Yesterday, during an interview with In Session‘s Ted Rowlands, Attorney Steven Greenberg said that the State is going to try to introduce hearsay evidence from the late Dr. Bryan Mitchell into Drew Peterson’s murder trial–evidence that would go against the findings of his own autopsy report.
Mitchell, who passed away in March 2010, was the medical examiner who performed the original autopsy on Kathleen Savio in November 2007. In his report he noted that a 1-inch gash on her scalp might have been caused by a slip or fall.
A second autopsy was done on the exhumed body of Kathleen Savio in November of 2007 by Dr. Larry Blum. Blum believes that Savio’s body was in the tub when her head wound was inflicted, based on the flow of the blood.
It’s now being alleged that shortly before his death, possibly from his deathbed, Dr. Mitchell admitted that he had made a mistake in the Peterson case. This statement could possibly be admitted to Peterson’s trial, but I don’t know exactly which hearsay exception it might fall under. It remains to be seen. Needless to say, the defense does not want this testimony admitted.
Countering the hearsay statements
Attorney Greenberg also indicated how the Peterson defense may argue against some of the hearsay evidence to be introduced by the prosecution.
1. Kathleen’s complaint that Drew confronted her in her home and threatened her.
The defense intends to argue that Kathleen’s complaint was not spontaneous but was made the same day that she was served with papers for battery against Stacy Peterson. They will argue that she only filed the report in retaliation.
2. Savio’s letter sent to Asst. State’s Attorney Elizabeth Fragale and others.
The defense will attempt to demonstrate that the letter went through several versions and that the contents were “embellished”.
3. Testimony of Savio’s friend Mary Susan Parks that Drew had threatened Kathleen.
Defense will confront the witness and ask her why she did not come forward to authorities when Kathleen was found dead. Essentially, they’ll try to show that she is lying.
4. Testimony from Neil Schori that Stacy told him she saw Drew loading the washer with women’s clothing on the night that Kathleen died.
Defense will argue that Pastor Schori has given several different versions of the story. They will ask the jury to consider why an experienced police officer would risk bringing the victim’s clothes home to wash them rather than disposing of them. As for the argument that he wanted to launder the clothes to remove any traces of his own DNA, Greenberg’s response was “That’s why God invented fire”.
According to Attorney Greenberg, the biggest challenges to the defense will be scientific testimony, Neil Schori’s hearsay evidence, and anything that involves Stacy Peterson.