Drew Peterson pleads Not Guilty to murder-for-hire charges

Artist's drawing shows Peterson in court today with his attorney Lucas Leifer

Artist’s drawing shows Peterson in court today with his attorney Lucas Leifer

This morning at a court appearance in Chester, Illinois, Drew Peterson waived a preliminary hearing and pleaded not guilty to having attempted to arrange the murder of State’s Attorney, James Glasgow.

Peterson appeared in court in a white dress shirt, black pants, dress shoes and leg shackles. He attempted to nod at reporters and joked with sketch artists, asking them to draw him smiling. When admonished by Judge Richard A. Brown he replied, “I understand.”

Two subpoenaed FBI agents (I believe their names to be Brian Clark and Chris Straub) did not testify today since the hearing was waived.

Steve Nate from the Attorney General’s Office argued a motion for an order prohibiting Peterson’s attorneys and prosecutors from disclosing to the public any evidence in the case, which was granted. This was most likely filed to protect the identity of the jailhouse “snitch”, who is reported to have been a fellow inmate of Peterson’s, and outed in letters from another inmate as Antonio Smith. Last month, Peterson’s former attorney, Joel Brodsky, released those letters from inmate Adrian Gabriel, who claimed to have hatched a plan with Smith to set up Peterson with the solicitation charges. Brodsky says that Smith is presently under witness protection and living in Florida under an assumed name.

The state also filed a notice disclosing that Peterson’s case twice involved use of eavesdropping devices.

Peterson is next expected in court on April 14 for a case management conference and the case has also been placed on the July 2015 jury docket in Randolph County.

Stacy Peterson’s sister, Cassandra Cales, was in attendance.

Peterson’s new attorney, Lucas Leifer, says that he and his client do not want to try this case in public.

Jon Seidel
Stacy St. Clair


30 thoughts on “Drew Peterson pleads Not Guilty to murder-for-hire charges

  1. Peterson, a former Bolingbook police sergeant, was found guilty of killing his former wife, Kathleen Savio. Peterson is now charged with putting a hit on Glasgow from behind bars at the Menard Correctional Center in Chester.

    Peterson smirked as he was led into the courtroom in shackles. He attempted to make eye contact with several reporters before the hearing started, and asked a couple of them, “How are you doing?” He joked with Liefer before the judge came in the room, rubbing his wrists where red marks from handcuffs could be seen from across the room.

    Just before the hearing started, Peterson put on a pair of thick, black-framed glasses and clasped his hands on the table in front of him as it was announced his right to a preliminary hearing would be waived. The audience, which had waited for more than an hour for the proceedings to start, groaned.

    Court records indicate that FBI agents had been subpoenaed to testify. Reports also indicate that the case involves a prison snitch.


  2. Most defense lawyers advise against waiving a preliminary hearing when charged with a felony offense. One explains that:

    In general there are two great benefits to preliminary hearings in very serious cases. First, if there is a civilian witness, that person must testify and that testimony will be on the record by the stenographer. If they change their story at trial, your lawyer can use the transcript from the preliminary hearing to show the jury that the person is lying. Second if you have any potential motion in your case, you can ask questions at the preliminary hearing to set the table for your future motion to suppress. Some judges are hip to this tactic and may shut you down, but most either have no idea what you are doing or simply don’t care and let you ask whatever you want

  3. I seriously don’t know what to make of all of this. Brodsky being contacted and posting letters; jailhouse informants; Drew’s accessibility to cash; etc. Is this going to play out as Drew claiming he knew he was being set-up and was just playing the game to make LE look ridiculous? Is DP that stupid? Or does he figure LE will eventually charge him with Stacy’s death and he might as well take down people with him?
    Is Jeff Ruby’s reward for finding Stacy still posted?

  4. If I had to guess, it would be that Drew doesn’t have as much confidence in his attorneys as he once did. He probably realizes that winning his appeal is a long shot. There’s a sense of bravado in his letters but he has also written that if he doesn’t win during this first round, that it would mean “the fix was in” so he also believes that the court is biased against him and that he could well end his days in prison. IMO, he’s the kind of person who would be interested in revenge and we know his love of schemes and intrigue (and of course, murder). As smart as he’s supposed to be, his downfall has always been his complete lack of common sense, his willingness to draw others into his plans, and a seemingly irresistible urge to showboat and gloat.

    He may not have been the first to suggest a hit on Glasgow, but it sounds as if he was all for it and has been caught on tape with enough evidence to justify bringing charges.

    As for payment, I think it was Charmed who brought up assets such as the motorcycle, plane, etc. Think of the contract that Drew and Brodsky had trading media appearance money for representation. Drew has a talent for creating compensation out of thin air.

  5. We will be amazed. 😐

    Well, what isn’t amazing is how Joel is still using Drew Peterson to keep his name in the media when he hasn’t represented the man for two years.

  6. Joel needs to butt out. He is not relevant and he needs to stop trying to push his way into matters that no longer concern him. I can’t wait until there are charges filed against him. Take a lesson from the public defender, Joel, this matter should not be played out in the public, but rather in court. You would think a seasoned attorney would already know this information.

  7. So Sneed interviewed Adrian Gabriel and he mostly reiterated the second-hand story that he had already told to Brodsky in his letters.

    A few new details:

    … the Stateville prisoner claims he was told the “wire” was supposed to be placed in a watch, but it didn’t fit in a watch any inmate could get in the prison commissary — “so they had to change it somehow so it wouldn’t be suspicious,”…

    …his cellmate was given his choice of three options by law enforcement before the deal was inked:

    • Choice No. 1: A payment of $110,000 — a number picked because it was twice Peterson’s yearly pension.

    • Choice No. 2: His freedom.

    • Choice No. 3: A sentence reduction, plus a deal to also shave the sentence of his pal, the Stateville prisoner.

    “I guess I know which one he picked because he is out, and I’m not,” said the Stateville prisoner….”

    Glasgow says “There is something I want to convey. This is pure and utter hogwash!”

  8. A Randolph County judge on Tuesday set a July 6 jury trial for Peterson. The ex-Bolingbrook police sergeant is accused of enlisting another prison inmate whose identity has not been disclosed in a murder-for-hire plot to kill Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow. Peterson pleaded not guilty in March.

    Peterson, 61, is serving a 38-year sentence at the Menard Correctional Center in Chester after his 2012 conviction in Kathleen Savio’s death eight years earlier. He’s also suspected in the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, whose father and sister attended the brief hearing.

    Circuit Judge Richard Brown also approved a request by prosecutors to keep the taped prison conversations between Peterson and the unidentified informant under seal before the trial to avoid influencing potential jurors. Defense attorney Lucas Liefer didn’t oppose the request.

    “I just don’t feel that it’s in the interest of justice that that come out any sooner than it has to,” said Randolph County State’s Attorney Jeremy Walker. “We’re not trying to purposely frustrate the public’s rights. But there’s a greater importance in making sure we aren’t prejudicial to Mr. Peterson’s rights.”

    Peterson, who is charged with solicitation of murder for hire and one count of solicitation of murder, attended the hearing but did not speak. Both felonies carry maximum sentences of 30 years.

    Brown set a hearing for late May to consider three motions submitted by Walker.

    One asks the court to allow prosecutors to cross-examine Peterson about his first-degree murder conviction should he choose to testify. Another seeks permission to discuss a 2003 attempt by Peterson to pay someone $25,000 to “take care of” Savio. The third seeks to limit discussion at trial about the details of the confidential informant’s own first-degree murder conviction.


  9. 04/14/2015 Defendant present with Attorney; SA present; motion hearing set 5-22-15, 9am; jury trial set 7-6-15, 9am; State’s Attorneys oral motion to be filed in the future under seal; granted. Order on file. (Defendant to be returned to DOC after court review)

    04/14/2015 People’s Motion in Limine to Limit Impeachment on file. People’s Motion in Limine to Admit Evidence of Other Crimes on file. People’s Motion to Permit Impeachment of the Defendant with Prior Felony Conviction on file. Writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Prosequendum issued.

  10. 04/16/2015 Supplemental Discovery on file.

    04/24/2015 UNDER SEAL: People’s Motion to Admit Relevant Evidence of Defendant’s Conduct and Other Acts Evidence on file.

    04/27/2015 Order Granting State’s Request to File Motion Under Seal on file.

  11. Date set for the oral arguments before appellate court (murder conviction)!

    THURSDAY, MAY 21, 2015 – 10:30 A.M.
    3-13-0157 Will
    People of the State of Illinois, Appellee
    (Mr. James Glasgow & Ms. Marie Q. Czech)
    vs. Drew Peterson, Appellant
    (Mr. Steven A. Greenberg, Mr. John W.
    Heiderscheidt, Mr. Harold J. Krent &
    Mr. Andrew S. Gable)

  12. I hope everyone who was interested was able to watch.

    If archived video becomes available, I’ll make sure to add it to our YouTube channel or at least link to it.

    Personally, I found the defense arguments to be weak. Goldberg made his arguments with a lot of…um…volume, but they weren’t very convincing – at least not to me. I don’t think the appellate justices were convinced that there were any errors at trial concerning Brodksy, hearsay, or privilege.

    I wonder what the next appeal will be based on?

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