Drew Peterson trial – Day two: Neighbor testifies. Defense requests mistrial

UPDATE 02:17:

No decision on mistrial.
Defense needs time to consider if they want to strike Thomas Pontarelli’s testimony or go for a mistrial.
Court adjourned until 9 am tomorrow.

UPDATE 01:37:

Judge holds off on declaring mistrial.
Atty Lopez tweets: “This is a real mess”
Attorney teams are huddled in adjacent, separate courtrooms. No decisions have been made.
Drew Peterson is with his defense team.
Judge Burmila in conference with both teams behind closed doors.
Defense atty Steve Greenberg is the only atty left in the main courtroom.
All the lawyers are back in court with the judge.

UPDATE 01:17:

Spectators and media filing into the courtroom. Several defense attys are already inside. Prosecutors are in adjacent courtroom.
State’s attorney James Glasgow has just entered the courtroom.
Court is in session.
More people in overflow room than for opening statements. Even some court’s media office have come in to hear Judge’s ruling.
Burmila: bullet testimony “a low blow.”
Judge suggests striking Thomas Pontarelli’s testimony in total. He is allowing the defense to discuss it.
Drew Peterson watched intently, looking up at the judge, as Burmila explained himself. Glasgow looked down at desk. Courtroom nearly full.
Attorney Greenberg is overheard to say “that’s not what I wanted to hear.”
Judge: It’s more important to get this right rather than any sort of delay.

UPDATE 11:54:

Judge will rule on Mistrial at 1:15
Joel Brodsky says Peterson is in shock, disbelief.
Defense attorney Joel Brodsky walked briskly from the courthouse during the break, shouting “No comment at this time!” to camera crews.
Court artist Christine Cornell on In Session says Peterson is in good spirits, asked to see her drawing and requested that she give him a bit of a face lift. She says that what prosecution did was just “dumb” and that Glasgow appears “carved out of stone” as the rest of the courtroom emptied and he remained seated and immobile. Ass’t SA Patton would not return eye contact with her.

UPDATE 11:22:

Defense says they are officially going for mistrial.
Drew Peterson appears relaxed in court. Not cocky, but like he doesn’t have a care in the world.
Defense: “This is intentionally bringing before the jury evidence that the court excluded” “that hole in the door had absolutely nothing to do with this case…”
Prosecution maintains they never lead the jury. “We wish to show Kathleen Savio’s fear of Drew Peterson and we have a lot of witnesses to go yet.”
Prosecution: Pontarelli was intimidated by .38 shell in driveway, and told Peterson “I got your message last night.” Peterson said “What message?”
State: No intent to “poison” the jury, attempt to get out Pontarelli’s “true feelings” about Peterson. Judge can ask jury to disregard.
Judge asks jury to disregard statement about the hole in the door.
“Argument makes absolutely no sense to the courts” Judge discussing the State discussing bullet in driveway.

UPDATE 11:05:

Lopez concludes his cross-examination of Pontarelli. Ass’t SA Kathy Patton begins her re-direct.
Redirect stalled by numerous objections. Pontarelli says he felt intimidated when Peterson accused him of changing front door locks – said he didn’t.
Jury taken out of court room after Thomas Pontarelli says he saw 38 caliber bullets on his driveway.
Burmila: He found a .38 bullet in driveway and you’re going to leave the jury with impression the defendant may or may not have put it there?
Judge sustains defense’s objection to intimidation testimony.
Atty Greenberg asks for a mistrial over the comment. Judge takes a break so they can discuss. Atty Patton admits prosecution can’t backup the testimony with evidence about .38 bullet. Judge seems irritated.
Prosecutors said they were about to ask Pontarelli if he could prove DP put bullet there. He’d likely say no.
Pontarelli and Peterson nodded at each other as if to say “hello” while he was leaving the courtroom.

UPDATE 10:49:

Thomas Pontarelli about to take the stand again to defense atty Lopez’s questions.
He didn’t tell police Peterson made a phone call from the bathroom after finding Savio dead. He looks at the police report.
Witness looks at photos of lock and hole in the door from Savio’s bedroom and tells Lopez he doesn’t know where or when hole appeared. Asked to ID a photo of a cat allegedly belonging to Savio. He doesn’t know who’s cat it is. Witness is asked about telling police he installed a deadbolt on Savio’s door. He is certain that the hole in Savio’s door was there BEFORE her death in 2004.
State objects to leading questions.

UPDATE 10:20:

Court takes 10 minute break.

UPDATE 10:03:

Peterson called saying he needed to drop of the kids but Savio wasn’t around. Peterson said he was getting a locksmith. When witness went outside, locksmith was already there. He doesn’t recall if DP said “he didn’t want to go in there, in case something was wrong?” Witness describing who went where when they first entered the house. Witness says he went directly to the garage. The door was locked. He & his son then heard his wife’s scream from upstairs. When screaming started, he and his son went up stairs first, then Peterson followed.He and Peterson stayed upstairs and waited for paramedics. Everyone else went downstairs.
He was also worried about Savio before they even entered the house. Witness is asked about what he told EMTs. Witness is asked why he didn’t tell troopers about no clothes or towels on the floor on bathroom. Witness can’t remember. He, wife Mary and Steve Carcerano went to Steve’s house. He doesn’t recall what officers he spoke with later that night.
State objects. Sidebar.

UPDATE 09:47:

Defense atty Joe Lopez begins cross of Pontarelli.
Thomas Pontarelli says he would drink with Peterson “we were friends” “tried to remain neutral…wasn’t easy”
Witness says after DP moved out, both DP and Savio started dating again. DP got married.
When DP still lived with Savio, he stayed downstairs in his “apartment.”
Lopez asks witness if he wants to be here today. Witness says “no.”
witness recalls the last weekend Savio was alive. They had just come back from vacation. Savio approached them in the driveway. He says his wife invited her to go out that evening. Savio declined.Thomas Pontarelli saw Savio’s light on around midnight Saturday. He doesn’t remember any strange noises. On Sunday they sent their son (Nick) over to invite Savio to dinner. No one came to the door.

UPDATE 09:42:

Witness using laser pointer to show where everyone was, including where Savio’s body was.
Peterson was standing next to him, then took Savio’s pulse. Peterson then said “What am I going to tell my children?”

UPDATE 09:35:

Pontarelli reiterates his wife’s earlier testimony that they went to a party Saturday night. They got home shortly after midnight.
Monday evening they got a call from Peterson, saying he was getting a locksmith because he can’t get into the house.
The home was completely dark when they entered.
“Don’t go up there because we not know what we are going to find” Thomas Pontarelli told his son after hearing he screams.
Peterson did not go up the stairs when after the screams but followed Thomas after he went up.
Pontarelli said he didn’t see a towel or any clothes near the bathtub where he saw Kathleen Savio.
“it was clean…there was no soap scum” Thomas Pontarelli describes how he saw the tub.
Everyone left the bathroom but Peterson and Thomas Pontarelli.
Pontarelli: Overheard Peterson make call after Savio body found, said “just found my wife dead and they’re going to think I did it.”

UPDATE 09:26:

Pontarelli: The lock did not have scratches on it the day he installed it.
Peterson said he didn’t want Pontarelli to be helping her changing locks in the bedroom door.
Witness IDs lock he put in Savio’s bedroom door and photo of hole in the wall. He said he didn’t have anything to do with the hole. He IDs scratches on the wall and around the lock from photos.
Last time he saw Savio alive was on Feb 28th when the Pontarellis came back from vacation.
After Peterson saw him helping Savio move some things to his garage, Peterson warned him not to help Savio “Any friend of hers is an enemy of mine,” Drew told him.

UPDATE 09:16:

Peterson is wearing a blue shirt and dark blue suit in court today.
Now on stand: Kathy Savio neighbor Tom Pontarelli.
Prosecutor Kathy Patton will question the witness.
Witness says Petersons moved in next door in ’99 and asked to ID a photo of Stacy Peterson. Defense objects, judge overrules.
Pontarelli: Savio was going to school to become a nurse. His house and Savio’s were about 15′ apart. They travelled with the Petersons and had bbq’s. He was also aware of the divorce proceedings. Savio asked him to install a lock on her bedroom door. he said he did not put hole in door though.

UPDATE 08:59:

State is expected to file motion so defense can’t ask about prior DUI from a potential witness who may testify this morning.
Joel Brodsky enters courthouse, talks to press. SA Glasgow walks past cameras.

Drew Peterson’s trial for the murder of Kathleen Savio continues today. The prosecution is expected to call more witnesses who observed the scene of Kathleen Savio’s death, including Thomas Pontarelli, paramedic Louis Oleszkiewicz, and locksmith, Robert Akin; plus Chris Wolzen, the supervisor who dispatched the locksmith.

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
Kara Oko

~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.~


73 thoughts on “Drew Peterson trial – Day two: Neighbor testifies. Defense requests mistrial

  1. Joseph R. Lopez ‏@josharrk
    Where are all the people

    I get the feeling that with this trial not televised, interest is not going to remain so high. I hope the live tweeters stick with it.

  2. That makes me giggle. Maybe the people can’t stand to be in the room where Joel might start talking in that shrill squeal.

  3. Deja vu.

    Neighbor: Drew Knew He’d Be Suspect
    Hearsay hearing enters third week
    Updated 4:02 PM CST, Mon, Feb 1, 2010

    A neighbor who helped find the body of Drew Peterson’s third wife said the former Bolingbrook police sergeant seemed “genuinely distraught.”

    But Thomas Pontarelli said Peterson also immediately suggested he’d be a suspect in Kathleen Savio’s 2004 death.

    In a hearing to determine what hearsay evidence a judge will allow jurors to hear when Peterson stands trial in the slaying of Savio, Pontarelli testified about the night her body was found. He said Peterson called him and told him he was bringing a locksmith to gain access to her house.

    He said when Savio was discovered lifeless in her bathtub, Peterson’s first words were “What will I tell my children?”

    He said when Peterson used his cell phone to notify police he said, “People are going to think I did it.”

    Pontarelli’s son Nick also testified that Savio told him she feared Drew Peterson.

    “She said if anything ever hapened to her it wasn’t an accident,” Nick Pontarelli told Judge Stephen White…


  4. agrimm34 ‏@agrimm34
    Open seats at #DrewPeterson trial. Sheriff’s spokeswoman Kathy Hoffmeyer reports only 9 members of public sought seats.

    Well, you can’t tweet from the courtroom!

  5. apparently you can if your in the other room listening ya can tweet from what I get by insession./ what you think about this bullet that he said and def is calling for miss trial .. maybe pros did not know he was going to say something like that ya know ..

  6. Regular people like me aren’t allowed to bring in cell pones/laptops like the press are. I don’t have a media credential.

    Prosecution knows everything witness will testify about.

    Pontarelli gave the same testimony about the .38 bullet two years ago. It’s nothing new or unexpected. Just can’t be proved that Peterson is the one who left it.

  7. right facemiley , but why they are asking for misstrial, when the def knew about it before , we cann;t have this right he needs to go jail , me think proc did nto know he was going to say it

  8. It has nothing to do with the defense knowing or not knowing.

    It has to do with the fact that the .38 bullet can’t be directly tied to Drew Peterson. Same with the hole in the bedroom door. Pontarelli testified that it was there before Kathleen’s death, so defense is saying that it’s not relevant to showing that Drew Peterson killed Kathleen. The State isn’t allowed to try the case by suggestion or innuendo.

    State is arguing that it goes toward proving that Kathleen was afraid of Drew and for good reason.

  9. Food for thought. You can be retried after a mistrial.

    Until you have been found guilty or not guilty, or the judge or attorney decides not to go any further with the case and drops it, you can be continuously retried. However, if your case goes outside the jurisdictions of the “speedy trial” laws of your state, you and your lawyer can petition the court on your behalf to drop it.

    If Drew were to be retried, could the hit man witness problem be corrected?

  10. I must be naive…. I don’t see what the big deal about this bullet is. The prosecution didn’t ask about it directly, it came out accidentally. So, why can’t they just ask Tom if he knew how it got there or who put it there and be done with it. I know… I am over simplyfying. For a guy who is “not guilty” his defense team sure does want a mistrial.

    I have a bad feeling about this trial. The prosecution has been less than stellar in my opinion. Leaving out the hit man is just inexcuseable.

  11. I agree it seems like they are making too big a deal about this. Why can’t the judge just sustain the defense objection and ask the jury to disregard the testimony about the bullet if he agrees that it’s irrelevant?

  12. Q: Is a mistrial always retried?

    A: Not always. It is first going to depend on the reason for the mistrial. If the mistrial is due to actions on the part of the prosecution, it is possible that jeopardy will attach, and the mistrial functions the same as an acquittal.

    More frequently, however, a mistrial will be set for a second trial, and a plea agreement will be reached, therefore avoiding trial. In that case, if an agreement is not reached, the case will be tried again.


  13. If there would be a mistrial and they retry him, would it be infront of the same judge? This judge is just to quick for making Drew look good in my opinion.

    I get they were trying to show that Kathleen was afraid of Drew and had good reason to be, but I’d rather see them continue with how this is not an accident. Like no lights on, people do not take a bath in the dark unless it is by candlelight and there were no candles.

    Since the victim was not shot, I’d say the bullet in the driveway means nothing in this case. The defense seems a bit defensive. I did expect a bit more from the prosecution.

  14. Exactly Facs!

    HA! Judge White is on IS. He is saying that the defense should be careful about what they are asking for. If they get it, then the prosecution can easily add the witnesses they forgot. He also says Drew would NOT be released.

    IS was talking earlier about the hitman, they said the prosecution is preparing a motion to bring it in.

  15. The defense asked for a “mistrial WITH prejudice” and if the judge goes along with this, Peterson can never be tried again for Kathleen Savio’s death!!! I just pray that if a mistrial is granted, it will be without prejudice!!

  16. Or that they are ready to arrest him on Stacy Peterson. I do wonder if he would be immediately arrested following this with regards to Stacy if he free legal team would be willing to stay aboard.

  17. I’ve been thinking about how difficult it has been to introduce evidence into this trial.

    Can you imagine them trying Peterson for Stacy’s murder after being acquitted of killing Kathleen? Prosecution would probably be barred from mentioning that Kathleen is even dead and they wouldn’t be able to suggest that Drew killed her. They’d have paint it as if Stacy was attempting to blackmail Drew and that’s why he killed her. Very troubling.

  18. As for the judge just asking the jury to disregard the .38 testimony. They are saying on In Session that the reason Burmila is so angry with the prosecution is that it wasn’t as if Pontarelli just happened to mention something that was excluded. He brought it up specifically because the Prosecution wanted it out there to show that he felt intimidated by Peterson. So they willfully tried to introduce evidence that had been barred and that’s not good.

  19. I have a VERY bad feeling about this!! I think this monster is going to get away with two murders and walk free!! 😦 It just makes me sick to my stomach to even think about!

  20. It’s worrisome that if the trial does proceed, and Drew is convictied, then there will definitely be an appeal because of the bullet testimony.

    Oh well, if there’s a conviction, there will be appeals regardless, right?

  21. “Judge suggests striking Thomas Pontarelli’s testimony in total.”

    So, rather than making a fair decision he offers them a punishment? how is that fair to defendant or victim?

  22. Judge: It’s more important to get this right rather than any sort of delay.

    Finally a statement from the judge I can agree with.

  23. So with no time limit set on the prosecution to ‘think’, I guess we just wait some more. *Sigh*
    I sure wish I knew what would happen if the prosecution said, “No, we won’t strike the whole testimony.” I can’t help but believe an appeal would rule against that ruling!

  24. Personally, I’m now feeling that a mistrial wouldn’t be horrible as long as it is without prejudice- this judge clearly does NOT like the prosecutors at all and I think he sitll holds a grudge that prosecutors appealed the heresay evidence and won that on appeal.

  25. while I appreciate the “inside” information, I do not think it is very professional for an attorney to be tweeting.

  26. Looks like this judge is just like Belvin Perry. Another killer gets away with murder and Kathleen joins Caylee in not getting the justice she deserves.

    What’s the big deal about the statement about the bullet anyway? Just tell the jury there is no evidence Peterson put the bullet there. There is no cause to dismiss all of the testimony this witness gave just because of this.

  27. There’s a story up on Sun-Times but not much new for those who were following along today. [SNIP]

    Defense attorney Steve Greenberg sought the mistrial, saying the testimony about the bullet was the latest attempt by prosecutors to sneak in evidence that already had been barred by prior court rulings.

    “This is intentionally bringing before the jury evidence the court has excluded,” he said.

    Peterson’s legal team said prosecutors should be barred from retrying Peterson for Savio’s death.

    “They shouldn’t be able to benefit from goading us into asking for a mistrial,” Greenberg said.

    They asked Burmila to grant a mistrial “with prejudice,” meaning Peterson could not be tried again on the charges. He could grant that motion (though prosecutors could appeal that ruling), deny it, or declare a mistrial “without prejudice,” meaning the trial would have to start over.


  28. This is the exchange that led to the request for mistrial:

    Patton asked Pontarelli if he had felt intimidated by Peterson. Pontarelli replied he had been, saying “yes … he accused me of changing the locks. I said I didn’t, but I got his message yesterday. ”

    Asked what the “message” was, Pontarelli told jurors he found a .38-caliber bullet in his driveway, prompting outrage by defense attorney Steven Greenberg.


  29. I think the judge could have handled this without the drama and the trial gone on. I’m not so sure that this judge doesn’t have a slight grudge still existing from losing an elected position. IMO

    I’m disappointed with the way this has gone so far. I find Judge White’s comment about Peterson not being released interesting. Something is obviously in the evidence vault. Stacy’s case is going to be the main case of the two.

  30. “After Peterson saw him helping Savio move some things to his garage, Peterson warned him not to help Savio “Any friend of hers is an enemy of mine,” Drew told him”

    “Any friend of hers is an enemy of mine”

    That was actually a much more relevant impact statement for the Jury to ponder, but now completely lost in the mayhem of the “bullet-in-the-driveway” fiasco.

  31. Was a .38 caliber pistol on the list of guns that DP gave to his son SP? Might be a way to connect bullet to DP.

  32. I hate to say this, but would be better for mistrial. It gets thrown out, they arrest him again, and start all over and none of this evidence will be thrown out. This is now 2 things they can’t use! The hitman is the worse they could of lost. It might almost be better to have a mistrial, than to get an aquittal and he walks. Joel and the gang knows this, that is why they don’t really want a mistrial. They said that yesterday, they want it to go on. They are just trying to get stuff banned by screaming for one.

  33. If the mistrial is “with prejudice” because of something dumb the prosecution did, then it’s like an acquittal and Drew can’t be tried again for killing Kathleen.

    That said, I think it’s too early for a mistrial. I don’t know if Judge Burmila is just trying to scare the crap out of the Prosecution to make sure they don’t try to sneak anything else in, or if he’s seriously considering it.

    It’s hard to go on believing in the fairness of this Judge after he barred the evidence of Drew sawing a hole in the wall to enter a house he no longer lived in and was locked out of. it goes to show that Drew was driven to get what he wanted, that he wouldn’t let locks stop him and that he had no respect for Kathleen’s wishes, her property or home. I don’t care if he was still technically co-owner of the home. A divorce was in the works and he had a new home already.

  34. I don’t understand why things are being “SNUCK” in. Isn’t this the witnesses testimony on, or near the time of before, and after her death? I don’t understand why this judge is saying it isn’t relevant? And the jury shouldn’t hear about it? This can show also how, and why witnesses were afraid to come forward before, and after her death. I don’t know ? I guess we sit and wait and try and understand what the heck is going on over there. Not even two days geesh!

  35. The thing about the .38 bullet in the driveway is that it can’t be proven that Drew was the one who put it there so it wasn’t allowed in court. Tom told Drew, “I got your message” but Drew said, “What message?” He never admitted that he did it and it can’t be proven that he did. Even the prosecution said that they weren’t going to try to prove that he did it.

    I’m not saying that it should or shouldn’t have been allowed but it was barred and the state knew that, so for them to intentionally bring it in anyway was a sure way to get an objection and make the judge mad. It was a huge, huge risk to take.

    If we could get a mistrial without prejudice, and a new judge I’d love it.

  36. Another story:

    …”What is the purpose of you trying to tell the juror that this man (Peterson) put a bullet on the driveway?” the judge said, his voice booming, after sending the jury out of the courtroom. “This is completely troubling … it makes no sense whatsoever.”

    Later, before announcing he would only rule on a defense motion for a mistrial Thursday, Burmila added, “The testimony (prosecutors) presented was a low blow in this case.”…

    …For now, Burmila must decide if he will wipe out the testimony of one of Peterson’s neighbors, Thomas Pontarelli, or halt the trial and excuse the jurors _ something he said he’d do as an alternative to effectively cancelling the trial.


  37. Dang! Another crazy day! Looks more like the Prosecution is losing the case than that the Defense is winning it. I would be pissed if I were Kathleen’s family. Cannot get mad at the judge (Or past judges) for not allowing that kind of prejudicial evidence. Evidence should be backed with some ability to prove it. So was thinking to myself – did the prosecuters properly get the wiretaps from Lenny and Paula admitted? The prosecutors should have had many conversations or practice runs with their witnesses to avoid this kind of problem today. Sometimes they can’t stop someone from saying something but this sounds like something they could have run over and not have asked the question “What message?”. My advice to the prosecutors – stick to the facts that are admissible in their questioning. Keep it simple – if Lenny and Paula do go on just ask what they heard and play the the tape if it exists and was part of official disvovery. The Defense does have a tough call – mistrial without prejudice now could open back up the hit man and a new Prosecutor coukd come in and do a better job than Glasgow. And if there is one without prejudice – I do believe bond will be lowered due to the amount of time he already has spent behind bars.

  38. Too bad they didn’t have Orange County’s Belvin Perry as a judge for this case. I hear he lets attorneys get away with making all kinds of unsubstantiated claims that have no proof of them.

  39. So far we have gotten two different stories about this testimony. On InSession, it was reported that the witness just blurted out the statement about the bullet, but facsmiley posted an NBC article that said the prosecutor asked him about the bullet. So, which is it?

  40. I agree Robert, except that Perry let the “defense” attorneys get away with it…and seemed to not have a liking for Ashton. Hell, Jose learned most of Lawyering 101 from Perry, as he (Perry) led him by the hand through Casey’s trial.
    As far as Peterson’s trial so far, WTH is with these simple mistakes that the prosecution is making? Has Glasgow lost his edge? The case against Drew is iffy, at best, and then to blow it twice in two days, is pretty much unforgivable to me. As badly as I am feeling right now, my heart is aching for the Savios and Cales families.

  41. If the defense says the jury is now tainted, they can also ask for jurors to be dismissed and ask for a bench trial. If they do, I sure hope it’s not the same judge.

  42. Hi Robert,

    At first it was thought that the witness had blurted out the .38 bullet comment of his own volition, but when the defense objected and the Judge talked to attorneys, Atty Patton admitted that they had planned for Pontarelli to talk about the bullet, so that they could rebut the image that the defense had tried to create with their cross-examination–the idea of Tom and Drew as BFFs.

    It think that’s when the Judge kind of lost it…

    Oh Lordy, Grandam…I don’t even want to imagine a bench trial under Judge Burmila!

  43. exactly right, research. This witness gave some crucial testimony about no towel being near the tub when they found the body, and then one magically appearing after he left Peterson in the bathroom alone. In addition, his testimony about Peterson’s demeanor towards him when he was helping Kathleen move some of the stuff out of her house was also important. If that is tossed, it puts a bit of a hurting on them.

  44. Yes, I had heard that too facs, but I believe that the NBC article said that the prosecutor had asked him about the bullet in the presence of the jury. I don’t think the prosecutor said that she was trying to elicit that testimony when the jury was there though.

  45. I think it’s much ado about nothing, and it’s the judge making a mountain out of a molehill. All he has to do is strike the statement from the record and tell the jury to disregard what he said about the bullet because there is no proof that Peterson had anything to do with it.

    The statement Glasglow made about the hit man was never completed from my understanding, and the phrase “hit man” was never uttered to the jury, just 25,000. dollars for something that remained unnamed.

  46. Sorry, but I don’t get it.

    Didn’t James Glasgow say there were many more witnesses to come?

    Why then is it necessary to “sneak” in these knowingly irrelevant/non admissable bits, that only undo any impact the witness statement may have had to begin with?

  47. A judge has several options for declaring a mistrial. The case could be tossed completely, what is called mistrial with prejudice, or a mistrial without prejudice could be declared, which would allow the state to retry the defendant with a new jury, experts said.

    Throwing the case out completely is extremely rare, experts said.

    Attorney Bill Gamboney said he has been involved in more than a thousand trials over more than 30 years as a Cook County assistant state’s attorney and a criminal defense attorney, but he has never been part of a trial that has ended in a mistrial with prejudice.

    “It’s an uphill battle,” said former Cook County State’s Attorney Dick Devine, now in private practice. “Most judges are reluctant to declare a mistrial after going through all the trouble to schedule a trial, clear their docket and pick a jury.”

    Instead, judges generally rely on less drastic measures.

    “Obviously you can’t unring the bell, but the court can admonish in very strong language and tell the jury to disregard the testimony,” Devine said.


  48. I too was wondering about a “mistrial without prejudice.” I think this is the terminology for a mistrial in which the suspect can be retried. If that’s the case, it would be a new court date and a new jury.

    What I wonder is, with a new trial could the prosecution request to include the evidence that was ruled against yesterday – the testimony of the man who says he was offered $25,000 to kill Kathleen?

  49. We’ve been mulling that over, Molly. I think in the event that there was a mistrial without prejudice that the hit man witness could be brought back in, as long as the prosecution followed the rules this time and notified the defense. The problem is that in this case the prosecution messed up which would mean a mistrial with prejudice, so I don’t think that’s a possibility (but if it was, probably not such a bad idea).

    At this point, after reading the news stories I’m pretty sure there won’t be a mistrial. At least not yet…

  50. Thanks facsmiley! After all this time, nearly 5 years, it would be awful to have this case end in a mistrial with prejudice.

    The way I see it…………..I don’t believe Stacy’s remains will ever be found. So this trial for the murdrer of Kathleen Savio, is more than justice for Kathleen………it’s justice for Stacy and any other victims too.

  51. They won’t get a mistrial with prejudice, Molly; it would be easier for them to hit the lottery without buying a lottery ticket than it would be for them to get that.

    I also believe that I heard on InSession today that the prosecution has filed a motion to have testimony about the hit man heard by the jury.

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