August 28, 2010By JOE HOSEY
JOLIET — The Oak Brook cop son of accused wife-killer Drew Peterson was suspended from his job, possibly for his part in hiding an assault rifle from the state police.
Stephen Peterson, a 6-year veteran of the Oak Brook department, was put on paid administrative leave Friday. He declined to discuss the matter.
Stephen Peterson testified in court four days prior to his suspension and admitted to taking possession of an AR-15 and at least one other weapon his father did not want the state police to get their hands on.
From the witness stand Monday, Stephen Peterson recalled that on Oct. 30, 2007, Drew Peterson showed up at his son’s North Aurora home with two or three guns. The weapons were among his father’s “favorites,” Stephen Peterson said, and “he didn’t want anything to happen to them.”
Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, was reported missing the day before Drew Peterson’s visit to his son’s home. Her whereabouts remain a mystery, and the state police suspect Drew Peterson killed her.
More than a year and a half after Stacy vanished, the state police arrested Drew Peterson and charged him with murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio, who was found drowned in a dry bathtub in March 2004. At the time of her death, and for the ensuing three and a half years, the state police insisted that Savio was the victim of a freak bathing accident, only changing their tune after Stacy disappeared.
Peterson remains in jail on both the murder charge and on a felony gun charge for allegedly possessing an assault rifle with a barrel shorter than the state mandated 16 inches. The rifle was one of the weapons Drew Peterson gave his son to hold onto before the state police got around to obtaining a search warrant for Drew Peterson’s Bolingbrook home.
Stephen Peterson surrendered the rifle to the state police three days after his father gave it to him. The state police raided Drew Peterson’s home the day before Stephen Peterson gave up the gun and seized numerous other firearms.
Even though Stephen Peterson possessed the allegedly illegal gun for three days, he faces no criminal charges.
Calls to the Oak Brook Police Department were not returned Friday.
In April 2008, the Oak Brook Police and Fire Commission suspended Stephen Peterson for eight days for driving his marked squad car to Joliet and showing up to testify before a Will County grand jury in his patrolman’s uniform.
Drew Peterson’s attorney, Joel Brodsky, said Stephen Peterson remains unaware of the reasons for his most recent suspension.
“He hasn’t seen any papers yet,” said Brodsky, who was certain that Stephen Peterson was being punished to get at Drew Peterson, and suggested that Drew’s 5-year-old daughter, Lacy, might be targeted by the authorities.
“I suppose that next they’re going to go after Lacy for jaywalking,” Brodsky said. “Anything to go after Drew.”
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