Joel Brodsky continues to peck at discrepancies in various reports regarding exact wording and location. Coughlin stands his ground.
Brodsky: You didn’t think Peterson was serious when he said that? Coughlin: “No, I didn’t”
Prosecution objects to the presentation of two court orders. Sidebar.
Defense shows court orders which indicate that Peterson did not attend a hearing that month.
Cross resumes. Questions again about whether Drew was leaving a courtroom or a side room. Evidently, this took place at a court date for Peterson’s divorce and the two men with him were lawyers.
Prosecution does brief redirect with Coughlin.
Reiteration about the elevators and belief that Peterson was there because of divorce.
Defense wants to strike Coughlin’s testimony due to him saying part of the FBI report was false back in 2007.
Court ends for the day.
Time constraints bump the testimony of Patrick Collins to Wednesday.
The prosecution calls its next witness: Lieutenant James Coughlin.
He is a lieutenant with the Bolingbrook Police Department.
Peterson approached Coughlin at an elevator in Will County Courthouse in February 2004 and said “my life would be easier if she [Savio] would just die”
Patton: What caused you to recall this conversation? Coughlin: “Because a few weeks later Kathleen turned up dead.”
End of direct examination. Sidebar
Joel Brodsky starts cross and picks at Coughlin’s testimony which differs from what he told grand jury as to which floor they were on and if it occurred on an elevator or whether Drew entered from side door.
Jurors are removed while attorney discuss possible introduction of hearsay testimony by Patrick Collins re: false alibi.
Attorneys argue about the eighteen 911 calls
Judge: “The phone calls regarding the transportation of the children will be admissible. The phone calls regarding the name calling will not be admissible.”
Judge: “The State has to demonstrate whether this was a homicide, regardless of whether Mr. Peterson committed the homicide. So these phone calls are going to be admitted for that.”
Argument about Stacy Peterson providing an alibi for Drew and whether that can come in. State says that her alibi mirrors Drew’s word for word and as he was sitting next to her and coaching her to lie that her answer is relevant since if she were to become available to testify and her testimony differed it would be important. (something like that. It’s confusing)
Judge: “we’re working at a glacial pace right now.”
Jury is entering court
Attorney Patton gets Deel to cede that the diagram isn’t an accurate portrayal of the death scene and although Dr. Mitchell saw the diagram, he never saw the photos of the scene.
Defense starts re-cross.
Deel says that he knows the difference between wound blood and purged blood and that the blood in the tub was purged.
Deel: Bathtub falls are the most common cause of household injury.
Defense: Mitchell said Savio death should have been undetermined? “Yes.” But did not say was homicide? “Yes.”
Bob Deel steps down.
Patrick Collins is up next.
Peterson judge blocks any questions about prosecutors writing complaint about Deel to his superiors. No letter produced in court.
Deel back on stand and Attorney Patton conducts re-direct.
He admits that he is not a trained medical professional and so could not determine how Kathleen had died or where the blood in the tub was coming from although he assumed it was purge due to natural decomposition. Deel didn’t see an issue with the position of Savio’s body. He says he noted that her contacts case was open and upside down and that he did not see contact lenses in the tub but also didn’t know if they were in Savio’s eyes.
Defense objects to questions about whether Deel could determine if blood had been wiped up.
Deel says Dr.Mitchell told him at a later date that he thought the case should have been determined as an undetermined death rather than accidental.
Patton shows Deel a diagram that was created later to show Kathleen in the tub. He admits that it does not accurately show the size or shape of the tub, which appears rectangular in the diagram. He defends himself saying that his measurements were accurate and that someone else created the diagram. Seems to be a bit frustrated.
Patton tries to ask about certain types of head wounds but Defense objections are sustained three times.
Court still in recess. Defense attorneys and others milling about in the hallway. Prosecution nowhere to be seen.
Trial on break. Defense wants Deel to testify about an alleged complaint filed by State’s Attorney’s office about him.
Judge asks Glasgow who wrote the letter about Deel. “I have no idea,” Glasgow said
Judge: “I want to see the letter.”
Deel says he never met Peterson before. He didn’t see signs of struggle.
Deel goes on to describe what he saw at the scene, including the glass of orange juice, and nothing “unusual”.
“There was no indication that the body had been moved or anything along those lines.
Deel says the scene looked like “nothing even close to” someone fighting for their life.
You process all death scenes the same way? “Yes.”
So in your mind, there’s no such thing as a suspicious death protocol, they’re all the same? “I’ve never even heard of a suspicious death protocol.”
Deel talking about bruise on left buttocks: “I see it as just a bruise”
Deel says he was told at autopsy by pathologist Bryan Mitchell (now deceased) that Savio’s death was not a murder.
Patton tries to ask Deel about certain kinds of head wounds. Defense objections are sustained each time.
Jurors enter back into courtroom, testimony continues.
Deel on how Kathleen’s body was removed: “It’s not a graceful or pretty sight – but we had to get her out of there”
Patton: You are now looking at a photograph of the orange juice in the kitchen. Did you take any fingerprints from any items on that counter? “No.”
Cross-examination by Defense.
Defense asks Deel about training, experience: 27 years in law enforcement; evidence tech training; etc.
Defense team questioning to establish Deel’s long history and many years of experience as a crime scene technician.
You’ve processed over 500 crime scenes? “Yes, Sir.”
You’re trained to looked for people who have tried to cover their tracks? “That’s part of it, yes.”
You’re trained to try to pick out the signs that somebody tried to cover their tracks? “Yes, Sir.”
Deel describes a crime scene where it originally looked like a homicide, but it turned out to be a suicide (as rigor mortis set in, the corpse’s tightening muscles actually fired another round). This is not something for amateurs? “No.”
Jurors removed from courtroom. Defense objects to line of questioning re: what investigators did not do to gather evidence.
Defense: “They are trying to create this inference that a poor investigation was done and there’s no reason for the prosecution to try to put before a jury that the investigation was poorly done, no legal basis for them to ask these questions, because there’s no legal or factual inference that can be drawn that helps the prosecution. It’s just totally improper. it’s not evidence. It’s the absence of any evidence. And the prosecution can’t do that.”
Judge reiterates that he won’t allow the state to ask the jury to speculate and doesn’t see how line of questioning is prejudicial to Peterson.
Judge: State can ask what was/wasn’t done, and why. “If they want to say this is the worst investigator in the world, I can’t stop them.”
Court is back in session
Kathy Patton resumes her direct examination of Illinois State Police officer Robert Deel.
The witness is now shown another photograph. Is that one of the autopsy photos that you took? “It is. It’s a close-up photograph that was taken of the back of the witness’ head.”
Did you see any injuries to her head? “When we took her out of the tub, we knew that she was bleeding from the head, because we got blood all over our gloves. But I did not do an examination to see what kind of injury she had. That’s beyond the scope of what I’m supposed to do.”
Another autopsy photo is identified. Did you see that injury that night? “I don’t particularly recall but I did note that she had various bruises and injuries about the body.”
Were those injuries important to you? “Not at that time, no.”
Court takes a break. Will resume at 1:15pm
Judge allowing ISP trooper Robert Deel to take the stand. Jury re-entering the courtroom.
Attorney Pattton is again doing the direct examination.
“I’m a state police officer, with the Illinois State Police. Seven years this December.” He briefly goes over his training and experience in law enforcement.
Did you observe the escape windows leading to the basement? “I remember walking around to see if there were windows there; they were closed.”
You didn’t check to see if they were locked or unlocked? “I don’t believe so, no. My main focus inside the house was the area where she was found.”
Did you go through all the rooms? “No.”
The witness is shown a photograph, and notes a can of something in the bedroom that can be seen in it (Spot Shot carpet stain remover).
Did you see that can? “Yes.”
Feel it was of any evidentiary value? “No.”
Did you process it? “No, I did not.”
What conclusions did you come to after observing the scene? “That there was a dead person in the tub.”
Witness looks at photos. Can you see what appears to be a redness or mark on her left buttocks? “Yes.”
Do you recall seeing it that day? “Not particularly. But it’s in the photo.”
Did you process the tub for fingerprints? “I did not, no. It was unclear as to what had happened to her, whether she’d fallen in the tub, had committed suicide, so I made the decision that the best cause of action was to remove the body.”
Deel says that he took no evidence from the bathroom. Only photographs.
When asked if an investigator asked him to looks at evidence from the bathroom there is an objection.
Judge Burmila asks attorneys to approach the bench.
Attorney Kathleen Patton begins re-direct
The witness says he felt Savio’s death appeared suspicious.
What made you feel that way? “The fact that there were no obvious signs of a fall in the bathroom. I don’t know how she would have drowned otherwise.
Is there anything else that caused you to be suspicious? “The way the body was positioned in the tub. It was a fairly small tub, and it seemed as if a person would have fell I don’t believe they would have came to rest that way.”
State wants to call State Trooper Robert Deel to the stand, jury steps out, defense has a problem with this witness.
Attorney Steve Greenberg: “This gets into areas I think the State should not be allowed to get into. My understanding with Sgt. Deel and also Investigator Collins is that they want to get into the investigation was possibly not done probably The problem I have with this argument is the State doing almost what the defense is supposed to do–raising reasonable doubt, trying to raise questions about the investigation. I don’t think the State can do that. The inference the State wants to draw is, ‘Had they done more, there might be evidence.’ The problem with that is they didn’t do more, and it’s totally irrelevant that they didn’t do things. Their failure to do anything doesn’t lead to any conclusion that makes it more likely than not that a crime was committed, or that Mr. Peterson committed a crime. It’s burden-shifting. It’s very troubling to me. So we’re asking that you restrict them from getting into that.”
Judge Burmila: “I can’t tell the State what to argue. As far as the officer’s role in the investigation, he’s entitled to tell what he did in this particular case, and I believe he’s entitled to tell what he would ordinarily do. But I don’t believe any of those questions would lead to burden-shifting. The State is not going to be allowed to infer that there were fingerprints or blood and they missed it, and if they had only found it would have proved the defendant was there. They can’t ask the jury to speculate as to what they would have found if they’d done more.”
I want to know if you recall Trooper Deel arriving at the home at 1:45 am on March 2? “I do.”
That’s when those pictures were taken by Trooper Deel? “I observed him take pictures, yes.”
And that’s when you took your picture, right? “No.”
Well, that’s when you told the State Police, that you took them together. “I took the picture when I got there, with my Polaroid camera, when I went up with Officer Sutton(?).”
Sidebar when defense asks if VanOver ever attempted to correct Dr. Mitchell after the autopsy and tell him “Hey you got it wrong!”
Judge says that defense has tried twice now to introduce coroner’s inquest into this cross-examination.
Patton: “This witness was not there; it’s not appropriate for this witness.”
Cross-examination resumes with re-worded question and then ends.
Do you recognize that as an official report from the Will County Coroner’s Office? “Yes.”
Does that refresh your recollection about when a conversation occurred with Anna Doman? “No, it does not.”
So you have no recollection of speaking to Anna Doman on March 2, 2004? “No, I don’t.”
However, the witness recalls speaking to Doman at one time.
She never told you that Drew told her she’d never make it to the divorce settlement? “I don’t remember the conversation.”
You’d remember if she told that to you, correct? “Correct.”
She never told you that Drew was going to murder her, and make it look like an accident? “I don’t recall that conversation.”
You’d remember that, wouldn’t you? “Yes, I would.”
Miss Patton asked you questions about soap scum. That was unusual to you, that there was no soap scum in the tub, and you thought that was suspicious? “Right.”
You didn’t tell Trooper Deel that you thought this was a homicide? “No, I did not.”
You didn’t voice any objection when Trooper Deel told you this was an accident? “No, I did not.”
You asked Trooper Deel if there was any reason to believe this was a suspicious death, and they said no. you didn’t put in your report that you disagreed with that in any way? “No, I did not.”
You put in your report that there were no signs of foul play? “Yes.”
You also put in that report that there were no signs of any trauma or struggle in the bathroom area? “I did.”
No signs of trauma on the body? “That’s correct.”
Question about what VanOver told Sue Doman in 2004, but there is an objection – sustained.
Court is back in session.
Defense maintains black and white photos were not a part of discovery. Ready to move forward.
The judge finds no discovery violation (because the photo is so similar to others) and sends for the jurors and the witness.
Cross-examination of VanOver by Attorney Darryl Goldberg.
Defense noting differences in VanOver’s testimony from Feb. 9th, 2010 and today, mainly in regards to removal of the body.
VanOver testified in 2012 he didn’t know who helped him remove Savio’s body. Today he said one of the troopers helped him.
Defense questioning implies that VanOver’s report may not have been accurate.
The three-page report is then shown to the witness. There’s not one word whatsoever about you taking any photographs in this case? “Not in that report.”
Not in any report? “That’s correct.”
So there’s nothing about when you would have taken a photograph?
(Sounds like attempt to add muddle blue towel-gate)
Trial on break. Waiting for prosecutors to track down a set of black and white Polaroids.
Defense asks for more time to review coroner black/white photos. On a short recess.
(Former Peterson defense team member, Atty George Lenard is spotted in the overflow room.)
I was told by the Bolingbrook officer that the Illinois State Police were going to be investigating this, so I stood down until they arrived.”
What is your function at a death investigation? “To gather demographic information about the decedent, to gather any medication, to speak to family members.”
Did you do any of that before the state police arrived? “No, I did not.
The state police arrived “in excess of an hour,” and this witness met with Trooper Robert Deel. “We went and looked at the decedent, and Trooper Deel took some photos. We looked for medication bottles, and we went down to the kitchen area, where we did find some medication bottles. Then we went back up to the bathroom area, and prepared the body for transport.
We removed the body from the bathtub, turned the body over in the tub so the extremities could be reached, so the body could be picked up and put in a body bag. Trooper Deel put paper bags over the hands. I picked up the lower end of the body. It goes into a body bag, on the floor next to the tub.”
You didn’t see any stabbings or gunshots wounds, did you? “I did not.”
He did not cause cut to Savio’s left hand. He wore gloves the entire time of body removal.
VanOver admits to not following the suspicious death protocol that was supposed to be in place the night Savio was found.
Objection and sidebar.
Over the defense objection, the photograph is projected for the jurors. The witness says he took the photograph
There was purge coming from the nose and mouth. The blood has stopped circulating in the body, and so it takes the path of least resistance, and would come out the nose or the mouth.
The tub was clean, except for a trail of purge.
The witness is now shown another photograph.
Did not notice laceration on Savio’s head the night he examined body in tub. Her hair was “thick, matted”
You didn’t examine her head that night, to see if there were any injuries to it? “I did not.”
“I specifically recall their being an abrasion on her left buttocks”
VanOver describing abrasion: “It wasn’t in the scabbing form – it appeared to be just drying up”
Court is in session
Judge Burmila has just taken the bench. “I received some motions last night (on re Dr. Michael Baden). When are we going to address those?”
It is decided that the Court will take at least one witness today, and then perhaps the motions will be argued.
Jury is entering the courtroom
State calls Michael VanOver, Deputy Coroner to the stand.
He is examined by Atty Kathleen Patton.
He goes over the training and experience that qualifies him for that position. He was working in that position on March 1, 2004, and was dispatched to the Savio home, arriving at approximately 11:14 am.
“There was a deceased individual that was the ex-wife of a Bolingbrook police sergeant… I went upstairs into the residence and was shown where the decedent was.” “What part of the second floor?” “In a bathroom, off of a bedroom…I seen a Caucasian female, lying in a bathtub.”
The witness identifies a Polaroid photograph he took that morning. “It is a photograph of the decedent lying in the bathtub.”
VanOver noticed slight rigor mortis, pooling of blood, abrasions. The tub that Savio was in had no water in it and the drain was closed.
Defense objects to photo being shown in court. Sidebar
Drew Peterson’s trial for the murder of Kathleen Savio continues today. On Friday, Kathleen Savio’s older sister, Anna Doman, testified about her sister telling her that she was afraid she would be killed by Peterson and never make it to the division of assets in their bifurcated divorce. She told about a suitcase full of documents that her sister was keeping in her SUV, and how Kathleen told her to collect it in the event that anything happened to her. Doman also talked about the days after Kathleen’s death, of Peterson coming to Savio’s house and his “frantic” search for certain items. Under cross-examination, she stated that she had tried to tell authorities about Kathleen’s fears but that no one listened to her until 2007, when she met Greta VanSusteren at Sharon Bychowski’s house and was told that FOX news might help her to get a new autopsy for her sister.
Deputy Coroner, Mike VanOver, Evidence technician Robert Deel; investigator Patrick Collins, Will County Coroner, Patrick O’Neil and Bolingbrook police officer, James Coughlin, are on the prosecution witness list for today.
Kristopher Peterson turns eighteen this week and is expected to attempt to have his name withdrawn from a wrongful death civil suit against Peterson filed by his grandfather and aunt. His brother, Thomas, did the same when he turned eighteen two years ago. At that time he also wrote a letter in support of his father.
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.