Has Stephen Peterson come to accept that his father is a murderer?

Yesterday the Lifetime Movie Network aired the season 2 premiere of their show, Monster in My Family, with Drew Peterson as the subject.

The somewhat exploitative show features the family members of convicted murderers telling of the struggles they face due to the nefarious actions of their loved ones and meeting with the families of victims to ask for forgiveness.

Kathleen Savio’s sister, Sue Doman (Savio), appeared in this episode as did Drew Peterson’s adult son Stephen Peterson.

It was surprising to see Stephen Peterson taking part in the show since he has eschewed interviews during the nine years or so since Stacy Peterson disappeared and his father became a household name.

It was more surprising, yet, that LMN promoted the show by saying that Stephen has now accepted that his father is a killer and that he had sat down with Kathleen’s sister in an attempt at reconciliation between the two estranged families.

Surprising, because Stephen has been taking care of Drew Peterson’s children since his father was arrested for murder in 2009, and lost his job on the Oak Brook police force when it was determined that he had interfered with an investigation when accepting guns and money from Drew in the days after Stacy’s disappearance.

Although Stephen has shied away from the publicity that his father eagerly courted and never publicly stated his stance, it has long been assumed that he supported Drew and was at best ignorant of his father’s crimes – at worst aided and abbetted them.

For years Stacy’s sister, Cassandra Cales, has stated publicly that she is not allowed to visit with her young niece and nephew because Drew has told Stephen not to allow it.

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I watched the show with some interest but came away with more questions than answers about Stephen Peterson and his relationship to his father, and to the Savio and Cales families.

The show’s host, Melissa Moore, daughter of Keith Hunter Jesperson, known in the media as the “Happy Face Killer”, first interviewed Stephen asking, “Do you think your dad killed Kathleen?”

“I’d probably say so…That’s probably the first time I ever said out loud that I think he probably did it.” He replied. He expressed disappointment in his father that he says grew over time. “I don’t think he realizes what he’s done to Stacy’s family, Kathy’s family, our friends the kids – everybody.”

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He said he didn’t agree with Stacy adopting Tom and Kris after Kathleen’s death because it erased Kathy from her sons’ birth certificates, but Drew did it anyway. Stephen thought it was done as a ploy to keep Stacy from leaving.

As for agreeing to meet with Sue Doman in a sort of Catfish type of set up, Stephen said he was willing to do it so that she and everyone else would see that he is not his father. “I would love some sort of closure for her or the kids but you know it won’t come from him (Drew).”

At the meeting Sue told Stephen that she hated Drew and had hated Stephen as well, believing him to possibly have been involved in her sister’s death. He told her that he was not and that he had thought Drew was innocent at the time of the murder.

sue-stephen

There was discussion about the rift between the two families and the fact that the Savios had been cut out of the lives of Kathleen’s sons. Stephen said he hoped that would change.

This part of the discussion struck me as odd since Thomas and Kris are now adults and living independently. They are free to now see whoever they wish and I know that Sue and Tom have been in contact on Facebook, so this isn’t really an issue that Stephen has any control over.

On the other hand Stacy’s children are still minors and living with Stephen at Drew’s home, yet there was no mention of attempting to reconcile with the Cales family or grant Cassandra the visitation that she has long been asking for.

If Stephen has truly had a change of heart and wants to do right by his father’s victims, why on earth wasn’t this addressed during the show?

I try not to be cynical but I am fearful that Stephen Peterson isn’t sincere about the change to his attitude and beliefs.

I find it interesting that the turnabout has come only after another 40-year sentence has been tacked on to Drew’s prison time, essentially convicting him for life, and after Drew finally lost his pension – the pension that Stephen was receiving to help raise Stacy’s two children.

Somehow, I can’t help but believe that this late game change of heart has come about either at the behest of or with the blessings of Drew Peterson, in hopes that public opinion of Stephen Peterson will be swayed and with it, the return of Drew’s pension.

I do think it’s wrong to punish the child for the crimes of the father but I’ll have an easier time believing in Stephen Peterson when his transformation is complete and publicly includes both the Savio and the Cales families.

Drew Peterson jury members speak out about deliberations and verdict

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Drew Peterson attorney lies on camera

This morning Peterson defense lawyer, Steven Greenberg, appeared on Chicago’s Fox News to talk a little about the upcoming murder trial of Drew Peterson.
During the interview drenched in bravado and peppered with half-truths, Greenberg finally pulled out this whopper:

“One of the important things about this case that everyone forgets is if all these people heard that Drew Peterson was threatening Kathleen Savio or doing terrible things to her, not one of them came forward after she died. Not one of them. That’s a pretty strange coincidence.”

To anyone who has been following the case, it was a surreal moment. One in which truth and fiction battled momentarily in the brain. Had we really heard what we just thought we heard?

Because attorney Greenberg had just blatantly lied about the facts of this case. The truth is that not only one person came forward immediately after Kathleen Savio died to express their concerns and suspicions, numerous people did. If Greenberg is familiar at all with the case, which is to go to trial in two days, surely he must remember this winter’s hearsay hearings during which witness after witness testified under oath to coming forward.

Savio was found dead in her bathtub exactly six years ago March 1. At least one woman and three men, including an attorney and a Bolingbrook police officer, went to the state police soon after her body was discovered and tried to report the suspicions they harbored about her ex-husband, Drew Peterson.

Savio’s boyfriend, Steve Maniaci, not only talked to police, but confronted Peterson in person:

Savio’s boyfriend of two years, Steve Maniaci, said he approached Drew Peterson outside Savio’s house on the night her body was found and asked if he had killed her. Peterson denied any involvement, Maniaci testified.

“It sure worked out well for you, Drew,” Maniaci said.

“She wouldn’t have won anyway,” Peterson replied, according to Maniaci.

Maniaci said he told police about Peterson and Savio’s tumultuous relationship and the knife incident shortly after her body was found.

Kathleen Savio’s divorce attorney Harry Smith had heard Savio’s fears and had promised her he would speak out if something happened to her…and he did:

I attempted to do what she told me to do,” Smith said. “I had to go to the authorities and tell them Drew did it.

“I called,” Smith said. “I told him who I was and I told him essentially the complaint and the thing Kathleen had told me. At least I attempted to.

So, we might think it’s pretty sad that a respected attorney would go on camera and blatantly lie about the facts of a case, but that isn’t the saddest part of this story. The saddest part is that when all of these people came forward to authorities after Kathleen’s death, no one followed up with them. Their concerns were cast aside, pooh-poohed and otherwise hushed up.

Drew Peterson was questioned in the lunch room of his own police station, and none of the complaints of these witnesses made it to the police report. Not one, to quote attorney Greenberg.

Story and video at Fox News.

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One year since Drew Peterson’s arrest for murder. What has changed?

Drew Peterson as a free man, and in different company on the day of his arrest, May 7, 2009

One year ago, Drew Peterson was arrested and charged with the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Since that day he has resided at the the Will County Adult Detention Facility in Joliet awaiting his trial which is scheduled to begin next month. We’ve continued to follow the case as the year has passed, but what has changed since May 7, 2009?

Legal Representation

A year ago: Brodsky & Odeh, Abood Law, and John Paul Carroll represented Drew Peterson. George D. Lenard joined the case in December of 2009.
Today: Andrew Abood and George Lenard withdrew from the case in April of this year, citing irreconcilable differences with Joel Brodsky. John Paul Carroll had a complaint filed against him in September and appears to have left the case. Presently, attorneys from Brodsky & Odeh, Steven A. Greenberg and Associates, Law Offices of Meczyk Goldberg, Joseph R. Lopez, P.C., and Walter P. Maksym Jr. make up the “Seven Samurai” representing Peterson in court.

Media Exposure

A year ago: When Drew was arrested, he was preparing to fly out to the Bunny Ranch Brothel in Reno, Nevada, to see if he would be a good fit as head of security there. Drew’s last interview was given over the phone to a WLS radio show host, Eric Mancow Muller, from jail on May 27, 2009. He also gave one other in-jail phone interview on May 15, to Matt Lauer of the Today show.
Today: Drew is presently not allowed to give interviews to the press.

Judges

A year ago: Judge Richard Schoenstedt was first assigned to the case; then Judge Carla Alessio-Policandriotes and finally Judge Stephen White. Will County Chief Judge Gerald Kinney made the new appointments. Judge Daniel J. Rozak set Peterson’s bond.
Today: Judge Stephen White presides over the case but is expected to retire in October of this year.

Public Act 095-1004 – The so-called “Hearsay law”

A year ago: The Act was passed into legislation November, 2008
Today: In October 2009, Peterson’s defense lost a motion to declare the act unconstitutional

$20 Million Bail

A year ago: After Peterson’s bail was set at $20 million, the defense filed a motion to reduce it on May 22, 2009.
Today: In June, the Appellate Court denied the petition to reduce Peterson’s $20 million bond.

Change of Venue

A year ago: In July 2009, Drew Peterson’s attorneys filed a motion seeking a change of venue for their client.
Today: The request was denied and 240 potential jurors for the murder trial were brought into Will County court and asked to complete questionnaires
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Strapped for cash, Drew Peterson tries to auction his house.

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The Peterson home

Peterson’s house going to auction block?

November 11, 2009

BY MICHAEL SNEED Sun-Times Columnist

Scoopsville: Huh? Sneed hears an attorney for jailed murder suspect Drew Peterson is hoping to rent out/auction off Peterson’s empty Bolingbrook home for broadcast use during his upcoming trial!

“We are thinking it could be an excellent site for a news broadcast during the trial,” said attorney Walter Maksym, who filed a federal suit against JP Morgan Chase bank recently for suspending Peterson’s access to his $220,000 credit line.

“It would be a perfect place for someone like Geraldo Rivera. Don’t you think?” Maksym told Sneed.

Peterson, who is in jail charged with the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, was hoping to use the credit line to post part of his bond, pay his attorneys and hire expert witnesses. The credit line was authorized in 2005 and suspended by the bank in May.

“If he can’t pay for his own defense, the taxpayers could wind up paying for the enormous cost of the defense,” Maksym said. “I’m not handling his murder case. I’m working with his attorney Joel Brodsky, who is vigorously defending him, and we are looking for any way possible to raise money so Peterson won’t be denied a fair trial. The bank severed his credit line because Peterson is being detained for trial, and we believe it violates federal law.”

Auctioneer Leslie Hindman tells Sneed she received a call from Maksym on Tuesday wondering if she might auction off “the use of Peterson’s house as a site for broadcast during the trial.”

Quoth Hindman: “I said, ‘No. I’m not interested in doing such a thing. It would be much too weird.’

The Peterson home, which once housed his missing fourth wife, Stacy, and four children, has been vacant since Peterson was incarcerated in May.

Read Sneed’s column at the Sun-Times
Read the story at NBC Chicago

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Exclusive: Michelle LeFort, Lisa Ward’s co-author speaks out.

Author, Michelle LeFort

Author, Michelle LeFort

UPDATE 4:18 pm: It would now appear that Victoria Connolly and Lisa Ward have received cease and desist letters and that Joel Brodsky may have sent one to Ms. LeFort at an old address. We’re going to need to hold off on any further questions for a bit.

Since the news broke that Drew Peterson’s former step-daughter, Lisa Ward was speaking out and writing a book with allegations of abuse, there’s been plenty of discussion, here on the blog and elsewhere. We’ve wondered, why is she speaking up now? Why is she writing a book? Who is this author she is working with? Why is Drew’s lawyer hopping up and down and barking like a terrier?

Co-author, Michelle LeFort emailed us this morning with the answers to some of the questions we have been asking.

As for the “cease and desist” demand that Joel Brodsky announced he has issued against the author, she states that she, Vicki Connolly, and Lisa Ward, “have never been given a cease and desist letter-not one of us.” As to Joel Brodsky’s public claims that money is the motivating factor in coming forward, LeFort denies it. “We have made NO money as Mr. Brodsky, wonder attorney, might suggest and all hold down respectable jobs.”

LeFort does not believe that by speaking out, they are endangering the case against Drew Peterson.”We refuse to violate any testimony in this fiasco. Peterson needs stopped. We are trying to believe justice has the opportunity to prevail.”

This morning Ms. Lefort also posted a comment at Justice Café. We paste her comment here in toto, for you to read.

I am Michelle LeFort. I’m sorry that we cannot comment on some of the questions that you raise in this blog and that the administrator asked me to comment on. I am happy to make a statement and had emailed as well.

Vicki (the correct spelling) had a car accident March 1, 1990 in Naperville unincorporated. She did NOT date Jeffrey Archer (personally verified by his wife, his parents and Vicki as well.) Jeffrey was killed, and had been having an affair, but it was with someone else and his wife knew about it. It could have been misconstrued to have been Kathleen Savio, but, again, it was not someone who had anything to do with this case according to his wife.

(NoWay –hello, Darlin)

Lisa and Vicki have not come forward until now, because they are afraid. The legal team for Drew Peterson isn’t even the worst of it, but the sheer unabashed fear they faced for the duration of the time they spent with Drew. Money and Power are all I have seen in researching this case for nearly two years as HIS motive. We have waited to come forward for the very reason that Brodsky is proving all over the Internet-it comes down to name-calling. EVERYONE who says anything negative about Peterson is called a liar. Please tell me you see the antics. Are either of these men capable of rigorous honesty? They bash everyone. We really didn’t want to see our names smeared in the headlines with everyone else’s. We are human; we have feelings; we have fears; we are not backing down, just trying to do the right thing. We commend Cassandra, Anna and Sue, Neil, Steve … we understand what you go through and we’re sorry.

Continue reading

Drew Peterson defense team starts blog

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(Click to see full size)

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 28: That was fast. The blog that is the subject of this post is no longer there.
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I just noticed that a site which formerly contained links to Drew Peterson’s defense documents (and is still entitled: Drew Peterson Documents) has now morphed into a blog with updates about the Peterson case.

Members of the Peterson’s defense team already send out frequent press releases, update the Abood Law and Brodsky & Odeh web sites with news and legal briefs, and Joel Brodsky continues to grant radio interviews even though Judge Stephen White has asked to preapprove all media appearances by all attorneys involved in the case.

The judge issued specific guidelines to Peterson’s attorneys on pre-trial publicity and media interviews, asking that the lawyers inform the judge of any pre-arranged media interviews and supply him with copies of any press releases sent out on the case.

defend-drew-cap Why does the defense continue to court the public even after filing a motion for a change of venue which complains that “media overexposure” has made it impossible for their client to obtain a fair trial of his peers?

Should we be expecting a return of the Drew Peterson Defense Fund website, where “For the cost of a few cups of your morning coffee, you (could) help to ensure that Drew can afford to support his ongoing legal defense” and “find his missing wife”?
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Suffer the Consequences, Drew Peterson?

cry babySome of us have discussed how we have perceived the defense’s motions as being silly, at times. Such as asking for a change of venue when the defendant, and Joel Brodsky (scroll down slightly to his 5/3/2008 thoughts on media exposure), have done anything but avoid the media, making it difficult, so the defense says, to seat an unbiased jury in Will County. Some of us may also be wondering if they should suffer the consequences of their actions, as if it’s fair to expect the Judge to grant their request, when it was their own doing.

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Karen Conti was able to answer some questions for us involving pretrial motions. In the end, the obvious is noted. Regardless of how and why this defendant currently finds himself in unfavorable situations, the defendant is, and should be, entitled to a fair trial process.

Q: Of course, it’s understood that credibility with the judge and/or jury is important. In the case of pretrial motions and oral arguments, what will the Judge be looking for? Are case cites only part of what he’ll base his rulings on? If not, what other factors does he consider in pretrial motions? If there are case law cites that support each side’s legal position, how does the judge make a final determination? Does attorney credibility weigh-in in determining whose case law cites are more on point?


CONTI: In ruling on pretrial motions, the judge relies heavily on what the statutes and cases decided in the past interpreting the law say. The judge, in deciding some issues, has great discretion. It depends on the issue. Attorney credibility does not weigh in except that judges will tell you that when an attorney is not honest in interpreting a case or misstates facts, the judge loses confidence in the integrity of the pleadings and will question whatever that attorney files. But, for the most part, it is up to the judge to check the attorneys’ research and make sure that both attorneys are accurately and fairly making their arguments.

Continue reading

Will Drew Peterson’s trial be moved out of Will County?

Last Thursday Drew Peterson’s defense filed a Defendant’s Motion for a Change of Venue (see above). In it his lawyer, Joel Brodsky, claims that the media has “prejudiced the jury pool” of Will County against the defendant.

It’s noteworthy that most of the exhibits Joel includes in the motion are articles that he printed out from the Internet, and also that these print-outs aren’t of any local publications, but instead of stories from Fox, CNN, ABC, etc. The most local source he includes is MyFox Chicago and (Lisa Bloom, please take note) Chicago is in Cook County, not Will County.

So how do national and even international online sources contribute to a direct tainting of the jury pool in Will County? Brodsky’s exhibits prove only that the case has been widely covered by the media and that those who are interested can find ample reading material about it of they want to…by Googling.

Speaking of Google, it was interesting to see that the motion included some Google stats showing that the term “Drew Peterson” returns 2.95 million results, almost double the results for the term “Rod Blagojevich“. Forget for a moment that most people don’t know how to spell “Blagojevich” and instead think again about how this is relevant to the motion to change the venue from Will County. Well….it isn’t. That is, it isn’t unless Joel can show that his stats represent only searches made by the denizens of Will County.

Among other case precendents, the motion cites Murphy vs Florida in which the Supreme court explained that “in deciding whether to grant a motion for a change in venue, it is important to examine whether such publicity is ‘largely factual publicity’ as opposed to material which is ‘invidious or inflammatory’.”

So, it is interesting the most of the stories Joel provides as exhibits to argue his motion are actually mere statement of facts. Katheen Savio’s body is exhumed. A pathologist declares Kathleen’s death a homicide, Peterson is a suspect in Stacy’s disappearance. Peterson is arrested, etc. Since these news stories simply report on Drew’s arrest, or quote from a letter Kathleen has written or even if Glasgow outlines what the state is going to attempt to prove, they are examples of “factual publicity” and don’t do much to bolster his argument.

It will be interesting to see if Judge Stephen White takes into account the immense amount of media time that has been granted by Drew Peterson and Joel Brodsky themselves; and by that I mean not only the interviews to “give Drew’s side of the story” but the horrendous and tacky media stunts they’ve indulged in since Stacy Peterson disappeared.

A hearing on the motion is scheduled for August 14.

REMINDER: If you have any legal/courtroom questions about the case for Karen Conti, please continue to post or email them and we’ll post her replies. Thanks!

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Drew Peterson calls in to radio show from jail


This morning the hosts of the Mancow and Cassidy Show at WLS radio accepted a collect call from Drew Peterson who is currently in custody at the Will County Adult Detention Facility in Joliet.

Told by his attorney, Joel Brodsky, to expect to hear Drew’s new “stand up comedy act” they goaded him to joke with them and give them his “A material”.

Besides cracks about the food, and the sterotypical fear of being sodomized by fellow inmates, Drew joked that maybe they could hold a “Win a Conjugal Visit with Drew” contest. He then went on to talk about missing his kids and the fact that he’s reading the bible and doing a fair amount of praying these days.

DNA analysis has determined that human remains found along the Des Plaines River near Channahon were from an unidentified male, the Illinois State Police said in a statement today.

TRIBUNE BREAKING NEWS STORY

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