Drew Peterson on trial: Case Fact Sheet

In May 2009, at the Chicago-Kent College of Law, WGN Radio’s Legally Speaking presented a mock trial of the closing arguments in the prosecution of Drew Peterson for the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

Attorney Karen Conti presented closing arguments for the prosecution; while Attorney Joseph Lopez (who had not yet joined the Peterson defense team) argued for the defense of Peterson. The case was presided over by retired Judge Richard E. Neville.

The jurors on the mock trial were given a fact sheet about the case of Kathleen Savio, which we thought might still be useful to have on hand as the trial gets underway.

Also, a few days ago we posted the juror questionnaire that was used last week. Below is the original 11-page questionnaire that the same group filled out when they were first assembled two years ago.

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24 thoughts on “Drew Peterson on trial: Case Fact Sheet

  1. Is Stacy, the one pictured above, a victim of Drew, the one who was 17 and had charges against Kathy, the wife who died? Is that the Stacy that is missing?
    Please clarify, how many exces are dead and or missing? My roommate has me in to this story.

  2. Thanks for the linkage, Rescue.

    I’ll admit that at first I thought the prosecution might be eager to get some testimony about Stacy into trial, “through the back door”, but as someone in one of those stories pointed out, that would be a terrible idea as it would be perfect grounds for appeal if Peterson was convicted.

    So most likely prosecutors will toe the line and be careful to keep mention of Stacy to a minimum.

  3. Hi, wow.

    Stacy Peterson (wife #4) is pictured on the left and Kathleen Savio (wife #3) is on the right in the header image at the top of the page.

    Stacy is the wife who went missing in the Fall of 2007 and yes, she was 17 when Drew met and courted her, while he was still married to Kathleen. He hasn’t been charged with anything in regards to Stacy but the ISP stated long ago that they do not think that Stacy disappeared voluntarily and that they believe Peterson was involved.

    At one point there were battery charges filed against Kathleen involving Stacy but she was acquitted of them. If you saw the Lifetime movie about the case, they depicted the incident in which Drew and Stacy allegedly arrived at Kathleen’s house and engaged her in a confrontation while Stacy videotaped.

    Peterson was divorced from his first two wives. They’ve made various statements about their marriages to Drew. If you search this site or Google the names “Carol Brown” or “Vicki Connolly” plus “Drew Peterson” there’s a lot of information to be found.

    We have an FAQ page on this site which answers a lot of questions as well.

    We are very into this story too!

  4. what if the defense opens the door about Stacy?
    If he’s convicted, isn’t it the norm to appeal in a murder case anyway?

  5. I’m just thinking that the state only has one chance at this and probably wants the jury to convict and then see it stick.

    But you are right, I imagine any conviction would be appealed regardless of what is brought up in court.

    The investigation into Stacy’s whereabouts is still ongoing and he could very well be charged one day with murdering her. Then, won’t the jury get an earful!

  6. If he walks on murder of K. Savio,
    Lets hope prosecutor has everything in order to make an arrest for Stacy’s murder, right on court house steps.

  7. More pre-trial hoopla:

    Peterson’s murder trial follows years of acrimony

    Drew Peterson began dating Stacy when she was working as a clerk at a hotel he dropped into while on patrol for the Bolingbrook police. He married her shortly before Savio’s death.

    Those who know Savio have described her anguish when she learned about the affair. She later claimed that Drew and Stacy Peterson, who lived blocks away from her, would rollerblade by her house to taunt her. Stacy, she said, would sometimes drive by and make rude gestures out her car window.

    Cassandra Cales said the bad behavior was mutual, saying her sister told her Savio would also curse her.

    “Savio was a grieving wife who lost her husband to a 17-year-old,” Cales said.

    Today, there’s no hint of animosity between the two families, Cales insisted. They share not only grief but a common goal: to see Drew Peterson sent to prison for life.

    “We support them and they support us,” she said.

  8. Yet more pre-trial hoopla:

    “What the judge is going to do is he’s going to wait and make individual rulings each time the prosecution tries to introduce hearsay, not give a blanket ruling, but listen to see if they open the door in some way that makes the hearsay admissible. He’ll make this a day by day ruling on these different pieces,” Zellner said.

    “Essentially we’ve got Peterson confessing the murder of Savio to his fourth wife, but we still have the question of whether that will come in,” Zellner said.

    Prosecutors will also try to admit Stacy Peterson’s statements to her minister that she saw Drew Peterson arrive home with women’s clothing around the time of Savio’s death.

    Savio’s sister may take the stand to describe Savio’s statements that Peterson threatened her with a knife and said he could make her death look like an accident…

    …”First, they are not going to be able to say that (the death investigation was botched) because it wasn’t,” Peterson’s attorney, Brodsky said. “By saying that if they had done a better job in the investigation, then they would have been able to prosecute Drew Peterson, that lowers the burden of proof. Where you don’t have evidence, you presume innocence.” .


  9. Drew Peterson testifying in his own defense? Unlikely, experts say

    “There’s no upside. If you put him on and they hate him, that could push it over the edge,” said attorney Brian Telander, a former Cook County prosecutor and DuPage County judge.

    Another veteran attorney was more blunt.

    “All those trophy fish you see hanging on the wall have one thing in common: They opened their mouths,” said the attorney, who asked not to be identified..

    …And Peterson taking the witness stand might prompt some jurors to unfavorably recall his heavily publicized antics before and even after his 2009 arrest, including dismissive comments about Savio and his missing fourth wife, Stacy Peterson; the parade of women he entertained at his home; the jokes before a court appearance about his handcuffs being “bling.”

    “Drew’s worst enemy was himself,” said Richard Kling, a professor at Chicago Kent College of Law.

    Peterson has to avoid at all costs rubbing some jurors the wrong way at the worst possible time. The easiest way to do that is to avoid the witness chair, experts said.

    “My belief is the jury wants to hear from the defendant,” said Paul DeLuca, a former Cook County and DuPage County prosecutor now in private practice. “But if he gets up there and makes the jury angry, that’s not good at all.”

    Still, if Peterson decides he wants to testify, his attorneys can’t stop him, experts agreed.

    “I can’t fathom a circumstance in which he’d testify, but it’s up to him,” said attorney Sam Amirante, who defended serial killer John Wayne Gacy and later served as a Cook County judge..


  10. So we’ve got some of the legal minds saying that Peterson will most likely take the stand and would be smart to do so since he is personable and persuasive, and others saying he’d be nuts to open his mouth.

    We shall see…

  11. A nice profile of Judge Edward Burmila in the Sun-Times:

    “We’ve got a judge that truly understands criminal law,” Will County State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow said in May after Burmila was assigned the case. “So we’re going to get a nice, fair trial.”

    Lead defense attorney Joel Brodsky praised the judge that day, too. He called Burmila a “great jurist” and a “straight shooter.”

    Known in Will County as an intense legal scholar, Burmila also seems to have the long fuse necessary to handle the antics associated with the Peterson case. Prosecutors stepped on a few land mines in his courtroom lately, but the atmosphere there tends to be a friendly one.

    The attorneys should have a sense of how Burmila will handle the case by now. He’s set several ground rules and kept both sides on schedule. He’s warned he won’t delay the trial, and he worked late on the first day of jury selection so they wouldn’t fall behind. They finished three days early…

    …Recently, he handled the trials of a drunken driver from Steger who killed his girlfriend’s 5-year-old son in a car crash and a woman who threw a fatal but consensual punch in a $5 Crest Hill party bet.

    The latter trial ended in an acquittal with a rare directed verdict — the defendant never even put on a defense. Few, if any, facts were in dispute, though. And the woman chose not to have her case heard by a jury.

    Sam Amirante, a criminal defense attorney based in Cook County, said the ruling is a sign Burmila will follow the law even when it calls for unpopular decisions.

    “It takes guts to do that,” Amirante said….


  12. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/29/drew-peterson-murder-trial-wife-kathleen-savio_n_1715755.html?ir=Chicago&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

    Drew Peterson Trial For Murder Of 3rd Wife Kathleen Savio Set To Start

    “Drew’s a showoff,” Cales, now 27, said in a recent interview. “I am sure he will talk if he gets a prison buddy, Bubba, and tell him what he did to Stacy.”

    Many Savio family members are potential witnesses so they can’t speak publicly about the case. But Cales has not been subpoenaed to testify.

    “I barely sleep at night,” said Cales, who plans to attend the trial. “What keeps me up is the anxiousness of getting through with it – and getting him convicted.”

  13. More filler. Sorry, but it’s what is out there this weekend. Next week we’ll get more than enough news!

    Peterson’s neighbors brace for press onslaught

    “If he is acquitted (and returns home), it will be a zoo,” Hickey said. “We all want to know what’s going to happen.”

    Neighbors say they have bonded over the Peterson saga, sharing the media glare, trading books about the case and critiquing the made-for-TV movie “Drew Peterson: Untouchable.” Nearly everyone agreed that the two-story homes on their street are far less opulent than the ones used in the movie.

    Neighbors said they look forward to seeing the press horde come and go for what they hope will be the last time once Peterson’s trial concludes. In the past, some homeowners have brandished baseball bats to drive news crews away from their lawns, while others more cordially have offered hot dogs to reporters, residents recalled.


  14. It’s rumored that Peterson’s defense might ask for a directed verdict at the end of Peterson’s trial.

    Personally, I don’t think it will come down to that…but what do I know?

  15. So far Burmila has said he’ll let Peterson object to the hearsay statements on a case-by-case basis. Prosecutors said an appellate court ruled such statements may come into the trial. But Burmila said he’s hung up on the ruling made by Judge White in 2010.

    White ruled those statements were unreliable, and Burmila said he’s not sure if he can overrule the decision made by his predecessor.

    “I am not Judge White’s appellate court,” Burmila said.

    Can someone explain to me how this works?

    If the appellate court reversed Judge White’s decision, then how does Judge Burmila get the option to uphold it? He didn’t. At least, not outright. But he said he’d hear each bit of evidence and rule when there were objections. Is he intending to just auto-sustain because of Judge White’s original rulings?

  16. I worry a bit about Judge Burmilla…he sounds very similar to Judge Perry in the Casey Anthony trial: fair, well-learned on the law…and we saw how that worked out, didn’t we. Perry bent over backwards, (towards the defense), to make sure that there was no cause for any appeals. Although that jury had a huge part in Anthony’s not guilty verdict, Judge Perry played his role too. I just pray we have an intelligent jury this time who can accept circumstantial evidence.

  17. In Session
    7 hours ago via HootSuite.
    Join us Monday when our Law Enforcement Analyst Mike Brooks takes us to Kathleen Savio’s home and investigates what really happened on February 29, 2004.

  18. I feel sorry for the couple that purchased the house. I wonder how many times the media knocks on their ddoor in a week?

  19. Thanks for posting the InSession link. Greenberg actually sounds like a level headed guy in that one.
    If only he could erase the clip of the three defense attorneys joking about Stacy Peterson outside the courthouse from my mind, I might respect him more as a commentator. Steve, what were you thinking?

  20. hi, Stilllearning!

    There are times when Greenberg addresses the media on purely legal aspects of the case, where I can listen and find value in what he has to say. Why he has to morph into a frat boy bully when he’s with the team is unexplainable and disgusting.

    And no, I don’t consider that part of a “vigorous defense”.

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