Murder-for-hire motions update: physical evidence, clerical errors and conflict of interest

First off, an episode of “Murder Made Me Famous” addresing the Drew Peterson cases premieres on Reelz this Saturday. You’ll see lots of familiar faces and even Cassandra Cales took part in this one. Check your local listings for times and channel.

Meanwhile, preparation for Peterson’s murder-for hire November trial is underway and deep in the motions phase.

On August 21, an order granting the State’s motion for buccal swab and fingerprints was filed. I’m not sure whose mouth and fingerprints are involved, but Judge Richard A. Brown will admit this physical evidence to trial, which is kind of exciting seeing as there was so much made about the lack of physical evidence at Drew Peterson’s last trial.

On Tuesday, the Peterson defense and Illinois State’s attorneys argued a number of motions that were filed last month. The courtroom was closed for about an hour while the states motion to admit prior bad acts was argued. Court was then opened while attorneys argued a defense motion to supress wire tap evidence.

Peterson’s motion argues that the wire tap evidence against him has a number of problems that should keep it from being heard at trial. For one thing, they say that the consent to record form was not filled out or signed properly. The form authorizes eavesdropping on conversations between Peterson and a man named Stephen Nardi, who has nothing to do with the case (the actual informant is alleged to be named Antonio Smith, a former convict now living under an assumed name in a different state). This is most likely a clerical error – but is it bad enough to keep out the wire taps?

The motion also argues that the investigation into the conspiracy charges was initiated by Jame Glasgow, which was a conflict of interest seeing as he was the intended victim of the crime, and further, that Will County Judge, Richard Schoenstedt, interviewed Smith before the consent was given for a wire tap, again creating a conflict of interest.

The Randolph County Herald Tribune reports that:

Illinois Senior Assistant Attorney General Bill Elward said during the hearing that there are “extensive mentions” of Glasgow in the recordings that contain “animosity” regarding why Peterson hates Glasgow and wants to have him killed.

“The defendant makes numerous statements that he wants Jim Glasgow killed,” (Assistant Attorney General Steve) Nate told Brown. “Those are his words. There’s no going around those words.”

The defense also argued that there was no written affidavit provided before the wire tap took place. “Informant A” alleges that he has a letter from Drew Peterson stating that he wants James Glasgow to be killed, but he is not able to provide it.

The state argued to admit evidence about Peterson’s prior attempt to solicit the murder of Kathleen Savio.  Jeffrey Pachter testified at Peterson’s trial for the murder of Savio that in 2003 Drew had asked him to find someone who could kill his wife for $25,000.

“That may have happened in Will County, but they haven’t proven in this county that Drew Peterson hired someone to kill his third wife,” Peterson’s attorney, Lucas Liefer, said.

Brown asked both counsels to submit a “checklist” of issues, stating that he had made some notes during the nearly two-and-a-half hour hearing on what he has to rule on.

“I just want to make sure I cover each one of these trial issues,” he said. “I’ll read all of this and think about it and give a written order. If I miss something, let me know.”

Here’s a rundown of case updates for the month of August:

08/18/2015 Subpoena Duces Tecum issued. People’s Response to the Defendant’s Supplemental Motion for Discovery on file

08/18/2015 Motions argued.

08/21/2015 Order Granting State’s Motion for Buccal Swab and Fingerprints on file.

08/24/2015 Motion to Suppress on file. Motion to Suppress Evidence on file. Petition for Expert Fees on file. Notice of Hearing on file. (Hearing on petition for expert fees 9-29-15, 11am) Proof of Service on file,

08/24/2015 Order Granting Defense Request to File Exhibits Under Seal on file. Exhibits filed under seal. (Filed in locked exhibit cabinet 1A)

08/28/2015 Reply to Defendant’s Motion to Suppress Evidence on file.

08/31/2015 Reply to People’s Motion in Limine to Admit Evidence of Other Crimes on file. Reply to People’s Motion to Admit Relevant Evidence of Defendant’s Conduct and Other Acts Evidence on file.

09/01/2015 Order on file. (Rulings on motion for discovery filed 7-23-15)

09/02/2015 Sealed motion to admit relevant evidence was opened and copied for Judge Brown. Sealed exhibits were opened and exhibits d & e were copied for Judge Brown.

I sure would love to have access to exhibit cabinet 1A.


10 thoughts on “Murder-for-hire motions update: physical evidence, clerical errors and conflict of interest

    Drew Peterson murder-for-hire trial delayed until February
    UPDATED AT 07:02AM, SEPTEMBER 30, 2015

    CHESTER, Ill. — Drew Peterson’s murder-for-hire trial in southern Illinois has been postponed until early next year.

    The former suburban Chicago police officer is charged with soliciting an inmate to kill Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, who prosecuted the 2012 case in which Peterson was sentenced to 38 years in prison for the bathtub drowning death of ex-wife Kathleen Savio.

    A Randolph County judge on Tuesday granted a request for more time by Peterson’s court-appointed attorney. A trial set to begin in November is now scheduled to start Feb. 29.

    The ex-Bolingbrook sergeant is challenging wiretap evidence he says was improperly obtained, with a Will County judge first meeting with a jailhouse informant before considering the request to secretly record Peterson.

  2. By Pete Spitler
    Staff Writer

    Posted Sep. 29, 2015 at 3:30 PM

    Already twice delayed, the Drew Peterson murder-for-hire trial is getting pushed back again.
    During a motions hearing on Tuesday at the Randolph County Courthouse, counsel for both the defense and prosecution announced a new start date of Feb. 29, with jury selection to begin on Feb. 26.

    “Mr. Peterson is not going anywhere anytime soon,” said Randolph County State’s Attorney Jeremy Walker, who is co-prosecuting Peterson’s case with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, in the post-hearing media interview.

    Circuit Judge Richard A. Brown heard arguments on two motions, one to suppress eight pages of evidence as it relates to audio evidence in the case and the other to reconsider a previous ruling by Brown as it related to criminal discovery.

    Defense Attorney Lucas Liefer said he had requested information on the device used to obtain the recordings of conversations between Peterson and “Individual A,” whose identity remains under seal, at the heart of the case.

    Those conversations allegedly involved Peterson requesting Individual A to find someone to kill Will County State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow, who prosecuted Peterson’s original 2012 murder conviction, in exchange for payment.

    Information Liefer sought included the make, model, serial number, policy guidelines, file format of the recordings and also the methods used to upload them into evidence.

    But access to that information was denied based upon “law enforcement investigatory privilege.”

    “How am I supposed to do my job to prepare my defense?” Liefer asked Brown. “That’s the whole point of criminal discovery.”

    Brown later said that methods used for investigations must be kept confidential and the ruling stood.

    For the remainder of the hour-and-a-half hearing, both sides argued over suppression of evidence, with Liefer dominating a significant portion of the debate.

    Liefer said he had four issues with the evidence – consent, authorization of the eavesdropping device, due process and improper filing of documents related to the case.

    In regard to consent, Liefer said the wiretap application listed the wrong defendant’s name – Stephen Nardi, who is a former Grant Park police lieutenant charged with criminal sexual assault of his 15-year-old niece last year.

    According to media reports, Nardi has been out on bond since August 2014 and has never been imprisoned.

    “I don’t know who Stephen Nardi is,” Liefer said. “I’ve never heard of him and he doesn’t appear in any other discovery.”

    The core of Liefer’s arguments focused on an apparent October 3, 2014 visit to Stateville Correctional Center by Will County Chief Judge Richard Schoenstedt, prosecutors who work in the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office and law enforcement.

    That visit occurred 20 days before judicial use of the eavesdropping device was approved to record conversations between Individual A and Peterson.

    Liefer cited Federal Bureau of Investigation reports in how he knew the meeting took place.

    “He stepped outside of his judicial office and became part of a law enforcement investigation,” he said of Schoenstedt.

    Liefer later argued that taking a judge to Stateville to talk to an informant was abuse of power.

    “We’re not in Will County,” he told Brown. “You don’t have to allow what these guys did because this smells.”

    Arguing for the prosecution, Assistant Attorney General Steve Nate said Schoenstedt was trying to protect Peterson’s rights in assessing Individual A’s credibility and reliability for himself.

    “There’s no conflict of interest here,” Nate said.

    Liefer claimed that Glasgow is obsessed with Peterson and finding evidence against him.

    “Why is the Will County state’s attorney, the alleged target of the murder case, authorizing recordings?” he asked.

    Liefer said the situation has an appearance of impropriety.

    “You can’t be a witness and a state’s attorney in the same case,” he said.

    Brown did not immediately rule on the evidence suppression motion, telling the counsels that he would review their cases and consider their arguments.

    A case management conference has been scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 24, at 9 a.m.”

  3. Interesting – motion says prosecution did everything wrong, yet defense needs another six months? If the prosecution did everything wrong, you would think it’s a slam dunk for the defense. Also, is he still using a public defender?

  4. AFAIK Lucas Liefer is his court-appointed public defender. And at least we know Drew’s not going anywhere. He’s still scratching his rashes in Menard while he waits.

    Entered Under: PETERSON, DREW M35067

    addition 10/06/2015 Order Granting Defense Request to File Petitions Under Seal on file. Order on file.

    addition 10/06/2015 Petition for Attorney’s Fees on file. Petition for Expert Fees on file. Notice of Hearing on file. (11-3-15, 10am) Notice of Hearing on file. (11-3-15, 10am)

  5. CHStacy Peterson’s Sister Not Giving Up Search After 8 Years
    October 29, 2015 2:27 PM By Mike Krauser

    ICAGO (CBS) — Eight years ago this week, Stacy Peterson disappeared from her home in Bolingbrook.

    As her husband, former Bolingbrook police officer Drew Peterson, sat in prison for the murder of his previous wife, Kathleen Savio, Stacy’s sister marked another anniversary and said she’ll never give up the search.

    Cassandra Cales was one of the last people to see her sister, Stacy, who wanted out of her marriage to Drew when she vanished. Cales said, after eight years, it doesn’t get any easier.

    “It’s still a rough emotional roller coaster ride, and I just take each day and work through it, and there’s not a day that I don’t think about her, and I just stay positive, and cherish the memories we had,” Cales said.

    Cassandra Cales’ sister, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007. She believes her sister’s husband, Drew Peterson killed Stacy. He hasn’t been charged in that case, but is charged with killing his previous wife, Kathleen Savio. (Credit: CBS)
    Cassandra Cales’ sister, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007. She believes her sister’s husband, Drew Peterson killed Stacy. He hasn’t been charged in that case, but is charged with killing his previous wife, Kathleen Savio. (Credit: CBS)
    She said she believes her sister is buried close to the home she shared with Drew Peterson.

    “I wish he’d give it up already, you know? To give me and my family closure. We’re not really ever going to have closure, but it gives her the proper burial, and then we can have a proper funeral, or service, or something, and then kind of try and put it behind us.”

    Cales said she takes some comfort in knowing the man suspected in Stacy’s disappearance is in prison, even if he was never charged in connection with Stacy’s disappearance.

    She makes the 300 mile trip to downstate Chester for his court appearances on charges he tried have prosecutor who put him in prison, Will County State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow, killed.

    “I like to go see him, and how miserable he is, and he won’t even look at me. He looks pretty unhealthy, and I don’t think he’s going to last much longer in there,” Cales said.

    She also said she’s still out searching for her sister’s grave.

    “I’m never going to give up. I’m always going to keep searching, and checking places that I feel, or any little tip; whether it’s a psychic, or some crystal ball lady saying she could be over here. I’ll still go check it out,” she said.

    This week, as another anniversary of her sister’s disappearance came, she was plotting the next areas where she would go and search for her sister’s grave. She estimated she has probably searched hundreds of times over the years.

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