There’s another ghost haunting Drew Peterson trial – Kathleen Savio’s estate

The name of Stacy Peterson has scarcely been heard during Drew Peterson’s trial for murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Jurors may know that she was his fourth wife but will almost certainly not hear anything about her going missing in 2007, and will certainly hear nothing about her being assumed dead and possibly murdered by Peterson.

But there’s something else that is having a hard time finding its way into this trial, and its something that haunts the proceedings perhaps more intimately than even another wife. It’s Kathleen Savio’s estate. The estate that Drew Peterson was awarded in April of 2005.

If you listen to the defense tell it, after Kathleen’s death the marital aspects were actually split as if Kathleen was a living person and her half went to her estate. End of story.

Of course, the story didn’t end there. Drew produced the hand-written joint will from 1997 (“Hahaha, tell your sister, Anna, she’s not getting anything!”) which was accepted as her own, and 100% of her inheritance went to her ex-husband. The executor of the will was Drew’s Uncle, James Carroll (whose first action was to fire Savio’s lawyer, Harry Smith). But although Savio’s family successfully reopened Kathleen’s estate and won their appeal to become executors in 2009, there is still a pending probate suit and nothing has gone through the courts to prove that Peterson got anything more than he deserved.

This is the part that isn’t coming in to trial because as Peterson defense attorney Greenberg says, it would constitute a trial within a trial.

Yet if it doesn’t come in, how is this justice for Kathleen since it seems that Peterson’s sole motivation to kill her was monetary gain through grabbing all of the marital assets?

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28 thoughts on “There’s another ghost haunting Drew Peterson trial – Kathleen Savio’s estate

  1. I’m confused as to why the judge isn’t allowing any testimony regarding the value of the estate at the time of Kathy’s death. It serves to help show motive and we have already heard a good bit of testimony which says that Drew wanted it all.

    There has to be concrete financial statements that show the Savio estate was worth xxx thousand dollars or that Drew and Kathy’s “estate” split xxx thousand dollars. Why isn’t that admissible?

  2. “The judgement awarded Drew Peterson not only the business known as the Blue Lightning Corporation [Suds Pub], but also all the proceeds from the sale of the marital home, and further provided that Drew Peterson would not be obligated to fund any college expenses for the minor children of the parties due to the fact that life insurance on the life of Kathleen in the amount of $1,000,000 had been payable to the children.”

    The effect of the judgement was to transfer anywhere from $144,117.65 to $288,235.31 (one half to all of the home sale) from the four children who were the benficiaries of the estate of kathleen (Savio) Peterson to Drew Peterson, the former husband of the decedent and the father of the four children…

    Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…don’t tell the jury!

  3. The prosecution had an expert witness lined up to testify as to what Peterson was set to lose had Kathleen lived, but Judge White barred her testimony, and the appellate court upheld his decision:

    III. APPEAL Nos. 3-10-0513 AND 3-10-0546:ADMISSIBILITY OF PROPOSED EXPERT TESTIMONY ¶

    The State intended to present Panos’s opinion on the minimum possible financial impact that the marital property distribution proceeding would have had on the defendant had Kathleen lived. Panos’s proposed opinion included a prediction of what the judge would have ruled at the hearing.

    On July 2, 2010, the circuit court ruled that Panos could testify as to the statutory factors that would have been applicable to the marital property distribution case between Kathleen and the defendant. However, after commenting that “[y]ou can’t sit there and tell a jury that this judge is going to do this when we have no idea what the judge is going to do,” the court prohibited Panos from testifying as to how the judge in the divorce case would have ultimately ruled at the marital property distribution proceeding.

    Further, the court also prohibited Panos from testifying as to what the defendant’s attorney in that case would have advised him to expect to occur. In this regard, the court stated, “[t]hat’s not an opinion coming into a criminal case based upon the facts that are there, and that’s not an opinion that’s going to go to a jury. This is a murder case. This is not a malpractice case with what a judge was going to do.”

  4. Great article, Facs!
    So why can’t they simply present the value of the total estate, and a second estate value with the addition of the million dollar life insurance policy + social security payments to the boys? (Drew would pay no childsupport.) No one has to really say anything. Present the charts and leave it at that. Surely the jury would “get it.” How can this not be considered motive? How many times have we seen this type of murder for the money happen? Time to flood the media with the details. IMO The pendulum swings both ways. What’s good for the defense can also help Kathleen’s story to be told. Not allowing this in is a great injustice to the victim. IMO

  5. The DP Defense Dream Team is on Judge Janine “Justice” on FoxNews now.

    They are apologizing for their ‘Three Stooges Act’ about Stacy.

    This program will be repeated again tonight.

  6. I started watching too late for the apology.

    I really hope there were no “If..”s, as in “If I offended anybody…” because that does not qualify as an apology.

  7. I’m so glad I got to see Judge Jeanine’s program tonight! I feel more optimistic after hearing Mark Fuhrman’s comment that he feels the testimony is cumulative. He said that a number of witnesses stating that Kathleen told them of Drew’s threats, that Mary Parks saw the red marks on Kathleen’s neck from Drew’s abuse, and Sue Doman’s testimony all adds up. He further said that if Pastor Schori’s testimony is allowed in, “it will be the icing on the cake” in his opinion and the jury will convict.

    In regards to the issue of the property settlement not being allowed in, I don’t understand why it cannot simply be stated exactly what marital assets were at stake. What was the total sum of all the marital assets?

    Drew Peterson’s motive for killing Kathleen was monetary. He stood to gain financially if she were dead. It’s as simple as that, and if the jury were to see a list of the total marital assets, I’m sure they’d come to the conclusion that money was the motive.

  8. I have changed my mind on Judge Burmila. I think I was too hasty when I commented that he was finally being fair. I have reverted to my original opinion that he is far too friendly toward the defense. It’s disgraceful. I wish there was a way to let him know.

  9. EXCLUSIVE: Review of the Peterson Jury After 2 Weeks of Testimony
    Posted by Kats Monday, August 13, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    It has been a courtroom full of fireworks with multiple objections and motions for mistrials during the first 2 weeks of testimony in the trial of the State of Illinois vs. Drew Peterson. Peterson is charged with first degree murder of Kathleen Savio, his third wife.

    After sitting in the packed courtroom for the first eight days of the trial, I’ve completely changed my initial impression of the jurors that was made after jury selection.

    During jury selection, they appeared nervous while being questioned by attorneys, sitting alone, with Peterson and the world watching their every move. I have noticed a marked change in the demeanor of the female jurors since the trial began. I saw four of the five female jurors sitting up in their seats, eyes steady, taking furious notes, not intimidated by the process.

    They seem to be strong, confident women that will not be easily swayed by overbearing opinions of other jurors during deliberations. Unlike other murder trial juries I have seen and reported on, this group is really engaged and appear to understand the importance of the job they have been asked to do. The fact that they dress nice every day is yet one more sign that tells me they are taking this process very serious.

    On two separate occasions I witnessed anger in the faces of two male jurors. This anger was directed at Drew Peterson during the testimony of Anna Doman, Kathleen Savio’s older sister. Ms. Doman testified that, “Drew told [Kathy] he was going to kill her,” and that “she was not going to make it through the divorce settlement.”

    I observed one woman in the jury look directly at Peterson when Doman described Drew’s unexpected appearance at the Savio home the day after Kathleen’s death. At the time, her family was inside taking care of Kathleen’s personal matters. Doman stated “Drew came to the front door… banging and yelling, ‘Open the door!’ as if it was an emergency.”

    Seven jurors were taking notes when Doman said, “Drew was frantic when he came in the house… like he was in a hurry.” He told Doman that he was there to get clothes for the boys, but instead of going into the boy’s rooms, he went into Kathleen’s bedroom closet.

    Six jurors also took notes when Doman testified that Peterson took $100 out of Savio’s purse explaining, “This belongs to the boys.”

    In contrast, Peterson has been quite nice to me saying, “Good morning,” on two different days. He’s not what I’ve seen on TV. He may not appear to be the same person he used to be but that could just be the charm that so many women have fallen for.

    http://www.chathousenews.com/2012/08/exclusive-review-of-peterson-jury-after.html

  10. Wow! Is texting and driving legal in Illinois? It sure isn’t legal in my state. I see Joe puts on his twitter that he is having trouble typing on his IPhone while in traffic.

    SHAME on you idiot! You are the kind of driver that puts other people in danger. Not to mention being dumb enough to admit it on TWITTER!

    Put the freaking phone down and drive! :mad:

    What a twit.

  11. And he says I must be doing the same when I called him on it.

    Puhleeze, I’m probably the only person left in the U.S. to own a cell phone with an antenna.

  12. Really Facs? Why am I not surprised. So, you call him on it, and he says you are doing it too? That is so childish.
    :roll:

  13. Did you guys notice when Judge Pirro asked Joe Lopez last night about the bruises Mary Parks saw on Katheen’s neck that he said they would address that during closing arguments?

    What do you want to bet that they try to attribute them to “rough sex” with Steve Maniaci? They didn’t dare try to bring it up during trial but they can get away with suggesting something like that during the closing arguments.

    And I just want to say, at the risk of being crude, since when is sex from behind considered, “rough”? Because that’s all that Maniaci said that they did. It’s just a position for intercourse. Nothing he said or that Kathleen ever said indicated any kind of propensity for a violent sex life.

  14. Thanks Facsmiley for the report on the members of the jury!

    No matter how frustrated we get about the behavior of the defense and their attempts to keep witnesses from testifying about pertinent parts of their testimony, what it all comes down to is how the jury processes what testimony they’re hearing and the decision they make.

    It sounds like the women on the jury are being particularly attentive and doing a lot of note taking. It’s good to see that at least two men had angry looks on their faces directed at Peterson during Anna Doman’s testimony.

    I’m feeling more optimistic about the possible outcome.

  15. A question: Does anyone have a good idea about who is left to testify for the prosecution? All I can think of right now is Pastor Neil Schori and the two medical examiners. I’m sure I’m missing other possible witnesses.

  16. If I were a juror, I’d be wondering why it is necessary to constantly degrade a woman’s character if she died by way of a tragic accident, such as drowning in a bath tub after a fall……..

  17. Just pulling off the hearsay hearings witness list, these people are all still possible – but I know some of them are not going to be called because of the prior bad acts stuff and restrictions about the estate, etc. Pachter won’t be called unless the State’s motion has been filed and granted.

    Issam Karam — Coworker of Kathleen’s at sign company
    Lisa Mordente — Sign company owner
    Alexander Beck — Drew’s attorney in the divorce from Kathleen
    Dr. Vinod Motiani — Kathleen Savio’s general physician
    Elizabeth Fragale — Former assistant states attorney
    Dr. Gene Neri — Kathleen’s psychologist/neurologist
    James Carroll — Drew’s Uncle and the executor of Kathleen’s will
    Jerry Jude — Bought Sud’s Pub but couldn’t make the payments
    Jennifer Schoon — Girlfriend of Stephen Peterson who lived in the basement
    Bryan Falat — ISP Master Sgt.
    Larry Blum — Doctor who performed autopsy on Kathleen in 2007
    Harry Smith — Kathleen’s divorce attorney who was later consulted by Stacy
    Ric Mims — Friend of Drew’s who turned after Stacy’s disappearance
    Rodolfo Hernandez — Now living in Savio’s home
    Joseph Steadman — Senior claim adjuster at Old Republic Life Insurance
    Victoria Conolly — Second wife of Drew Peterson
    Neil Schori — Stacy’s pastor and counselor
    Jeffrey Pachter — Former co-worker of Drew’s
    Keith Rossetto — Former boyfriend of Stacy’s
    Michael Baden — Forensic pathologist

  18. If I were a juror, I’d be wondering why it is necessary to constantly degrade a woman’s character

    I’m guessing that they want to somehow explain the “badmouthing” that Kathleen did to Drew. But the thing is no one is testifying that she called him a prick, a cheater and a jerk (which she had every right to do).

    They are all testifying that she said she was frightened, that he had broken into her house and held her at knife-point, that he had threatened her life, that she showed them marks on her body, that she slept with a knife between her mattresses, that she installed interior locks to try to keep him out of her bedroom, that she asked people to walk her to her car, that she knew Drew had people watching her, that she told people she would never live until the division of the marital assets.

    And then she was found dead in her bathtub, covered in bruises, and Drew got all the assets.

    The blather about this being a contentious divorce with both sides behaving badly just doesn’t stand up to that reality.

  19. http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/14470260-418/pathologists-to-take-the-stand-in-peterson-murder-trial.html

    Will County prosecutors will call Dr. Larry Blum to bolster the hearsay evidence they’ve so far offered from four witnesses about threats and attacks Peterson allegedly made against his third wife.

    Blum is expected to testify later this week that he believes Savio’s March 1, 2004 drowning death was a murder, not an accident as a coroner’s inquest determined following an autopsy by a different pathologist.

    Blum conducted a second autopsy in November 2007 after Savio was exhumed, determining that her death and other injuries he found on her body — including a one-inch-long cut on her head — weren’t caused by an accidental fall in her bathtub.

    Blum also said in an earlier hearing that the position of Savio’s body — turned on her left side in the tub with her knees bent — didn’t result from a fall.

    Dr. Michael Baden, another pathologist who examined Savio’s exhumed remains, also is expected to offer similar testimony if he is called by prosecutors.

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