Illinois Supreme Court upholds Drew Peterson conviction for murder of Kathleen Savio

Today the Illinois Supreme Court handed down their opinion on Drew Peterson’s appeal  of his 2012 murder conviction.

The court found his allegations of errors of evidence admitted to trial, ineffective counsel, conflicts of interest, and breeches of clergy privilege to be without legal merit.

States Attorney James Glasgow, himself a target of an attempt at murder-for-hire on the part Peterson, released this statement in response to the court’s decision:

Today’s ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously affirming the conviction of Drew Peterson for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, is the ultimate vindication of my decision to pursue a prosecution that had been criticized initially by many legal professionals and those in the media.
Today’s ruling completely affirms my lawful use of relevant and probative hearsay statements against Drew Peterson at his murder trial. Peterson thought the statements and threats he made had died with Kathleen Savio and had vanished with his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson. He never anticipated that I would utilize the constitutionally sound concept of forfeiture by wrongdoing to allow Kathleen to testify from the grave against her murderer, and enable Stacy to bolster her testimony. This legal principle allows prosecutors to use relevant and probative hearsay statements at trial against defendants who kill witnesses to keep them from testifying.
The Illinois Supreme Court today not only affirmed the use of this principle as applied in the Peterson case, but it identified additional avenues that had already been laid out by the U.S. Supreme Court for prosecutors to use in future cases.
Today’s ruling is a victory for the families of Kathleen Savio and Stacy Peterson against a notorious murderer who always felt he could act outside and above the law. It also is a watershed moment for police and prosecutors battling criminals who would twist the law to serve their nefarious purposes by killing the very witnesses who would help bring them to justice.


7 thoughts on “Illinois Supreme Court upholds Drew Peterson conviction for murder of Kathleen Savio

  1. So glad to see this is finally wrapping up. Of course, none of us thought he’d win….but Drew is Drew. The rules don’t apply to him.

    Any word on whether he will appeal?

  2. I read in one story that he was planning to appeal, but appeal away! It’s going to be hard to come up with any new “errors” that a court might even consider. This appeal was already grasping at straws.

  3. An email response from Drew to the media:

    “As I figured I’ll have to go to the federal court for a just decision. The court ignored our best case law and issues. Can’t fight back door politics.”

  4. “SNEED EXCLUSIVE: State police wouldn’t listen, Stacy’s pastor says
    CHICAGO 09/21/2017, 08:13pm

    The hand of God?

    Drew Peterson’s conviction for murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio, may have been upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday, but did divine intervention have something to do with it?

    It’s a humdinger of a story.

    Pull up a chair.

    “It was the hand of God who helped solve the Savio case,” said Pastor Neil Schori, who had been a marital counselor to Peterson’s still missing fourth wife, Stacy — who had confided to him two months before she disappeared she believed Peterson had killed his third wife.

    What went unreported until now: Schori’s admission to Sneed he tried twice without success the day after Stacy went missing to inform the state police what Stacy had told him confidentially two months earlier.

    “That’s when the unexpected and weird and seemingly impossible happened,” said Schori, who had been serendipitously serving on a Will County grand jury for the past 10 months.

    So what happened?

    Frustrated by the inability to get the police to respond, Schori was doing jury duty the next day — when a “boisterous state police sergeant named Pat Collins came into our grand jury and loudly stated: ‘Ladies and gentlemen of the grand jury. Will County has a Scott Peterson case on its hands!’ ” (Referring to the infamous Scott Peterson wife murderer case in California.)

    “I felt like a fool, but I raised my hand and shouted to Sgt. Collins:

    “ ‘I cannot hear what you are about to share. I need to talk to you now. I need to tell you something I know!’

    “So they stopped the proceeding,” said Schori.

    “I walked out of the jury section. I told Sgt. Collins I tried to connect with the state police twice in the past days and no one called back. I told him Stacy told me Drew had killed his third wife, Kathleen Savio, and he looked at me with such shock.

    “Then he said, “Do not go anywhere else.” They then drove to the state police district.

    “I finally got to tell Stacy’s story. How ironic was it that I’d never served on a grand jury before? What are the chances I’d become a key witness — and that it would happen that way,” he said.

    Pastor Neil Schori.

    Sneed contacted the state police for response. “Because the case is open and an ongoing investigation, we are not releasing any information about the case,” said Master Sgt. Jason Bradley, a state police spokesman.

    Ironically, Schori and attorney Joel Brodsky, who represented Peterson at the Savio murder trial, have become friends and frequent dinner companions.

    “When Pastor Schori told me about the grand jury story, I was flabbergasted,” said Brodsky.

    Schori, who claims he had been counseling both Drew and Stacy, told Sneed: “Stacy just blurted it out. He did it. Drew killed Kathleen. I asked a lot of questions. She described in great detail what happened the night Savio was killed. Stacy never said she was afraid, but her body language seemed fearful.

    “And Stacy kept looking over her shoulder. She said she was followed by the Bolingbrook police on a regular basis.”

    “The Schori story did seem to be divine intervention at work,” said Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, who prosecuted Peterson. “And now that Drew’s son, Stephen, has come around and seen the light — we might be able to sit and chat with him,” added Glasgow. “The search for Stacy is still ongoing.

    “There is evidence we weren’t able to obtain at the time, and with his help we might be able to do so.”

    The Peterson file . . .

    Sneed has learned attorney Joel Brodsky, who represented Drew Peterson in the Kathleen Savio murder trial amid later criticism by Peterson his representation was ineffective, just sent his former client a letter following an Illinois Supreme Court ruling Thursday upholding Peterson’s murder conviction.

    It read:

    “Dear Drew,

    I said I would write you after the Supreme Court ruled. I hate to say I told you so, but now that the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled I did nothing wrong in representing you, I have to say it. I told you that day in 2012 it was a waste to bring an ineffective assistance claim but you didn’t listen to me. So be it. You’re a grown man and you’re stuck with the result of your choices. Other than that, you have been convicted, and I have been exonerated, by the Supreme Court, and I have no regrets. Very truly yours, Joel Brodsky.””

  5. “With regards to the investigation into the disappearance of forth wife Stacy Peterson, Glasgow says the investigation is very much open and believes Peterson’s son Stephen may cooperate with the investigation.

    “I’m talking about his change of attitude to open doors, and I’m not going to get into specifics but there is evidence that could potentially reach the level that we need to bring a charge,” Glasgow said. “I’m not saying that we’re going to be able to obtain it but it could be now, where as it wasn’t possible before.”

    In an interview with the Chicago Tribune in January, Stephen Peterson revealed that he believes his father “probably” killed Savio and that he’s come to believe his father also killed Stacy.

    “Over time, you hear enough (from police). They can’t all be full of s—,” Stephen told the Tribune. “I don’t want to come out and say he did it … but, I’m sure he did it.””

    Drew Peterson asks Illinois Supreme Court to reconsider murder conviction
    Drew Peterson arrives for court in Joliet on May 8, 2009. (M. Spencer Green / AP)
    Steve SchmadekeContact Reporter
    Attorneys for disgraced former Bolingbrook police officer Drew Peterson asked the Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday to reconsider its decision to uphold his conviction for the drowning murder of his third wife.
    In September, the Supreme Court unanimously found that hearsay testimony from Kathleen Savio, Peterson’s third wife, as well as missing fourth wife Stacy Peterson did not violate his constitutional rights because of evidence Peterson killed them to prevent their testimony.
    Peterson, 63, is serving a 38-year prison sentence for Savio’s 2004 murder. He must still serve 40 additional years after being convicted of plotting to kill Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow who put him behind bars.
    The petition filed Thursday by Peterson’s attorneys is rarely successful. His attorneys have said they “likely” will seek to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.
    Twitter @steveschmadeke

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