OK NOW time for redirect. Attorney Kathy Patton asks if Drew Peterson had gun drawn when he came upstairs after hearing Pontarelli scream. Pontarelli says no. Back to the towels. ( I wish towels could talk). Pontarelli doesn’t remember telling investigators that a robe used to hang from bathroom door.
Mary Pontarelli steps down. We’re done with testimony until 9 a.m. Wednesday
Pontarelli didn’t allow son Nick, who was one of the last people to see Savio alive, speak to police that night. He was 14. Lopez is done for now. Jury asked to step out again.
State motion: Prosecutors think defense opened door for new line of questioning about Savio’s ability to fight back against Peterson and the 2002 incident. Greenberg, says comments about Savio being tough and feisty refer to her personality. Judge says Pontarelli did not agree when asked if Savio was “feisty”. Sides with defense. They still can’t ask about 2002 arrest of Savio on her lawn. Pontarelli back on stand. Jury back in courtroom.
Court is again in session. Mary still under cross-examination by defense. Restating much of what she already said.
Pontarelli: Savio always put her hair in a clip before bathing and her hair was down when she was found, no clip. It was possible to see Savio preparing for a bath from her house, but did not see Savio the night she died. Answering questions about the bathroom–closets, space, etc. The magical disappearing and reappearing blue towel is being asked about.
Mary Pontarelli points out basket full of towels inside the bathroom where Savio’s body was found. “I didn’t see the towels”
Pontarelli says she can’t remember parts of what she told Bolingbrook Police. She can’t recall all of the interviews with detectives.
Lopez: When Peterson saw Savio’s body “he was visibly upset and shaken, wasn’t he?” Neighbor: “He was upset, yes.”
Cross examination of Mary Pontarelli by Joe Lopez. Pontarelli says she felt safe with a policeman living next door. The Petersons and the Pontarelli family spent a lot of time together. She is asked about fighting between Drew and Kathleen. Lopez asks if Savio was bossy. Pontarelli: “I wouldn’t call her bossy” Lopez: “Mouthy?” Pontarelli: “She had passion.”
She believes that Savio’s boyfriend had lunch with her on Saturday but as far as Pontarelli knows, her son Nick was the last to see Kathleen Savio alive.
Mary Pontarelli says Savio was substantially older than her boyfriend. Savio didn’t let him spend the night. Savio was thinking of starting over with new marriage. “Drew started over, so she could too.” They take a break.
Pontarelli: I entered Kathleen Savio’s bedroom with neighbor Steve Carcerano. Carcerano first to enter bathroom. “That is the photo of the bathroom & bathtub where we found Kathy” “I seen Kathleen in the tub, ran out and threw myself on the ground and started screaming”
She cries as she looks at photo of Kathleen, dead. Says she noticed Kathleen had a cut in head, dry blood in her hair, hair was down and there was bruising on wrists and buttocks.
“I didn’t see any towel or clothes outside of tub” Drew Peterson was last to enter the bathroom.
Pontarelli describes seeing a light in Savio’s window Saturday night. “she’s still studying up there because it was midnight” Savio comes over every Sunday. “it’s pasta day at our home.” Peterson called Pontarelli, said he could not reach Savio, asked if she would enter house with him if he called locksmith. Savio’s house was dark when she entered it.
“it looked like someone was underneath the covers, I thought it was Kathy” But it was not. Peterson took Savio’s pulse. “I asked him, ‘Drew is she dead?’ And he said, ‘Yes, Mary, she is.'” Pontarelli wanted to cover Savio up, but Peterson warned her not to touch anything.
Judge sides with defense and Pontarelli’s testimony about front yard arrest of Savio not admissible. Calls it “completely irrelevant”. Admonishes defense to stop yelling “We’re not outside”.
Savio friend and neighbor, Mary Pontarelli, on the stand. Examined by Ass’t State’s Atty Kathy Patton.
Pontarelli: Our friendship started with our kids….they were great people. She did find out that he was cheating on her and of course she was very upset about that. Savio put a deadbolt lock on her bedroom door. Pontarelli’s husband, Thomas, installed it.
Defense objects to questions about Savio being arrested in front yard. Jury sent out. Prosecutors say arrest came up in defense opening statements and shows how Peterson could gain complete control over Savio.
Court is back in session. Defense says they’re not ready for witnesses. They want a delay to contest some of the evidence that Judge White previously ruled on. Heated discussion over photograph evidence that shows “what the defendant will do to get into that house.”. Jury enters room.
Stacy Peterson family spokesperson Pamela Bosco addressed the media: “prosecuting attorneys will prove that Kathleen was a wonderful woman.” “It’s like they’re trying to make Drew the victim instead of Kathy.”
Brodsky: “Accidentally drowning in a bathtub is rare. What’s rarer? A homicide in a bathtub.” Savio suffered from mental illnesses and medications. He trying to convey that Savio was not healthy. “You have a man’s life in your hands”. Court breaks for lunch. Media outside watching for lawyers.
Brodsky: Stacy goes missing in Oct. 2007. “For some unknown reason” the media grabs on to this story. “They don’t just report the news, they make it.” Ridicules Dr. Baden’s 2nd autopsy on FOX Entertainment News. “Of course he’s going to say a homicide.” Ridicules Kathleen’s divorce atty Harry Smith. He came forward only after media circus began. Criticizes Savio’s sisters for not coming forward about statements earlier. Courtroom Sketch
Brodsky: It wasn’t Drew’s idea to go into Savio’s house the weekend she died. Drew didn’t call cops and instead sent neighbors into Kathleen’s home because “Why call police? Drew was the police.” First words after finding Savio’s body: “What am I going to tell my kids?” Initial investigators determine no sign of foul play. The bathtub took 8 hours to drain due to wonky plug.
Brodsky tells jury about altercation between Savio and Stacy, and describes Savio as a “mad woman.” Fast forward to 2003. Couple getting along moving along with divorce. Stacy is pregnant. Describes Kathleen’s last day–“she had sex with her boyfriend”. Savio has “lover’s quarrel” with her boyfriend on phone. They discuss marriage but Maniaci says he isn’t ready. “That’s the last time that anyone hears from Kathy Savio.”
Brodsky: March 2002, Savio finds out Peterson took Stacy to Mexico. Order of protection full of “Stupid ridiculous statements that have no basis” filed to get Drew thrown out of their house. Savio “always has to have the last word”. She lies and makes up stories to fit her purpose or she’s mad. She tried to build case against Peterson that would benefit her financially.
Brodsky: Savio a “very spirited, hot-tempered woman.” She was “bossy” when she and Drew owned and ran printing business and Suds Pub. antidepressants did not help. Even Drew’s partners heard her yell at him. Drew Peterson was “living separately” in the home he shared with Kathleen during his “affair” with Stacy. Savio “felt she was being abandoned for a much younger woman.” Stacy Cales pursued Drew.
Judge Burmila stops Brodsky and sends jury out. He tells Brodsky that his opening is “completely inappropriate”. It seems like you are telling Drew Peterson’s life story. Brodsky is “perverting the purpose of the opening statement. He began again, State objected three times. All sustained. Attys at sidebar.
Brodsky: Drew Peterson “wanted to be a cop, wanted a job where he could help people.” He got “his particular sense of humor” as army MP where he helped bust soldiers selling drugs on base. “He felt those that enforced the law should not break it.”
Glasgow: Peterson once said he knew enough from years as a police officer to “kill someone and get away with it.” This is not a case where you’re going to have DNA. (The jury) will have an opportunity to use your skills and really put together a complex case. Glasgow is done. Short recess.
Glasgow’s opening statement quotes Drew Peterson from The Larry King show. Describes the days leading up to Savio’s death. How on Sunday Drew does nothing to find out why Kathleen doesn’t answer door or phone, then next day makes a barrage of phone calls, visits neighbors, etc. He sends four neighbors into the house while he, in uniform stands outside. Investigators decide that her death is an accident within one hour. Then in 2007 Neil Schori “had information” which led to reopening the Savio case. (no mention of Stacy?)
Defense objects to State mentioning incident in which Drew broke into Savio’s home and held her at knife-point as well as testimony from two would-be hit men who say Drew tried to hire them to kill Kathleen. They ask for a mistrial. Judge upholds the objection regarding the hit men, but the jury has now heard the words “hit man”. Mistrial denied. Judge tells jury to disregard statements when he sustains an objection.
Opening statements begin with State’s Attorney James Glasgow going first: “Kathleen Savio’s cold lifeless body was found in her bathtub…and it was staged to look like an accident. She was not going to give up her share of the marital estate.” And…sidebar. Jury is sent out of the room.
Jurors are now in the courtroom and receiving instructions from the Judge. They are getting notepads and being told that they may take notes if they want but most importantly, pay attention.
Judge Burmila denies defense motion to limit state opening statement about motive, crime scene and hearsay testimony. Attorneys and Judge now in sidebar.
Greenberg:”Anything they can’t prove came directly from the horse’s mouth–meaning Drew. (The prosecution) did all their fancy CSI testing, and they didn’t find anything.”
Judge Burmila says the State may continue but asks Sate’s Attorney John Connor if they can prove that Peterson benefited from Kathleen’s death.
State responding to motion, arguing that no law limits what can be said during openings. “if this was a murder, it was indeed a staged crime scene, because it was not an accident.” Cites case-law of their own.
Attorney Steven Greenberg is presenting a motion to bar any contested hearsay from the State’s opening statements, citing case-law to support barring anything related to what Kathleen Savio or Stacy Peterson stated they thought. Want to keep out any mention that Peterson would have benefited from Kathleen’s death, that Savio’s death scene was staged, and hearsay statements.
Drew Peterson’s trial for the murder of Kathleen Savio is underway today. Will Count State’s Attorney James Glasgow will deliver the state’s opening statement and Attorney Joel Brodsky will deliver the opening statement in Peterson’s defense.
“The purpose of an opening statement is to tell the jury what the evidence will show,” says Paul Mark Sandler, Baltimore, Chair of the Section’s Litigation Institute for Trial Training. “But any lawyer worth his salt knows that he must still couch the evidence into an energetic ‘argument’ so that when you finish, the jury is leaning your way.”
We’re eager to see how much argument is introduced into these opening statements.
As always, we’ll have our eyes and ears open and will be posting updates. Check back throughout the day for the latest news and don’t forget to check the comment thread.