The appellate court has finally reconsidered the eight barred hearsay statements on their merits and have decided to reverse the earlier appellate decision to bar them. They have decided that the statements are reliable and admissable at trial which can now go forward. We could be seeing a trial as early as June!
However, this doesn’t mean that the earlier barred evidence will necessarily be heard at trial. In the decision Justice William Holdridge pointed out that,
…We do not mean to suggest, however, that the circuit court is required to admit those eight statements during the trial. Rather, we merely hold that the statements are admissible under Rule of Evidence 804(b)(5) and should be admitted under that rule unless the circuit court finds they are otherwise inadmissible.
In other words, the statements have been ruled admissible under the long-established common laws of forfeiture by wrongdoing, which is what James Glasgow had argued for back in February 2011, but they won’t all necessarily make it into the trial.
Although this decision is a huge win for the state, it did not come without some chastisement over the controversial hearsay statute (which has been referred to as Drew’s Law) that Glasgow first hung his case on but then ultimately begged the court to toss aside:
…one would expect the State either to enforce the statute as written or act to repeal the statute, not urge the courts to ignore it.
These are the hearsay statements that have been deemed reliable (based on our research. The original decision was sealed, but leaked). The statements in red are the ones that were originally barred but are now admissible.
1. Kathleen Savio’s letter to then-Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Elizabeth Fragale complaining of Drew Peterson’s abuse, including an alleged July 2002 attack when he put a knife to her throat.
2. Kristin Anderson’s testimony that Savio told of her fears that Peterson would kill her while her family briefly rented Savio’s basement in 2003.
3. A fellow student at Joliet Junior College, Mary Park’s testimony that she saw red marks on Kathleen’s neck that Savio attributed to Peterson in 2003.
4. Savio’s co-worker, Issam Karam’s testimony that Savio told him Peterson came into her home and held a knife to her throat.
5. Kathleen’s sister, Susan Savio’s testimony about her sister’s fears that Peterson would kill her.
6. Kathleen’s sister, Anna Doman’s testimony that shortly before she died, Savio asked Doman to care for her children if she died, saying Peterson wanted to kill her.
7. Savio’s handwritten statement attached to a Bolingbrook police report on the July 2002 incident.
8. Six audio excerpts from a June 13, 2003, taped conversation Savio had with an insurance company over a claim she put in for allegedly stolen jewelry.
9. Savio’s Aug. 6, 2003, statement to the insurance company
10. Savio’s divorce attorney, Harry Smith’s testimony that Stacy contacted him about divorcing Peterson shortly before she vanished.
11. Stacy’s friend, Scott Rossetto’s testimony that she told him Peterson coached her as an alibi witness in Savio’s death.
12. The Rev. Neil Schori’s testimony that Stacy told him Peterson returned home dressed completely in black and carrying a bag of women’s clothing in the late morning on the day Savio’s body was found. Stacy also told him Peterson coached her to provide his alibi.
13. Stacy’s Joliet Junior College classmate, Michael Miles’ testimony that Stacy told him before Savio’s 2004 death that Peterson wanted to kill his ex-wife but that Stacy talked him out of it.