed Wife #3 and made it look like an accident. I realize that in this equation, some of the pluses haven’t been allowed by the Judge, but it’s possible that some of the jurors know about some of this from before they were chosen to be on this jury. Even without the pluses that are disallowed by the Judge, mathematically, the result would be the same.

  26. I was thinking last night that as a juror, one thing that would keep coming back to me would be the suitcase full of materials that Kathleen kept in her SUV and told her family members about — told them to retrieve it in the event something happened to her.

    OK, I can imagine that during a contentious divorce people might gather and keep a lot of documentation, maybe dirt on the spouse, a log of grievances that they could bring to divorce court to show that he or she was a jerk.

    But Kathleen specifically gathered these papers to be used by others in the event she died. And when she did die, the family did exactly what Kathleen had instructed them to do.

    To me, as a juror, that would show that this wasn’t just your normal contentious split-up –but rather that there was a genuine fear for her life and that if she died it would most likely be at the hands of her husband, even if it looked like an accident. Because that’s what she said was going to happen. And then it did!

  27. http://www.suntimes.com/news/14698203-418/drew-peterson-avoids-being-confronted-by-former-sister-in-law.html

    Defense attorneys said they then will ask Judge Edward Burmila to toss out the murder charges against the 58-year-old Peterson because prosecutors failed during their four weeks of testimony to prove he drowned Kathleen Savio in 2004.

    That’s a long shot, but defense attorneys — who have consistently belittled the circumstantial case presented by prosecutors — said Burmila could order a so-called directed verdict that would acquit Peterson before he calls a witness.

    Savio’s divorce attorney Harry Smith also was expected to testify about a letter Savio wrote to prosecutors in 2002 after she claimed Peterson threatened her with a knife in her home.

    Burmila agreed to admit her written statement without requiring Smith to testify, though defense attorneys have said they may attempt to question him during their case about his work in representing Savio during her divorce from Peterson.

    Also allowed as evidence were transcripts of two interviews Peterson gave in 2007 and 2008 to CNN and NBC. Burmila earlier had barred jurors from seeing video clips of those interviews, ruling that would be too prejudicial to Peterson.

    Burmila, though, blocked prosecutors from showing jurors documents describing how Peterson’s child support payments for his two sons with Savio nearly doubled about three weeks before the alleged July 5, 2002 knife incident.

    “It’s irrelevant,” Brodsky said, explaining why defense attorneys asked to keep out that document and another showing Peterson later was ordered to pay $15,000 to Savio for her attorney’s fees.

  28. I am glad to see that the State attempted to get in there how he could hurt someone without causing major injuries :) I was hoping it would be allowed. However they at least allowed all his training while on the police force that showed the jury anyway how he knows how to restrain, and basically set up a crime scene knowing what other LE would look for. I wish they would of allowed Cassandra to testify that was indeed Stacy’s cell phone and nobody else used it but her. As usual the judge wants to make sure the defendant is protected. I guess the victims nowadays don’t stand a chance against these lunatics out in the world. The victim is now the one who has to defend themselves not only against the aggressor but the judge. Sad it really is that the criminals have more rights than the victims!

  29. Glasgow IMO needs to get Ric up there. He has known Drew for years, and can tell them how he used to have him spy on Kathleen , and follow her around so Drew could go into the house, among other things. Did they decide not to let him testify or something?

  30. I would have thought Mim’s testimony about following and watching Kathleen while in communication with Peterson over walkie-talkie would be relevant, but, heck, sawing a hole in the wall to enter her house was struck so…what do I know!

    MIMS: With Stacy he had gotten her a cell phone with GPS tracking so he could track her movements on it. With Kathleen he had tapped the phones in her house.

    MIKE: His third wife?

    MIMS: Yes, his third wife.

    JULIET: Who is dead, by the way, found in a bathtub.

    MIMS: Correct. And we did some surveillance on her. I helped with some surveillance on her.

    JULIET: You helped do some surveillance with Drew?

    MIKE: What do you mean—you just followed her around?

    MIMS: Yeah, when he was going through is divorce, it was right before the property settlement, the end of ’03, beginning of ’04. And he was worried that she was staying at her boyfriend’s house with the children. And he wanted to make sure, this is the story he told me, that she was leaving from her house in the morning to go to work.

    MIKE: What is this thing that you would surveil her though?

    MIMS: We monitored every move she made in the morning when she would go to work.

    MIKE: You had communication with each other?

    MIMS: We had a two-way radio.

    I have a very strong hunch that Drew had an accomplice on the night Kathleen died – someone who watched Maniaci to make sure he wasn’t going to Kathleen’s house. But of course, we never got to hear about Maniaci’s discovering that his house had been broken into when he returned home after being out that night. And no one has ever come forward to confess to it so…

    BTW, in case you missed it, Judge Burmila ruled that the phone-tapping was not relevant either. (Arrrrgh!)

  31. It is too bad that the phone co. did not track the chirps even if they did not appear on the bill. I guess thst varies from co. to co.

  32. I think I remember at some point Cass saying that Stacy had used the walkie-talkie “chirp” feature because she thought he was still somewhere in the house.

    It’s my understanding, and I think this is what the Nextel guy said yesterday, that the chirp function is just a daily charge (like $1) for unlimited use, and that actual calls are not tracked.

  33. How does the walkie-talkie feature on a Nextel phone work?

    …The digital two-way radio service uses a half-duplex signal. A normal cell phone call uses two separate frequencies, one to send and one to receive, for each call while a Direct Connect call uses only a single frequency.

    Maybe since it’s only on one frequency, you don’t get the ‘pings’ that a normal phone call would create, especially if no one answers?

    http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/question530.htm

  34. If their phones had THAT feature, Drew could have talked with an accomplice (if he had one) and their would not be a record of the conversations.

  35. That is the feature they had.

    The witness is handed a document.
    “This is actually a bill for a Nextel phone . . . the billing period was from the 23rd of February to the 22nd of March, 2004 . . . in this particular bill, we’re talking about two different phones.”

    “Can you explain if there’s any information in those records about a service called ‘Connect Direct’?”

    “Yes, there is . . . Connect Direct is often referred to as a ‘chirp’ . . . it’s a one-way communication, much like a walkie-talkie.”

    “Do both of those phone lines have the Connect Direct feature?”

    “Yes, they did.”

    “How much usage occurred for that feature during that time frame?”

    “There is an area that has total usage of peak and off peak Connect Direct.”

    The witness then gives the total number of Connect Direct minutes used by each of those phones, both for peak and off-peak times.

    “Is there anything in the record that shows exactly when any of those chirps took place?”

    “There isn’t, in any detail.”

    “Why would there be no detailed records?”

    “Essentially, with Connect Direct phone calls, each time you press the button it registered as a call. So we simply chose to do a summary of minutes used.”

    “Is there any subscriber information for those two lines?”

    “There is some subscriber information . . . according to this bill, the subscriber is Drew Peterson.

    “If a chirp goes out to a phone that’s turned off, would a record be generated?”

    “If a chirp was made to a phone that’s turned off, it would simply come back as ‘unanswered.’”

    “Is that anything that would show up in the bill?”

    “In the bill, no.” That ends the direct examination of this witness.

    I wonder if when Mim referred to “walkie talkies” this is really what he meant.

    Of course, real walkie-talkies can’t be traced either.

  36. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/25/drew-peterson-trial-defen_0_n_1830304.html?utm_hp_ref=chicago

    One defense attorney observing the trial said prosecutors succeeded in making a strong case that Savio did not simply slip in the bathtub. Kathleen Zellner, who has handled cases in Will County, noted “common sense” testimony that points to foul play. For example, she pointed to testimony that Savio was not found wearing a hair clip, as she usually did when she bathed, but wearing a necklace. Investigators also did not find a bath mat near the tub.

    “Those kinds of things resonate with women jurors,” Zellner said. “Women don’t bathe with jewelry.”

    Zellner said there is “a tsunami of evidence against him on motive, that he wanted her dead.” David Erickson, a former state appellate judge who teaches at Chicago-Kent, agreed, noting the testimony of Jeff Patcher, who told jurors that Peterson offered him $25,000 to hire a hit man.

    “I think that’s devastating, absolutely devastating,” he said.

    The defense has the option of resting without calling a single witness, arguing that the state fell far short of proving its case. But Peterson lawyer Joe Lopez told reporters Friday their team planned to mount a defense that should last two days. “It’ll go smoothly, and it’ll go quick,” Lopez said.

  37. “For example, she pointed to testimony that Savio was not found wearing a hair clip, as she usually did when she bathed, but wearing a necklace. Investigators also did not find a bath mat near the tub.”

    That brings me back to the blue towel again.

    No person in their right mind would put a towel where you place your elbow and right next to a tap – the most awkward place to put a towel if you’re going to sit in a tub (!!)

  38. By definition the State knew the initial investigation in 2004 “Stunk”..

    The smell was hardly likely to get any better after being in the Courtroom…in the fact ironically the State was forced to fully expose the gross incompetence to discredit the initial autopsy

    Therefore from day 1 in this costly trial the State faced an Everest like challenge needing to both establish a murder
    and point the finger at Peterson without the help on any Crime Scene forensics.

    Here’s my question…Given the poor odds of gaining a conviction, would the public have been better served by a different prosecution strategy?

    1) Bring charges against Peterson for soliciting the murder of Kathleen Savio . (No need to prove murder; or place Peterson in the house.) Focus on the Hitman testimony; back it up with the testimony of the person the Hitman contacted….and supplement this by bringing in the mountain of evidence we’ve seen in the current trial which supports that in 2003 Peterson had strong motive to kill his wife and talked about doing so.

    I think some elements of the Hitman’s testimony might have resonated with the jury…e.g the intention to cause a rumble at a theme park to create an alibi.

    2) Once Peterson is incarcerated for soliciting, the State could have applied its resources to build a case against Peterson for making wife number 4 disappear. With the passage of time, if she is not located, she will likely be declared deceased. While the lack of a body would make a conviction difficult, the witness testimony about moving the blue cylinder, the creation of alibi, and witnesses attempted suicide etc goes a long way to directly implicating Peterson. The mountain of circumstantial evidence,The Pastor etc, would be introduced to support the other evidence. And, of course, during this trial in its opening arguments the defense could no longer present him as a man committed to helping others….as at that time he would be a convicted and likely incarcerated felon.

    As for justice for Kathy, in the absence of a prosecution for murder, her family’s lawyers could have (and still can) sue to obtain Peterson’s assets. I strongly believe the evidence presented in this trial rises to the level needed to show that the preponderance of evidence, Peterson is liable for Kathy’s demise.

    Anyone have any thoughts on this alternate approach?

  39. I think they might have done better to charge him with the murder of Stacy, even without a body. That said, if they could get a conviction for Kathleen it would go a long way towards one for killing Stacy.

    On the other hand, if he’s acquitted of killing Kathleen I don’t know how they will ever be able to charge him with killing Stacy. Imagine trying to establish motive! They won’t even be able to mention Kathleen’s name in the courtroom…

  40. I like the idea of the going after him for the solicitation and then killing Stacy, but too late. Also, the state had a long time to mull over how they wanted to approach this. You have to imagine that they thought through a few scenarios before charging him with Kathleen’s death.

    For one thing, Pachter’s testimony is good but it isn’t great. He never donned a wire, he didn’t tell anyone (until his wife outed the story), and he admits in court that he wasn’t sure if Drew was joking. I think it works to build the circumstantial murder case, but as a stand-alone charge maybe not hefty enough.

    Not sure if you know, Oxy, but there was a civil case filed by the Savio family which is now dead in the water since it was on behalf of Tom and Kris, and as soon as they each came of age, they removed their names.

    Case Number: 2009L 000326
    Case Status: Open Case
    Open Date: 04/21/2009

    Since Kathleen’s sons, as her next of kin, aren’t interested in pursuing the assets there isn’t much the family can do. The only ones in line to inherit were Tom and Kris and the family has no interest in taking money from them (or Drew since it would amount to the same thing).

  41. I realized Drew could chirp with Stacy as the other phone on the plan but wasnt sure about his ability to chirp with others who had same phone type and Nextel. Thank you!

  42. Joe Lopez says that the first defense witnesses will be FBI and law enforcement personnel to impeach the testimony of prosecution witnesses – dates, details, etc.

    Not exactly riveting…

    I’m sure the jury is aware that people may not remember things exactly as they stated them 8 years ago. Also that officers don’t always take accurate reports.

    Is any of this going to be earth-shattering? Meh.

  43. “One defense attorney observing the trial said prosecutors succeeded in making a strong case that Savio did not simply slip in the bathtub. Kathleen Zellner, who has handled cases in Will County, noted “common sense” testimony that points to foul play. For example, she pointed to testimony that Savio was not found wearing a hair clip, as she usually did when she bathed, but wearing a necklace. Investigators also did not find a bath mat near the tub.

    “Those kinds of things resonate with women jurors,” Zellner said. “Women don’t bathe with jewelry.”

    Sorry facsmiley, this is the complete text of what I was quoting when I thought about the peculiar placement of the infamous blue towel………

  44. “Joe Lopez says that the first defense witnesses will be FBI and law enforcement personnel to impeach the testimony of prosecution witnesses – dates, details, etc.”

    Oh good, does that also mean we are getting to hear from Law enforcement who sanctioned for Drew to send civilians into a potential crime/accident scene, whilst he remained chit-chatting on the veranda with the locksmith (!)

  45. I suspect the FBI guy will be used to impeach Officer Coughlin who claimed Peterson said words to the effect that he’d be better off if Kathy were dead, a couple of weeks before her murder.

    The defense tried to establish that Coughlin was incorrect based on changes in his testimony from his earlier statements to the FBI

    Here’s the relevant bit of Brodsky’s cross-exam of Coughlin

    “Recall back in 2008 being interviewed by an agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation about this case?”

    “Yes.”

    “You can’t lie to an FBI agent, right? It’s a crime?”

    Objection/Overruled. “Correct.”

    Brodsky then reads from the FBI agent’s report. In the report, it says that the witness “peeked into the courtroom.” “So you’re telling the FBI it wasn’t by the elevator, and you peeked into the courtroom?”

    “That’s inaccurate.”

    “The FBI report is inaccurate?”

    “Yes.”

    “You’ve never told that to the FBI agent?”

    “No.”

    “But you know that’s what the report says?”

    “Yes, I do.”

    The sidebar ends. The judge asks the jurors to leave the room. Patton objects to the defense questioning regarding the court orders; Brodsky says the prosecution can address the matter in redirect.

    Judge Burmila: “If Mr. Peterson calls the FBI agent, the jury will have to decide for itself whether it believes the FBI agent or this witness [Lt. Coughlin] . . . the implication from the witness was that the defendant made this apparently damning statement, and they’ve cross-examined him with a statement he’s allegedly made to an FBI hearing. So the State’s objection is overruled, and the defense is going to be able to ask the officer about this. If the State chooses to redirect, they certainly will have a right to do that.” The judge then sends for the jury.”

  46. Facs, I think there a couple of angles Drew could be charged with Stacy’s death. Yes, she knew about Kathleen and intended to use that against him, but Drew also suspected she had an interest in another man. In all of his relationships, it was Drew Peterson who had the woman on the side. He had to play out that role after Stacy’s disapearance. Jealousy? Power? Control? And there is a step-brother who partcipated in the initial cover up.

  47. I’m still curious about the role Bindy Rock plays in all of this. Is it possible other charges, in addition to Stacy’s death lie ahead?

  48. I am so disappointed by the numerous individuals this judge has not allowed to testify. How a judge cannot see that a list of marital assessts and a rather large life insurance policy could set the stage for a murder, is beyond me. It defies all logic.

    As stated in previous comments, the people of Will County have the power of the vote, and if this judge is not allowing justice to be served, vote him out.

  49. It’s like this judge won’t let the jurors see the forest for the trees.

    From what I understand, he is keeping all the marital assets evidence/testimony out because the prosecution was unable to prove that there would have been any considerable difference in how they would have been divided had Kathleen survived.

    In other words, the assets were set to be divided in a certain way (1/2 of house and half of business sale proceeds to Kathy, etc.) and that is what actually did happen after her death. But THEN Drew proceeded to benefit from her (so-called) will and as the sole beneficiary, inherited everything. Toss into the mix the fact that he no longer had to pay child or spousal support and there’s no denying that he gained a lot because Kathy was dead.

    Greenberg complained that you’d have to have a ‘trial within a trial’ for the prosecution to introduce this whole financial saga, but is it really all that complicated?

    I haven’t been astute enough to catch evey damning detail presented during the prosecution’s case, but evidently Drew’s child support doubled shortly before the July 5th incident, and at another point Drew had been ordered to pay for Kathleen Savio’s attorney fees in the divorce (which I think directly proceeded the videotaped incident with Stacy and the charges for battery). These details were barred from testimony.

    If the jurors don’t hear this stuff, how can they even weigh the idea of a motive in this case?

  50. The marital asessts should have been on a huge chart, with the additional financial benefits that would kick in should Kathleen die. The insurance policy alone would be enough to motivate someone to dispose of a spouse. I agree, the jury should have had this information. No one had to actual say how it would have been divided, just a look at the list would be enough to see that Peterson stood to lose some of the marital property to Kathleen under Illinois law.

  51. No one would listen to Kathleen when she was alive and now we have a judge who won’t allow factual evidence to be presented to the jurors. How can this be considered a fair trial? This judge is risking the lives of every person who came forward and dared to tell what they knew about this crooked cop. They all had the option to stay quiet, or simply reply “I don’t recall.”
    Right now, Judge Burmilla is on my “Hall of Shame” list.

  52. And as was pointed out last night, there should be a big life-size photo of Kathleen displayed at the prosecution table, so that the jury has a constant reminder of who this case is about. They should see more than just a picture of her dead in a bathtub.

    BTW, I hear that when Neil Schori was giving Stacy’s hearsay testimony, a photo of Stacy was displayed for the jury. I like that.

  53. LOL. Just saw Lopez talking to Ruby video. I just have to say. Lopez looks and sounds like the Pillsbury Dough boy. Too funny

  54. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-drew-peterson-trial-0827-20120827,0,2786941.story

    Though the defense has promised to present a “slew of witnesses,” Peterson is not expected to be among them. His attorneys played coy on the subject last week, but sources close to those discussions acknowledge the defendant’s sarcastic demeanor would not play well with the jury, and his answers could make previously barred testimony admissible during the prosecution’s rebuttal.

    “We want to keep the state guessing,” lead defense attorney Joel Brodsky said. “You know, the bastards that we are.”

    Peterson has three pathologists on retainer, but only two are expected to testify that Savio may have accidentally drowned. The third, Dr. Daniel Spitz, had told the National Enquirer that Savio’s death was most likely a homicide because “people don’t drown in bathtubs.” But then he was hired as a defense expert and changed his position.

    http://www.nationalenquirer.com/crime-investigation/new-investigation-suspicious-death-drew-petersons-ex-wife

    Forensic pathologist Dr. Daniel Spitz, medical examiner in Macomb County, Mich., examined the autopsy and inquest transcript for The ENQUIRER – and was stunned by the ruling.

    “People don’t drown in bathtubs,” said Dr. Spitz. “I would have told the police I think this is a homicide. You need to go and investigate this like a homicide.”

  55. Also from the tribune story:

    Burmila also has signed an order compelling Savio’s divorce attorney, Harry Smith, to testify as a defense witness Monday. Both sides have intimated that Smith knows Savio lied under oath in connection with a 2002 misdemeanor battery case stemming from a frontyard brawl between her and Stacy.

    Peterson’s attorneys also may call Savio’s neighbor, Mary Pontarelli, who already testified for the prosecution. The defense hopes her testimony offsets an oft-recounted incident in which Savio claimed Peterson broke into her home in July 2002, pinned her to the stairs and held a knife to her throat.

    The defense has stated in court that Pontarelli told investigators that Savio described the interaction as a “nice conversation.”

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