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.

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.

Video: Oral arguments in appeal of Drew Peterson Murder conviction

Today attorneys for Drew Peterson and the State of Illinois presented their oral arguments to the Supreme Court of the state.

Law professor Harold Krent and long-time Peterson attorney Steve Greenberg argued for Peterson, while assistant attorney general Leah Bendik argued for the state.

Attorneys are hoping for an answer from the court by Spring. Here are the arguments in their entirety.

Illinois Supreme Court to hear Drew Peterson’s appeal. Former attorney intends to sue for defamation

Photo courtesy IDOC

A smiling Drew Peterson in his current mug shot

I apologize for not updating the blog last week but, unlike Drew Peterson, I was sitting by a pool in the shade of a palm tree.

On March 30 the Illinois Supreme Court announced it would hear ex-Bolingbrook cop Drew Peterson’s appeal of his 2012 conviction for killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in 2004.

The decision came as a bit of a surprise to the legal community, as the Illinois appellate court upheld Peterson’s conviction in November, 2015, stating in their opinion that “since we have found that no errors occurred, defendant’s claim of cumulative error must be rejected.” The chances of the appeal making it to Illinois’ highest court also seemed slim because historically only 5% of petitioned cases are heard.

Peterson’s appeal is based on claims of ineffective counsel on the part of attorney, Joel Brodsky, the admission of several hearsay statements admitted under the forfeiture by wrongdoing exception, and that evidence given by Pastor Neil Schori at trial violated confidentiality.

Meanwhile, Peterson’s murder-for-hire trial is amping up for May, based on charges that he solicited an inmate to kill Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, who prosecuted the Savio case.

Peterson appeared in court on Friday for a short case management conference. Randolph County State’s Attorney Jeremy Walker announced the prosecution would tender its official discovery to the defense on that day, and the date of April 22nd was set for the next case management conference.

Reem Odeh posing with a book about the Peterson case

Reem Odeh posing with a book about the Peterson case

In a strange turn of events, former Drew Peterson attorney, Reem Odeh, is asking Cook County to order to Google to supply her with information about the origins of what she says are libelous reviews left on one of her law practice’s social media pages.

According to the petition, Odeh said she intends to sue for defamation the party or parties responsible for the posts, published in January and February 2016.

According to the Cook County Record,

The petition cited one such post, purportedly posted under the alias of “Drea Sanchez,” which called her a “horrible, lying and deceitful woman claiming to be a great lawyer” who “is an embarrassment to all members of The Bar Association.” The post further called on the Illinois Supreme Court to suspend Odeh’s legal license.

Other posts, submitted under other aliases including “Abdullah Mubarak,” “William Levi” and “Nura Galaski,” allegedly accused Odeh of having “a reputation of getting around;” of having come to court “late as usual smelling like cheap beer;” of having made “bad remarks about the Latin/Polish community;” and of never being prepared for court, among other accusations. The post from “Mubarak” also described her using the term “sharamoota,” which the petition said was a derogatory Arabic term for “prostitute.”

Odeh’s petition said the reviews “are rife with false accusations regarding (Odeh), a married woman, including allegations that (Odeh) attends court appearances under the influence of alcohol; that she is adulterous; that she lies to the court and opposing counsel …; and otherwise incompetent at her profession.

Of course I have no idea who is behind the posts but I do remember that Odeh’s break with her former law partner, Joel Brodsky, was acrimonious to say the least and that a spate of negative comments cropped up about her after she testified that Brodsky had attacked her when she left with a copy of a contract between Joel and Drew at Peterson’s pre-sentencing hearings. Brodksy’s wife, Elizabeth, was especially candid when commenting on her husband’s former law partner.

reem-revie3-nura

Whether Mrs. Brodsky still carries a grudge, or Odeh has new enemies remains to be seen. Presumably, all could be revealed if Cook County rules in her favor and Google cooperates.

Video: Drew Peterson murder conviction appeal oral arguments

Part 1: Argument for the appeal by attorney Steven Greenberg

Part 2: Argument for the appeal by attorney Harold Krent

Part 3: Argument against the appeal by assistant state’s attorney Marie Czech (1)

Part 4: Argument against the appeal by assistant state’s attorney Marie Czech (2)

Part 5: Rebuttal by attorney Steven Greenberg

Last week Drew Peterson attorneys Steve Greenberg and Harold Krent presented arguments to three Illinois appellate justices in hopes of overturning Peterson’s 2012 conviction for the murder of Kathleen Savio.

The appeal centered around a number of points – namely the admittance of hearsay statements under the forfeiture by wrongdoing exception, the question of counselor-client and lawyer-client privilege and allegations of conflict and ineffective counsel on the part of Joel Brodsky.

Last week also saw a change in date for Peterson’s murder-for-hire trial. Originally he had asked for a speedy trial and the date was set for July, but his attorney, Lucas Liefer, decided that they could not be ready by then. The trial is now set for August 28th.

Attorney Steven Greenberg who unsuccessfully defended Peterson against murder charges at trial in 2012, and is now one of his appellate lawyers, was interviewed about the oral arguments as well as Drew’s more recent murder case

Attorney Joel Brodsky, who is named in Peterson’s appeal as providing ineffective assistance and having a per se conflict of interest, replied to the charges via “The Publicity Agency”. The PR firm is run by Glenn Selig who is also named in Peterson’s appeal.

“I was amazed and shocked at the flagrant lies told, and the blatant hypocrisy demonstrated by Attorney Steve Greenberg during oral arguments before the Illinois Appellate Court on Drew Peterson’s appeal of his murder conviction. As to the accusations about my seeking publicity during the Peterson case, Steve Greenberg’s hypocrisy is beyond all bounds. The provable truth is that Attorney Steve Greenberg begged me to let him come onto the Peterson case to work for free and he wanted to do so for the publicity. He certainly did not want to work for free out of the goodness of his heart. Further, for Greenberg to complain about me seeking publicity from the Peterson case is the height of dishonesty when the provable fact is that I had to stop him from appearing on a truTV segment called “Karas v. Greenberg”, which he attempted to do during the trial! Rather than preparing for the days hearing or appearing in the courtroom during the trial, Greenberg was on truTV giving away the defense’s strategy while seeking publicity for himself. During the trial, he even used his daughter to set up his own personal media interviews. It is the height of hypocrisy for Attorney Greenberg to accuse me of wanting publicity.

Furthermore, Attorney Steve Greenberg told blatant lies during the oral argument. He stated that Drew Peterson’s media interviews were played during the trial and were used as evidence against him. Perhaps Greenberg was too busy doing the “Karas v. Greenberg” TV bits during the trial to remember, but not one video of Drew giving a media interview was ever played at trial. Not one. The only thing related to Mr. Peterson’s interviews that was used as evidence was a written transcript of three (3) questions that Drew was asked during interviews. The questions were as follows: (1) what happened to Kathy” (Drew said “I don’t know”), (2) Were you surprised that Kathy’s body was exhumed (Drew said “yes”), and (3) Were you separated at the time? (Drew said ‘yes”). Hardly evidence against Drew. This shows that Attorney Steve Greenberg lacks any credibility and engaged in gross misrepresentations and hypocrisy during his oral argument to the appellate court.”

Oral arguments presented today in appeal of Drew Peterson’s murder conviction

Drew Peterson attorneys Steve Greenberg and Harold Krent presented arguments today to three Illinois appellate justices in hopes of overturning Peterson’s 2012 conviction for the murder of Kathleen Savio.

The appeal centered around a number of points – namely the admittance of hearsay statements, the question of counselor-client privilege and allegations of ineffective counsel on the part of Joel Brodsky.

The Chicago Tribune reported that,

A three-member panel of the 3rd District Appellate Court frequently interrupted the attorneys with questions about why the rest of Peterson’s legal team did not intervene if they disagreed with Brodsky’s actions and trial strategy.

They also appeared skeptical of claims that Peterson’s rights were violated when Burmila allowed Savio’s divorce attorney, Harry Smith, to testify that Stacy Peterson had called to ask what would happen if she did not reveal her husband’s role in Savio’s death.

Greenberg and Krent argued that Smith should never have been allowed to testify, because it violated attorney-client privilege.

But Justice Daniel Schmidt appeared skeptical.

“Is the privilege designed to protect the client or the person that killed the client?” Schmidt asked. “My guess is if I’m dead, I’m not going to mind if my attorney testifies about the guy that killed me.”

Also,

Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Marie Czech argued that the media rights agreement had expired before Peterson’s 2012 trial, and said Brodsky had nothing to gain by calling a witness that could sink his client’s case.

“There is absolutely no benefit to Mr. Brodsky for losing this case,” Czech said. “Winning this case brings new clients, brings fame. Losing the case, as we’ve seen with Mr. Brodsky, brings a loss of clients, ignominy.”

She also reminded the panel that Smith was called by the defense, not the prosecution.

After the nearly hourlong argument, Justice Mary K. O’Brien said the court would take the matter under advisement and would later issue a written decision. She did not say when that decision would be released.

Pastor Neil Schori attended today’s proceedings, commenting afterward about the allegation that his testimony violated Stacy Peterson’s right to privacy he said, “The defense continues to try to make this an issue. That Stacy wanted me to be quiet makes no sense.”

Read it here: Drew Peterson’s appeal of murder conviction

ARGUMENTS

I. DREW WAS DENIED A FAIR TRIAL WHEN ATTORNEY HARRY SMITH TESTIFIED ABOUT A PRIVILEGED CONVERSATION WITH STACY THAT HAD BEEN RULED INADMISSIBLE, AND WAS HEARSAY OPINION INSINUATING DREW WAS GUILTY OF MURDER.

II. DREW’S PRINCIPAL ATTORNEY, BY SIGNING A MEDIA RIGHTS CONTRACT WHEN RETAINED, CREATED A PER SE CONFLICT.

III. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED AS A MATTER OF LAW IN ADMITTING PASTOR SCHORI’S TESTIMONY, BOTH AT THE FORFEITURE BY WRONGDOING HEARING AND AT TRIAL, IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE CLERGY PRIVILEGE DOCTRINE.

IV. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING INTO EVIDENCE, VIA THE FORFEITURE BY WRONGDOING DOCTRINE, HEARSAY STATEMENTS THAT THE COURT HAD PREVIOUSLY FOUND UNRELIABLE.

V. THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN ADMITTING JEFFREY PACHTER’S TESTIMONY BECAUSE THE STATE FAILED TO PROVIDE PROPER NOTICE OF THE TESTIMONY UNDER RULE 404(b), WHICH WAS PREJUDICIAL PROPENSITY EVIDENCE.

VI. DREW WAS NOT PROVED GUILTY BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT

VII. THE CUMULATIVE ERRORS DENIED DEFENDANT HIS RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL AND CAST DOUBT UPON THE INTEGRITY OF THIS PROCEEDING.

See the comments thread for more information.

Three of Drew Peterson’s old attorneys return to his defense – Joel Brodsky calls them a pathological narcissist, an alcoholic, and a novice

The Chicago Tribune reports that attorneys Steve Greenberg, John Heiderscheidt and David Peilet have been rehired to try to overturn Drew Peterson’s murder conviction for the killing of his ex-wife, Kathleen Savio.

The three lawyers turned his appellate case over to the state defender’s office last March but Peterson has now decided he wants the help of his old team. attorney Steve Greenberg says,

After the case was over, he needed to think about what he wanted to do. We needed to let things calm down before making those decisions.

The appeal, which is expected to be filed within the next 90 days, will be based on the admission of hearsay, the admission of testimony by Stacy Peterson’s pastor, a jury pool left in limbo for over two years and the ineffective counsel of Peterson’s lead attorney, Joel Brodsky. Brodsky responded to the news last night in an acerbic Tweet:

joel-comment

The Tribune reports that Peterson is biding his time at Menard Correctional Center, in protective custody. He has no cellmate and no job there. He gets five hours of recreation time each week and is allowed to see visitors twice a month.

Since his sentencing, Peterson’s yearly police pension of almost $80k has been challenged by Bolingbrook Village officials. It may take months before the outside attorney hired by the pension board makes a recommendation.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune

Four years since Drew Peterson’s arrest for murder. What has changed?

another new mugLast Tuesday marked four years since Drew Peterson was arrested and charged with the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. So, what has transpired since then?

Trial Status

Today: Jury selection for Drew Peterson’s trial began on July 23, 2012. Opening statements began on July 31st and the first witness was also called that day. Testimony continued through August 30. Closing arguments were heard on September 4 and jury deliberations began. On September 6, after two days and 14 hours of deliberations, the jury found Drew Peterson guilty in the first degree of murdering Kathleen Savio. On February 21st Drew Peterson was sentenced to 38 years in prison, minus the four years he spent in jail awaiting trial. Peterson was moved from the Will County Adult Detention Center, where he had been living since his arrest, to Stateville Prison and then was transferred shortly thereafter to Pontiac Prison and then Menard Correctional Facility. The City of Bolingbrook is reviewing the status of Peterson’s $79,000/year pension to see if it can be revoked.

Legal Representation

Today: Immediately after Peterson’s murder conviction, his defense team began to publicly point fingers and blame each other for losing the case. Paving the way for an appeal based on ineffective assistance of counsel, Joel Brodsky first got in Drew’s ear and was able to get Steven Greenberg fired from the defense team. But by October, Greenberg had spoken to Drew and was back on the team. Soon after, a team of three attorneys who had not represented Peterson in the murder trial filed a motion of ineffective assistance against Joel Brodsky. After much public and private name calling, letter writing, and motion filingJoel Brodsky withdrew from Peterson’s defense. He then filed a defamation suit against Steve Greenberg, two media outlets and specific reporters. Attorney David Peilet of Clarendon Hills and John Heiderscheidt joined the defense team. At a post-sentencing hearing, Judge Edward Burmila said that he was “shocked” at comments Brodsky had made on TV regarding his representation of Drew Peterson and had a transcript of the hearing sent to the ARDC. In March of 2013, the rest of Peterson’s defense team announced that they were stepping aside and turning over the appellate phase of Peterson’s defense to the state public defender’s office.

One year ago: In September, Attorney Walter Maksym was asked to “step aside” from the legal team after he was criticized by the federal appeals court for filing “unintelligible” court papers that were “riddled with errors”. As the case neared trial, it was announced that Atty Joe Lopez would be presenting closing arguments.

Two years ago: After months of rumors of arguing and even a physical incident, Reem Odeh left the partnership and withdrew from the Peterson defense team in September 2010. In February of 2011, Lisa Lopez, wife of Joe Lopez, assisted with the oral arguments regarding the hearsay decision before the Appellate court, which were presented by Steven Greenberg.

Three years ago: Andrew Abood and George Lenard withdrew from the case in April of 2010, citing irreconcilable differences with Joel Brodsky. John Paul Carroll had a complaint filed against him in September and appears to have left the case. Attorneys from Brodsky & Odeh, Steven A. Greenberg and Associates, Law Offices of Meczyk Goldberg, Joseph R. Lopez, P.C., and Walter P. Maksym Jr. then made up the “Seven Samurai” representing Peterson in court.

Four years ago: Brodsky & Odeh, Abood Law, and John Paul Carroll represented Drew Peterson. George D. Lenard joined the case in December of 2009.

Media Exposure

Today: Drew Peterson was able to address the court and the public with a statement at his sentencing hearing. Rather than expressing remorse, he shouted out “I did not kill Kathleen” and then issued a long self-pitying rant.

One year ago: The Sun-Times continued to shill for Peterson. On April 17 they featured a sympathetic story and cover photo of Drew Peterson after the state won their appeal to get more evidence admitted to his trial for murder.

Two years ago: Despite the gag order prohibiting interviews, Peterson spent 2011 writing letters and statements that were provided to the media, in particular to gossip columnist for the Chicago Sun Times, Michael Sneed.

Three years ago: Drew was prohibited from giving interviews to the press.

Four years ago: 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.

Judges

Today: Judge Burmila presided over Peterson’s trial and sentencing.

One year ago: On May 4, 2012, Judge Edward Burmilla was assigned to the case.

Two years ago: Judge Stephen White retired in October 2010.

Three years ago: Judge Stephen White presided over the case.

Four years 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.

Hearsay Evidence

Today: The defense continued to file motions to bar as  much of the hearsay evidence as possible leading up to Peterson’s trial. They were also able to challenge each piece of hearsay evidence as it was introduced at trial and were able to keep out more in that way. At trial Kathleen Savio’s sisters and some friends were allowed to testify to statements she had made to them about fearing Drew Peterson would kill her. Pastor Neil Schori was only allowed to testify to what Stacy had told him alone. The discussions he had with Drew and Stacy in their home were deemed inadmissible. Scott Rossetto’s testimony was also deemed unreliable after the prosecution made some errors with the dates and he didn’t get to take the stand. Although the defense had fought to keep out the testimony of Attorney Harry Smith, whom Stacy Peterson had called with questions about a possible divorce, eventually it was Joel Brodsky who called him to the stand in an attempt to impeach Stacy’s words to Neil Schori. Smith testified that Stacy had asked if she could get more money out of Drew if she threatened to tell “how” he had killed Kathleen Savio. Many believe this to be the evidence that cinched the conviction. A final breakdown of witnesses shows that more than 85% of the evidence presented at Drew Peterson’s trial was physical, forensic and circumstantial. Less than 15% was hearsay. Although media reports were quick to cite “Drew’s Law” as being a factor in the introduction of hearsay to Peterson’s trial, those reports were erroneous as the state had earlier asked the appellate court to reconsider Judge White’s hearsay rulings under the common law rules of forfeiture and they agreed.

One year ago: After the appellate court did not reconsider the barred hearsay statements due to a missed deadline, the State appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court which decided that the appellate court should consider the evidence on its merits. In April the appellate court reversed Judge White’s decision and decided that the hearsay statements were reliable and admissible in court. Peterson’s defense announced that they would not appeal and wanted instead to go to trial.

Two years ago: The judge’s decision regarding the hearsay statements was leaked in July 2010, revealing that possibly fewer than five of the 15 statements being considered were to be allowed. This decision was appealed by the prosecution. During February oral arguments before the appellate justices, States Attorney Jim Glasgow was asked what he now wanted to “hang” his argument on. Glasgow said that he chose “804 (b)” or, in other words the common law doctrine that is part of the Illinois Rules of Evidence (rather than the so-called “Hearsay Law”).

Three years ago: In October 2009, Peterson’s defense lost a motion to declare the act unconstitutional. Hearsay evidence and witnesses were heard during hearings in January 2010.

Four years ago: The Hearsay Statue (Drew;s Law) was passed into legislation November, 2008

Peterson Family

Today: In November 2007, a Federal judge threw out Stephen Peterson’s lawsuit against the Village of Oakbrook and Thomas Sheahan. Peterson then went back to Illinois Circuit court to try to get back his job, but lost that complaint in March of 2013.
Kathleen Savio’s two sons, Thomas and Kristopher are in college. Thomas Peterson testified on his father’s behalf towards the end of his trial.

One year ago: Stephen Peterson was appealing his dismissal and filed a Federal lawsuit in July 2011.

Two years ago: In August 2009, Stephen Peterson was suspended for accepting and hiding weapons for his father, shortly after the disappearance of Stacy Peterson. In February 2010, Peterson was fired from Oak Brook Police Force and appealed his dismissal.  Thomas Peterson wrote a letter and made a filing asking to be removed from the Savio family’s civil suit against Drew Peterson. This has not been granted yet. Tom Peterson was chosen as valedictorian of his graduating class.

Four years ago: Drew’s four youngest children were left in the care of their step-brother, Oak Brook Police Officer, Stephen Peterson.

Savio Family

Today: Sue Savio has continued to make appearances to speak out about her sister and against domestic violence. Anna Savio Doman and Henry Savio are still pursuing a wrongful death suit against Drew Peterson.

Cales Family

Today: Cassandra Cales continues to search for her sister.

Drew’s Love Life

Today: Drew Peterson continues to enjoy correspondence with numerous pen pals.

One year ago: Gossip columnist Michael Sneed reported that Peterson had over 20 pen pals (male and female), at least four of whom contributed to his funds at the commissary so that he could enjoy snacks while he awaited trial.

Two years ago: In August 2010 we heard that Christina Raines was engaged to a new man. In February 2011 we obtained a photo of Chrissy with her fiancé. In April 2011, an old acquaintance of Drew’s, Diana Grandel, released some letters from Drew in which he made sexual comments to her and offered Stacy’s clothing to her.

Three years ago: In January Raines posted a status update on her Facebook page stating, “I met someone who i fell in love with and very happy with. I think i just about gave up on drew with all his lies i dont even really visit him anymore.” and then, “But his kids i love dearly and still visit with them they are good kids”

Four years ago: Christina Raines was at the house that Drew and Stacy Peterson shared at the time or his arrest and was also taken into custody. She removed her belongings from his home shortly afterwards. Raines is on the list to visit Drew in jail.

Stunts

Today: All quiet on the part of Drew Peterson. His legal team seems to have picked up the torch as far as media shenanigans. Restaurateur Jeff Ruby attended Drew Peterson’s trial and was charged with contempt when he reportedly mouthed “Fuck you” at Peterson. Ruby went on to offer a $100,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of Stacy Peterson’s remains.

One year ago: Besides frequent mundane snippets in the gossip columns about Peterson’s life in prison, all has been quiet.

Two years ago: While Drew’s bids for attention were mostly curtailed due to his detention, his lawyer and PR people continued to pepper the news with updates and letters from him detailing everything from his life in jail to his opinions about the legal decisions regarding his children. Kathleen’s oldest son, Tom, was the subject of news stories and wrote his own letters to the press in support of his father.

Three years ago: Soon after Drew’s arrest he attempted to have his motorcycle auctioned off on eBay. He was asking for $50,000 and offered to apply a decal with his signature on the bike. eBay removed the auction for violation of its “murderabilia” rules.

Four years ago: At the time 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.

Stacy Peterson

Today: Areas of Hammel Woods in Shorewood were searched for five days in November 2012, utilizing the FBI and cadaver dogs. Some officials stated that it was a training mission, while others told the press that they were indeed looking for the remains of Stacy Peterson. Nothing was found.

One year ago: Airings of the movie, “Drew Peterson: Untouchable” brought about some new tips and offers of assistance in regards to the search for Stacy Peterson.

Two years ago: In August 2010, based on a tip, searches for Stacy’s remains took place near Peoria. No evidence was found.

Three years ago: Still missing with no sightings or communication from her.

Four years ago: Missing. No communication from her since October 28, 2007. Searches were ongoing.

Thoughts on Stacy Peterson: Five years gone

Stacy Peterson, missing since 2007

Stacy Peterson was last heard from five years ago, today. On a lazy Sunday morning, she texted a friend that she wasn’t ready to get out of bed and go help with some painting and then…silence. No more texts, no phone calls, no email, no sightings of her since that moment.

Her sister, Cassandra Cales, had been with her the night before and was already nervous about Stacy’s well-being. She knew that Stacy wanted to divorce her police officer husband, Drew, but that she was afraid he wouldn’t let her go. Her neighbor, Sharon Bychowski, had seen her sitting on the curb and crying in the days prior to her disappearance and had been told that she thought she would not make it out alive. She had confided a terrible secret to at least three people in the weeks before–that her husband had killed his third wife and that she had provided him with an alibi.

Stacy thought that this information might buy her and her children an escape from Drew, but it may well have cost her her life instead.

During Drew Peterson’s murder trial I received a lot of emails from people–really great emails for the most part filled with support for this site as well as the Savios, the Cales, and the prosecutors. Of course there were a few nutty negative emails as well, but those were expected.

But beyond that, there were also a few troubling emails. These came from people who, although they believed Peterson was guilty of killing Kathleen Savio, had difficulty accepting the idea that Stacy knew about her murder but did nothing about it until three years later when she wanted out of her marriage. These emails were from the nicest people you could imagine, who believed that Peterson killed not only Kathleen but Stacy as well, and they asked about this facet of the case tentatively, obviously not comfortable sharing their thoughts in the comments sections of the blog.

One woman, hoping that someone might have the answer just asked:

“I hope you can answer a question for me. After Neil Schori’s testimony yesterday, I have to wonder why Stacy Peterson waited until August of 2007 to tell her secret? That’s almost 3 1/2 years after Kathleen’s death. Why did Stacy wait so long to speak up?”

Another person took a few paragraphs to get to the point and then finally came out with it:

“Shame on Stacy. I don’t think she had one ounce of self-esteem and had no way of knowing right from wrong…She raised Kathleen’s son’s knowing their dad killed her. That’s messed up.”

It’s true that Stacy was not always kind to Kathleen during the first part of their relationship and that she later kept Drew’s dark secret for three years. However, she was only a teenager when they met and was no doubt under a good deal of control by Drew, so I factor that in when I think about her behavior towards Kathleen. I admit with some discomfort that I do find Stacy culpable to a degree for protecting Drew and providing him with an alibi.

That said, I guess I don’t dwell on it or feel anger towards her at this point because although I learned those facts of the case very early on, they were so eclipsed by the transgressions of Peterson himself.

In our country you have the right to be tried for your crimes and judged by a jury of your peers. Stacy Peterson was robbed of that right while her husband received the full benefit of the legal system. In my opinion, Drew Peterson was Stacy’s self-appointed judge, jury and executioner and he meted out a death sentence not as a matter of justice, but in order to hide a crime of his own. I think someday it will be proven in court that he killed her out of cowardice and greed. No matter what she might have been charged with, the sentence would not have been to be murdered at the hands of someone who had sworn to love and protect her.

I never think “shame on Stacy” because she never benefited from her right to representation and never got a fair day in court. She was abruptly silenced and denied the chance to either explain her actions or to defend herself against the slanderous accusations that have been made by Peterson and his lawyers since her disappearance.

It’s especially galling when you think about the fact that while Drew Peterson has now been convicted of the murder of Kathleen Savio, he still has parental rights over Stacy’s children and can legally keep her family from spending time with them.

Even if you feel that Stacy Peterson deserved punitive measures for not speaking up about the murder sooner, I don’t think there are many who would say that she hasn’t paid the price ten times over and then some.

She didn’t deserve to be killed and her children didn’t deserve to be robbed of their mother.

I try to take my cue from the Savio family who have found it in their hearts to put aside any resentment and have stood by the Cales to work towards getting justice for both Stacy and Kathleen. If the only people in the world who have a legitimate reason to be angry have demonstrated that they can get over it, so can you.

And of course there’s only one appropriate question to ask today: Where is Stacy?

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