Peterson attorneys and prosecutors are making their way back to the courtroom now.
Both sets of attorneys are going into the courtroom. The trial should be resuming shortly.
Patton: “First of all I would like to apologize to the court for my error. It was not my team’s error but my error.”
Prosecutor Kathy Patton apologizes and asks that any sanctions be given to her personally and not the state.
Prosecutors want to strike the question. No prejudice, they say. “Fleeting comment.”
Prosecution: “There is no prejudice against the defendant because there was no answer given”
Judge Burmilla acknowledges that Patton spoke in error but: “Have you ever seen a case file where the state purposely went against court orders?”
Judge asks prosecutors if he should ignore earlier breaches (the hitman, the .38 bullet) when making his ruling today. Prosecution says “yes.”
Peterson attorney: “It’s an avalanche, your honor, of prejudicial error. Not error, but prejudicial, illegal evidence”
Brodsky: “Believe it or not, I have read the Bill of Rights and there isn’t one thing that protects the rights of the State..”
Prosecutor Koch: “Isolation is the proper way to look at it, Your Honor.”
judge says Defense attorney remedy would penalize the state and deny the people of Will County a fair trial.
Judge calls prosecution’s mistakes “shenanigans” and said people could logically infer the mistake was intentional.
Prosecutor Connor then offers a citation, “People v. Hall,” a 2000 case. “In that case, there were two violations of the Court’s motion in limine. I’d certainly argue that under these circumstances this would be far less of a violation.”
Greenberg: “I actually think the only remedy at this point is a mistrial with prejudice.”
Peterson atty Greenberg says Peterson doesn’t feel like he should have to go through another trial after so many errors by the state.
Judge says he will rule on mistrial tomorrow morning.
Did Savio say why she did not file a report on that day? “Yes, she did not file a report . . . she felt the defendant was unstable. And she felt that if she did, in fact, report it, he would deny what she said.”
State asks Kernc if Savio mentioned anything about an order of protection. Defense objects, sidebar. Jury and witness pulled.
Burmila is taking state’s attorney to task for raising issue of an order of protection, when he decided it was not admissible.
Prosecutor Kathy Patton says “It’s my fault. I didn’t intend for it to be harmful to the defense. I don’t know what else to say.”
Brodsky: either we have a mistrial with prejudice or we strike all of Kernc’s testimony.
Prosecutor says she had the question written down before judge barred it. She didn’t mean to, but judge says it doesn’t matter.
Judge: “I could have you held in contempt right now but I’m not going to do it.”
Court in recess until 3 p.m. CST for state suggested remedies.
Patton was seen in another courtroom against the jury box with her head in her hands.
Drew Peterson and both sets of attorneys are in the courtroom but no spectators yet.
Court is back in session, attorneys are arguing motions for the next witness.
Next witness to the stand with be former BBPD officer Teresa Kernc.
Judge tells jury to listen carefully to the next testimony. It will include information about other conduct the defendant may have been involved in.
Teresa Kernc just sworn and takes the stand
Kernc was a Bolingbrook police officer for 22 yrs. She is now mayor of Diamond, Illinois.
Kernc went to Savio’s home on July 18th of 2002 to take a “delayed domestic abuse report” on the July 5 domestic incident.
“She said that on July 5th, she had taken her two sons to day camp, in the morning. And gone to the market. And when she returned from the market, she entered her home and went upstairs to collect her laundry. As she came down the stairs, she saw the defendant in his SWAT uniform, wearing black leather gloves. He pushed her back onto the stairs, and when she tried to rise he pushed her back again. And he told her she was a mean bitch, that she wouldn’t speak to him when he called, when he brought the boys to the door, and he wanted to speak to her now. And she said he spent the next three and a half hours talking about their lives, and he wanted her to say that what had happened was her fault.”
“He asked if she was afraid of him, and she said, yes, she was. She said she got tired of sitting there on that stair, and she told him, ‘Go, or do what you came to do: kill me.’ She said he said, ‘Where do you want it?’ and she said ‘in the head.’ He took his knife out, and told her to turn her head. She did turn her head, and waited. And then he said, ‘I can’t hurt you.’”
Prosecutor Kathy Patton says that the next witness may be Bolingbrook police officer Teresa Kernc.
Kernc took report from Kathleen Savio. Savio first wrote about Drew holding her at knife-point and then scratched it out. Prosecution wants her to testify about what Savio said (that she didn’t want Peterson to be fired from BBPD).
Judge: “What is the other material you want to get out of this witness?”
Patton: “Just what she told this officer prior to her writing this statement. She [Savio] will tell the officer what occurred on the 5th, starting with the fact that the defendant came in her home unannounced. He came into the foyer area, pushed her backwards on to the stairs, told her not to move. He made comments to her, told her that she was a mean bitch, that he wanted to talk to her, and she should would have to listen. She finally said, ‘Do what you came for, kill me!’ He took out a knife. He left. She called some people after. She didn’t call the police. She didn’t want him to lose his job. She was conflicted about that. She wanted a divorce. Then she said things we cannot go into.”
Judge Burmila: Savio’s statement to police is admissible, as is the written statement she made of the incident.
Prosecutors seek to admit testimony from Stacy Peterson’s aunt, Candice Aikin. If she testifies she must do it today. She has a flight to California tonight.
Burmilla: Court taking “a two-minute recess for Mr. Brodsky”
Brodsky discussing motions filed on Akin and Badalamenti. Says he is surprised the state is calling Stacy’s aunt and aunt’s friend. They are on the witness list.
Stacy’s aunt and aunt’s friend have told police that Drew Peterson once stated that he could kill someone and get away with it.
Peterson told witness he learned so much as a police officer he could kill someone and make it look like an accident.
Brodsky “the prejudicial impact of such a statement so outweighs the probative value; it is devastating if it’s allowed.”
Judge won’t allow testimony #Drew Peterson told women in 2007 he knew how to kill somebody and make it look like accident. Too prejudicial.
Trial is in recess until 1:15 CST
Connor on redirect: Was there any embalming fluid on the tissues that you tested in 2004? Objection/Overruled. “No, Sir, there wasn’t.”
And when you did the 2007 testing, you were already aware of the 2004 results? “Oh, absolutely.”
Prosecution has Long explaining what his team did during the Savio tests since the defense pointed out that he didn’t test her tissues personally.
“It’s a very prolonged process…in doing the testing for aspirin, we know the decomposition will give us false positives. The 2004 was negative, in a fresh sample. So unless they started taking aspirin in the coffin, it ain’t gonna be there.”
Long on leaving no room for error: “Computers are good, but they will lie to you so you have to look at the data for real.”
Goldberg begins his recross. The witness repeats that he had “a block” of liver tissue to work with in this case, which would help avoid the defense-alleged leaching problem in 2007. You like to be neutral and accurate? “Yes, Sir.” You didn’t do any of these tests? “No.” So you don’t know who double-checked the machines and the data? “Well, I double-checked the data.” But you’re assuming the information that comes out of these machines is accurate? “Yes, Sir.”
Long testimony done; witness steps down, state to call next witness
Defense begins its cross-examination.
Defense attorney Darryl Goldberg: You told the members of the jury that you’ve always been qualified as an expert? “As far as I know, yes, Sir.”
Well, that’s not exactly true. Objection. The prosecution asks for a sidebar.
Long is asked if he has reviewed police reports, “No, Sir.” Well, you’ve had conversations with Mr. Connor about this particular case? “Yes, Sir…to explain the test results, yes, Sir.”
Judge asks for short recess while defense attorneys search for documents that include prosecutors asking for an explanation of witness.
Defense resumes cross-examination of Dr. Long
Defense blasts expert for noting a prosecutor in report. Longs says “ASA” stood for chemical compound, not Assistant State’s Atty.
Long’s says that his staff performed the tests. He did not personally do any of the tests.
Goldberg asks witness how he was able to confirm results if he himself never did the testing.
Long sounds bored as Goldberg continues with cross.
Goldberg: Zoloft is an anti-depressant medication? “Right.”
Graph is shown in courtroom.
So when you said no anti-depressants in the tissue you tested, that wasn’t exactly true, was it? “No, that’s true, ‘suggests.’”
Goldberg: But no confirmatory test was performed? Long: “That is correct”
When Long says he is unaware of Celebrex side effects, Goldberg asks if he’s never seen an infomercial. Objection. Sustained.
Long confirms if Savio was taking herbal-based “fat blaster” meds, it wouldn’t be detected.
The first witness expected in the case is forensic toxicologist Dr. Christopher Long to enter reports from 2004 and 2007 autopsy.
Court is in session. Jury is called into courtroom
State calls Christopher Long to the stand
Long works for the St. Louis University School of Medicine. Has testified roughly once or twice a month for 10-15 years. Certified as an expert witness.
“I’m a forensic toxicologist. We study the drugs and substances that people use and abuse, so that the manner of the data may be introduced into a court of law.”
Dr. Long studied tissue samples from Savio.
Long is questioned about procedures for receiving and handling samples at the lab.
Long tested the liver and that test came out negative, no drugs found in liver of Savio. “All the testing came out negative”
“Actually it tested positive for an opiate, it was taken in for further study, and that came up negative.” (allergen)
Prosecutor Connor to witness: So the second test eliminated the possibility of anything in Kathleen Savio’s system? “Yes.”
Savio’s body was screened for Methadone, the test came back negative.
Long on testing decomposed tissue: “You have to be more careful to make sure what you’re finding is actually present.
Long found a very little amount of aspirin in the liver “that’s not going to do anything to the body”
There was no presence of anti-depressants in any sort of quantity found in Savio’s body in both 2004 and 2007.
State is done with witness. Defense asks for a moment before beginning cross
Drew Peterson’s trial for the murder of Kathleen Savio continues today. On Friday Kathleen Savio’s sister, Susan, testified; as did Kathleen’s last boyfriend, Steve Maniaci, and a neighbor of hers. Also taking the stand was Susan McCauley, who worked at Suds Pub while Drew Peterson was married to Kathleen. The two of them had a 9-month affair.
Forensic toxicologist Dr. Christopher Long is expected to testify today. Stacy Peterson’s Aunt Candace Aikin, family friend Donna Badalamenti, friend of Stacy’s Scott Rosetto, and ISP investigator, Bryan Falat could be called to testify today.
We hear that Thomas Peterson, Kathleen Savio’s oldest son is back in Bolingbrook for a brief stay before Fall semester starts up again at the University of Pennsylvania. Will he make an appearance at trial like his brother Kris did, or even take the stand in his father’s defense?
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.