Your Thread – November 25

Sorry for not getting yesterday’s thread up…too ill to move most of the day 😦

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63 thoughts on “Your Thread – November 25


    Originally posted: November 25, 2008

    ]Peterson’s Law is no silver bullet

    This print column is a version of a blog entry from Friday. That entry has source documentation and a longer discussion of the legal issues.

    Last week, the General Assembly passed a law aimed squarely at one man: Drew Peterson.

    Senate Bill 2718 is an amendment to the criminal code that broadens the circumstances under which courts can admit hearsay evidence against an accused person.

    Basically, if a suspected evildoer kills a witness to prevent that witness from testifying against him, then previous statements that witness made to others may be introduced as evidence.

    The bill was widely known as “Drew Peterson’s Law” because its biggest advocate was Will County State’s Atty. James Glasgow, whose office is trying to build a case against former Bolingbrook Police Sgt. Drew Peterson. The 2004 death of Peterson’s third wife, Kathleen, was ruled a homicide this year, and the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy, remains a mystery. He has not been charged in either case.

    Before Stacy disappeared, she reportedly told others of incriminating statements made by her husband, including that he was responsible for Kathleen’s death. And though Glasgow and legislative sponsors of the new law won’t say so directly, it’s clear that their theory is that this reform will make it easier to get those statements admitted into evidence and to prosecute Drew Peterson.

    I wouldn’t bet on it.

    The 6th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees that a person accused of a crime has the right “to be confronted with the witnesses against him.”

    This guarantee is to give the accused the “opportunity not only of testing the recollection and sifting the conscience of the witness, but of compelling him to stand face to face with the jury,” as the U.S. Supreme Court wrote in 1895. It allows the jury to “look at [the witness], and judge by his demeanor upon the stand and the manner in which he gives his testimony whether he is worthy of belief.”

    The 1895 case was one of many in which the high court has tried to define exceptions to the general prohibition on hearsay. One of them, as suggested by Drew Peterson’s Law and already part of our common law, is that a defendant gives up the right to confront a witness if he has committed an act, such as murder, intended to prevent that witness from testifying.

    The key here is intent. It’s circular to argue that a defendant murdered his victim to prevent his victim from testifying at his murder trial. And it’s perverse to presume someone guilty of murder in order to slip in evidence designed to prove him guilty of murder.

    Just last summer, the Supreme Court ruled that a California court erred in admitting into evidence statements that a fearful woman had made to a police officer about her ex-boyfriend three weeks before she was murdered, allegedly by that ex-boyfriend.

    Given that opinion, it looks as though the only way Drew Peterson’s Law can be used against Drew Peterson is if prosecutors can convince a judge that Peterson killed Stacy, the missing fourth wife, in order to prevent her from testifying that he told her he killed Kathleen, his third wife.

    The problem with that theory is Kathleen’s death was still considered an accident and her case was long closed when Stacy disappeared. Establishing witness elimination as a motive under those circumstances will require so much speculation that it will resemble a newspaper column more than a court hearing.

    It’ll take more than Drew Peterson’s Law to nail Drew Peterson.

    Sources here:

  2. Merci bien, rescue. The girl in excellent spirits beforehand and now I’m waiting for the shout that it’s over in an hour or two 🙂

    I thought Mary Pontarelli was one of those elephants in the room (tho very chic an elephant, I’m sure). She hasn’t been seen at all, has she? Never heard of her going to GJ or anything. Only her husband and son. Didn’t we wonder if she was well or even still with us? That makes me even more suspicious of these revelations by D’Armstrong……

  3. Hello there Bucket-
    Mary P apparently testified on 1-3-08 in front of the GJ. I’ll bet they’re just reviewing all of her statements. She’s the best witness for that day’s events and knows the history of that relationship. Plus all the times he broke in, cutting through walls, threatening her. If she saw the fear and the injuries that would be powerful too. Trauma creates a snapshot memory.
    Acandyrose reports that the GJ went so long that day with Sharon and Mary that they had to send Bruce Z away. That’s a lot of hours of talking.

  4. Lizanne – From anything that I could find out there nothing stated that she actually testified before the GJ that day. I’ve seen things about her husband and son testifying but not her.

    Does anyone know how the deal works in IL? Did they have to go to the GJ so soon to force people to give statements and get them officially documented? I just see the other cases where they tape interviews and then bring a summary to the GJ after the investigation is complete. It seems like they are having the GJ build the case here which seems kind of backwards.

  5. Good morning, everyone.

    Hey Bucket ~ waiting!

    Think – I started looking around after you mentioned you couldn’t find anything about Mary Pontarelli testifying. I absolutely thought she had testified. Hmmm.

    What I did find strange is that Mary P’s summary of her account of the criminal tresspass complaint by Kathleen against Drew is blacked out. That’s odd.

    (scroll down to bottom)

  6. Thinkaboutit is right! Member of the Sun-Times News Group

    Ex-, current neighbors testify about Peterson wives

    January 4, 2008
    By JOE HOSEY Staff Writer

    Drew Peterson’s next-door neighbors, past and present, appeared before a grand jury Thursday to give testimony about the embattled ex-cop’s missing fourth wife and his dead third one.

    Thomas Pontarelli, who lived next to Peterson and third wife Kathleen Savio on Pheasant Chase Drive, was the first to testify. He was followed by Sharon Bychowski, who lives next to Peterson at his current home on Pheasant Chase Court, mere blocks from his former residence.

    Bychowski said witnesses were present for both the cases of Savio, who was the victim of a mysterious March 2004 bathtub drowning, and Stacy Peterson, Drew Peterson’s fourth wife who has been missing for more than two months.

    She said witnesses also testified in the case of Plainfield woman Lisa Stebic, who disappeared April 30. Lisa Stebic was never married to Drew Peterson and may not have even known him.

    Bychowski, who was close to Stacy Peterson and has been a key figure in keeping the missing mother’s case in the national spotlight, said she spent about an hour in the grand jury room and is scheduled to return Jan. 24. Since she is not finished with her appearance, she declined to discuss her testimony.

    Search efforts stall
    Another witness called in the Stacy Peterson case, Bruce Zidarich, said he was sent home before taking the stand because the session was running too long. Zidarich, a friend of Stacy and her sister, Cassandra Cales, said he was not told when prosecutors would want him back.

    Zidarich said the volunteer efforts to find Stacy have stalled somewhat.

    There is “nothing really going on with the searching, unless the police want to give us someplace to look,” said Zidarich, who was wearing an orange shirt emblazoned with the missing mom’s face and the proclamation, “Find Stacy Peterson.”

    “They don’t tell us anything,” Zidarich said of the police. “They’re working hard. That’s all I hear.”

    Investigation revisited
    State police have classified Stacy Peterson’s disapperance a “potential homicide” and named her husband a suspect in the case.

    The young woman’s disappearance prompted state police to revisit their investigation of Savio’s death.

    A coroner’s jury had determined Savio accidentally drowned after hearing testimony from state police Special Agent Herbert Hardy, who said the investigation discovered no indications of foul play.

    Three and a half years later, State’s Attorney James Glasgow contradicted Hardy’s testimony in a petition to have Savio’s body exhumed for additional postmortem testing. In the petition, Glasgow said the woman’s death scene looked unlike a genuine accident, and instead appeared “consistent with the ‘staging’ of an accident to conceal a homicide.”

    ‘Accidental drowning’
    Pontarelli’s wife reportedly was one of the first to find Savio’s body, which was doubled over in a waterless bathtub.

    Zidarich said while he was waiting for his turn in front of the grand jury, which was held in Coroner Patrick O’Neil’s office, he looked through a ledger listing the deceased and their cause and manner of death. He found Savio’s name in the book.

    “She was in there. It said, ‘Accidental drowning,'” Zidarich said. “I was like, ‘Accidental drowning my (expletive).'”

    Contact Joe Hosey at (815) 729-6054 or e-mail him at

  7. You’re right think; I found a whole blog at greta’s about how she didn’t testify. Foggy brain today, I think I knew this already.

    She must be getting ready for GJ, then?
    I do believe she’s an excellent witness.

    Do they always black out witness accounts on transcripts?

  8. JANUARY 2008
    Sharon Bychowski
    Thomas Pontarelli
    Mary Pontarelli
    Nick Pontarelli
    Mike Robinson
    Bruce Zidarich
    Cassandra Cales
    Mike Robinson (2nd GJ subpoena while he’s in jail)
    The Savio-Peterson WILL

    This is from a list create by Bash. I hope to hear from her soon on where she got the info.

    It seems to me that Mary and Nick chose not to speak to reporters.

  9. So – Thomas Morphey hasn’t testified before the GJ, at least as far as what his gf, Sheryl, said.

    Mary Pontarelli hasn’t testified before the GJ, at least as far as any information on the Internet is concerned.


  10. And that makes no sense, IMO. You listen to what everyone else has to say and then listen to what key witnesses have to say.

    Sheryl said Tom did not appear before the GJ. Could it be that he testified via teleconference?

    It just makes no sense to me that the GJ would not have spoken to these two people.

  11. rescueapet // November 25, 2008 at 10:20 am

    What I did find strange is that Mary P’s summary of her account of the criminal tresspass complaint by Kathleen against Drew is blacked out. That’s odd.


    I found that odd as well.

    I just don’t get why some people that I’d say are key to the case haven’t appeared before the GJ yet. I just want it in a nice, tidy package like they did in the Casey Anthony case. I guess that is asking too much.

  12. Another baffling thought is why isn’t the actual Coroner’s Inquest transcript anywhere to be found on the Internet? I’ve found references to it and Greta even used it on one of her programs, yet, it’s nowhere to be seen. We’ve discussed this before. Seven pages of transcript. Vaporized into thin air.

    But, as far as this Armstrong PR is concerned, I absolutely think he’s being fed anything he’s been releasing by the Peterson defense team, and putting himself out there as having a confidential source is baloney. He comes along a mere few months ago, and is able to dig up and get inside information that no one else has? I don’t think so.

    What better way for the defense to try and get further information than to put this junk out there and see if they get a reaction.

  13. I’m trying to find a way to ask this question.

    Where does it say that “all” of the State’s potential witnesses must appear before the Grand Jury? The saying goes, “you can indict a ham sandwich.” If there is enough, plenty, tons, so much……. evidence already to indict him, could it be that certain witnesses are being strategically kept from appearing before the GJ? Not appearing before the GJ doesn’t disqualify them from being on a future witness list in a trial, no?

  14. It doesn’t say that all State witnesses must appear before the GJ. And no, they would not be disqualified from future witness lists in the case of a trial.

    But you would think that KEY witnesses would appear before the GJ because without their testimony, the GJ might come back with no indictment.

    Mary P. was there the night Kathleen was discovered. Tom M. says he helped Drew move a barrel from the Peterson home that possibly contained Stacy. He also was in possession of Drew’s phone when Stacy allegedly called.

  15. “The primary function of the modern grand jury is to review the evidence presented by the prosecutor and determine whether there is probable cause to return an indictment.”

    Since the role of the grand jury is only to determine probable cause, there is no need for the jury to hear all the evidence, or even conflicting evidence. It is left to the good faith of the prosecutor to present conflicting evidence.

    In the federal system, the courts have ruled that the grand jury has extraordinary investigative powers that have been developed over the years since the 1950s. This wide, sweeping, almost unrestricted power is the cause of much of the criticism. The power is virtually in complete control of the prosecutor, and is pretty much left to his or her good faith.”

  16. Then again, maybe the States Attorney thought that they might have to arrest Drew before the GJ heard everyone.

    If he was arrested, he would be entitled to a quick hearing, and would have been able to cross-examine all the witnesses who had testified thus far.

    So … with that in mind maybe they were keeping Tom and Mary away from Drew and his lawyer?

    Also, if the GJ came back with no indictment, at that point, could they bring in other witnesses at that point or do they start from square one?

    I know that Joel told me that Drew could be arrested at any time (but then would be entitled to the quick hearing and crossexamine witnesses). Also, the GJ could indict at any time they felt there was enough evidence. Even if other witnesses were on the schedule.

  17. If there’s no GJ testimony from a particular witness, who is later on a witness list in a trial, there’s no transcript of their GJ testimony to compare, pick apart or destroy, IMO.

  18. And that is why many people feel they do not have enough to indict. Because they haven’t.

    But if a GJ comes back with an indictment, does the suspect need to be arrested within a certain time frame? Not that I can think of any reason to wait, if the GJ said to indict. I’m just wondering.

    It’s hard not to compare this GJ with the Orange County GJ who was quick to indict Casey (although there was forensice evidence made public in that case).

  19. That’s kind of what I was thinking, Noway.
    In case JB got a hold of discovery before they were ready, through the gun case or other means, that it was best to hold the best for last?

  20. I thought it was interesting that immediatly after the incident wtih Drew entering Kathleen’s house on July 5, 2002, she made a phone calls to:

    Harris Smith
    Steve Maniaci
    Susie Lizak (now Doman?)
    Mary Pontarelli

  21. noway406 // November 25, 2008 at 11:43 am

    So … with that in mind maybe they were keeping Tom and Mary away from Drew and his lawyer?

    rescueapet // November 25, 2008 at 11:50 am

    If there’s no GJ testimony from a particular witness, who is later on a witness list in a trial, there’s no transcript of their GJ testimony to compare, pick apart or destroy, IMO.


  22. Maybe that’s why her statement was blacked out too, so that they wouldn’t know what she said.
    Although that must be public record.

  23. …. haven’t heard yet about an appeal to the Appellate Court regarding the gun charges. Gee, I’d expect Armstrong to be releasing his information soon about that too. Is that “hearsay” when it comes from Brodsky, which is then passed down to Armstrong?

  24. Fond du Lac County
    Homicide Investigators Looking for Identity of Jane Doe

    Updated: Nov 25, 2008 12:05 AM CST

    Jane Doe Homicide Investigation
    Other Police Agencies Interested in Jane Doe Homicide

    By Natalie Arnold

    Fond du Lac County authorities are trying to find out the identity of a woman whose body was found — “dumped,” they say — in a wooded area in the Town of Ashfield.

    “When a sheriff’s officer or a sheriff calls an investigation a Jane Doe homicide investigation, until we can prove otherwise that’s exactly how we’re going to treat this,” Sheriff Mick Fink said.

    So far, authorities say they have no idea who the woman is or who left her body in a creek bed.

    A group of hunters discovered the woman Sunday morning in the southern part of Fond du Lac county, just off Skyline Drive, near the Washington County line.

    A team of experts examined the body Monday, looking for the cause of death, dental information, DNA, and anything else that will help them find out who she is.

    All Fond du Lac County investigators say they know now is that they’re calling her a victim — a woman, at least a teenager or older, and most likely white. She was clothed but was not covered.

    “The body is in an area which would certainly be referred to in the old detective-type of lingo as a ‘dump site.’ There’s not a residence nearby; it wasn’t on residential property,” Fink said.

    Sheriff Fink says the body was also fairly decomposed.

    Fond du Lac doesn’t have a case of a missing woman, and none of the surrounding counties are looking for a woman who has disappeared, either.

    But as soon as they made the case public, they heard from police in Minneapolis.

    “I can only tell you somehow or another, some officer in Minneapolis or detective in Minneapolis is aware that we found a body yesterday and has called,” the sheriff said.

    It was one of four calls the department received from different agencies Monday morning.

    What the sheriff is certain about is that the local landowner here is not suspect. Authorities say he has been very cooperative and they do not believe he is involved in this case.

    The sheriff’s department says it alerted agencies in the state of their discovery, and if the lead from Minneapolis doesn’t pan out, it will shortly send out an alert nationwide.

    “I’m really hoping that someone can tell us we have a missing person that’s within how many miles from here that’s going to start to make some sense of what we have right now. Doesn’t seem like it’s making any sense at all,” Sheriff Fink said.

    ** Every time I read these stories I think of Stacy. I hope ISP has made a call. It may possibly be Stacy, I pray not, but I also pray for closure for the family.

  25. great2be – I had read an earlier report on that which indicated that the body had likely only been there for a few weeks but now I’m seeing something that says “badly decomposed”.

    Unfortunately, people discard bodies all too frequently in this country. I really do wish they had a national system of the DNA evidence from bodies that are found that can be compared to family members that have said their loved one is missing.

  26. I think it is doubtful that the body will turn up to be Stacy but this is interesting:

    “CASAREZ: Oh, that`s a very, very good question. Let`s go out to Mr. Brodsky. Do you know if any of the children have had counseling? It is their mother that`s been missing for so many months.

    BRODSKY: Not formal counseling. A friend of Drew`s that (ph) they (ph) were at his house for two weeks in Florida and then a few days or as much as a week up in Wisconsin at his house, is a licensed clinical social worker. And he observed them and talked to them and gave Drew advice on how to deal with the situation. But let me assure everybody, these kids are doing great. They`re all doing fantastic. The teenagers are, like, number one in their class at Bolingbrook High. The two little ones are just happy as they could be. So they`re just — nothing is — they`re fine. They`re doing great.”


    “GVS: I would argue for the plaintiffs that your client hid the truth about KS’s death and the clock on the statute does not begin to run until the wrongful means is discovered.

    JB: The family was aware that there was suspicion months after KS died. DP is spending more and more time with his children – made a trip to Wisconsin last week. He’s starting to enjoy his retirement. His wife left so there’s on reason DP can’t enjoy a social life.”


  27. About Dr. Dan Budenz: Daniel T Budenz, Ph.D. is a certified professional counselor and a certified alcohol and drug counselor and certified instructor and internationally certified addictions counselor. He and his staff have treated hundreds of high profile families, celebrities, sports, medical, legal and political figures. In Chicago, Dr. Dan helped establish and coordinate the Hines VA addictions program, served as chief psychologist/director of Loretto Hospital’s Inpatient and Outpatient Services that he set up. He also ran a private practice for a brief period at Forrest Psychiatric Hospital.

    Media Contact: Glenn Selig, Publicist,
    Email: glenn (at)
    Phone: (813) 300-5454

    To contact Dr. Dan Budenz directly:

  28. Freaky – Seems like there were 2 bodies recently found in Wisconsin:

    Autopsy planned to identify body found in Dodge County
    Wisconsin State Journal
    An autopsy is scheduled for today in Fond du Lac to identify a decomposed body found by hunters outside of the village of Iron Ridge in Dodge County on Sunday afternoon.

    Police Chief Charles Young said the human remains were in an advanced stage of decomposition when found along a brush line between two fields only 100 yards from the village limits.

    “It was covered by leaves and things, and at this point we are going to wait for the autopsy,” said Young.

    He said the village has one active missing person case but would not speculate on any possible connection.

    Earlier Sunday, hunters in Fond du Lac County also found a decomposed body off Skyline Drive in the town of Ashford, said Sheriff’s Lt. Rick Olig.

    That body also has not yet been identified, but the hunters who found it believed it was a woman’s body because of the clothing.

    Olig said no women are known to be missing in the Fond du Lac area, but investigators are checking with surrounding counties to see if the body matches any of their missing persons reports.


  29. There is a LOT suspect about “Dr.” Dan Budenz, Drew’s old friend in Wisconsin.

    Apparently,despite the fact that they had been out of contact for years, it was to his house that Drew fled on his three-day head-clearing trip (Joel flubbed answers pertaining to this at SYM).

    Budenz and his wife were also the two supposedly delivering counseling to Drew’s kids.

  30. thanks think!
    When I first heard that story about spending time with the doctor in Wisconsin it sounded suspicious but then again everything about DP is suspicious!

  31. Daniel T Budenz (608) 424-1455 6441 Sun Valley Pkwy, Belleville, WI 53508

    Dr. Dan is available for media interviews!

    I wonder if he has a publicist?

  32. “Class B Beer/Liquor License for Belle-Bleu, Inc.: The Village received a letter dated March 2, 2006 from Lynn Crull surrendering her Class B Beer/Liquor License conditionally on the approval of the Village Board to Patrick Boersma, agent for Belle-Bleu Inc. Ms. Crull had been using her license to lease and opereate D&L Suburban Inn, which closed the end of February. Liquor/Beer licenses are issued to an individual, not a specific location. The leased property owner is Janice and Daniel Budenz. The Budenzes’ daughter, Kimberley Budenz has also submitted an application for the license to operate a bar at the same location Ms. Crull previously operated. It is the Budenzes’ position that Ms. Crull’s licenses should be transferred or otherwise issued to their daughter, Kimberly, to allow continuing operation of a bar on their property. Mr. Graves was concerned about the approval process for the applicant. There were quite a few supporters of the license being issued to Mr. Boersma for various reasons.”

    I don’t know why I find it amusing that an addiction specialist owns a bar… 🙂

  33. Hmmm. Dr. Dan incorporated a business in Florida.

    Evr I’, LLC

    Incorporated by Janice Budenz, Daniel Budenz, Budenz Medical Management, Evr I’, LLC is located at 704 Monroe Cir Davenport, FL 33896.

    Evr I’, LLC was incorporated on Monday, March 14, 2005 in the State of FL and is currently not active. Daniel T. Budenz represents Evr I’, LLC as their registered agent.

    Odd that so many of the people involved have some connection to Florida, even when they don’t reside there

    Derek Armstrong lives in Canada, but also has a business address in Florida.

  34. Facs – that is funny! Could the bar costs count as a business expense of the psychology business? I mean it is kind of like pre-sales.

  35. I remember a psychic posting long ago that DP was helped by someone whose name began with D and lived futher east….

  36. noway406 // November 25, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    FYI Belleville is about 30 minutes from Madison.


    But I think it is the opposite direction of Fond du Luc, isn’t it?

  37. Hmm … reading more about Dr. and Mrs. Dan at Websleuths
    … her family owned lots of property in WI … which she inherited …

    Yes, Belleville is south, Fond du Lac is north.

    Not sure where the female body was found. “Fond du Lac county” … “Town of Ashfield”

    Is Fond du Lac in Fond du Lac county?

    Sorry but my brain is not working today.

  38. Noway – Yes Fond du Lac (the city) is in Fond du Lac County and so is Ashfield. Ashfield is about 17 miles south of Fund du Lac (the city) from what I read in a different article.

    My comment was that Belleville is in the opposite direction related to Madison than Fond du Lac than Madison is.

  39. facsmiley // November 25, 2008 at 2:40 pm
    I don’t know why I find it amusing that an addiction specialist owns a bar…
    I know, Facs!…. You “find it amusing” because you’re able to show incredible restraint. That stuff is HILARIOUS! I agree there might be possible tax benefits, not to mention marketing and the srt of “farm league” aspect to the customers.

  40. Okay, Think …

    My comment on the location of Belleville was in response to Facs (facsmiley // November 25, 2008 at 2:29 pm ) just to give an idea of where Belleville was in relation to Madison (which had been given as possibly where Dr. Dan lived.

  41. That is so funny!! An addiction specialist that owns a bar…..only in Wisconsin…..I swear we have more hard core drinkers than any other state.

  42. 😀
    It makes you wonder how an addiction specialist would be the right one to give Drew advice on what to tell toddlers about their mother’s disappearance.

    I’m failing to see the connection.

  43. noway406 // November 25, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Hmm … reading more about Dr. and Mrs. Dan at Websleuths
    … her family owned lots of property in WI … which she inherited …

    Yes, Belleville is south, Fond du Lac is north.

    Not sure where the female body was found. “Fond du Lac county” … “Town of Ashfield”

    Is Fond du Lac in Fond du Lac county?

    Sorry but my brain is not working today.

    hmmmm, one of the articles I read on the story said the property was recently sold and the new owner is cooperating, I wonder who the previous owner was?? Maybe I’ll do some digging. Land records are open to the public.

  44. Yes Fon du Lac is in Fon Du Lac county The area where it meets washington County off Skyline Rd is in the general vacinity that I marked. Not positive if that is the exact location but is close to that.

  45. Dr. Dan says the Peterson children know what is happening-appropriate for their ages and abilities.

    So Dr. Dan is the one who has told Drew that it’s fine to keep telling the little ones that Stacy is “on vacation”?

    Peterson and his children escaped the media circus over Christmas and New Year’s by being with Dr. Dan and his family in Florida.

    So whenever it’s getting hot for Drew, her runs off to family friend Dr. Dan, whether it’s Wisconsin, Florida or…?

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