Drew Peterson trial – Day One: Opening statements and first witness, Mary Pontarelli

UPDATE 04:16:

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

UPDATE 03:57:

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.

UPDATE 03:21:

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.”

UPDATE 02:30:

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.

UPDATE 02:26:

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.

UPDATE 02:06:

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.

UPDATE 01:42:

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”.

UPDATE 01:42:

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.

UPDATE 01:30:

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.

UPDATE 12:36:

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.”

UPDATE 11:56:

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.

UPDATE 11:48:

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

UPDATE 11:31:

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.

UPDATE 11:17:

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.”

UPDATE 11:10:

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.

UPDATE 11:00:

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.

UPDATE 10:51:

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.

UPDATE 10:47:

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.”

UPDATE 10:45:

Jury rises and Joel Brodsky begins his opening. Brodsky introduces the defense team to the jury. Sketch from inside the courtroom.

UPDATE 10:25:

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.

UPDATE 10:18:

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?)

UPDATE 10:10:

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.

UPDATE 09:48:

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.

UPDATE 09:40:

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.

UPDATE 09:28:

Judge Burmila denies defense motion to limit state opening statement about motive, crime scene and hearsay testimony. Attorneys and Judge now in sidebar.

UPDATE 09:26:

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.”

UPDATE 09:19:

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.

UPDATE 09:11:

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.

UPDATE 09:05:

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.

We’re following:
Jon Seidel
Adam Grimm
In Session
Glenn Marshall
Diane Pathieu

~By commenting you agree to be bound by the rules of this blog. You can contact admins directly by sending an email to petersonstory@gmail.com.~


115 thoughts on “Drew Peterson trial – Day One: Opening statements and first witness, Mary Pontarelli

  1. I have a new “Who Testified Chart” online for the Peterson case that can be useful as quick reference on who testified previously for the Grand Jury, the Hearsay Hearing, and a blank column to keep track of who might be a witness at Drew Peterson’s trial. I hope this is helpful.

    If anybody needs to print this web page for a check off list, select “Landscape” option and it should print out 5 pages. (This is a work in progress as new witness info becomes available.)

    Who Testified Chart



    Jon Seidel ‏@SeidelContent
    Per reporter Dan Rozek from courtroom: #DrewPeterson watched Glasgow intently during opening statements. He’s not laughing, not smiling.

    Jon Seidel ‏@SeidelContent
    #DrewPeterson wearing gray suit, white shirt, dark striped tie for opening statements.

    Joseph R. Lopez ‏@josharrk
    This case is going to be contentious
    The bad act stuff was a surprise to everyone including the court

  3. Wonder if Lincoln was told the Gettysburg Address was “completely inappropriate?” And Kathleen being “a spirited, hot-headed woman” is the cause for her being found dead in a bathtub?? Yeah, that makes it sound more accidental.

  4. And saying that Kathleen “made things up” in order to come out ahead financially?

    She said she was going to be dead before the assets could be divided and she was right.

    She died and Drew got everything.

  5. “Why call police? Drew was the police.” I think that statement says a lot! I think Brodsky is doing a bang up job…..for the prosecution.

  6. “Stacy goes missing in Oct. 2007. “For some unknown reason, the media grabs on to this story”

    Not very smarl. Now the Jury is wondering what the reason is. And then they realize it’s because it was a very compelling story. Very unlikely that one wife dies accidentally and another disappears.

  7. Judge Stephen White is on In Session. He just pointed out how risky it is for the defense to be ripping into the victim the way Brodsky did in the opening statement.

    The jury knows that Kathleen is dead. They know she can’t speak on her own behalf. They have sympathy for her from the outset and it may be a big turn off to hear the defense saying that she’s bossy, a mad woman, and mentally unhealthy.

  8. I don’t think what jean is saying it is riviting lol .. the proc will do great I believe lets hope drew gets life in prision

  9. Hearing that Joel Brodsky read a lot from his notes and constantly referred to them. Didn’t seem to just “talk”.

    There were so many interruptions to the opening statements that neither side had much of a flow. The jurors and press seemed amused at times.

    Nevertheless jury seemed to pay close attention and take their roles seriously.

  10. “Why call police? Drew was the police.” I think that statement says a lot! I think Brodsky is doing a bang up job…..for the prosecution.

    I agree that was a dumb thing to say. I just picture the jurors saying, “Well, if Drew was the police then….why didn’t he follow protocol?”

  11. In Session ‏@InSession
    #StacyPeterson spokesperson addressed reporters, “prosecuting attorneys will prove that Kathleen was a wonderful woman.”
    “from the start the defense was going for a mistrial.”

  12. brodsky is arrogent, and he will try anything , I do hope that they bring in stacy stuff, also will dr boden be testifying >>?

  13. YES that is what I dont get ,he was a cop and should of called them not a lock smith , we know drew had keys to her house .. but they will say he did not have them

  14. I have to admit I’m a little confused at their stratagy. The didn’t want Stacy Peterson mentioned at all, yet Brodsky put it in the open statement. If that was the equivolent of the Gettysburg Address, no wonder our country is in such trouble.

  15. I thought there was a gag order , for the def not to talk to reporters ? but ya can tell they are arrogent .

  16. Facsmiley ,

    thank you . I did not follow that untill foxnews mentioned he was going to trial today , so that is why I asked < thanks again . I haven't been here in long time but would check to see what was going on 🙂 .. it is good it finally is going to trial .. and am hoping he gets life .

  17. I’m not going to speculate on where Stacy Peterson is. There’s really no point to it. But I do believe that Drew Peterson killed her.

    And to be honest, I don’t think Judge Burmila ever took that gag order seriously. The defense team got away with a lot. And how do you explain Michael Sneed being able to visit Drew Peterson in jail and get an interview? Jailhouse interviews were specifically banned.

  18. In Session ‏@InSession
    #JoelBrodsky said “thank goodness the judge denied the mistrial” he seemingly joked saying he wants this trial to proceed.

    So much for the time for jokes being over.

  19. Darryl Goldberg sounded pretty confident of himself just now on In Session saying that Kathleen’s death scene was processed correctly.

    That is, until someone asked him some direct questions. You could almost see the cockiness disintegrating. “There are specifics that I’m uh, not going to go into”.


  20. Where would we all be without Justice Cafe’? Again, thank you all so much!
    Brodsky said that it was not Drew who wanted to go into the house on the night Kathleen was found dead, it was next door neighbor Mary Pontarelli’s suggestion/insistence.
    This is the first time I’ve ever heard that; I believe every time I’ve read about that night, it was Drew who called everyone together. Nothing was mentioned anywhere about it in her questioning. Please tell me Glasgow et al didn’t let that go by. I saw that she’d been released.

  21. Pardon-saw where Mary Pontarelli has been “excused,” not “released.” Does that mean her testimony isn’t over, or is it the same thing? Sorry, but I’m confused on this point, and strongly want to believe she’ll be back to clear up who called whom on that night.

  22. I don’t understand what the defense is trying to do here, trying to paint Kathleen Savio in such a bad picture, if they claim it was just an accident. How is claiming she was a mouthy aggressive hellcat relevant to her having an accident?

  23. Hah, great point, LA. She’s the one who died, not Drew!

    IMO, it only shows that Drew didn’t want to fight with her anymore and took care of the problem.

  24. “Was Drew the last one in?” Assistant State’s Attorney Kathleen Patton asked.

    “Yes,” Pontarelli replied.

    She said she noticed dried blood in Savio’s hair and blood coming from her mouth, and she had bruises on her wrists and buttocks.”

    I never read that she had blood coming from her mouth before. After being in tub so long and drowned???

  25. I see the defense is already going after Nick Pontarelli and suggesting that there was something inappropriate about his friendship with the Peterson/Savio family.

    To me, it’s another misstep that would alienate me from the defense rather than make me wonder about witness credibility.

    It’s like Lopez was first trying to build a case to say that Pheasant Chase was a sleepy, italian-american, friendly street and then he turns around and tries to make it out to be Peyton Place. What??

  26. Why so many Americans are riveted by the Drew Peterson case

    Although salacious murder trials are not new, the Peterson saga is overloaded with such elements. A 30-year police sergeant in the southwestern suburbs of Chicago who was prone to marrying women half his age or younger, Peterson taunted the media and his accusers for years before formally being charged in 2009. To many, his jowly swagger, knack for one-liners, and glib attitude provided a visual that made Mr. Lowe’s cartoonish characterization seem pale in comparison.

    Throw in the failure by police to locate Ms. Peterson’s body, his engagement to a potential fifth wife, Savio’s exhumed body, and sordid details of alleged domestic violence, and the case has developed a big following.

    Which makes this trial, unlike so many others, so unique for public consumption,

    “It has so much trial sex appeal, so to speak,” says Andrew Stoltmann, a Chicago attorney who has taught at Northwestern University Law School. “You have a couple of beautiful young women, one of whom is dead; you have a rogue husband suspected of the murder; and Drew Peterson is right out of central casting when it comes to pitching a villain.”

    If the opening moments of the trial are any suggestion of the tenor moving forward, it doesn’t appear that the Peterson case will be resolved neatly.

    Less than an hour into the opening statements Tuesday morning at the Will County courthouse, the defense filed a motion for a mistrial, the prosecution objected five times, and the judge and attorneys from both sides met privately three times…

    ..Even if his past statements are not allowed into the courtroom, Peterson’s erratic public behavior since both Savio’s death and Peterson’s disappearance will work against him in the minds of jurors, says jury consultant Philip Anthony of Los Angeles.

    “A normal murder suspect has to deal with the facts, whereas Mr. Peterson has to deal with the facts plus the drama he has created,” Mr. Anthony says..

  27. I know why the towels are important. Because the first people on the scene noted how strange it was there there were no towels, robe or clothes in the bathroom near the tub. But later in the evidence photos there is a towel on the tub itself.

    If I was on the jury that would give me some doubt…

  28. I don’t understand anything the defense did today, after reading the twitters. I guess maybe they thought their opening statement would do it all for them, as rambling and disjointed as the reports say it was, since it seemed they were making the prosecutions job easier for them during their cross examination. Not sure what the jury took away from today, hard to look at this with limited knowledge, being that I followed it from the beginning.

  29. Facs, I miswrote. I understand, too, why the towels are so important, but I can’t believe it was the defense and not the prosecution that brought up the subject. There-that’s what I meant to convey.
    And I thought Judge Burmila had said no electronic devices in the courtroom. Evidently he is allowing tweets? If so, I am VERY grateful to him!

  30. I get you Cheryl. I don’t understand why the defense is bringing up certain things that I would think now have opened the door to a lot of testimony that they didn’t want allowed.

    I know reporters are allowed to have a laptop and their cell phones. I get the feeling that in the overflow room, they can pretty much text and type all they like because it’s just a room full of reporters and an audio feed. (They don’t even get video) and there’s no jury or witnesses to distract.

    Someone tweeted that he guessed Mary Pontarelli was crying from the sounds of her sniffling. 😦

  31. Jeanine Pirro ‏@JudgeJeanine
    Sat in drew peterson ctrm today -1st row. Peterson right in front of me turns around-looks right at me WINKS÷ puts his hands on his heart!!

  32. I hope the jury was paying attention to that.

    BTW, if you guys ever see me mixing up “prosecution” and “defense” please let me know. I’ve got crossed wires when it comes to that and often write the one when I mean the other.

  33. What I don’t like is that all the objections seem to be going FOR the defense and the prosecution doesn’t seem to be scoring any points on their objections. This, to me, does not bode well. And I, for one, am going to be MAJORLY ticked if this guy walks when this is all said and done!

  34. So strange. Wish I could have heard the whole opening statements word for word to understand better. Cannot for the life of me understand why the Prosecution didn’t mention Stacy being missing yet the Defense did. Did I miss something? And funny thing about the Defense laying out so many reasons why Drew would benefit from Kathleen being gone – she filed the Order of Protection, was using the law to get even with him, yada, yada, yada. I had to have missed something….

  35. I asked Atty Lopez why the hitman testimony won’t make it to court and he answered ” state failed to follow rules For other crimes evidence rules”. So…I still don’t really understand. But there it is.

  36. It is going to be hard for both sides not to bring up Stacy Peterson. For one, Stacy is Drew’s only alibi as to where he supposedly was. Where is he going to say she is, to why she can’t come testify as to where he was that night? Neil Schori’s testimony I know will be limited as well to what he can, or can’t say. But again, her name will be mentioned.

    The jurors are going to wonder who this Stacy is that is going to keep bring brought up, (affair, marriage, letter from Kathleen about alleged affair with Stacy, fights, Neil ) most of all she was Drew’s alibi.

    The jurors are going to be like hmmm so this woman just goes missing after talking to Neil? Nobody knows where she is? The other wife ended up dead in the bathtub before the assets were divided. Good luck not bringing Stacy up in this trial because I don’t see no way not to from either side to tell their story!

  37. I also would like to know why the alleged hit man isn’t allowed to testify at trial? The Prosecution needs to press into that. His testimony is not hearsay. It is from his own mouth, and can be cross examined by defense.

  38. TAI – I hope the jury is able to pull what they need out of those disjointed arguments.

    I’m glad that Glasgow told them right off the bat that this isn’t going to be a DNA/CSI kind of case and that they’ll need to use their heads to put the piece the real story together.

  39. Apparently the state didn’t follow the rules of evidence in trying to introduce the testimony. Lopez says he will explain more later – after 8 o’clock..

  40. Prosecutor James Glasgow began his opening statement on Tuesday by telling the jury that Jeffrey Pachter, a man Peterson worked with at a cable television installation company, has said under oath that Peterson offered him $25,000 to find a hit man to kill Savio.
    Defense attorney Steve Greenberg immediately called for a mistrial. Judge Edward Burmila cleared the jury out of the courtroom and allowed Greenberg to make his case for a mistrial.
    Burmila rejected the mistrial motion, but ruled that the prosecution could not use anything from Pachter during the trial.


  41. Also,

    Burmila also decided the jury should hear nothing about Peterson cutting a hole in a wall of Savio’s home to gain entrance—which Peterson has admitted to doing—because he owned the home.

    I call bullshit on that because it’s not as if they were going to use that to prove that Drew is capable of breaking the law, they wanted to use that to show that he was willing to enter that house despite the fact that he no longer lived there and was locked out.

    It’s not that he doesn’t have the right to get into the house, but that he is willing to break in if he wants to. Sheeez.

  42. JOLIET, Ill. (AP) —
    The prosecution’s only witness of the day was Mary Pontarelli, a neighbor who discovered Savio’s body in a dry bathtub.
    “I saw Kathleen in the tub, ran out, threw myself on the ground and started screaming,” she said, her voice cracking.
    Pontarelli testified that Peterson then ran up the stairs, took Savio’s pulse and declared somberly, “She is dead.”

    “I asked him if we could cover her up,” a tearful Pontarelli recalled saying. She said Peterson responded they couldn’t because investigators would want the body untouched.
    Jurors saw their first photos of Savio — one of her smiling with a friend; the other her lifeless body, a trail of blood running down the side toward her feet. Pontarelli described seeing a cut on Savio’s head, matted blood in her hair and bruises on her wrists and buttocks.

    During Tuesday’s proceedings, Peterson appeared relaxed but engaged, jotting notes and occasionally glancing back at the crowded spectators’ benches.
    In a dry, dispassionate tone, Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow told jurors that Peterson told Savio weeks before her death that he would kill her, and that she’d never see a divorce settlement or get his $300,000 pension. Glasgow also detailed what was at stake — two houses and a tavern the couple owned worth about $800,000.
    “The evidence will show that Kathleen Savio was murdered and it was made to look like an accident,” Glasgow said.

    In his opening, defense attorney Joel Brodsky told jurors repeatedly there was no evidence that Savio’s death was anything but a tragic accident.

    “You will hear nothing but myth, rumor, innuendo and hearsay,” Brodsky said about the prosecution’s case. “You have a man’s life in your hands … deal with facts.”
    And those facts, he said, will come in large part from three pathologists who will testify that — despite what prosecutors say and what the autopsy apparently revealed after Savio’s body was exhumed — her death remains an accident.

    “The bathroom was in perfect order,” he said. “There is not one shred of evidence whatsoever that Drew Peterson or anybody else for that matter was in that house. … Kathy slipped and fell in a household accident, case closed,” Brodsky said.

    He also sought to knock down what prosecutors will certainly contend — that the investigation into Savio’s death was a shoddy one. Brodsky said Illinois State Police investigators were very experienced and conducted the investigation because the Bolingbrook Police Department wanted to make sure there were no questions, as Peterson was one of their high-ranking officers.
    Brodsky also suggested that Peterson was the victim of a “media circus” after Stacy Peterson disappeared — he was charged in Savio’s death after his much younger fourth wife vanished.
    The media rush to make Peterson out to be a killer was not about the truth, but “entertainment,” Brodsky said. He described how a national TV host had a pathologist on to determine if Savio had been murdered, teasing the results before a commercial break.

    “If he (the pathologist) confirms it’s an accident, there’s no story,” Brodsky said.
    Glasgow told the jury what has been widely known for years: There is no physical evidence linking Peterson to Savio’s death. A botched initial investigation will force prosecutors to rely heavily on hearsay evidence — statements not heard directly by witnesses that normally are barred at trials — as well as circumstantial evidence to convince jurors of Peterson’s guilt.
    In his opening, Brodsky sought to short-circuit expected testimony that Peterson repeatedly threatened Savio, telling jurors that she had had penchant for exaggeration, had a “hot temper” and made false accusations against Peterson to gain an advantage in divorce proceedings.

    It took less than 10 minutes for disputes to erupt over what evidence should be admitted. As Glasgow broached an allegation that Drew Peterson once inquired about paying a hit man to murder Savio, defense attorney Steve Greenberg leapt to his feet to object.

    Judge Edward Burmila instructed jurors to leave the room and Greenberg moved for a mistrial.
    Burmila eventually denied the request, saying Glasgow was just a few words into the allegation before the defense objected. But he left open the possibility of changing his mind and declaring a mistrial later.


  43. “UPDATE 02:06:

    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.”

    “Savio’s house was DARK when she entered it”

    After death Kathleen not only put a towel on the edge of the tub, but also turned off the lights in the house.

  44. JAH, I hope someone important reads what you posted. Amazing, I missed that totally today. Good Catch. The house was dark!!! Kathleen died of an accident in her bathtub, meaning the bathroom would have been lit, but the House was DARK, when the neighbor entered it. WOW

  45. The news had been out about the prosecutors meeting with the alleged hit man. Sounds to me like maybe they did not provide that witness in their discovery documents they must provide? If they didn’t – WTF were they thinking??!!! That would have been very important testimony in this case considering the scene of Kathleen’s death was never processed as a crime scene. I cannot imagine any other way the prosecutors could have “not followed rules of evidence”….

  46. Not off to the best start. I’m totally shocked that a witness was left off of the list. Everyone knew about him. I don’t get it. But it appears Mary was a very believable witness. The light on, the towel, Drew sending her in, etc. are all good points. I hope the juors are taking good notes.

  47. I so wish this was televised! Joel must have been really rambling for the judge to say something to him. Not the best way to start off. I don’t think most people would like the attack on someone who is dead. No respect. Who wouldn’t be upset if you had two little ones and your husband was with a 17 year old?

  48. Even if the defense plans to put a pathologist on the stand who wants to pinpoint her death more towards Sunday morning, most people do not bathe in a darkened bathroom even in daylight hours, and if they do, they light some candles or something.

    The darkened house points to someone else being in there and turning out the lights when they left. It doesn’t prove that Drew Peterson was there but of course, he was the only one with a motive.

  49. Are the audio feed clips posted somewhere onlinee?

    I’m going to check out a few programs and then come back to all of this.

  50. No, they don’t post the audio online. I think in Illinois it’s only the appellate court that records and posts arguments.

    I wish this was televised too. It’s very hard to get a feel for how things are going and I would have dearly loved to have heard the judge tell the defense team to stop yelling.

  51. “@JudgeJeanine: #DrewPeterson turns around-looks right at me WINKS÷ puts his hands on his heart!!

  52. The yelling must have been very obvious. I wonder if they were tyring to make sure they were heard perfectly through the audio feeds for the media? I do recall all three bragging that Brodsky’s opening was going to be the “Gettyburg Address.” LOL So much for those plans. I guess the law students won’t be studying Joel’s intro as one that was for the law history books. (I’m all choked up— from cigar smoke. Cough! Cough!)

  53. Someones father is going to appear next. Could it be Chrissy Raines’s dad up next with Dr. Drew?

  54. LONG story here. I’m not going to copy it all. Worth a read though.

    But Pontarelli acknowledged Savio and Peterson had largely stopped feuding about their divorce in the weeks before Savio died.

    “Things were going well,” Pontarelli said.

    She wept as she described finding her friend’s body in the dry bathtub. Peterson had asked her that night to check the house when he said he was unable to find Savio to return their children after a weekend visit.

    Peterson’s defense team contends the photo of Savio in the bathtub simply bolsters their claims that she died in an accidental fall while alone in the house.

    The stunning image will resonate with jurors who must decide whether Savio was slain or died in an accidental fall, a spokeswoman for Stacy Peterson’s family predicted outside the courtroom.

    “When you take one look at that photo, the lightbulb goes off in your head,” Pamela Bosco said. “She’s wedged in the tub. There’s no way that’s an accident.”

    During her testimony, Pontarelli described going into Savio’s darkened home with her husband, son and neighbor after a locksmith called by Peterson opened the door.

    Peterson, she said, waited in a downstairs foyer while the others combed the house, searching for Savio.

    When she saw her friend lying unmoving in the tub — illuminated only by the glare of a streetlight through a skylight ­– Pontarelli said she ran from the bathroom, threw herself on the ground “and started screaming.”


  55. If Kathleen fell over and died in her bathroom anytime between 2am and 6 am (the estimated time of her death), the lights in her bathroom/house would have stayed on for another full day and night before someone finally went in and had a look, even though Mary’s house is at such close proximity, yet no one noticed the lights on all this time………

    Of course it doesn’t prove Drew was in the house, but someone was in the house after kathleen died as she couldn’t have turned off the lights herself …………..

  56. Joe Lopez says:

    rule 404b of Illinois rules of evidence require written notice state did not provide so judge ruled its out.

    This is regarding the hit man witness.

    Here is rule 404(b):

    Rule 404.

    (b) Other Crimes, Wrongs, or Acts. Evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts is not admissible to prove the character of a person in order to show action in conformity therewith except as provided by sections 115–7.3, 115–7.4, and 115–20 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (725 ILCS 5/115–7.3, 725 ILCS 5/115–7.4, and 725 ILCS 5/115–20). Such evidence may also be admissible for other purposes, such as proof of motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident.

    (c) In a criminal case in which the prosecution intends to offer evidence under subdivision (b), it must disclose the evidence, including statements of witnesses or a summary of the substance of any testimony, at a reasonable time in advance of trial, or during trial if the court excuses pretrial notice on good cause shown.

  57. Greenberg is trying to explain the dry bathtub. He claims the water simply drained out after she drowned.

  58. Dr. Drew has callers. A woman called in about being married to a cop who beat her. She said there was a phrase “don’t cop out.” No one would do anything to help her. Greenberg is shaking his head.

  59. The lights being shut off is something I don’t remember. It would appear that it’s another example of someone taking care of the crime scene.

  60. The spokeswoman for the family of Stacy Peterson said she was pleased with the first day of testimony, even though Stacy’s disappearance was little more than a footnote.

    “I think we had a really amazing witness today,” said Pamela Bosco, who came to know Drew Peterson’s missing fourth wife while serving as legal guardian for Stacy’s sister, Cassandra Cales.

    “What she told us was that Kathy (Savio) was a passionate person and she felt threatened because she had all these locks on her door.”

    But most important was the photo of Savio’s body wedged face down in the bathtub.

    “You felt the horror of that night,” Bosco said. “It shows you it was not an accident.”

    — Matthew Walberg


  61. The prosecution really messed up on this. They knew about this witness a long, long time ago. No excuse not to have provided the information prior to the trial.

  62. There are also stories out there that Peterson admitting to cutting the hole in the wall will not be allowed either as it occurred while he owned the home. I had really thought that circumstantial evidence would make it in and had shown that he could gain access through the garage door. This is why cases in trial are never a shoe-in. Just because we have heard things or a defendant has admitted to something does not mean it can be considered in the trial.

  63. Yeah – as I said upthread I don’t think the wall-cutting episode was being introduced in order to show that he trespassed. Obviously he still was co-owner of the house since the assets hadn’t been divided yet.

    What it does show is that he isn’t the kind of guy who lets a lock stop him when he wants to get inside somewhere. I think it shouldn’t have been barred.

    As for 404b the Prosecution screwed up but Judge Burmilla could have still allowed the evidence if he had deemed good cause was shown.

    “…it must disclose the evidence, including statements of witnesses or a summary of the substance of any testimony, at a reasonable time in advance of trial, or during trial if the court excuses pretrial notice on good cause shown.”

    Apparently there was no good cause for the prosecution’s failure to to disclose. It’s hard to argue that there is, since they had years and years to do it. Auuugh.

  64. I really feel for Mary having to testify like she did. Imagine just going about your life and being pulled into this nightmare and having to take the stand like she has had to. She so far appears to be a very solid witness that I think the jurors will listen to. Her testimony about bruises on Kathleen’s wrists and buttocks, blood coming out of her mouth, not remembering seeing any towels, and the house being dark, and her husband putting a lock on Kathleen’s bedroom door help the prosecution IMO but only time will tell if the jury finds the evidence to meet the “beyond a reasonable doubt” rule. (The Casey Anthony jury surprised me so I realize that no one can ever know what they are thinking.)

  65. Don’t think there would be any “good cause shown” when they knew about that witness forever and a day ago. Sometimes judges let the evidence in if the information was only recently identified but the prosecutor would have to really explain WHY they couldn’t get the information into the hands of the defense sooner. At least that is how I understand it.

    And I think the comments about Drew cutting the hole aren’t as much about him cutting the hole as him going to an extreme and even admitting it. It also showed he was angry enough that he would cut a hole in his OWN wall. He was a cop. So why would he not have gone a more civil way to get into the house like have a neighbor let him in? Right??

  66. And as far as Drew not calling the police – aren’t there several of the 18 police calls between him and Kathleen called in by him? That would be an interesting point to be made at the trial in the closing arguments to counter the opening statements made by the Defense.

  67. I am still confused on the hitman thing, wasn’t that what came out when the the bail was set so high? I’m still not completely confident in this judge.

  68. I don’t know if the high bail was directly related to that evidence. Was it? I thought the whole bail justification thing was sealed.

    Here are the posts we’ve got tagged with Jeffrey Pachter.

    It sucks, but I don’t think Judge Burmila really had a choice about barring his testimony if the prosecution failed to notify the defense that they were going to call him as a witness.

    Good point, TAI. The defense used to love pointing out that it was almost always Drew placing those domestic calls to the police.

  69. From InSession this morning:
    #drewpeterson : “going into the house was now Drew’s idea; it was Mary Pontarelli’s idea.” Drew calls a locksmith.

    Didn’t Mary say that Drew had called HER? That’s what I remember hearing all along.

  70. “Greenberg was dismissive of the hole in the wall.

    “Is that like, ‘There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza dear Liza,'” he joked. “The hole has nothing to do with the case. You don’t convict someone on dirt.””

    Just when I start to think Greenberg is acting like a respectable defense attorney, he states something like the above to the press.

  71. Who wouldn’t be scared of a man cutting holes in the wall to get into the house? He wanted to show Kathleen that she couldn’t escape him. That type of behavior is beyond extreme. IMO The jury needs to see the “why” behind her fear and protective measures. IMO

  72. Does Joel think the more (& louder) he squeals, the more people will think he is right? If Drew was the victum of a media frenzy, Joel was the Ringmaster. Tomorrow when Mary’s husband is on the stand I hope that someone asks him how many people he knows that take a bath in complete darkness.

  73. I will be curious to hear Rick Mims’ testimony, especially since we know he was watching and tracking Kathleen for Drew. Didn;t Drew even insisted on radio communication that wouldn’t leave a trail like a regular cellphone.

  74. And how many murder suspects have publicists, who book them time on the talk show circuit, who market video packages of them and a pretend fiancee, and get them gigs on reality shows?

    Joel was out there selling interviews with Drew and when he couldn’t get cash he’d accept a barter in the form of plugs for his Sports Bar. (Would they let me in the courtroom if I wore a Chicken Wing t-shirt?)

    I realize that the law is the law, but the shamelessness of the defense can be hard to get around sometimes.

    I wonder if Mims is on the witness list. He’s gonna be a problematic witness but IMO the stalking stuff is important. But then I thought the hole in the garage wall was good evidence too. Apparently I don’t know much.

    Ric Mims testified that he never read the true crime thriller “Fatal Vows.” Mims also admitted smoking Crack 20 to 50 times. Ric Mims testified Monday that he helped Peterson follow Savio around, once sitting in a parked vehicle outside her office while Peterson told him he was removing papers from Savio’s house. Mims testified the National Enquirer paid him $17,500 for his story.


  75. Steve Mancini also stated that he knew of Drew cutting the hole in the wall according to one of the police reports. “Steven went and saw Kathleen later that day. She told him that she did not want Drew arrested or reprimanded. He also advised that he was aware that previously Drew cut a hole in the garage drywall to gain entry into the family room.”


    Wonder how they keep it out if that is part of the Police Report? Will they not be able to enter that into evidence either?

  76. “It was a less than auspicious first round for Will County prosecutors Tuesday in the long-awaited murder trial of former Bolingbrook policeman Drew Peterson.

    From nearly stumbling into a mistrial within minutes of starting his opening statement to losing several key evidentiary rulings, Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow and his team kept bumping up against the problems in their case.

    We may think we know what happened to Peterson’s third wife, Kathleen Savio, found dead in her bathtub in 2004, but the first day of trial was a reminder that proving it within the rules of evidence will be another matter.

    And as much as we may also believe we know what happened to his missing fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, that’s not even an allowed area of inquiry in this proceeding.

    Judge Edward Burmila barred Glasgow from telling jurors in his opening statement that a co-worker once claimed Peterson offered him $25,000 to help kill Savio. The judge ruled prosecutors had failed to alert defense attorneys in advance of their plan to use his testimony — and declared it out of bounds for the rest of the trial.

    Lucky for Glasgow, defense attorneys raised their objection in mid-sentence before he could say how the $25,000 was to be used, which quite likely saved him from a mistrial. The defense asked for one, which would have sent everything back to square one, but Burmila turned them down.”


  77. If there was a saving grace for the prosecution in the trial’s opening salvo, it was the unseemly manner in which Peterson’s defense team, lead attorney Joel Brodsky in particular, attempted to denigrate Savio.

    Their theory of the case is that she slipped and fell in the bathtub, hitting her head and drowning, which would not seem to necessitate a defense bordering on she-got-what-she-deserved.

    But that’s what Brodsky did, at various times describing her as a “hot-tempered,” “bossy,” “spitfire” and “hell-cat” who made up “lies” about Peterson to help her get more money in the divorce and “always has to have the last word.”

    Supposedly, this was to show she would have fought back if somebody tried to kill her.

    What will be really interesting is whether Brodsky can back up his assertion to the jury that some of the injuries observed on Savio’s corpse — including carpet burns — were the result of rough sex the previous day with her new boyfriend. If he can’t prove that, he could lose the case right there.

    Even outside the courthouse, Brodsky kept up the attack as if he were a divorce lawyer trying to get a bigger settlement. “Kathleen Savio was not some mild-mannered victim,” he told the cameras.

    Peterson has the best defense team publicity can buy, a half dozen lawyers working the case for free in hopes a high-profile fight and what many consider to be a good chance of acquittal will pay dividends down the road.

    That means that before and after court, and even during the lunch break, they take their turns commentating for the media — which includes some of the national true-crime celebrity analysts like Fox’s “Judge Jeanine” Pirro.

  78. A bit of insomnia tonight. Watching Nancy Grace (with Rita Crosby in for Nancy). Steve Greenberg stated that the “pathologists are going to describe the bruising and they are going to tell you they can’t date the bruising and some of the bruising comes from the stuff she was doing with her boyfriend”. Then he said the evidence about the bruising predates the “accident” and it is “not in dispute” between the defense, the state,and the pathologist.

  79. The Media needs to keep on Joel! You see how he was ranting and raving in the video up above? He was rambling with a loose tongue! We all know that loose lips, sinks ships 🙂 Keep pressing him he will squeal like a pig! I hope Glasgow is watching and seeing how to get his goat! Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see he gets easily irritated and loses it lol

    I can’t believe Glasgow messed that up though, wow I’m still in disbelief over it!! That was a bad thing to mess up! It would of helped to get a conviction a lot easier with his testimony in my opinion. The jury hearing about a hire to kill, sticks in their minds no matter what. That was not good with what happened today. 😦

  80. I’m shaking my head too, Lorie. I thought Pachter was the second strongest witness after Schori (even with his convictions).

    I’ve defended the State for a long time and agreed with their appeals and the resulting long delay, etc.(I never was a fan of the hearsay statute because I didn’t think they needed it.) But omitting Pachter from the witness list? How did that happen?

  81. Ok am I forgetting something here ? Why do they keep saying about Kathleen having sex with her boyfriend the night or so before she died? How do they know this? I don’t remember that being said? I don’t remember her boyfriend saying anything about that? He keeps bringing up about the bruises, cuts, and scrapes ………

  82. Facs,
    Yes it was a big mess up, and I hope and pray it doesn’t cost them the trial. They have much more, and I am hoping even without that they can still convince the jury. I still have faith, but then again this judge has me wondering as well.

    As for the condom I do remember that, but that was never tested was it to determine who’s it was I thought?

  83. Thanks Facs! It has been so long, hard to remember all the details. I will have to go back over some stuff I guess. I will check back here tomorrow after work to get the latest. Keeping the Savio’s, Cales, and all of you in my Prayers! See you all tomorrow, night 🙂

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