Why can’t jurors see the tub where Kathleen Savio died?

GRAPHIC CONTENT: Click the photo below to view the unblurred version.

Kathleen Savio lies dead in her tub on March 1, 2004

Kathleen Savio lies dead in her tub on March 1, 2004

On Tuesday, Judge Edward Burmila ruled that the bathtub in which Drew Peterson‘s third wife drowned can not be brought into court at his trial for her murder.

State police had removed the tub in 2008 after Kathleen Savio‘s body was exhumed and a second autopsy found her death to be a homicide. Prosecutors expected it would be a key piece of evidence at trial time. “The bathtub is now essentially the murder weapon,” Assistant State’s Attorney John Connor argued in court, to no avail. The defense successfully argued that there was little value in jurors viewing the tub out of the context of its bathroom setting.

I’m not sure why the judge is keeping the tub out of the courtroom. Obviously, there is evidentiary value in jurors seeing the pace where the victim of a suspicious death was found.

The bathroom where Kathleen was found dead (under new ownership)

There’s nothing unusual about bringing bathtubs into courtrooms, either. It happened just February of this year, during the murder trial of Maryland man in which the victim was found in her bathtub. The tub was brought in to demonstrate where a hand print was found in proximity to where the victim’s head was positioned in the tub.

In the famous Ohio case of Ryan Widmer, a tub was also brought into the courtroom during trial by the prosecution to show that Sarah Widmer was forcibly drowned by her husband. Ryan Widmer was convicted of her murder and remains in prison after being tried three times. Widmer claimed that his wife simply fell asleep during a bath.

It’s possible that by barring the tub, the judge in Peterson’s case is trying to avoid courtroom theatrics like those that occurred during closing arguments in the trial of John Wayne Gacy, when the prosecutor tossed the photos of 22 victims through Gacy’s actual crawl space door which had been brought into the courtroom for that purpose. Burmila stated on Tuesday, “As far as the tub being dramatically brought in–that’s not going to happen under any set of circumstances,”

Although barring it from the courtroom, Judge Burmila did cede that jurors could possibly view the tub if it was re-installed in the bathroom of the house on Pheasant Chase Drive where Kathleen Savio died, so that it would be seen in context.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the homeowners at 392 Pheasant Chase Drive have yet to replace the tub in their bathroom as they have a separate shower in that room which they have been using. It’s possible that they would be amenable to having the tub put back into place for viewing by the jurors.

The bathtub where Kathleen’s body was found. (under new ownership)

Family members, friends and neighbors who have been in that bathroom have expressed disbelief that Savio could have hit her head, lost consciousness and then settled into the position she was found in the tub and these opinions were formed by their knowledge of the specifics of that room and tub. At least two forensic pathologists have concurred.

Considering that during the bungled investigation which took place after Kathleen’s death, so little evidence was actually gathered from the room, one would think that a field trip to view the scene would have a great deal of evidentiary value.

Let the jurors visit the scene, see the bathtub, touch it, even get in the tub if they want to. It’s only fair.

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50 thoughts on “Why can’t jurors see the tub where Kathleen Savio died?

  1. Just looking at that picture, with the surroundings in place and not a thing out of line, it is mind boggling that suspicions were not raised when the initial responders were on the scene. How could an immediate accident be noted, meaning the victim died in that tub, without grabbing or hitting things nearby, or spashing up the floor and wall? How, how, how??????

    Besides that, and this is very important, IMO, Mr. Pontarelli, the next door neighbor, pointed out there were NO towels or clothes nearby. Funny how that towel is sitting on the edge of the tub for that picture. If Peterson hadn’t taken note of that and shooed everyone out of the room afterwards, it wouldn’t be so significant, but it’s more of the oddities associated with the discovery of Kathleen Savio’s body. Odd that he was an experienced cop but called and locksmith and lined up the neighbors to do a well-being check to save his ass from his ex-wife accusing him of something. Odd that he’d let unknowing and unsuspecting people run into a house without worrying about them confronting an armed and dangerous intruder. Odd that he’d let half the neighborhood trample over a room where his dead ex-wife died unexpectedly, and taking it upon himself to assume nothing was needed to collect for evidence. If that’s the way he collected evidence to bolster police cases, I’d demand a recount!

  2. Rescue, is that photo an official crime-scene shot taken by the police? If I remember correctly, not only did Mr. Pontarelli say there were no towels or clothes in the bathroom, but another neighbor confirmed that. I forget the details, but didn’t the two neighbors go into the bathroom first and then Drew went in? Did he shoo them out?

    What was the aparent timeline that would have allowed Drew to have unfettered access to the bathroom before the forensic team arrived?

  3. Hi Granny, that is an official crime scene shot.

    This is from a Fox news story that is no longer online:

    Mary Pontarelli says she and another neighbor were the first two people inside the Savio home on March 1, 2004.
    Pontarelli lives next door and says Drew Peterson asked her to help on a well-being check.
    Pontarelli testified that she screamed when she saw her friend’s body in the tub and said, “it seemed like someone had placed her there.”
    She also told the judge she noticed that Savio had a cut on the back of her head, it had been bleeding, and that her hair was damp.
    “I thought it was strange that I didn’t see any towel, and there was nothing on the ground like a towel or a carpet,” Pontarelli said. “I didn’t see any clothes. Where were her clothes that she took off when she got in the tub?”

    I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a timeline that shows how long Drew was alone with the body before police/first responders arrived.

  4. So someone placed the towel there (neatly folded, mind you) AFTER the paramedics arrived and before the police forensic team arrived. Wouldn’t a police officer have been in the room to insure that nothing was tampered with while waiting for the forensic team?

  5. The family searched Savio’s home with another neighbor while they said a uniformed Peterson waited outside. Thomas Pontarelli said Peterson ran inside to investigate after hearing Mary scream. Peterson appeared “genuinely distraught” and teary-eyed after checking Savio’s pulse and finding no signs of life, Pontarelli said.

    “He said, ‘What am I going to tell my children?’” the neighbor testified.

    Pontarelli said he later overheard Peterson on his cellular phone tell who the neighbor presumed was a police dispatcher that the ex-husband knew he’d be a suspect.

    Pontarelli and a paramedic, Louis Oleszkiewicz, said they were surprised by what was missing in Savio’s bathroom.

    “I said, ‘Look around. Where’s her clothes? Where’s her towel?’” Pontarelli said.

    His wife, Mary, said she also thought it odd that Savio’s long raven hair was down rather than up in her usual clip. Mary Pontarelli said it appeared “like someone had placed her in there.” But, the defense team noted, a towel and a robe are visible in police photos of the bathroom.

    Defense attorney Andrew Abood shrugged off the prosecution’s theory that Peterson later added the items.


  6. Good article, Facs. That is pretty damning testimony that both Thomas and Mary Pontarelli gave at the hearing. Is it safe to say that botht he Pontarellis will be able to testify at the upcoming trial?

    Also, since it seems that there was a consensus amongst family and friends that the layout of the tub within the bathroom made them doubt the proposed defense scenario, it might actually be better to have the tub placed back in the bathroom. Might be a good thing that the current owners haven’t replaced it.

  7. I think it’s definitely a good thing that the current residents haven’t replaced the tub. Way less hassle if they agree to have it put back in place for a jury visit.

    I wonder if the surround is still there/intact?

  8. I think I remember seeing some photos which showed the tub was in a built-in area of the bathroom with three walls around it. Can you find any photos of that area?

    As a totally random thought, I realized that the trial will come during summer break for the kids. I think that’s a good thing. As much as their father hasn’t been a daily influence for the past couple of years, the trial will have a monumental impact on their lives. Not having to deal with school issues will be some small relief. My heart breaks for all of them.

  9. Latest events in the case:

    07/05/2012 Notice of Filing of Subpoena
    07/05/2012 Notice of Filing
    07/05/2012 Impounded Document- People’s Exhibit A (Filed Under Seal)
    07/06/2012 Impounded Document- List of Witnesses/ Notifications of Reports
    07/06/2012 Impounded Document – Order

  10. I’m seeing more instances where bathtubs and even toilets were brought into court as evidence:

    On Thursday morning, prosecutors brought some unusual items into the courtroom to prove their case.
    After hours of argument by the defense, Judge Belinda Hill finally allowed the evidence – a toilet and a bathtub – brought into the courtroom in an attempt by prosecutors to demonstrate how they believe Bearnth killed her two-year-old stepdaughter, Kylie.


  11. From upscreen:

    Defense attorney Andrew Abood shrugged off the prosecution’s theory that Peterson later added the items.

    Shrugging off that towel incident isn’t going to cut it. How do you shrug off the fact that people noticed there were obvious necessities missing if Kathleen were preparing for a bath, but which turned up a short time later, after everyone was told to leave the room by the murder defendant? This is powerful, important information, and it needs an explanation. Either those that didn’t see the bath necessities made woeful, pathetic observations, or the rest of us are hallucinating when we see a towel on the side of the tub in the picture. Either that towel in particular was there all along, or it wasn’t and only appeared after the fact. If it appeared later, why would an innocent man gives a rat’s butt whether a towel was on the edge of the tub or not? I guess he must’ve been thinking ahead about being considered the likely suspect in her death, hoping to make it all look like a terrible accident. That way, he wouldn’t be a suspect, because a suspect wouldn’t cause his wife to slip and fall in a freak accident.

    If the jury buys the theory that Kathleen was the victim of a convoluted fall, there’s no more to discuss. If not, then there must be enough pieces to put together to come to the likely conclusion the murder defendant was responsible. I’m still not so sure that it’s going to be that easy for the defense, with or without the hearsay statements. There’s a lot of hinky, unusual circumstances to overcome.

    Like, Sergeant Drew Peterson was a supervisor who oversaw lower ranked officers as part of his day-to-day responsibilities, yet he was too ignorant and stupid to call 911 for a well being check, and have uniformed, armed officers enter his ex’s house to check on her. Too inept and stupid to preserve a death scene until a proper investigation was done. Pfft.

  12. Either that towel in particular was there all along, or it wasn’t and only appeared after the fact. If it appeared later, why would an innocent man gives a rat’s butt whether a towel was on the edge of the tub or not?

    I really hope this comes up at trial. Why would Thomas Pontarelli and a paramedic lie about there being no towels, rug or clothing? A jury is going to assume that they are telling the truth.

    The only person with a vested interest in making that scene look “normal” is Drew Peterson…and only if he had something to do with her death.

    Maybe he’ll concoct a story and say that he placed it there to wipe his hands after he touched Kathleen. OK. Then why did her robe magically appear on the scene?

  13. I’ll just add that it will have to appear hinky that Peterson, on duty and in uniform took it upon himself to call a locksmith who had opened doors for the BBPD before, who never charged Peterson for this call and most likely believed that he was doing it for the police.

    Drew has stated that he didn’t enter the house because of all the previous issues with his ex-wife. But he does that?

    This was not his residence and he had no right to have anyone break into the house.

  14. Looking at the death scene photo, where is the streak or splatter of blood from Kathleen gashing her head while falling into the bath tub? Over and over, I cannot imagine what the officials were thinking when they inspected the surrounding fixtures, floor, rim, and wall and didn’t see a speck of blood, splashed water or upset bottles.

    Her head gash did not come from a smooth surface, unless some defense expert is going to find a unique way of that happening and testify to it. Having said that, where is the hair she would have left behind on whatever it is she gashed her head on?

    It’s going to take a stretch to consider this an accident for a number of reasons, including LE admitting the initial investigation was flawed.

    Regardless of whether or not actual DNA was collected, it was severely damaged because Peterson, if he did, indeed, kill Kathleen, made sure the evidence was trampled over, and anything left behind during the killing scene was cleaned up. Not a splatter or spatter to be found. That just does not appear possible.

    If it was an accident, accidental surroundings, i.e., water splashes, blood splatter, overturned bottles, would have been observed, making it all the more reasonable to see that she slipped and fell. The opposite appears to be the case, and needs to be explained.

    Kathleen lived in a mini-Fort Knox type house, with double bolts, an alarm system, and even inside locks. Strange that none of her security measures were used on a night that she was going to take a bath, with no towels, rugs or clothes. Mighty strange, in fact.

  15. The defense had one expert witness testify at the hearsay hearing. I was absolutely flabergasted to have heard this doctor say that a small necklace on her neck would have been ripped off if she had been involved in a confrontation with someone prior to her death. Hmmm. I was also amazed that a very prominent doctor as he would actually say she may have suffered a heart attack, which wouldn’t show up on an autopsy. Why she’s one of the only ones that could have a massive heart attack that escaped autopsy detection is beyond me. Also, I am very sure others, as I do, would expect an explanation as to how he surmises that she could have been dead from this heart attack, yet was able to breathe anyway, explaining the water she inhaled. She had to be dead, you see, to keep from pushing herself up out of the water to prevent herself from drowning. Totally incapacitated in order to just lie in a bath tub full of water and drown in it. Yet, she was able to push her feet against the side of the tub.

    Now, that I’d like to see explained.

  16. IMO the struggle began in the bedroom, to why there were papers, and a picture frame on the floor, and all on the bed. I think she was fighting him, and he knocked her into the famous *nightstand* we all discussed about in the past. I feel after the fight, struggle, and getting knocked around, the nightstand that I feel she busted her head open on rendered her unconscious, and from there he took her into the bathroom, and drowned her while she was passed out to begin with….Hmm that would be really awesome if the night stand was one of those things Drew was trying to get rid of in Lenny’s back yard in the fire wouldn’t it?
    Drew’s crew is an idiot if they think anything in that bathroom would cause such a blow to the head, especially even if she CONSCIOUSLY was slipping, and knew she was falling, she would of slid, and her hands would of broke her fall, or her butt ! She would of had to be walking backward, hit her head, then crawl into the tub, sideways and die. There is no way she did it in that tub! DO they think people are idiots just because they think like ones?

  17. Struggle may have started in the bedroom, I agree with you there. But remember the famous nightstand was missing from Stacy’s bedroom, not Kathleen’s.

  18. I did wonder if maybe Kathleen was surprised in the bathroom, maybe just getting out or into the bath or shower. May be the papers in the bedroom was from “someone” else looking for something. I had thought about the possibility that he didn’t know he killed her, but the bathroom being too clean didn’t make sense.

  19. Thinking about absence of blood splatter. Does anyone know If any of the surfaces around the tub checked for blood traces?

    And going on theory of her being stuck in the bedroom was there even any investigation in that room that might have shown blood splatter there from a blow?

    So many questions and few solid answers!

    Did she have any other boyfriends, love interests or people she dated other than the
    one guy who’s name I am not remembering?

  20. Charmed said:

    I did wonder if maybe Kathleen was surprised in the bathroom, maybe just getting out or into the bath or shower. May be the papers in the bedroom was from “someone” else looking for something.

    See, this is a good example of what makes what should have seemed like a routine bath appear as anything but that.

    The idea of Kathleen getting out of or into the bath doesn’t quite register. Remember, there were no discarded clothes, no clean ones, no towels about, no bath rug. If she were getting into the tub, there’d be bath necessities around, including towels to dry off with and a towel or rug to step onto. In fact, I believe the neighbor, Mary, mentioned that a rug she was accustomed to seeing in the bathtub area was not there.

    Remember, too, that Kathleen made it well known she was afraid of the murder defendant, and she had an alarm system and various door locks on the interior doors to protect herself. Funny that she did not have her alarm system armed, nor use any of those locks to secure herself within the house.

    I think the pristine appearance of the bathtub area is quite telling. Whether Kathleen slipped and fell into a tub full of water, or was killed and placed in that tub of water, it should have left behind splashes of water, and bottles overturned. It is easier to believe that the place was cleaned up by someone.

    If anything, I think it is feasible to think that she was surprised by someone as she was preoccupied with papers, etc., while in her bedroom, which later turned into a struggle and her death.

  21. When an intruder enters a house that is armed with an alarm system, the intruder would have to enter through a section that is not part of the wiring; i.e., anything but a window or door.

    If Kathleen were tucked inside for the night, it’s logical to think she would have bolted up the house and, most likely, armed the alarm system. Of course, that makes sense since she was especially fearful of her ex-husband. Assuming the alarm was armed and her locks secure, the intruder knowingly had a way into the house to have surprised her. Otherwise, I would expect the alarm would have been triggered, and she might have had enough time to quickly lock herself inside her room, on which an interior lock was installed. If that did not happen, then she was supposedly preparing for a late bath without the security of her house alarm and locks. Very odd, very strange.

    Turning attention to the only defense expert to have testified at the hearsay hearing, he uses a delicate necklace around Kathleen’s neck to bolster his contention that she was not involved in a violent confrontation because the necklace is intact; yet, he does not address the facts that her accidental fall into a tub of water was so convoluted, as to cause deep, severe brusing to her whole body and a bloody gash on her head, but didn’t leave spashes of water on any of the surroundings, didn’t overturn one bottle on the rim of the tub, and was found without a stitch of clothes discarded or laid out to wear after this late night bath. What he did admit to, though, is that he would re-think his findings after being told that a towel that was in a picture he used in his findings was not there when she was first discovered.

    This was an accidental slip and fall, ending in a drowning? Heh. Alot of bizarre and unusual circumstances will have to be explained away to make this believable, IMO.

    Start with the testimony that the lead investigator admitted he screwed up, and he let the inept crime scene investigator call the shots and immediately call the death an accident. Add that the ex-husband cop made sure there was no evidence to be collected because he ensured that it was all mucked up from the get-go. Then, make sure the ME was told there was nothing suspicious to warrant a finding of homicide. And a coroner’s panel that was stacked, woefully insufficient, and nothing but a circus.

  22. Did the alarm go off when they unlocked the door and the neighbors entered the house? Was the bedroom door locked? Her renter mentioned her having a heavy duty lock on her bedroom door.

    It makes absolutely no sense that a woman would make her bathroom pristine, without as much as towel, as she is about to get into or out of the bath and leave things scattered in the next room. Having had a large soak tub like that I would expect more than 1 towel. I would put a towel down to sit on the edge and one to dry off and wrap around and it wouldnt have been by the facet, but more in middle. I would have also expected a wash cloth or luffa, maybe even a razor. If she normally wore her hair up, then there should have been a hair clip somewhere.

    I hope someone got in trouble for the terrible job of investigating.

  23. Since phone records have never been produced, it is possible that Drew could have called her and told her one of the boys needed something. Its would also be possible that one of boys told either Drew or Stacey about the alarm, but I’m sure if the boys knew the code for the alarm system that they had been instructed not to give it to their father, though they would see nothing wrong with him knowing it. Just thinking out loud.

  24. No, Charmed, as I understand it, the alarm was not armed, and her house was not bolted up.

    Also, something that should be taken into consideration is whether Peterson knew Kathleen would be alone. Isn’t it likely that her boyfriend could have been there, or come over at any time? He should have made sure he knew where Steve M. was. He should have made sure he knew Kathleen was, in fact, home also.

    Lots of pieces to be found for the mystery puzzle, and that doesn’t even include hearsay.

  25. Just a reminder that Stephen’s next court date isn’t until August. Maybe they wanted to postpone things until after Drew’s trial?

    Next Court Date 08-07-2012

  26. On the contrary, Charmed, I’m hoping that the phone records are helpful to the mystery of where Peterson was and when. If he was where he was supposed to be, as he said, laying next to Stacy, then he should be just as happy to have those phone records available. If not, it looks awful suspicious for him to have been receiving incoming calls from his wife, when he was supposed to be, at the very least, in the same house as she. Normally, and I know that the Peterson household leaves something to be desired when it comes to normalcy, people do not look for one another within a house of a couple of thousand square feet via cell phone. If the phone records indicate calls being placed from Stacy’s phone to Drew’s during a crucial time during which Kathleen’s death would have occurred, I’d sure be looking for that explanation. That information is, again, outside of the hearsay statements. 🙂

  27. This has some excellent information that shows how unlikely Kathleen’s death was accidental.

    Pathologist says death of Drew Peterson’s ex-wife wasn’t accident, injuries weren’t from fall

    By DON BABWIN , Associated Press

    February 5, 2010

    JOLIET, Ill. – A pathologist who concluded that the death of Drew Peterson’s ex-wife was a homicide and not an accident as first determined testified Friday that her injuries weren’t consistent with a fall in a bathtub.

    Dr. Larry Blum, in his first public comments since the 2007 autopsy of Kathleen Savio, said he didn’t think bruises on her body and a laceration to the back of her head came from a single fall. Savio’s body was found slumped forward in a dry bathtub in 2004, and Blum said that her position wasn’t consistent with a fall.

    “There was no blood, hair or tissue on the tub,” said Blum, who looked at photographs from the original autopsy and crime scene to help make his determination. “So the evidence doesn’t bear that out.”

    Blum said Savio did drown but her death was not accidental, as another pathologist initially found.

    “It was my opinion that it was a homicide,” Blum said.

    Peterson, a 56-year-old former Bolingbrook police officer, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of his third wife, Savio. Her body was exhumed in 2007 following the disappearance of Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy Peterson. Drew Peterson has not been charged in Stacy Peterson’s disappearance, but authorities say he is a suspect.

    Blum’s findings will be at the center of the courtroom battle between Will County prosecutors and Peterson’s attorneys, who argue that Savio’s death was accidental.

    Blum testified at a hearing to determine what hearsay evidence will be allowed at Peterson’s upcoming trial. Hearsay, or statements not based on the direct knowledge of a witness, usually isn’t admissible in court. But Illinois judges can allow it in murder trials if prosecutors prove a defendant may have killed a witness to prevent him or her from testifying.

    There’s little available forensic evidence in Savio’s case, so prosecutors are expected to rely on statements Savio allegedly made to others saying she feared Peterson could kill her.

    Blum, who said he laid down in Savio’s tub as part of his investigation, testified the injury to the back of Savio’s head may have been made shortly after her death and not as a result of a fall. He also pointed to a wound in the area of Savio’s diaphragm as one that wouldn’t have been caused in a fall.

    “The bruise was deep, down to the bone,” he said.

    He said her injuries indicated that there was a struggle.

    Blum also testified that Savio had no measurable drugs or alcohol in her system when she died — an effort to head off the argument defense attorneys have raised that perhaps Savio was in a condition that would have made a fall more likely.

    Earlier in the day, Mary Parks, who studied nursing with Savio, testified about a day in late 2003 when Savio showed her red marks on her neck and told her Peterson made them.

    “She told me her ex-husband had come into the house and had pinned her down,” Parks testified.

    Parks said Savio told her that during the incident Peterson told Savio, “Why don’t you just die?”

    She also said that Savio told her Peterson was intent on leaving her with nothing in the couple’s divorce — but that even leaving her without any money, a share of the business the two owned, child support or custody of their two sons wouldn’t have been enough for him.

    “Kathy was very sure that if she gave up every cent … that her ex-husband still would not leave her alone,” Parks said.

    Parks said she contacted prosecutors after Savio was found dead but was told there was no investigation into the case.

    (This version CORRECTS quote in 3rd paragraph to bear, instead of bare.)


  28. If the prosecutors convince the jurors that Kathleen’s death was anything but accidental, which sounds more realistic?

    …wound in the area of Savio’s diaphragm as one that wouldn’t have been caused in a fall.

    “The bruise was deep, down to the bone,” he said.

    He said her injuries indicated that there was a struggle…

    Or this:

    …Dr. Jeffrey Jentzen, director of autopsy and forensic services at the University of Michigan Medical School, testified that he believed Savio’s death was an accident likely due to a fall.

    “I think she probably slipped,” he said…

    “I believe all the injuries she sustained could have been sustained with a simple fall,” he said.

    Other factors in his decision include a lack of defensive wounds and a “delicate” necklace found around her neck undamaged, he said.

    Jentzen, who served as Milwaukee’s chief medical examiner when officials were investigating the case against serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, said it also was possible that Savio suffered cardiac arrest and fell.

    No signs of a heart attack would have been detected at the autopsy, he said. Savio’s physician had previously testified Savio was diagnosed with a medically insignificant heart murmur in the mid-1990s.

    Assistant Will County State’s Attorney John Connor asked Jentzen if his opinion would change knowing that the police investigation was flawed. Illinois State Police investigators have testified they bungled the Savio case.

    Jentzen said it was a factor he would take into consideration..


    “No signs of a heart attack would have been detected at the autopsy”? Then why the hell do ME’s do autopsies, if not looking for a cause of death, i.e., a heart attack? I guess this guy doesn’t quite know how to detect a heart attack when he does his autopsies, heh? Or does he only come to a stupid conclusion like that when he’s a paid defense expert? If that doesn’t leave the jury shaking their heads, I don’t know what would!

  29. Blum said Savio did drown but her death was not accidental, as another pathologist initially found.

    Is it possible to drown after death? I know that sounds like a bizarre question/statement, but no one disagrees with the fact that Kathleen had water in her sinuses and lungs, meaning she drowned. How does one dead person drown after suffering a fatal heart attack, one which would not be detected in an autopsy?

    Thank you, Dr. Jentzen, for giving such crazy testimony and showing that the defense’s theory of accident is as suspicious and unbelievable as anything else that comes from the murder defendant’s defense.

  30. Funny how Brodsky was offering up Steve Maniaci, KS’s boyfriend, as a suspect in her mysterious death, and wasn’t so concerned about whether her death was an accident.

    Peterson’s attorney, Joel Brodsky, claims Maniaci and Savio broke off their relationship the weekend before she was found dead. “If he was smart, he took the Fifth,” Brodsky said of Maniaci. “If it was my girlfriend who was found dead, and it was declared a homicide, and I had the code to the alarm system, and there were no signs of forced entry, I would have a lawyer with me.” Maniaci could not be reached for comment. Savio’s niece, Melissa Doman, disputed Brodsky’s assertion. “No. If memory serves me correctly, he was at my aunt’s wake,” Melissa Doman said. “Why would he be there if they broke up?””State police have not named suspects in the Savio homicide.” – “Brodsky said that instead of focusing on Peterson for Stacy’s disappearance case, police should be turning an eye to others. “They’re got tunnel vision,” Brodsky said. “I’m not just whistling Dixie.”

    So, according to Brodsky, it sounds as though the alarm system intruder had the code, and there were no signs of forced entry. Maniaci, I assume can account for his whereabouts. So can Drew, according to Stacy. Ooops.

  31. Maniaci told of battery and how Peterson allegedly cut his way through a garage wall into Savio’s living room, disabled a deadbolt and broke into her house to pin her to the floor.
    Maniaci said he originally told all of this to state police during his interviews with their investigators. But state police investigators didn’t include any of it in their reports on Savio’s death.

    ….and why not?

  32. John, a Tribune story from August 2008 reported:

    The investigators and experts re-examining her death as a possible murder are now asking how police could have been so quick to overlook signs that something sinister may have happened to the third wife of Drew Peterson, then a sergeant for the Bolingbrook Police Department.

    They are suspicious about the absence of blood residue or a sediment ring on the walls of the tub where she was found, sources said. If she had bled from a head wound while drowning in slowly draining water — as the theory went — why was the tub not stained?

    No towels or clothes were in the bathroom where she was discovered, a paramedic noted. Shampoo bottles were in upright positions along the small tub, unlikely if she had suffered a fall, according to a source. Books and papers were spread across her unmade bed and a picture was facedown on the floor near the nightstand, according to Illinois State Police reports also obtained by the Tribune.

    It’s hard to say if the tub was ever filled with standing water or if it had simply drained too rapidly to create a ring. The alternative is that Peterson lingered on the scene long enough to wipe it down before leaving.

    As for boyfriends, I’ve only heard that she was seeing Maniaci, as rescue referenced above. Apparently they talked about marriage over the phone on the Saturday before she died. Kathleen’s obituary named Maniaci as Kathleen’s “dear friend”.

    I couldn’t guess anything about the forensics of the bedroom. One pathologist suggested that Kathleen received the blow to her head after she had been placed in the tub, in which case there would be no blood in the bedroom. Kathleen’s was bruised up plenty, but bruises don’t leave evidence in the room.

  33. (Facs) “….bruises don’t leave evidence in the room.”

    Yeah, and neither did an experienced sergeant from the Bolingbrook Police Dept. How telling it was for him to call in half the neighboorhood to run into his ex-wife’s house, stumble onto her death scene, and then join them to make sure that any evidence was tainted evidence! Then, and only then, ask them all to leave the room to await LE. Lo and behold, a towel made its way to the edge of the tub after all.

    What difference does it make if Peterson’s DNA or prints were found on anything? He made sure he touched whatever he could while he pretended to be upset and worried about what he was going to tell his kids.

    Speaking of being worried about his kids, this dope is telling Sneed that he’d like to be around to teach his daughter, Lacy, how to fish. Fish? How about worrying about her getting hooked by a monster 30 years her senior and disappearing off the face of the earth someday. That’s what he should be thinking about. Keeping his daughter out of the grips of someone like him. The only fishing he’s capable of teaching someone is how to bait and catch the weak.

  34. Drew Peterson’s son sues Oak Brook over firing, seeks $2 million
    By Josh Stockinger

    Drew Peterson’s son filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit Tuesday accusing Oak Brook’s former police chief of conspiring with another official to boot him from his job as a police officer after his father’s murder case drew negative attention to the upscale community.

    The lawsuit filed in federal court claims former Police Chief Thomas Sheahan vowed he was “going to get” Stephen Peterson and ruin him financially after Peterson testified before a grand jury in his Oak Brook police uniform and later admitted he had taken several of his father’s guns for safekeeping during his murder investigation.

    “He may get his job back in a few years, but in the interim he will lose his house, his wife will leave him, and his dog will be dead,” Sheahan threatened, according to the suit, which seeks at least $2 million in damages.

    Neither Sheahan nor an attorney who once represented him could immediately be reached for comment Tuesday. He is accused of conspiring with former Oak Brook Police Commission Chairman Fredrick Cappetta to oust the younger Peterson, who had been an officer in Oak Brook since September 2004. Cappetta did not immediately return a message seeking comment. Village Manager David Niemeyer declined to comment.

    Drew Peterson, the former Bolingbrook cop accused of killing his third wife, is scheduled to stand trial later this month in Will County. Sheahan resigned as Oak Brook chief in May after union officers gave his leadership a vote of no confidence.

    Stephen Peterson’s lawsuit claims Sheahan spread false rumors that Stephen Peterson and his father had met at a bar and rehearsed an alibi for their whereabouts on the night Drew Peterson’s fourth wife Stacy went missing in 2007. Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow was unable corroborate the alleged conversation but it was reported by Geraldo Rivera on “Geraldo at Large,” a nationally syndicated television show, the complaint contends.

    Stephen Peterson also accuses the former chief of trying to get him arrested after he testified that his father had given him three guns for safekeeping. Prosecutors declined to file charges, according to the lawsuit, but Sheahan eventually brought administrative charges against Peterson, advising his staff to avoid documenting that Peterson was cooperative in the investigation and to avoid calling him as a witness at his own hearing. Peterson was fired in February 2011 and remains unemployed.

    The complaint outlines several other allegations as well, including that Sheahan sent a book, “How to Live Like a Lady: Lessons in Life, Manners and Style” along with his business card to Peterson’s girlfriend. He also is accused of threatening to castrate Peterson, who had previously received high marks on performance reviews.

    The lawsuit levels charges including defamation and slander, breach of contract, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. It names the village, Sheahan, and Cappetta as defendants.

    Stephen Peterson’s attorney, John DeRose, declined to comment.


  35. Wow, there’s some hefty claims going on here!

    …Sheahan resigned as Oak Brook chief in May after union officers gave his leadership a vote of no confidence…

    I do have one thing to say. What police union rep ever has a kind word to say about any police superintendent or chief? That ain’t ever goin’ to happen. 🙂

  36. Rescue, I thought I read somewhere that the phone records for that time would no longer be available. Maybe I am confused.

    As for Stephen….how long did it take to come up with all that? I’m not sure I am buying that, but I guess we can wait and see. At least his attorney is keeping quiet for now.

    And Rescue you are right about watching out for Laci, using the defense team logic her grandmother vanished, her mother vanished, she is probably going to do the same.

  37. Charmed, I’ll do a little research on that and post back here. But, I do remember Mark Fuhrman saying at the time he was here in Chicago that those records are available for five years. KS died in 2004 and Stacy disappeared in 2007. However, I think there was testimony from a phone company rep at the hearsay hearing. I’ll check.

  38. The complaint outlines several other allegations as well, including that Sheahan sent a book, “How to Live Like a Lady: Lessons in Life, Manners and Style” along with his business card to Peterson’s girlfriend. He also is accused of threatening to castrate Peterson, who had previously received high marks on performance reviews.

    I’m confused by this. Wasn’t Stephen married at the time of Stacy’s disappearance? Or is this something that happened since Stephen’s divorce from wife, Teresa? Why would Sheahan do such a bizarre thing?

    I’m looking forward to the case info showing up online. Maybe it will make more sense to me when I read it myself.

    Rescue reminded me that Geraldo Rivera did mention something about Peterson and son being out at a bar with Randy Mucha and I found a snippet from the transcript, but Rivera doesn’t mention that this meeting had anything to do with an alibi.

    FUHRMAN: There is a very strange system working in these small communities of Ilinois. Birds of a feather flock together. I don’t find it ironic or coincidental at all. These guys probably drink together.

    RIVERA: Funny you should say that since Randy Mucha, Drew Peterson and his son Steve were seen having a drink together in a bar called Leo’s either the day before or the day of Stacy Peterson’s disappearance.”

    Mucha denied ever being at a bar called Leo’s or knowing Drew Peterson.

  39. Charmed, there was a cell phone rep at the hearsay hearing giving testimony, but this apparently had to do with cell phone info for the day Stacy disappeared. So, as far as I know, the cell phone information/records that pertain to Kathleen’s death are still a mystery to us all, and are not open to speculation just yet. Guess that will come out during the trial, and we’ll all be enlightened.

  40. Mark Fuhrman Shares New Evidence in Peterson Probe

    Published December 13, 2007

    This is a rush transcript from “On the Record ,” December 12, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

    GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Tonight: Former LAPD homicide detective Mark Fuhrman has picked up on a clue, a clue that the rest of us missed. Now, this could be a very damning piece of evidence in the investigation into how Sergeant Peterson’s wife number three died in the bathtub and who did it.

    Former LAPD homicide detective Mark joins us live in Chicago. All right, Mark. You picked up on a clue that the rest of us missed. What is it?

    MARK FUHRMAN, FMR LAPD HOMICIDE DETECTIVE, FOX ANALYST: Well, what’s interesting — I have a source that actually told me that when Stacy actually confided in the pastor, she made a statement that she woke up in the middle of the night, she could not find Drew. And this was the night before Kathleen is found in the bathtub. And she can’t find him in the house, and she starts calling incessantly, numerous times, to try to get a hold of him. He never answers.

    Now, that day that they actually talk to Stacy and Drew and the neighbors, when they find Kathleen, they get information that is an alibi, and that alibi is something that Stacy provides for Drew.

    Now, the Illinois State Police agents that are working on this, the detectives, they supposedly told the coroner’s inquest jury that they had phone records, but they were not — they had not yet received them as of May 1. And of course, we know Kathleen Savio died March 1. And in that — in those documents — in that testimony and in those documents, it states that, Well, we don’t believe that those phone records will give us any other outcome.

    Well, I started doing some research. Well, first, we know Drew Peterson and Stacy had Nextel. They keep those records for five years, luckily. But I cannot find anything at the county courthouse. I checked with them. There was no search warrants served in the name of Kathy Savio, Drew Peterson or Stacy Peterson in the year 2004.

    So I went a little farther, and I found out that not only is it easily received to get a telephonic search warrant, it takes less than two weeks, the total — writing the search warrant, getting the search warrant and then filing the return of search warrant. I asked the young lady that was helping me at the county courthouse just exactly what would happen if the grand jury went back to the records in 2004, took those warrants and any evidence of them, and seized them and sealed them? She goes, They could do that. But then I said, Every one of those receives a number when they’re registered, the return of search warrant. She says, Yes. Are there any members missing or out of sequence? She went from March 1 to November 2004. She goes, None are missing.

    We can make this conclusion absolutely. There was not one search warrant written. Now, what does that give us for a conclusion? The special agent either was told certain information that was false, he misled the jury in the coroner’s inquest, or there was no intention of writing a search warrant, nor was there ever a search warrant written or any phone records ever checked.

    Now, what does this mean, Greta? Here’s what it means. If they would have written a search warrant and discovered that Stacy had called Drew’s phone three, four, five, six times the previous night — what’s interesting about that is Kathleen was killed at least 24 hours prior because of rigor mortis was absent. That takes 24 to 36 hours to completely go through the body.

    If that was the case and she had already established an alibi for Drew, they could confront her with this evidence. She has two choices. She can go down in the investigation or she could tell the truth. If she had the truth, Drew’s alibi goes south, the investigation is not an accident, it’s a homicide, and Stacy’d still be with us.

    VAN SUSTEREN: And I should tell the viewers that after you called me with this — and frankly, I missed it, and I thought it was extraordinary – – good work, Mark — but we went back and looked at the transcript from the coroner’s jury, the one from May 1. And just so that the viewers know, is that the Illinois State Police, Herbert Hardy (ph), was testifying, and he says, in part, “The only thing we’re waiting for now is some phone records, to find out if certain phone calls were made when they said they were made.”

    Now, we don’t know exactly who that’s related to, but at least it shows that they know that you could get phone records and that phone records could either, you know, corroborate or blow a hole in it.

    There’s another part where even a coroner’s juror member said to the witness, to the Illinois State Police witness, “Are they verifying the phone records, correct, that the calls were made?” The witness, “Yes, those take quite a while to get. So yes, we’ve got phone records coming from her phone, his phone, Steve’s phone and the rest of it. So yes, we still have to verify that.” And that was on May 1. You tell me it takes only two weeks and she died March 1. So…

    FUHRMAN: Greta — Greta…

    VAN SUSTEREN: … at best, it’s sloppy.

    FUHRMAN: Greta, when I talked to the young lady at the courthouse, she said two weeks is a gift. I mean, that’s like a lot of time. I personally, back when we were still using pushbutton and rotary phones, could write a search warrant on a phone, I could give it to the telephone company, within two days, they could hand search and make copies and get me back the evidence of that phone search warrant. And that’s less than 5 days. Now it’s digital. They simply punch it up on a computer, print it out and give it to you. It’s done the same day when I left the department 12 years ago.

    Now, Greta, here’s another thing. If you get an alibi from a girlfriend, a wife or a mother, you have to corroborate that because those are the three people that you don’t take on face value on an alibi because those are the three very people that will lie for a loved one every time.

    VAN SUSTEREN: And they still — they still got some time to go out and serve these warrants. We only have about 10 seconds left, but how long are they good for, these phone records?

    FUHRMAN: They’re good — Nextel — we contacted Nextel. They’re good — they keep their records digitally for five years now. It’s good because back when I was on the job, it was 18 months. Now they keep them for five years. I hope they’re still there. I hope the ISP is listening.

    And by the way, Greta, there has been search warrants via the grand jury that has been issued in the Savio case since the grand jury has reexamined it since Stacy’s been missing. So I can’t imagine of anything that they would give a search warrant for if it wasn’t for financial records and cell phone records.

    VAN SUSTEREN: All right. For the night Kathleen Savio was found — or at least, we think she died. Mark, thank you.

    FUHRMAN: Thank you, Greta.


  41. Here’s something from the court file:

    06/15/2009 Impounded Document-SUBPOENA DUCES TECUM FOR AT&T (COPY)

    06/17/2009 Impounded Document-SUBPOENA DUCES TECUM FOR AT&T (COPY)

    03/21/2012 Impounded Document Subpoenaed Records from AT&T dated 3-14-12

    I don’t know what, if anything, these AT&T records will show, or what they have to offer, but am merely noting the mention of them in the court events for this case.

  42. A rare chat with Drew Peterson’s son

    By Graham Winch
    updated 12:40 PM EDT, Wed July 11, 2012

    Last week, In Session senior producer Grace Wong and I were driving through the Bolingbrook, Illinois, neighborhood where Drew Peterson once lived with his third wife, Kathleen Savio, and his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson. The two homes are about a mile apart.

    It was a scorcher of a day; we had arrived in Illinois a few hours earlier and headed directly to Bolingbrook from the airport.

    Drew Peterson’s house is on a quiet cul-de-sac. His son, Stephen, 33, now lives in the home his father once shared with Stacy and their two children, Anthony, who’s now nine, and Lacy, seven, as well as his father’s two sons from his marriage to Savio, Thomas, 19, and Kris, 17. Stephen, a divorced father, is raising his half brothers and sister, and his own daughter, who is three.

    Stephen and the children moved into Peterson’s house after Peterson’s May 2009 arrest and indictment for the murder of Savio. According to Stephen, the neighbors were considerate and took down memorials and signs from their front lawns that honored Anthony and Lacy’s missing mother. There have been no dust-ups with the neighbors; it’s apparently been congenial and quiet for the past few years — a contrast to the weeks and months after Stacy went missing in October 2007. Thomas is now enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania and Kris is heading to college in the fall.

    We knocked on the door, initially to notify Stephen that we were going to take some photos of the exterior of the home. We were a bit surprised when he stepped outside, leaving the children in the house, to talk to us on the front porch.

    Stephen was amiable, chatty, and seemed to be a doting father. He has avoided the media for the past five years. In fact, he said our chat on that sweltering afternoon was the most he had spoken to anyone in the media since 2007.

    Stephen kept an eye out for his brother Eric, who was expected home soon; they were taking the kids swimming that afternoon. Eric has been estranged from their father for years, but apparently that has not affected the brothers’ relationship with each other. Stephen said he and Eric get along just fine.

    According to Stephen, the younger children now know their father is in jail, in part because of comments from classmates in school. Anthony and Lacy don’t visit their father in jail, though they speak to him regularly by phone. Jailhouse visits would be via video link anyway.

    Lacy, who peered through the window once while we chatted outside, is a miniature version of her mother, Stacy. She is pretty with long dark blonde hair, and seems to be full of energy. Lacy was recently placed in the gifted student program at her school. When I asked if Anthony and Lacy ask about their mother, Stephen was evasive.

    Stephen has been out of work for a few years, suspended, then fired, from the nearby Oak Brook Police Department. He has challenged his termination for obstructing an investigation when he allegedly hid his father’s guns and money in the days after Stacy’s disappearance. Stephen hopes to learn in early August if he will get his job back. That date will fall in the middle of his father’s murder trial. Since his termination in February, 2011, Stephen has supported himself and the children with his father’s police pension.

    It was eerie to look at the cars in the driveway. Stacy’s Pontiac Gran Prix is still there, parked in front of Drew Peterson’s GMC Denali. The Denali is the vehicle some believe he used on October 28, 2007, to allegedly dispose of Stacy’s body. Right after Stacy disappeared, Peterson consented to a search of Stacy’s car, but would not let police search the Denali. Police eventually seized the vehicle and examined it for evidence.

    Stephen was reluctant to talk about the murder charges against his father. He referred to life before and after the arrest as “before all this happened” or “after all this happened.” It was impossible to tell whether he thinks his father will be home soon, or will spend the rest of his life in prison.

    While Stephen has been described as deceptive because he allegedly obstructed the investigation into Stacy’s disappearance, he did not appear so last week as he chatted amicably in triple digit temperatures.


  43. Peterson v. Sheahan et al

    Plaintiff: Stephen P Peterson
    Defendants: Thomas Sheahan, Frederick Cappetta and Village of Oak Brook, Illinois

    Case Number: 1:2012cv05391
    Filed: July 10, 2012

    Court: Illinois Northern District Court
    Office: Chicago Office
    County: Cook
    Presiding Judge: Samuel Der-Yeghiayan

    Nature of Suit: Civil Rights – Employment
    Cause: 28:1331
    Jurisdiction: Federal Question
    Jury Demanded By: Plaintiff

  44. I sincerely doubt that the jurors will be able to get into the tub. Remember the furor that erupted when the Scott Peterson jurors got into his boat, during their field trip?

    “Los Angeles, Calif.: Is the jurors’ experiment during deliberations — climbing into the boat on the trailer and trying to rock it — likely to get Peterson a new trial when it’s appealed? It seems to me that they created evidence by conducting an unlawful experiment, something the defense wasn’t able to answer. I think that it would be a travesty if that were to happen — he’s guilty as sin, but I think that’s the law in California.

    Jeralyn Merritt: I think the jurors’ boat experiment is among Scott Peterson’s best appellate arguments. The jurors were told not to conduct experiments. They are not allowed to conduct experiments that go beyond the purpose for which the evidence was admitted.

    The Judge allowed the boat into evidence to show the placement of a body, not stability of the boat.”

    In addition, the Judge refused to allow a video of a defense experiment with the boat that did go to the issue of stability”

    I’m sure there are more references to this ‘experiment’ but nevertheless, it was not allowed as evidence. Although I totally agree with you, Facs. I’d be letting them take a measuting tape to it, too, if would help the prosecution. It’s not large, btw, I’ve heard. I can’t imagine trying to take a long soaking bath in a tub like that.


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