Sister of Peterson’s former wife testifies before grand jury

By Danya Hooker, dhooker@mysuburbanlife.com

The sister of Drew Peterson’s deceased third wife testified Thursday before the grand jury investigating that death and the disappearance of Peterson’s fourth wife Stacy.

Susan Doman, sister of Kathleen Savio, declined to comment on the details of her testimony but said her family is still reeling from her sister’s death four years ago.

“Our family hasn’t been the same since,” Doman said. “She was the one that kept the family together.”

Doman said Thursday was her first appearance before the grand jury and that no other family member has testified. Just before Doman testified, the grand jury heard from Steve Maniaci, who was dating Savio at the time of her death, Doman said.

Lisa Ward, daughter of Drew Peterson’s second wife Vicki Connolly, also testified Thursday but declined comment as she left the Will County Court Annex building in Joliet.

Ward previously told Fox News Channel’s Greta Van Susteren that Peterson had threatened to kill her mother and that he had the home’s phones tapped.

Connolly appeared before the grand jury April 3 but declined to comment on her testimony. She and Peterson were married for 10 years, starting in 1982. The two divorced when Connolly found out Peterson was having an affair with Savio.

Peterson and Savio later married, and had two boys together. By March 2002, the couple were legally divorced but had not settled the financial terms of the separation.

The issue remained unsettled when Savio was found drowned in her Bolingbrook home’s bathtub on March 1.

In May, Doman told a coroner’s jury that Savio feared Peterson. Doman said her sister told her Peterson had threatened to kill her and make it look like an accident.

“She was just terrified of him,” Doman told the coroner’s jury. “He always threatened her.”

The six-person jury would eventually rule Savio’s death an accident and the investigation ceased. But then, more than three years later, Stacy Peterson disappeared on Oct. 28 and investigators found reason to take another look at Savio’s case. Her body was exhumed in November and an independent pathologist, Dr. Larry Blum, performed an autopsy on behalf of Will County.

Blum ruled Savio’s death a homicide in February.

Around that time, five of Savio’s family members, including Doman, petitioned the court to reopen Savio’s estate in preparation for a possible wrongful death lawsuit against Peterson. A Will County judge granted the petition in March but the decision has been appealed by Peterson’s lawyer Joel Brodsky.

“That’s O.K.,” Doman said of the appeal. “We’re not afraid of that.”

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