Will late medical examiner, Bryan Mitchell, speak from the grave at Peterson trial?

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.

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17 thoughts on “Will late medical examiner, Bryan Mitchell, speak from the grave at Peterson trial?

  1. #1, Kathleen was repeatedly confronted on her property, at her home, and AFAIK, she never went banging on her ex’s door, dragging him out to argue. She was usually the one being antagonized and poked.

    #2, who EVER sends out a sensitive letter of complaint, without editing and/or revising it? In fact, the murder defendant (wink, wink) has sent out a few letters himself. If the defense claims there’s embellishments in it, then I guess we must all await the defense’s proof of that.

    #3, “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.


    #4, why would an experienced police officer risk bringing the victim’s clothes home to wash? Why would an experienced police officer risk sending unsuspecting laypeople in to a house of unknown circumstances, where an intruder could have been lurking? People have religion in their lives, and turn to their clergy for help/advice/comfort. I don’t think they’re being realistic by shooting down Pastor Schori’s integrity to blunt the fact that Stacy felt comfortable telling him the facts as she knew them. Be careful what you wish for.

  2. I just saw Joel Brodsky say to Beth Karas, “I don’t get involved in media stunts.”

    Oh, and he now says he doesn’t know if Drew was ever actually engaged to Christina Raines.

    Although back in February 2009, on Dana Pretzer’s radio show, Joel said this about Chrissy:

    …She’s setting the record straight now and that’s great and hopefully the real story or at least the correct story will get out there. And the correct story is her and Drew are engaged. They’re eventually going to get married and go on with their lives as best they can and that’s the real story here…I think it’s pretty obvious now that they’re back together in such a short period of time and confirming that there was an engagement. It’s pretty obvious now that there wasn’t any publicity stunt, that the engagement was real and that it was just a misunderstanding that got that out there.

    Oh, Brodsky also said that Drew started dating Raines shortly before he was arrested in May 2009.

    But if you recall, Peterson’s publicist announced that Drew and Chrissy were getting married in December 2008 and added that they had been dating six months, which would mean that they started dating June of 2008. If all that’s true then the two of them were together just a little short of one year.

    It’s like these guys just open their mouths to breath and a lie comes out. Unbelievable.

  3. The repeated assertion that none of the witnesses came forward when Kathleen was found dead just isn’t going to work in court, IMO.

    How is the jury going to feel when they hear over and over that people attempted to talk to police and investigators and were turned away, brushed off and that their calls were not returned.

    It’s going to give a lot of credibility to Savio’s words, “He knows how to manipulate the system…”

  4. I really hope Dr. Mitchell’s statement makes it into the trial. If he refutes what he said in his original report, that will take quite a bit of air out of the defense’s stance that the first autopsy was accurate.

  5. Just wondering….isn’t there a brother or step brother to Drew? Wasn’t he involved in helping get rid of a body? Isn’t the defense worried what he might say?

  6. SC, you’re thinking of Tom Morphey, who testified at the hearsay hearings that he helped move a blue container from Drew’s house on the night that Stacy Peterson disappeared.

    It’s not really relevant to this trial, since Drew is being tried for the murder of Kathleen Savio – his third wife. In fact, the prosecution can’t even introduce the fact that Stacy is missing.

    If Drew is ever charged with murdering Stacy Peterson then the defense will definitely be concerned about what Morphey has to say.

  7. Joel was on Insession spewing that he’s not the one responsible for all of the media appearances Drew made, and that Drew was going to do it anyway. So, he figured, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. And he did…

    02/27/2008 (chicagotribune.com) …Meanwhile, while Brodsky and Peterson flew to New York for his third appearance on the NBC show, Brodsky’s law partner, Reem Odeh, questioned the way the case was being managed. “I’m concerned that there’s more emphasis and more of an effort to cater to the media frenzy than there is to looking into the issues surrounding the investigations,” Odeh said. “It just seems to me that when there’s nothing going on with the investigation and things are quiet in the media, it seems like sometimes either Joel or Drew says something to start the media frenzy all over again.”“Brodsky has mounted an aggressive campaign for media coverage, including interviews with national TV shows. Asked whether she discussed those issues with Brodsky, Odeh said, “Absolutely. I don’t think it’s appropriate. I think it is in the client’s best interest to keep it quiet and focus on the case. But he just says the case is going to make us famous and we’re all going to get book deals.“Odeh said she plans to meet with Peterson soon and explain to him that she believes he should behave in a more professional manner, and if that doesn’t happen, she’ll push to have him dropped as a client.”

  8. Remember, when KS was found in the tub, the stopper was in the drain, but the water supposedly leaked out because the stopper was faulty. However, there was bloody purge, a result of decompostion, under her body, but no ring of bloody purge was found. Also, how does one get past this important information?

    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 in the tub.

    “There was no blood, hair or tissue on the tub,” he said. “So the evidence doesn’t bear that out.”


    Where was the skin tissue on the surrounding area she gashed her head on? A gash would have left behind that, some hair or blood. This one didn’t. Of course, if she was bleeding into the tub of water she fell into, even the slightest ring would have been seen around the tub. Instead, the tub was sparkling clean, and so was the wall, rim and floor. That does not compute. If they have three experts, and they’re all willing to say this was a freak accident where evidence of the violent fall into the full tub of water didn’t leave a dried splash behind, not one, nor a piece of hair or spatter of blood, then I guess we’re all going to be razzled and dazzled, because I never thought I’d hear anything like it.

  9. I’m wondering if this is what Greenberg is talking about when he refers to Parks not going to the police. Are we to believe that Greenberg is going to insinuate that Parks should have interferred in the relationship and taken a personal stand by contacting the police on Kathleen’s behalf? Oh, I’m sure that would have gone over swell with the police. The same police who wouldn’t listen to Kathleen when she did it. Just shaking my head:

    Parks, who said she had been in an abusive relationship in the past, testified she never called police to report Savio’s fears because she didn’t want to make a bad situation worse.

    By late 2003–just a few months before her death–Savio had grown thin and pale, Parks said, adding Savio had trouble sleeping and became obsessed with making sure her doors were locked. Savio was convinced that her ex-husband planned to kill her, Parks said.

    “It became very scary because he was a big ego with a gun,” she said.

    Remember, when the locksmith did his work to get into the house, only one lock had to be picked, and it was the least troublesome of them all. And the alarm was not armed. Yet, Mary Parks knew KS was obsessed with her door locks.

  10. Per Facs – “I just saw Joel Brodsky say to Beth Karas, “I don’t get involved in media stunts.””

    Ummm — Maybe someone needs a reminder about a “Win a date with Drew” contest brought up by Brodsky and trying to get the radio personalities to mention chicken wings from the place his wife owns…

    And I still think the reason that Drew was arrested when he was had to do with his media stunt to be on a show about a brothel…

    No media stunts here… Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain…

  11. Ugh. I watched that segment today and it was terrible to watch. He actually said that, and squirmed like the liar that he is. He admitted to doing that media stuff in his own words on Legalpub.com, where he called what he was doing “white noise.” Controlled media events.

    He’s something else. The more they talk, the worse it gets.

  12. The thing I think that should be a key point brought up at trial is that he was on shift when he went to Kathleen’s house yet did not ask the POLICE to do a wellness check on her knowing their volatile relationship and 18 or so prior run-ins that required the police to be called. Why let a neighbor go in as everyone has said and put them at risk or make them be the one who finds her if something did happen (which is what happened)?

    And sadly – the evidence is blown at the home because Drew was able to be in the bathroom with her. He was allowed to touch her body prior to the police arriving. It was never treated like a crime scene from the start in spite of the Bolingbrook and Illinois State Police having access to records that would have shown Kathleen had a previous Order of Protection against him and they had many calls on each other.

    I wonder if they will be able to use the transcripts where he admits to the newspaper that he cut a hole in the wall and going through the garage previously when she wouldn’t let him in. But again – that is circumstantial only and one thing I have learned from watching the Casey Anthony trial is that sometimes prosecutors just don’t have enough CSI evidence that jurors today expect.

    And wonder if the defense will really put either of Drew’s sons on the witness stand to be the alibi for him that night now that Stacy is no longer her to be his alibi.

    Wish that this trial was televised as we have all seen wrong or twisted information out there in the news just in these last couple of days – and so many different versions of information in the past as well.

    Well – Good night all. Have to stop thinking for the night. Next week the trial begins and at some point the jury will have to decide what they consider “reasonable” doubt based on the evidence that is allowed in at trial.

  13. Was I losing my mind or did he say “Hell” when he got mixed up on whether Schori was a Pastor, a priest, or something else… These guys should have the facts locked down so they don’t look that goofy when they get before the jury. You have been on a case for years and cannot remember Pastor Schori?? Sad. Sad. Sad.

  14. Yes, thank goodness the media games will be over, and Drew’s lead attorney won’t be able to manipulate the news anymore.

    Oh, and Greenberg — wish he STFU with his constant dribble about not one person going to the police after Kathleen died. He out and out lies.

  15. One thing I learned watching In Session this week is how much it matters that the prior bad acts and statements occur near to the time of the death.

    We already saw some testimony from Anna Doman and Eric Peterson barred because it was too remote in time.

    IMO, it’s a shame because Drew’s long record of manipulation, stalking, cheating, and deceit (‘I’m pretty good at the con,”) all contribute to the case against him.

    Same with the wire-tapping of his wives. Hard to accept that Judge Burmila doesn’t think that is relevant.

  16. He will get off and make millions , if he was so worried why did he not have her cremated ? You people are one sided I hope none of you say something that would put you behind bars for the rest of your life. He will be found not guilty hear say is tuff to beat .

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