Prosecutors appeal to Illinois Supreme Court in Peterson murder case

UPDATE 8/30/11: Joel Brodsky has filed a motion asking for Drew Peterson to be released from jail pending the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision. News stories and comments start here. The motion is embedded below. As an exhibit it also contains a transcript of the proceedings from July 7, 2010, when the State filed the certificates of impairment.

From the State’s Attorney’s office:

SPRINGFIELD – The Will County State’s Attorney’s Office today filed a Petition for Leave to Appeal with the Illinois Supreme Court in People v. Drew Peterson. The petition was filed under seal to prevent potential jurors from hearing material facts and evidence in the case, thereby protecting the defendant’s right to a fair trial.

The Will County State’s Attorney’s Office strongly disagrees with the Third District Appellate Court’s decision in July not to rule on the merits of its 2010 appeal in People v. Drew Peterson. As a result, the State’s Attorney’s Office is respectfully asking the Illinois Supreme Court to accept this appeal and rule on its merits.

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54 thoughts on “Prosecutors appeal to Illinois Supreme Court in Peterson murder case

  1. Drew Peterson Case Heading to the Supreme Court
    Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow has filed a petition to appeal the Drew Peterson hearsay decision with the Illinois Supreme Court.
    By Joseph Hosey

    A Will County Judge kicked out eight of 14 damning hearsay statements prosecutors want to use against accused wife-killer Drew Peterson. The appellate court agreed to keep them out. And now Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow is going to the state supreme court in a last ditch effort to get them spoken aloud at Peterson’s murder trial.

    Glasgow filed his petition to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court Friday, asking the state’s top judges to overturn a decision on hearsay evidence made by now retired Will County Judge Stephen White in 2010.

    The petition was filed under seal.

    Peterson, a disgraced former Bolingbrook cop who retired in 2007 rather than face an internal affairs probe into the disappearance of his much younger fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, has been jailed since May 2009 on murder charges.

    The charges stem from the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, who was found drowned in a dry bathtub in March 2004 but was not considered a homicide victim until more than three years later.

    The state police insisted Savio perished in a freak bathing accident until Stacy Peterson mysteriously vanished in October 2007.

    The state police then abruptly reversed course, not only launching an intense reinvestigation of Savio’s death — including the exhumation of her corpse for further examination — but declaring that Drew Peterson was the sole suspect in the “potential homicide” of Stacy Peterson.

    Drew Peterson has yet to be charged with harming his still missing fourth wife.

    Following Stacy’s disappearance, Glasgow crafted and helped push through new legislation allowing hearsay evidence to be used in the event a witness was made unavailable to testify. Then he conducted a month-long hearing featuring more than 70 witnesses in an attempt to convince Judge White to allow hearsay statements against Peterson at a murder trial.

    To allow any of the 14 statements at trial, White had to agree that it was likely Peterson killed both Stacy and Savio. White gave the green light to six of the statements but Glasgow wanted more, and the day before Peterson’s trial was to start in July 2010, he filed an appeal of the judge’s ruling.

    The appellate court sided with White, handing down its decision last month. Glasgow had a 35-day window to appeal the appellate court’s decision and did so today, a mere four days before it was to close.

  2. If JB still has his law license and is still practicing law, I suspect he will file his old ‘Motion to Release DP’ form with the Illinois Supreme Court cuz he was only denied two times.

  3. LOL @ Judgin.

    I saw this in Joe Hosey’s updated piece, and thought it was funny:

    Lopez also said he understands Madigan’s office assisted in crafting the petition to appeal.

    “I wanted Glasgow to do it himself,” Lopez said, “so we could see all the typos.”

    Obviously, Mr. Lopez is confused. He meant Brodsky is the horse’s ass with the typos and context problems. Isn’t that the reason he, along with Greenberg, have taken most control of the case now? Brodsky is relegated to helping Maksym make snorting noises every time they come up with one of their hair brain ideas about suing someone. “Sue Man” Brodsky, and “Make ‘Em Money for Drew Ideas” Maksym.

  4. Ha ha, Yup, when they try to shoot the messenger, we know they know they are in trouble.

    Although the lame DP defense team would like to own the credit for the ‘Drew’s Law’ title, IMO Glasgow is staying on focus fighting Domestic Violence, Honor Killings, and Gang and Mob Hits.

  5. Man, if you’re going to make light of opposing counsel’s abilities, and call him on his shortfalls, shouldn’t one look at their co-counsel’s years of butchering the basics of word spelling?


  6. Yeah, Judgin, defense counsel can joke and poke at opposing counsel all they want, but it hasn’t seemed to have much effect on getting their client sprung from the Will County Detention Center. I guess all the judges involved are lacking a sense of humor……

  7. I wonder if the bolded quote from Glasgow has to do with the dissenting opinion. The fact that Judge White never considered the hearsay evidence under common law doctrine, IMO, is well worth asking the Supreme Court to take a look at the decision.

    …Glasgow said he hopes the Supreme Court will “accept this appeal and rule on its merits.”

    “This is not a waste of time,” Glasgow said of his appeal. “The procedural rulings by the Appellate Court left legal issues unresolved. They’re important issues and they need to be resolved.”

    Glasgow also said he would object to any effort to have Peterson released from the Will County Jail while the appeal proceeds.

    Brodsky, however, said Peterson should be freed because of the Appellate Court ruling barring prosecutors from using some of the hearsay evidence.

    “The real injustice here is Drew Peterson sitting in the Will County Jail,” Brodsky said. “Without this unreliable hearsay evidence, they don’t have enough evidence to prove him guilty of anything.”

    The Supreme Court likely will rule by November whether to hear Glasgow’s appeal.

    If the high court takes the appeal, it is not expected to rule on the case until next year.

  8. Ha, I guess JB reads here at Justice Cafe for his next legal instructions.

    “judgin @ August 26, 2011 at 2:00 pm
    “If JB still has his law license and is still practicing law, I suspect he will file his old ‘Motion to Release DP’ form with the Illinois Supreme Court cuz he was only denied two times.”

    “Another attorney on Peterson’s legal team, Joel Brodsky, said he expects next week to file a request with the Supreme Court that Peterson immediately be released while the court considers Glasgow’s appeal.”

  9. If he does file it, Judgin, I hope he takes the time to update the kids’ ages and other facts since they were completely out of date the last time. But does it even matter at this point?

  10. …and absolutely should the defense request that Peterson be released pending this appeal. Peterson should not expect otherwise. The problem, though, is Brodsky’s lack of finesse in the wording and presentation of his legal documents. The last one was a joke. Quit recycling past motions, and spend some time working on getting the client sprung using good, solid defense. Not some rehashed, poorly written motion that came from a saved file on some word processor.

    Better yet, leave it to the attorneys that have been successful in their endeavors, heh?

  11. Rescue, DP’s lawyers assessed DP’s chances and know how much time and energy they need to expend on their client’s behalf. They doing the best they can but can’t afford to ‘waste’ their time. 😉

  12. Some quotes from Craig Wall’s story:

    Savio’s niece said the family just has to be patient.
    “My family and I have been waiting since March 1st 2004 for justice for my aunt Kitty. That’s a long time, and we want it done the right way,” Melissa Doman said. “Unfortunately if it ends up taking longer to get to an end result that is correct and everything is done the right way, then so be it, we have to wait.”

    “I have a very serious obligation to make sure I present the best and strongest case possible in the prosecution of a murder case and that’s what I’m attempting to do, that’s what this appeal is all about,” Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow said.

    “Even if all the hearsay gets in, they still don’t have a case,” Joel Brodsky said. “Jurors are not stupid, they realize what somebody said that somebody said, that somebody said arising out of a contested divorce case is unreliable, who can believe that stuff.”

  13. Joel once again brings up in the video that his client is being denied his right to a speedy trial. Wow, really? Wasn’t it your client who agreed in court to give up his right to a speedy trial when it was you doing the initial appeals? Once he agreed, he gave up that right, and now has to sit till trial unless he posts bail. Quit trying to make it look like your client is being denied his rights when you gave them up to begin with. I guess we can look forward to your side kick popping up from nowhere foaming at the mouth any day now to right?

  14. Peterson To Ask State Supreme Court For Release From Jail
    August 30, 2011 7:10 AM

    JOLIET, Ill. (CBS) — Former Bolingbrook police Sgt. Drew Peterson is taking his case to the Illinois Supreme Court Tuesday, in an effort to get out of jail.

    As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, Peterson has been in custody at the Will County Jail for on $20 milllon bond more than two years, as he awaits trial on murder charges in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

    He had been set to go on trial in July 2010, but the trial was postponed the day before jury selection was to begin due to an appeal by prosecutors seeking to allow hearsay statements. The Illinois Appellate ruled in July that prosecutors had filed their appeal late.

    Prosecutors are now appealing that decision to the Illinois Supreme Court, which could take more than a year.

    For that reason, defense attorneys say Peterson should be released now. If not, Peterson is being denied his right to a speedy trial because of the prosecution’s legal maneuvers, they argue.

    “His constitutional right to a speedy trial is being violated. Nobody can deny that. The government can’t hold somebody locked up in solitary confinement for 13 months, when they don’t have enough evidence to convict them or take the case to trial,” said Peterson defense attorney Joel Brodsky. “So yes, he should be released, and his rights are being violated.”

    Brodsky compared Peterson’s lengthy stay in jail without going to trial to the treatment a prisoner would receive under an authoritarian regime.

    “Drew is a person who has been wrongfully charged, and he should not be held unless the state can prove – the government can prove – that he is guilty of some wrongdoing. It’s as clear as that. Now do we want to move to Iran where they don’t have such formalities? I suppose somebody who doesn’t like this can move there,” he said. “But I like the American system.”

    Brodsky hopes in the next 30 days or so, the justices will consider the motion and order Peterson’s immediate release from jail…

  15. “Drew is a person who has been wrongfully charged, and he should not be held unless the state can prove – the government can prove – that he is guilty of some wrongdoing. It’s as clear as that.

    Joel Brodsky forgot about bond, I guess. There are thousands of people being detained in jail awaiting trial who could all be free if they could only post their bail. Drew Peterson is in the same situation. If he can bond out, then he’s free to leave…just like most other people awaiting trial.

    As for Drew being “wrongfully charged” and the state proving guilt..isn’t that what the trial is for?

    I understand Brodsky has to pull something out of his ass for a soundbite, but shouldn’t it at least show some knowledge of the legal system? He sounds like a moron.

  16. Joel Brodsky: “Now do we want to move to Iran where they don’t have such formalities? I suppose somebody who doesn’t like this can move there, but I like the American system.”

    If Joel likes the American system then he should be happy to work within it, which means jail until trial unless his client can bond out. If he’s unhappy with the delays created by appeals and motions, then he’s doing the right thing by filing motions of his own to try to spring his client.

    That’s the American system and his client is receiving every benefit of it, and more. His client is even allowed his own cell and day room in the medical unit to keep him safe from the general population. Sounds like Joel is the one who doesn’t like the American system.

    Also way to endear yourself to the justices, since they are the ones making the decisions on his motions and no one else. Is he trying to say that the justices are un-american? Way to go, Joel.

  17. …Professor Richard Kling with Chicago-Kent College of Law does not believe it is likely that Peterson will get bail. He remains in jail in lieu of a $20 million bond.

    “I think that the Supreme Court is not going to touch it with a 10-foot pole,” Kling said. “I think, realistically, there is a trial judge who decided that bail is appropriate, the appellate court agrees that bail is appropriate, and there’s no real reason that the Supreme Court is going to change that discretion of the trial judge.”…

    …Prosecutors told ABC7 Tuesday morning that Peterson’s due process rights are being protected. They said his bond has been reviewed multiple times and has been deemed appropriate.

    Prosecutors said they will continue to object to any motion filed that would seek to lower Peterson’s bond…

  18. …”This is about fundamental fairness,” Peterson attorney Joel Brodsky said. “Let Drew go home to his kids.”

    In asking the trial judge to keep Peterson in jail last July, Glasgow said Peterson is a threat to society because he killed both wives to prevent them from testifying against him.

    “I don’t know what could be more compelling,” Glasgow said….,0,6853641.story

  19. Fifth Time’s The Charm? Drew Peterson’s Lawyers Look Again To Get Him Out Of Jail

    By Joseph Hosey 12:25pm

    Locked up for more than two years on a $20 million bond, Drew Peterson is pinning his hopes for freedom on yet another legal move by his defense team.

    Undaunted by a four-peat of failure, the mob of lawyers defending disgraced Bolingbrook cop Drew Peterson against murder charges is trying for a fifth time to get him sprung from jail.

    This latest bid to get Peterson, who is charged with killing one wife and suspected of having a hand in the mysterious disappearance of another, comes within a week of prosecutors petitioning the Illinois Supreme Court to get involved in the case.

    State’s Attorney James Glasgow petitioned the state supreme court to review an unsuccessful appeal of Judge Stephen White’s ruling on what hearsay evidence can be used at Peterson’s murder trial.

    Motions attempting to reduce Peterson’s astronomical bond or to get him released from custody have been filed four times since the accused wife-killer was arrested in May 2009. Each has been refused, which has puzzled at least one of his attorneys.

    “All the cases in Illinois say, if the state files an appeal, the case is basically over and the defendant should be released” while the appeal is sorted out, said defense attorney Joseph “Shark” Lopez.

    “The point is, we should have no bond because the case is basically dead,” said Lopez, who added that the defense team is also filing a motion to dismiss Glasgow’s petition for leave to appeal to the state supreme court.

    Lopez said that the defendant has been released during a prosecution appeal in “every murder case I’ve ever had. Unless the defendant is a flight risk and a danger to the community.”

    “They’ve never shown that” with Peterson, he said.

    But during a May 2009 hearing on whether to reduce Peterson’s bond, Glasgow claimed Peterson wanted to pay $25,000 to have his third wife, Kathleen Savio, murdered.

    At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge White declined to reduce Peterson’s bond.

    Peterson has been charged with murdering Savio, who was found drowned in a dry bathtub in March 2004.

    The state police investigated Savio’s death but determined she somehow accidentally perished while bathing.

    The state police abruptly reversed course on this theory after Peterson’s next wife, Stacy Peterson, vanished in October 2007.

    Stacy Peterson remains missing. The state police believe Drew Peterson was involved in Stacy Peterson’s “potential homicide” but have yet to charge him with harming her.

    Glasgow’s spokesman, Charles B. Pelkie, said prosecutors will continue to fight any attempt to get Drew Peterson out of jail on a bond lower than $20 million.

    Lopez contends that the only reason prosecutors are taking such a hard line — and why the defense has not been favored in their attempts to get Peterson’s bond reduced — is that the case has been the subject of intense scrutiny.

    “I think there’s been so much media attention and political pressure that everybody’s afraid to make a move,” Lopez said. “If it was anybody else but Drew Peterson, he’d be out on the street. He’d be going to work, he’d be taking care of his family.

    “I’ve done plenty of murder cases,” he said, “but I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

  20. We’ve got the motion to spring Drew that Joel Brodsky filed. It’s embedded up in the main post now. The motion makes a pretty weak argument and nothing new. There is an exhibit; a transcript of July 7, 2010 court proceedings that I hadn’t seen before so if you are one of those people who likes to read the court docs, you’ll probably be interested.

  21. @ShorewdILPatch
    Joseph Hosey

    This time, the motion for Drew Peterson’s release from jail doesn’t mention the King of Siam. That’s disappointing.


  22. Wow. Just wow. The caliber of some of the types that latched onto Peterson to help further their own agenda goes without saying. Can’t make this stuff up. IIR, Budenz himself, when first promoting this so-called Drew Peterson Saga, said this book was so much more than being about Drew Peterson. He was but a small bit in this creative writing of Mr. Budenz. Now, it’s going to be made into a movie he says? Yak yak, chuckle, chuckle. Well, maybe so, This is America, as Joel Brodsky says, and America is where it’s at, so I guess anything is possible.

    From the Shorewood Patch site:

    Dan Budenz

    10:13am on Wednesday, August 31, 2011

    Hey Joe have you read, “Analyzing Monsters – The Drew Peterson Saga”? It is being made into a major motion picture. The truth in this case is slowly leaking out like water out of most tubs. What real evidence is there either wife was “murdered”? What real evidence that if either were murdered that Peterson did it? Judge not lest you too be judged or sued or prosecuted.

    Joseph Hosey

    12:52pm on Wednesday, August 31, 2011

    Cut it out Dan, nobody’s making a movie out of your book.

  23. You know, I read with hilarity Mr. Brodsky’s footnote on Page 2 of his Motion. How so Bozo-like of him to make a personal dig in a footnote aimed at his opposing counsel. If speaking publicly is contrary to what one has said or written in the past, Boobsky will take first place for all the years of his childish, unprofessional, unorthodox and bafoon-ish remarks that have nothing to do with a legal issue. Slamming one’s opponent within a legal filing that should concentrate on appealing to the Supreme Court Justices shows the caliber of what Peterson’s lead attorney is all about.

    Funny that Peterson’s past is used as a flattering point to help show what an upstanding and great guy he is, and should be cut loose to walk amongst the rest of society. But Peterson is also known to have jeopardized another drug enforcement officer’s life by exposing his identity. If one’s past is to be a shining star in one’s integrity, lest we not forget that Brodsky was suspended from practice for signing a dead person’s name to a check. I’d call that a star that crashed and burned. Naughty, naughty. Pfft.

  24. Ah hem.

    New Drew Peterson Book Is Not All About Drew
    “Analyzing Monsters – Family Cures” seeks to help all families. How about one with 12 children?

    Published on 28 February 2010
    by Media Office
    Janice L. Budenz MA. Reading Specialist from UW Wisconsin Madison and Vice President of Development for American Family Institute

    “Analyzing Monsters – Family Cures” is dedicated to helping families in pain. I believe it should be one of the five books every family keeps in their family library, I pad, Nook, E-reader etc. Innocent American citizens and their families are being dragged into the criminal justice for nothing more than sport or targeting as political prey……

    Dr. Dan’s book shares how easy it is for the corrupt powers that be to set up any innocent person and drag him/her and family through years of frivolous and expensive litigation. When some of these crazy prosecutors know someone is innocent, they still try to get them to plea out to a “lesser offense.” Criminals and even law abiding citizens are encouraged, if not forced to lie and attack the target or accused by these dishonest and scheming prosecutors. When an innocent fights back, the gang pounces. We have enough gangs and criminal perpetrators on the streets. We don’t need them in our courtrooms or destroying our families from the District Attorney’s office. These prosecutors have tremendous powers and are protected with immunity from prosecution themselves!…

    Excuse me while I type in-between my laughing. What a blockbuster, major motion picture this is going to be….. 😉

  25. …and remember that in December 2007 Drew was about to be charged with official misconduct for doing some unauthorized checks on friends and acquaintances of Stacy. To dodge the charges, he took an early retirement.

    If I were a judge I’d just re-read the hearsay hearings transcripts where Ric Mims testified that he followed Kathleen Savio to work while Drew entered her home to retreive “papers”. A fine upstanding police officer.

    As for Budenz, what a big bag of crazy! I’ve looked at samples from his opus and they are absolutely unreadable. A few reminiscences about working with Drew Peterson at Burger King, and a whole lot of psycho-babble mumbo jumbo – all strung together with no regard for the conventions of the English language. Oh, and he states somewhere in the middle of the mess that “Kristine McPherson…has been helpful”. You’ve heard of the blind leading the blind. In this case it’s the whack job helping the whack job!

  26. I highly doubt any attorney, defense or prosecuting, would condone one using his facebook page to poke jabs at his opponent in a murder case, especially when a man’s freedom is on the line.

    Desperate for attention. Maybe he should go into standup comedy. It might pay more. It worked for Seinfeld.

    Joel A. Brodsky, Attorney at Law
    Watch the video of States Attorney Glasgow in this story. I guess denial isn’t just a river in Egypt.

    Ah, what class. What professionalism. Ever heard of staying on point, and quit throwing out the stupid one-liners? This is legal commentary material?

    Did you all hear the thump of this dud?

  27. HUH??????? Is this another one of their inside jokes about Kathleen’s demise?

    “The truth in this case is slowly leaking out like water out of most tubs”

    Um ok Dr. Dan? Yeah and your point is? Still doesn’t change the fact that the
    autopsy clearly shows she was thrown around like a rag doll, and knocked unconscious before she drowned in the tub by the hands of someone holding her under the water till she did! Yes the truth is slowly leaking out only this time there is nobody around to help
    cover any of the truth up this time! Hell if the truth is coming out why let it leak out slowly? Pull the plug!

  28. Don’t forget! The Groundwork’s 3d annual Angels Against Abuse 5k walk is one month away.

    Hammel Woods, Crumby Recreation Area, Black Road,
    Shorewood, IL
    Enter .25 miles east of Rt. 59

    Sat. October 1, 2011
    8:00 AM: On-Site Registration/Check-In;
    8:45 AM: Opening Remarks-Will County State’s Attorney James W. Glasgow & The Honorable Judge Marilee Viola;
    9:15 AM: Walk Begins

    Register or donate
    Guardian Angel Community Services facebook page

  29. Fascinating!

    More than five years after an Ottawa, Ill., woman in a troubled marriage was found by her firefighter husband drowned in a toilet, her death has been ruled a homicide due in part to evidence provided by the wedding ring she was buried with…

    …The pathologist who did a second autopsy found that Cusick’s injuries — including an abrasion to the bottom of her chin, crushing injuries to the cartilage of her throat and an abrasion on her forehead that matched the contours of her gold diamond wedding ring — indicated foul play, a detective testified, according to a transcript of the Aug. 16 inquest…

    …From the family’s perspective, the handling of their sister’s death changed about three years ago when a new set of Ottawa detectives took over. They conducted an experiment to see if an adult could drown in a toilet as Kenny Cusick described, according to court records.

    “We just were not able to reconstruct any situation where … a person could, accidentally or on their own, submerge their nose and mouth,” Gualandri testified.

    Gualandri also said photographs showed there was not enough water in the bowl for someone to drown. Armed with this new information, investigators exhumed Tracy Cusick’s body last October.,0,4101063.story

  30. The Cusick death is eerily similar. Very interesting news piece. These statements are included in the article:

    Cusick’s family suggests the case is strangely similar to the 2004 bathtub drowning death of Kathleen Savio, ex-Bolingbrook police Sgt. Drew Peterson’s third wife. Dr. Bryan Mitchell, who died in 2010, performed autopsies on both women, both of their bodies were exhumed years later and both of their deaths have been reclassified as homicides.

    Her death was classified as a drowning, but the coroner did not rule on manner of death.

    Roxanne Monterastelli, a friend and longtime bartender at Kenny Cusick’s Ottawa tavern, Kenny’s Tap, said she attended the inquest and had “never seen something so one-sided in my life.” She said no evidence was presented of Tracy Cusick’s drug or alcohol problems, which in bouts of heavy drinking had caused her to collapse at the bar while Monterastelli was working.

    I take it to suggest from Ms. Monterastelli that regardless of the circumstances surrounding the actual death scene and the trauma to Ms. Cusak’s body, it shouldn’t matter because she had drinking and/or drug problems.

    Coroner Jody Bernard said the facts relevant to Cusick’s death were presented at last month’s inquest, which did not include any mention of the toxicology reports.

  31. Absolutely. What’s more, there is no mention of hearsay involved in this; it’s parallel in that there’s no eye witnesses, the victim’s body was moved from it’s original position, and any number of people, including her husband, were milling about the death scene. While Dr. Mitchell did confirm she died from drowning, there didn’t appear to be a thorough and open investigation. It’s apparent that Mr. Cusak is a well-liked guy, and that his wife had “all” of the issues, but it sure doesn’t mean that Mrs. Cusak wasn’t the victim of a homicide. Mr. Cusak was also shocked that the second autopsy ruled his wife’s death a homicide, just as Peterson was in shock and awe that his ex-wife’s death was ruled the same after the second autopsy.

    Also apparent is that in both cases, it took years for a complete investigation to take place, including reenactments of the death scenarios.

    Yes, this will be another one to watch.

  32. Here’s a story that appeared at the time the remains of Mrs. Cusak were exhumed:

    Ottawa woman’s body exhumed by authorities

    11/09/2010, 10:33 pm

    Steve Stout, 815-431-4082
    The body of an Ottawa woman who died in 2006 under unusual circumstances was exhumed from her grave recently by local authorities for a possible forensic examination, according to a close family member.

    Tracy Lynn Cusick, 32, was found unresponsive in her home in the early hours of Jan. 16, 2006, and was pronounced dead later that morning at Community Hospital of Ottawa, now Ottawa Regional Hospital.

    At that time authorities told family members the mother of two and wife of Ottawa firefighter Ken Cusick had apparently drowned in a toilet. Law enforcement officials also reported there was no evidence of foul play or traumatic injury.

    The case, however, has remained open and Ottawa Police Chief Brian Zeilmann confirmed this week the investigation is active.

    “Pieces of evidence have come to light through the investigation and the inquiry into Cusick’s death continues,” he told The Times. “It (the investigation) has been going on since we first got the call (of her death).”

    Authorities are saying very little beyond that.

    The Ottawa investigators, La Salle County state’s attorney officials, and La Salle County Coroner Jody Bernard each would not confirm nor deny the exhumation of Cusick’s body or any details of possible new evidence concerning her death.

    As with search warrants, a judge must reviewcompellingreasons to exhume a body from the ground before signing the required court order. Families are notified as a “courtesy” but permission is not required.

    Tracy’s husband Ken could not be reached by The Times on Tuesday for comment on the exhumation or the investigation.

    However, a member of Tracy Cusick’s family who wished to remain anonymous, confirmed there is an active investigation.

    The family member said, to her recollection, no cause of death was ever listed on a death certificate. The coroner would not confirm that, saying death certificate information is privileged information.

    The family member said Tracy’s bodywas removed from her grave in Ottawa’s Oakwood Memorial Park around the end of October and returned within 36 hours.
    A visit to the North Side cemetery confirmed Cusick’s grave site was recently opened.

    The family member also noted Tracy’s house on Lawrence Court was searched by local law enforcement authorities and state crime scene investigators earlier this summer. A neighbor also confirmed the police search.

    Again, Ottawa police investigators and State’s Attorney Brian Towne would neither confirm nor deny the execution of any search warrant in the nearly five-year-old Cusick death investigation.

    At the time of Cusick’s funeral, the family noticed bruising on her forehead and chin that authorities said were injuries from contact with the toilet bowl.

    Death by drowning in a toilet, either suicide or accidental, is considered rare by forensic experts.

    The family member said local investigators have looked closely at a similar case in Wisconsin involving a toilet drowning that appeared to be a suicide. The case resulted in a murder conviction, however, and included testimony from an expert inphysics applied to trauma to the human body. The expert in that case explained body positions and how the head had to be held under water in the toilet to cause drowning.

    The family member said they are “happy” police are actively pursuing evidence, even though it was traumatic for them to have Tracy removed from “her peace.”

    Looking at pictures of Tracy, the family member said, “Tracy can’t speak for herself. So now, who will speak for Tracy?”

    Tracy Cusick would have been 37 years old Tuesday.

  33. Here is an interesting thread of discussion relating to Dr. Blum testifying as to his findings in the second autopsy of Kathleen Savio. Even Judgin, one of our regular bloggers, addressed the issue of Kathleen being drowned in the toilet bowl. It would explain why she died of drowning, yet, there was no water in the tub and no water splashes or blood spatter anywhere to be found.

    Sometimes, going back and reading what the circumstances were surrounding Kathleen Savio’s death are mind boggling. The State’s case just might not be as crippled as some would like to think. There’s rarely an eye witness to a murder, and most evidence at any trial is circumstantial.

  34. I still believe that DP drowned Kathleen Savio in the toilet. I listened to what Dr.Michael Baden said on tv, considered the type and location of all her bruises mentioned in the autopsy report as well as the amount of water in her lungs and nose cavity… I also considered the special kind of police/military ‘hold’ DP knew how to use as testified to in the Hearsay Hearings. DP knew how to apply that ‘hold’ on Kathleen, knock the wind out of her and keep her from breathing while at the same time placing her face into the toilet water… a ‘swirlee’, the ultimate humiliation. Since Kathleen was found in the dry bathtub, it might be easier for prosecution to allow the bathtub to be the drowning scene.

    No one confirms and explains this theory better than her two comments at:
    “12/04/2007 ( GretaWire Blog Posting
    “A TIP sent to Greta Van Susteren regarding Kathleen’s Death”

    especially her second post at:

    “Comment by Melissa Hoyle, December 4th, 2007 at 2:38 pm,
    Hi Naples!”

  35. Judgin,
    Thanks for the recap I forgot all about those two comments! I agree fully with both of them. I can clearly see it happening as they are telling what they think happened to Kathleen that night. It all fits with the autopsy reports says about all her injuries as well.


    This thread is a complete summary and discussion of the only expert witness the defense put on at the hearsay proceedings. The one, by the way, that put Joel Brodsky to sleep during his testimony. Again, when I go back and read this stuff, I shake my head in disbelief and wonder how it’s possible to believe this junk, and expect it to exonerate the only individual that had the most to gain by Kathleen’s death. How he benefited financially, and was able to escape scrutiny by the then investigators.

  37. Judgin, I also share your opinion that Kathleen was drowned in the toilet and then transferred to the tub. Realistically, if in fact she died by drowning and her death was a homicide, then what are the odds that the killer stopped to fill the tub?

    I don’t want to stray into speculation too far, but that’s what I believe.


    EAGLE RIVER, Wis. (AP) – Nearly 11 years after a Land O’ Lakes woman drowned in a toilet, her husband has admitted killing her.

    Forty-three-year-old Doug Plude pleaded guilty Friday to one count of first-degree reckless homicide.

    Vilas County District Attorney Al Moustakis says he’ll recommend Plude serve 20 years probation and no more prison time when he’s sentenced Nov. 24.

    But The Rhinelander Daily News reports Judge Neal Nielsen is not bound by the plea agreement and could sentence Plude to up to 40 years in prison.

    Twenty-eight-year-old Genell Plude was found dead in 1999. Prosecutors said he poisoned her with migraine medicine, drowned her in the toilet and tried to make it look like a suicide. She had just revealed she was a lesbian and was planning to leave him.

    He served five years in prison before the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned his conviction. A second trial had been set for October.


    LEBANON — Ryan Widmer is guilty of murder, a jury determined Tuesday after spending 12 hours deliberating over two days….

    …Tuesday’s verdict came after 13 days of testimony from 44 witnesses. Medical experts, first responders, police, friends and family testified about what they thought happen to Sarah Widmer.

    Jurors could have considered a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter, something that had not been available during previous trials.

    The prosecution said Widmer forced Sarah Widmer to drown in their bathroom. Medical responders said the drowning scene was dry and the coroner concluded bruising and injuries on her body were the result of a homicide.

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