Savio did not have the three main contributing factors that most commonly result in death in a bathtub according to Dr. Blum. The three D’s: drugs, drinking and disease, could cause an otherwise healthy person to slip and fall in the bathtub Blum said. Savio had none of those issues at the time of her death. When drowning is the cause of death “in an otherwise healthy female at age 40, one looks for risk factors.”
Blum is wrapping up his testimony explaining how he considers circumstances, the autopsy and the scene to make a determination. “So, based on the injuries and the circumstances…”
The judge interrupts, calls the parties to a sidebar.
Glasgow says he probably has 30 min left with witness; judge will advise jury to disregard part of testimony, reconvene in the morning.
Court is adjourned for the day.
Dr. Blum is shown a chart of the injuries he just described. Defense objects three times as the prosecution asks him about the “demonstrative aid”. Sustained.
Blum: “The overall distribution [of injuries] shows anterior, or what we call front of the body, bruising.”
Blum on Savio’s head wound “The laceration did not go through to the bone, it was a partial tear.”
Blum says the wound was made by a blunt edge, he didn’t find any blunt edges near bathtub that would cause wound.
Savio had two abrasions on her left elbow that were roughly an hour old, Blum said.
Savio also had fresh abrasions on her right hand/wrist, Blum said.
Right hand “Round oval abrasion where the top layer of skin is abraded off…again within an hour of death”Blum describes abrasions on both hands around knuckles that were “fresh, within 24 hours”
Blum describes hemorrhaging and bruises on right side of collar-bone “less than 24 hours”
Meczyk objects. “I’m sorry to interrupt the witness, your honor, I blurted out objection, and I don’t have one.”
Direct examination resumes.
Blum points out “a red substance” on Savio’s nose and cheek. “It’s blood.”
“We call these post-mortem wounds. If a wound occurs after death, and is in a position that gravity will drain blood from it, blood will continue to drip from that wound. It can drip for quite some time.
“This gravity flow pattern of blood, would be impossible to occur if her face were down in the water at that time.” “When blood hits the water it disperses, it would not create that sort of trickle that you see here.”
Once the heart stops, how long would the blood continue to flow out of that wound? “Minutes. Just a matter of minutes.”
So if her face was in water during that time, we would not see the dried blood on her face? “Absolutely not.”
Blum discusses bruises and how you can tell by color if they are fresh.
Defense objection – overruled.
Blum says contusion on body is less than 24 hours old
Blum says contusions on both shins less than 24 hours old.
Blum: a “great amount” of force needed to produce bruises as deep as Savio’s.
Defense objects to state’s request to publish a photo, asks to approach the bench.
Judge gave prior instruction to NOT let witness get into that he actually climbed into the tub.
At least this time the witness actually blurted it out rather than the state asking about it.
Judge asked Glasgow “Didn’t you tell the doctor not to talk about getting into the tub?” Glasgow: “I told him that”
Court in recess.
Peterson is standing up behind the defense table, watching people milling around the courtroom.
Now attorneys arguing to judge.
Defense: This was an innocent blurting out, I accept that representation. However, the harm has been done.
Attorney Meczyk asks judge to ban entire Blum testimony. “This can’t go on and on and on,” Meczyk says as he pounds table.
Glasgow: He’s simply looking at the bathtub. He’s not going to stand up and do a slip and fall. We wouldn’t do that.
Glasgow: ” These are the facts. That last line about getting into the bathtub happened quickly. But we were not getting into a reenactment”
Request to strike entire testimony is denied, Judge gives stern instructions to state to better prep their witnesses.
Blum is asked if anything appears to be knocked over in the photos of the Kathleen’s bathroom. He indicates that only “this little duck appears to be on its side”.
Dr. Blum on photo of Savio’s body in tub: “The right foot is crossed over into the sole of the left foot. The heel is up here, on the right foot. What stands out in the photograph is the very sharp angle the toes are in in relation to the rest of her foot. These are virtually 90 degree angles. These toes on her right foot are extremely extended, or bent back, even causing prevention of lividity in this area of the body.”
Does that indicate anything to you? “It does, yes. In the context of this case, for a foot to just float down after loss of consciousness in the drowning process, I don’t believe it could physically do that.”
“The fingers were up against the breast, giving rise to those fingertip marks. The breast is bluish in color, because of blood settling in the body.”
“The walls of the tub are smooth, and they are narrow .”
“I felt the two biggest pieces of evidence in this case were the body and the tub. So I felt it was extremely important to examine the scene.”
What did you determine? “Smooth, slippery. I did not put any water in the tub myself, I didn’t take a bath or anything, but I crawled in with my regular clothes.”
The judge calls the attorneys to a sidebar.
Prosecution is in trouble again for drawing out barred testimony from a witness.
Mitchell’s report essentially details a healthy, normal female who drowned.
Could you review what diagnosis Dr. Mitchell made? “The diagnosis included cerebral edema; that’s the brain swelling we just talked about some moderate pulmonary edema. Water in the sinuses.” Objection/Overruled. “Congestion is seen in virtually all deaths. Again, a very non-specific, general finding. The laceration to the scalp, the back of the head. The mild mitral valve thickening and toxicology is negative.”
Larry Blum performed the second at a Will County facility in 2007. “Body was still in the casket when it was brought in”
Blum: there was a lot of water in the casket and marked deterioration of the tissues of Savio’s body
Blum obtained Savio’s 10 fingernails right away, and sent them to the Illinois State CSI, hairs as well.
Blum on bruising to the lower right quadrant of Savio’s body: “it was large in size, and it went all the way down to the bone, it was a deep contusion.”
Jury told again that Savio had no drugs, alcohol in system when she drowned in tub.
Blum went to Savio’s death scene a week after the second autopsy was completed in 2007.
Dr, Blum looks at photographs of Savio’s bathroom and IDs it as such.
Judge is back in the courtroom
State to call Forensic pathologist Larry Blum to the witness stand.
SA James Glasgow begins direct examination.
“I’m a medical doctor specializing in forensic pathology.” He briefly goes over his educational and professional background.
Since becoming a doctor, he’s performed over 10,000 autopsies. “Not counting today,” he’s been qualified as an expert 587 times. The witness is now qualified as an expert, without defense objection.
Blum reviewed Dr. Mitchell’s 2004 autopsy report. State asks Blum to walk through it.
Based on Dr. Mitchell’s report, Savio appeared to be in good physical condition.
Mitchell noted in the autopsy report that Savio’s “tongue was partially clenched in the teeth”
Mitchell examined both Savio’s fingers and toe nails as being “short and clean.”
Blum on Mitchel report: Body cavities were seeming to be normal, no excess fluid in the organs.
Mitchell’s report shows Savio’s neck was without injury
(You can read the report at the ink above)
Mitchell’s report showed Savio’s lung was “a little on the heavy side” compared to the average lung
Mitchell’s report showed “less than a teaspoon of fluid was present in the stomach during the autopsy”
Mitchell’s report concluded that there was brain swelling, water in lungs, fluid in sinus, and congestion.
Prosecutions objection overruled.
Prosecutor James Glasgow gets up to say something about judge’s hearsay ruling and judge tells him to sit down.
Back on cross again.
Kernc confirms that Savio made it sound like DP wasn’t angry but tired and upset.
Kernc says she spoke to Peterson. He didn’t deny going over to the home that day (Savio had told Kernc that Drew said he would deny being there).
Greenberg: “Do you recall that Savio told Mary Pontarelli that her and Drew Peterson had a ‘nice conversation?'”
Kernc: “When I talked to Kathleen, she did not tell me the exact contents of her conversation with Mary Pontarelli.”
(Objections by prosecution to just about all of this – all overruled)
Kernc denies that Savio “went back and forth” about Drew’s having had a knife. “She did not vacillate about the knife. Not in conversation. She vacillated by scribbling it out [of the written statement]. But not in conversation about it.”
Defense just read a report, Kernc said that Savio was vacillating about the knife portion of the police report.
Greenberg concludes his cross-examination.
Court in recess until 1:15 p.m.
Court in session – jury still out of courtroom while judge listens to hearsay arguments involving Kernc’s cross-examination.
It’s a bit ironic. Prosecution is objecting to use of hearsay in Kernc’s cross-exam.
Peterson defense wants info to get in because they want jury to know that Savio described stair incident to one friend as “nice conversation.”
Greenberg is trying to get Drew Peterson’s account of the “stair incident” (as written in the police report) as hearsay. Judge is saying “The defendant cannot normally use his self-serving statements to avoid taking the witness stand.” Greenberg says that if the prosecution can use hearsay against the defendant that they should be able to use it too, to impeach.
Judge: “I said it was self-serving.” Greenberg: “We can do it. The rules say we can do it. And I should be able to do it.”
Judge: “If Kathleen Savio was here testifying, and said those things, how would it impeach her testimony if you said, ‘Didn’t the defendant deny saying these things?’ How does that impeach her testimony?” Judge: “I don’t know how it is that that statement impeaches Kathleen Savio’s statement to the officer. I understand the argument the defendant is making. But I don’t find the defendant’s statement to be relevant, because I don’t think it impeaches the statement.”
Greenberg attacking witness over credibility, going over Kernc hearsay hearing testimony from 2010.
Kernc says Savio was upset that she had been accused of battery after an incident with Stacy Peterson when she made her own report.
Savio was served with battery complaints the morning she called the police and filed the report.
“I did not know that day that (the battery complaints) had been served that day”
Greenberg keeps bringing up possible discrepancies in hearsay hearing testimony from 2010 and testimony today. What Peterson was wearing, etc.
Judge: “We’re in a brief recess, while the State needs to locate some case-law.”
Cross-examination begins by Attorney Greenberg.
Kernc talking about relationship with Drew Peterson “It would be a fair statement that we never were friend but we were co-workers”
Kernc (then a sergeant) says she went with a police lt. to interview Savio about Peterson because “You don’t investigate someone at your own rank.”
Savio didn’t want report filed. Kernc: “I told her I had to file a police report.”
Alleged stair incident happened July 5. Savio spoke with police about child custody issue on July 11, but didn’t mention it then.
Greenberg: Did you tell her these were serious allegations? “I’m sure I did,.”
She was making allegations of very serious criminal conduct, right? “Yes.”
A whole litany of felonies? “Right.”
You can’t have a policeman or any citizen going around and doing this kind of conduct? “No police department can.”
Kernc is asked to look at earlier reports where she mentions rivalries between police teams. She maintains that she had no dislike for Drew Peterson, was speaking generally.
Peterson told Kernc that Savio had been served with a complaint, stemming from incident in the driveway.
Sidebar while attorneys discuss testimony. Previously Kernc told the FBI she wasn’t sure if the knife incident actually happened.
Judge tells defense they can’t ask the question if Kernc was sure if the incident happened.
Judge Burmila instructs the jury not to consider, infer or ponder for any purpose whatsoever the issue of an order of protection.
Teresa Kernc is back on the witness stand
Kernc testifies that she watched Savio fill out the report, then scratch out the part about Drew Peterson having a knife.
Patton: Did Kathleen Savio Peterson tell you why she crossed out the word ‘knife’? “After she crossed it out, she said quite a bit. She said specifically that she did not want him to lose his job; she did not want him to be arrested.”
Kernc’s report is admitted into evidence, and published for the jury.
Kernc reads the domestic incident report.
Kernc reading police report: “He warned me if I called anyone he would deny it”
Atty Joe Lopez tells judge that Drew wants to keep this jury and will not seek mistrial.
Drew also asks the prosecution to follow the rules. “We’re not giving the state a practice run.”
Atty Joe Lopez ask judge to punish prosecution by banning all hearsay testimony.
Drew Peterson now standing in court, telling judge that he wants to withdraw mistrial motion. Judge says he can’t appeal this issue later.
Judge to ASA Chris Koch: “What sanction would you rather I impose on you? Hold you all in contempt?”
Defense wants it known to the jury that Savio never wanted an order of protection. Judge Burmilla: “That’s denied”
Judge: Defendant’s request to strike all hearsay, denied.
Defendant’s request to strike entire Kernc testimony, denied
Prosecutor Chris Koch is responding about ‘Grace case’ that was argued by the defense in an earlier mistrial motion.
Judge interrupts. “Mr. Koch, stop! My order yesterday was crystal clear. We’re not going to revisit the Court’s order.”
Jury will be told that Kathleen Savio never sought an order of protection and one was never issued.
Court in brief recess so state can type up stipulation request.
Source says defense to withdraw motion for a mistrial.
Jim Glasgow and prosecutors are in the courtroom
The defendant and his attorneys are now in the courtroom.
First spectators arrived at courthouse at 3:45 a.m this morning to get seats inside the courtroom.
Today’s potential witnesses include Teresa Kernc (Former BBPD sergeant), Larry Blum (Forensic pathologist), Scott Rossetto (friend of Stacy Peterson), Vinod Motiani (Doctor of Internal medicine).
Drew Peterson’s trial for the murder of Kathleen Savio continues today. Yesterday Forensic toxicologist Dr. Christopher Long testified that Kathleen Savio had no alcohol or drugs in her system at the time of death. Also, ex-Bolingbrook police sergeant, Teresa Kernc, was called to the stand to testify about Savio’s report regarding the July 5, 2002 domestic incident in which Peterson entered her home using a garage door opener and then terrorized her for three hours. Assistant State’s Attorney Kathy Patton began to ask if an order of protection was discussed, when the defense objected. In an earlier discussion, Judge Burmila had barred mention of an order of protection and its mention now prompted Peterson’s defense team to ask for a mistrial. This is the third time they have asked for a mistrial in as many weeks.
Judge Burmila is expected to give his decision this morning.
As always, I’ll have my 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 comments thread.