Jury back in courtroom.
A little bit of re-cross ensues regarding the blood cells in the tissue slides, but it is all objected to and objections sustained.
Blum steps down from the stand, jury is dismissed until tomorrow morning
Attorneys continue to argue motions.
Defense wants to bar testimony from Stacy’s Uncle, Kyle Toutges.
Prosecution says “let them prove it” is an implied admission because an innocent person would have denied it.
Judge calls Toutges statement “rank hearsay.”
Toutges will be allowed to take the stand, but cannot bring up “let them prove it” comment. Brodsky now arguing against the blue towel testimony.
Judge will not allow prosecutors to suggest to jury that Drew planted towel at death scene to make it look like accident.
Prosecution now arguing to include alleged hit man testimony.
Judge will allow if it’s relevant.
Judge says the state didn’t give proper notice about alleged hitman, but will consider allowing them to offer it anyway.
Court back in session, Meczyk passes witness back to Glasgow for re-direct
Judge tells defense and prosecution to “stop editorializing” after Glasgow mocks “dramatic slide show” during Meczyk’s cross.
Blum explains again for Glasgow why the iron test for the simple tissue would be pointless.
Glasgow asks if Blum, while peer reviewing the other pathologists findings, also reviewed Dr. Baden’s findings.
The sidebar ends. “Getting back to the article you referred to. You indicated it’s not the key factor, but the evidence?” “That’s correct.” “And in this case, you’ve been able to determine that the wound to the head of Kathleen Savio was not caused by a fall in that bathroom?” Objection. The attorneys approach for another sidebar.
The sidebar ends. “My opinion is that it was not caused by a fall to that bathtub. Or in that bathtub.”
Blum says Will Co. deputy coroner VanOver was wrong to say Savio’s buttocks bruise wasn’t fresh (VanOver’s report said it was healing).
Glasgow: Did you see a single area (in bathtub) that would cause those bruises? Blum: “No I did not”
Glasgow: It’s your opinion that, that abrasion did not come from a fall in that tub. Blum: “That is correct.”
At the second autopsy, that you performed, you made a significant effort to determine if there were any significant bruising to the back and arms? “Yes. I found no bruises in those locations. All the bruises were to the front of her body.”
Blum: “Under her face, there was no water in that bathtub. At the time that injury was bleeding onto her face, there was no water in that bathtub.”
Blum reiterates that if Savio had fallen in the tub, her body would have landed in a different position, instead of a semi-fetal one.
Blum says his clients, including the Drew Peterson prosecution, pay for his time, but his opinion is free.
Blum: “I am called by the prosecution most of the time because I am the one who does the autopsies most of the time”
Re-direct is finished. Jury taken out of courtroom while both sides argue over the admission of a slide during defense re-cross
“You don’t know if she banged into a door do you”-defense Blum: “No I do not”
Meczyk also asks Blum if Savio had “aggressive” sex before she died. Blum: “I suppose it’s within the realm of possibility.”
Blum is asked about an article from the International Forensic Science Journal that he referred to in his report.
(He’s given a copy of it to refer to) In every case, there is a key factor, in all the ten cases he studies, a key factor? “Yes, that’s how he lists it here in the summary.”
A key factor is something that takes it over the top? “I think that’s a fair assessment.”
In your autopsy report, you don’t list a key factor, do you? “It’s not the word ‘key that distinguishes an accident from a homicide. It’s the evidence.”
Jury is being taken out of courtroom, brief recess
Peterson trial about to resume after a break.
Meczyk back on cross with Dr. Blum
Meczyk “Your honor, I kind of feel like Pinocchio and Geppetto.”
They continue to go over Blum’s report and testimony from today.
Blum testifies that the DNA test that is part of the sexual assault kit showed no male DNA on Savio’s body.
Blum says he didn’t test for iron in the tissues because the age of the tissue would mean that the cells had broken down and would normally have released iron. Test would only determine what was already certain. Meczyk calls Blum’s reason for not testing iron in Savio tissue a “lame” excuse. Judge quickly strikes remark from record
You know that Ms. Savio had a cat? “Yes.”
And that could very easily have caused the scratches that were seen? “It depends on the condition of the claws; some cats are de-clawed. But the scratches could have been caused by a cat.”
Blum is shown an exhibit This is one of the thousands of documents you reviewed. This is Ms. Savio’s medical history concerning a dermatological or skin problem? “Yes.”
She visited a skin doctor, a dermatologist? “Yes.”
And on the form she filled out, she informs her physician, ‘I have very sensitive skin. I’m allergic to grass. And I have been breaking out since I have been a kid, mainly on my face and arms. Now my body has been affected, and because of my age I’m beginning to scar. My buttocks are all scared up, along with acne/face.’ Did I read that correctly? “Yes.”
Now we know that she suffered from some scarring in the buttock area, according to her? “Yes.”
Blum is asked about Savio taking Yasmin and about deaths relating to Yasmin.
Meczyk asks if Blum’s determination of homicide is related to the age of the bruises. Blum: “The distribution of injury, yes.”
“Yes, a fall back to split the head open would not cause the front injuries, in the same fall.”
It’s not logical, based on your triangle of how you approach these types of cases? “That’s correct.”
Blum denies offer for a break. Meczyk: “I know I’m not making you sweat.” Blum: “Not now.”
Blum is shown a tissue slide from the large bruise area on Savio’s midsection. Meczyk pushes him to determine how old the bruise is. Blum pushes back saying that it “represents what a three and a half year old bruise looks like after decomposition and embalming.”
Meczyk asks if the dark pigment is from an old bruise or just an artifact from the embalming process. Blum maintains that it is not hemosiderin (old bruise) but also admits that he did not send the tissue sample out for iron testing.
Meczyk asks for brief recess, jury taken out.
Court back in session.
Defense goes outside of courtroom to show Dr. Blum tissue slides for upcoming questioning
The judge is back on the bench. He sends for the jury.
Meczyk continues on cross.
Blum says deputy coroner VanOver noted that the buttocks “wound was not scabbed and appeared to be healing”
Meczyk asks about Savio’s manner of death. Glasgow yells: “Objection!”
Meczyk to Glasgow: “You don’t have to scream at me.”
Glasgow thought Meczyk was about to go into other doctors’ reports about Savio’s death.
Atty Meczyk begins arguing after jury leaves. Atty Goldberg grabs him by coat, pulls him away from bench.
Prosecution objection overruled
Meczyk: “You are to be commended for attending lectures.” Blum: “We’re required.”
Meczyk says he’s going to approach his “adversary’s” table. Glasgow objects. Burmila tells them again to stop sparring.
Meczyk gets Blum to confirm that there are three respected pathologists (paid by defense) who disagree with his findings.
Defense begins cross examination
There did come a time when you spoke to Mr. Glasgow about this case? “That’s correct.”
And he told you that he wanted you to reexamine the death of Kathleen Savio.
Objection from the State
Meczyk produces a transcript from the hearsay hearing, and points out a specific passage to the prosecution.
Judge: “State, do you have the information now?” Glasgow: “We’re ready, Judge, all I asked for is foundation.” Judge: “That portion of the objection is overruled.
Judge tells defense and prosecution not to argue objections with each other in front of the jury. Says he won’t warn again.
Defense is saying that Blum lied about speaking directly to SA Glasgow.
Defense points out that Blum has helped Glasgow out with other cases. He’s working on another case right now with him.
Defense asks if Glasgow contacted him because he “knew in the past you’d given him biased opinions, what he wanted to hear” Blum: “I cannot read his mind.”
“I don’t recall what Mr. Glasgow said or didn’t say prior to the examination. It was the coroner, however, who called me to do this autopsy, not the State’s Attorney.”
Blum says the pathologist, the late Dr. Mitchell, did a thorough, orthodox job “for the most part.”
Defense asks if body of Savio, and any injuries would be more “fresh” when Dr. Mitchell conducted his autopsy. Witness agrees.
Attorney Meczyk points out that Mitchell’s report says laceration on Savio scalp may have been from fall.
Meczyk started to ask Dr. Blum if he had read any of the reports compiled by Peterson’s experts while writing his own but the judge stopped him.
He says if they can establish that Blum relied on them then he’ll be able to ask about them.
Break for lunch until 1:15.
Defense objection. Court in recess.
Defense objection withdrawn.
Blum is looking over his 11-page report on Savio.
Blum: “The lungs were very light for a drowning.”
Jurors and Blum leaving again after prosecution wants to enter report into evidence. Defense objected.
Brodsky telling judge he doesn’t want jurors to have Blum’s written report.
Glasgow says he’s not trying to send the report back with the jury – just submitting report into evidence.
Attorneys arguing over what is in report and can be seen by jury. Judge says Mitchell’s complete report should be submitted but that only the parts of Dr.Blum’s that he actually testified about should be submitted to the jury. He sees no relevance in things like “when he first saw the body she had rosary beads in her hand”. etc.
Defense needs to set up some sort of equipment used for cross of Dr. Blum. Short delay.
Def. atty Steve Greenberg says the equipment is a “projection microscope.”
Dr. Larry Blum takes the stand
Blum starts the day by explaining the process of rigor mortis “heat speeds it up while cold slows it down”
“As you fall, you sprawl.” Blum says he looked for bruising on the arms because a person tries to brace themselves when falling. He didn’t find any.
Dr. Blum says in his opinion Savio died from drowning.
He now describes how the coroner’s system works in Illinois.
Blum says most bathtub drownings happen from people with seizures, MS, or other neurological disorders. Also alcohol/drugs/ This was not the case with Kathleen Savio.
In Savio’s case, 2000 grams of water were found in her lungs, which is a very large amount.
“No past suicide attempts were noted.” Blum ruling out that Savio committed suicide.
Blum on Savio’s head wound: “It’s my opinion that it did not occur from a fall.”
Blum ruled the cause of Savio’s death drowning, the manner of death homicide. Court is in brief recess for defense discovery
Dr. Blum will be back on the stand for cross-examination soon.
Expected witness list for today: Larry Blum (finish direct and then cross etc.), Scott Rossetto (friend of Stacy Peterson), Jennifer Schoon (girlfriend of Steve Peterson who was living in Drew’s house at the time of Kathleen’s death), Kyle Toutges (Stacy’s Uncle).
Attys have filed a motion to bar Stacy’s uncle Kyle Toutges from testifying.
Just waiting on the judge.
Judge is here now. An accident on the interstate delayed the start of the trial this morning.
Drew Peterson’s trial for the murder of Kathleen Savio continues today. Yesterday Drew Peterson’s defense withdrew their motion for a mistrial and Judge Burmila instead addressed the jury and told them to disregard any mention of an order of protection related to the July 5 domestic incident between Kathleen Savio and Drew Peterson.
Ex-Bolingbrook police sergeant, Teresa Kernc, was allowed to finish her testimony about taking the report and that Savio initially wrote about Peterson wielding a knife but then scratched it out and told Kernc that she was afraid Drew would lose his job if that were in the report.
Forensic pathologist, Dr. Larry Blum testified to Dr. Bryan Mitchell’s 2004 autopsy report and then to his own findings when he autopsied Savio’s exhumed remains in 2007. He should be undergoing cross-examination 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.