By Danya Hooker
Attorneys for Drew Peterson will be back in Will County court Wednesday morning for a hearing on whether the state should return more than a dozen items seized from Peterson’s home in November.
Police seized the property — 11 guns, two laptops, three desktop computers, and two vehicles — while carrying out a search warrant Nov. 1.
Peterson attorney Joel Brodsky petitioned the court to force the state to return Peterson’s property because all necessary forensics testing should have been completed by this time. Peterson’s lawyers called Michigan-based forensic scientist Ann E. Chamberlain as an expert witness during a Feb. 1 hearing to testify to the amount of time it takes to process possible evidence.
Chamberlain told Judge Richard Schoenstedt that, in her experience, all processing that requires the original piece of evidence can be completed in less than three weeks. After that, the original item can be returned without harming an investigation.
Assistant State’s Atty. John Connor asserted the state has a right to keep Peterson’s property forever, as long as there is a pending investigation, and warned Schoenstedt that allowing Peterson to regain his property would open the floodgates for similar requests from other suspects.
Schoenstedt rejected the claim that investigators can hold the property forever, but agreed to consider both sides’ arguments before meeting again Wednesday.
Peterson is considered a suspect in his fourth wife Stacy’s Oct. 28 disappearance. The case pushed investigators to reopen an examination into the March 2004 drowning death of Peterson’s third wife Kathleen Savio. Her death was originally ruled an accident but a report released Thursday from a pathologist for the Will County coroner’s office ruled the death a homicide. Officials have not identified a suspect in Savio’s death.
Peterson has denied any wrongdoing in either case and has not been charged with a crime.