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.

What gag order? Drew Peterson gives an interview to the press and invites you to his pity party

Once again Drew Peterson is sending out invitations to his pity party via the Chicago Sun-Times gossip columnist, Michael Sneed.

For three years Peterson has been getting around Judge Stephen White’s ruling that the judge must be notified before conducting any interviews from jail by penning self-pitying and finger-pointing letters to the media. Now, with his trial less than two months away, Peterson added a gossip columnist to his visitor’s list and granted an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times’ Michael Sneed. Sneed is rumored to be a pal of Peterson’s lawyer, Joel Brodsky, and has published many Peterson missives in her column over the last few years. Is gossip exempt from the judge’s gag order?

…anyone associated with the case, including Peterson, his defense lawyers and prosecutors, must notify the judge before conducting any media interviews.

We’ll leave it to the State’s Attorney to decide whether this latest “Poor Drew” public appeal breaches the ruling. At Justice Cafe we’ll just ask exactly who it is that Drew Peterson thinks has called him “sinister”? He says he is tired of being labelled as such but danged if we can find a single instance of anyone labeling the man with that particular adjective.

This complaint from Peterson is nothing new. He’s been complaining that the media loves to paint him in a sinister light because “sinister sells” since well before his arrest and long before a fictionalized biopic called “Untouchable” aired on the Lifetime channel. Drew Peterson’s original complaints about his sinister coverage were aimed at news reports that simply laid out the facts of the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, and the mysterious death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

A search of this very web site turns up seven pages of comments in which either Drew Peterson or his defense have complained about his “sinister” portrayal and not one instance of any person or media entity referring to him as sinister. The closest I could find was this use of the word from a Chicago Tribune story from 2008. It asks only if something sinister could have happened to Kathleen Savio:

The investigators and experts re-examining her death as a possible murder are now asking how police could have been so quick to overlook signs that something sinister may have happened to the third wife of Drew Peterson, then a sergeant for the Bolingbrook Police Department.

We’re baffled as to why, when his trial is just about to start, Peterson is again attempting to plead his case to the public. Any good defense lawyer will tell you that the best thing you can do when charged with a crime is to shut your mouth, but then maybe that’s the problem. Peterson’s main defense attorney, Joel Brodsky, has continually trotted out his client like a circus act, counter to common wisdom.

In this latest case, we couldn’t help but notice that Peterson claims that the woman he is charged with murdering was once acquitted of a battery charge because her boys, Tom and Kris, lied for her under questioning. These are the same two boys who were trotted out to support their dad on TV in the face of a civil suit. These are the same two boys who will undoubtedly be called upon in the upcoming trial to supply an alibi for their dad on the night their mom was killed. Did Drew really mean to tell the public that they will lie to protect a parent?

That doesn’t seem too smart.

Peterson is expected back in court Wednesday morning for motions and a hearing in the afternoon.

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Drew Peterson pre-trial hearing: The videos

Recently, I spent an afternoon looking back at all the posts and threads from January 19-February 19th, 2010. You’ll remember that this is when Drew Peterson’s pre-trial hearings took place. The prosecution called over 60 witnesses to testify about not only the Kathleen Savio murder case, but Stacy Peterson‘s disappearance. Judge Stephen White used the evidence presented during these hearings to decide which if any hearsay evidence could be admitted in Peterson’s murder trial (the judge’s decision barring some testimony was overturned in April).

Specifically, I watched all the youtube video clips from the news during the hearings. One thing that struck me was that the formula for most clips is pretty much the same. A reporter gives a run-down of the day’s events and then Joel Brodsky gets some face time to refute the testimony and/or attack the witnesses’ credibility. Although Brodsky starts sounding like a broken record (especially after watching a few clips in succession) it certainly clears away any question of “media bias”. As far as the news goes, the coverage was undeniably fair.

A lot of the evidence presented had to do with the disappearance of Stacy Peterson. It’s highly likely that none of that testimony will be heard in the trial for Kathleen Savio’s murder. But it was presented at the pre-trial hearing in order to convince the judge that Drew made Stacy unavailable to testify, and so forfeited his right to confront, which cleared the way for her hearsay evidence (what she told her pastor, a friend and attorney Harry Smith about Drew killing Kathleen) to be admitted.

I don’t think any of us can predict exactly what will end up being presented in the upcoming trial–the defense is filing motions to bar as much as they can–but the videos are an excellent refresher on the State’s witnesses (at least those available in the Winter of 2010), and the evidence against Drew Peterson. I decided to embed all the videos in one post for easy viewing.  They are in chronological order.

There are a LOT of them so pace yourself!

Drew Peterson hearsay testimony begins

Stacy Peterson’s Uncle, former boss testify at hearsay hearing

Drew Peterson’s stepbrother testifies in hearsay hearing

Continue reading

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

On Monday it will be three years since Drew Peterson was arrested and charged with the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Since that day he has resided at the Will County Adult Detention Facility in Joliet awaiting trial. So, what has changed since May 7, 2009?

Trial Status

Today: At a pre-trial hearing on May 4, 2012 Peterson’s defense team indicated that they could be ready to go to trial in 60-90 days.

Legal Representation

Today: 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 nears trial, it has been announced that Atty Joe Lopez will present closing arguments.
One Year 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.
Two 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.
Three 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: The Sun-Times continues 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.
One year 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.
Two years ago: Drew was prohibited from giving interviews to the press.
Three 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: On May 4, 2012, Judge Edward Burmilla was assigned to the case.
One year ago: Judge Stephen White retired in October 2010.
Two years ago: Judge Stephen White presided over the case.
Three 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: 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.
One year 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”).
Two 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.
Three years ago: The Hearsay Statue was passed into legislation November, 2008

Books, Plays and Movies

Today: In June 2011, the Annoyance Theater in Chicago presented a satirical play, Waiting for Drew Peterson, about two sisters obsessed with Drew Peterson. In January of 2012, the Lifetime movie network aired the movie, “Drew Peterson: Untouchable“. Based on Joe Hosey’s book, Fatal Vows, it broke all viewing records for the network. In February of this year, the Raven Theater of Chicago presented, Dating Walter Dante, a play inspired by the love life of Drew Peterson.

Peterson family

Today: Stephen Peterson is still appealing his dismissal. His next court date is scheduled for May 9.
One year 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.
Three years ago: Drew’s four youngest children were left in the care of their step-brother, Oak Brook Police Officer, Stephen Peterson.

Drew’s Love Life

Today: Gossip columnist Michael Sneed reports that Peterson has over 20 pen pals (male and female), at least four of whom contribute to his funds at the commissary so that he can enjoy snacks while he awaits trial.
One year 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.
Two 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”
Three 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: Besides frequent mundane snippets in the gossip columns about Peterson’s life in prison, all has been quiet.
One year ago: While Drew’s bids for attention have been 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.
Two 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.
Three 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: Airings of the movie, “Drew Peterson: Untouchable” brought about some new tips and offers of assistance in regards to the search for Stacy Peterson. She is still missing.
One year ago: In August 2010, based on a tip, searches for Stacy’s remains took place near Peoria. No evidence was found.
Two years ago: Still missing with no sightings or communication from her.
Three years ago: Missing. No communication from her since October 28, 2007. Searches were ongoing.

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Appellate court overturns hearsay decision. Drew Peterson finally going to trial


The appellate court has finally reconsidered the eight barred hearsay statements on their merits and have decided to reverse the earlier appellate decision to bar them. They have decided that the statements are reliable and admissable at trial which can now go forward. We could be seeing a trial as early as June!

However, this doesn’t mean that the earlier barred evidence will necessarily be heard at trial. In the decision Justice William Holdridge pointed out that,

…We do not mean to suggest, however, that the circuit court is required to admit those eight statements during the trial. Rather, we merely hold that the statements are admissible under Rule of Evidence 804(b)(5) and should be admitted under that rule unless the circuit court finds they are otherwise inadmissible.

In other words, the statements have been ruled admissible under the long-established common laws of forfeiture by wrongdoing, which is what James Glasgow had argued for back in February 2011, but they won’t all necessarily make it into the trial.

Although this decision is a huge win for the state, it did not come without some chastisement over the controversial hearsay statute (which has been referred to as Drew’s Law) that Glasgow first hung his case on but then ultimately begged the court to toss aside:

…one would expect the State either to enforce the statute as written or act to repeal the statute, not urge the courts to ignore it.

These are the hearsay statements that have been deemed reliable (based on our research. The original decision was sealed, but leaked). The statements in red are the ones that were originally barred but are now admissible.

1. Kathleen Savio’s letter to then-Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Elizabeth Fragale complaining of Drew Peterson’s abuse, including an alleged July 2002 attack when he put a knife to her throat.

2. Kristin Anderson’s testimony that Savio told of her fears that Peterson would kill her while her family briefly rented Savio’s basement in 2003.

3. A fellow student at Joliet Junior College, Mary Park’s testimony that she saw red marks on Kathleen’s neck that Savio attributed to Peterson in 2003.

4. Savio’s co-worker, Issam Karam’s testimony that Savio told him Peterson came into her home and held a knife to her throat.

5. Kathleen’s sister, Susan Savio’s testimony about her sister’s fears that Peterson would kill her.

6. Kathleen’s sister, Anna Doman’s testimony that shortly before she died, Savio asked Doman to care for her children if she died, saying Peterson wanted to kill her.

7. Savio’s handwritten statement attached to a Bolingbrook police report on the July 2002 incident.

8. Six audio excerpts from a June 13, 2003, taped conversation Savio had with an insurance company over a claim she put in for allegedly stolen jewelry.

9. Savio’s Aug. 6, 2003, statement to the insurance company

10. Savio’s divorce attorney, Harry Smith’s testimony that Stacy contacted him about divorcing Peterson shortly before she vanished.

11. Stacy’s friend, Scott Rossetto’s testimony that she told him Peterson coached her as an alibi witness in Savio’s death.

12. The Rev. Neil Schori’s testimony that Stacy told him Peterson returned home dressed completely in black and carrying a bag of women’s clothing in the late morning on the day Savio’s body was found. Stacy also told him Peterson coached her to provide his alibi.

13. Stacy’s Joliet Junior College classmate, Michael Miles’ testimony that Stacy told him before Savio’s 2004 death that Peterson wanted to kill his ex-wife but that Stacy talked him out of it.

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Illinois Supreme Court decides Drew Peterson is better off in jail

I apologize if everyone is tired of this graphic, but what can I say? Once more, it’s been decided that Drew Peterson is better off staying in jail while the prosecution appeals a decision about evidence in the case of Kathleen Savio’s murder.

Peterson’s defense team has tried repeatedly to spring his release during the appeals process because Illinois law states,”a defendant shall not be held in jail or to bail during the pendency of an appeal by the state–unless there are compelling reasons for his continued detention or being held to bail.”

It’s most likely that the compelling reason is the evidence and testimony presented at the historic hearsay hearings that took place in the winter of 2009. One could suppose that Judge Stephen White, the appellate justices and now the Illinois supreme court justices have seen and heard enough to make them believe that Peterson killed one or more of his wives. Of course, the decisions have been sealed in order to protect Peterson’s right to a fair trial.

We still wait to see if the Illinois Supreme Court will hear the prosecution’s latest appeal. That decision should come by the end of the month.

Bolingbrook Patch Story
Chicago Tribune Story

Joel Brodsky’s motion that failed to convince the justices.

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

Two years 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 on hold indefinately, while we await a decision by the appellate court on whether or not they will overturn Judge White’s decision on what hearsay testimony can be admitted. We’ve continued to follow the case this last year. So, what has changed since May 7, 2009?

Legal Representation

Two years ago: Brodsky & Odeh, Abood Law, and John Paul Carroll represented Drew Peterson. George D. Lenard joined the case in December of 2009.
One year ago: 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. made up the “Seven Samurai” representing Peterson in court.
Today: After months of rumors of arguing and even a physical incident at the law offices of Brodsky & Odeh, Reem Odeh left the partnership and withdrew from the Peterson defense team in September. In February of this year, 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.

Media Exposure

Two 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.
One year ago: Drew was prohibited from giving interviews to the press.
Today: Despite the gag order prohibiting interviews, Peterson has spent the year writing letters and statements that have been provided to the media, in particular to gossip columnist for the Chicago Sun Times, Michael Sneed.

Judges

Two 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.
One year ago: Judge Stephen White presided over the case.
Today: Judge Stephen White retired in October 2010. There is presently no judge assigned to the Kathleen Savio murder case.

Hearsay Evidence

Two years ago: The Hearsay Statue was passed into legislation November, 2008
One year 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.
Today: 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”). We are presently waiting on the opinion of the appellate justices.

Peterson family

Two years ago: Drew’s four youngest children were left in the care of their step-brother, Oak Brook Police Officer, Stephen Peterson.
Today : 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. He is presently appealing his dismissal. Son, Thomas, 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.

Drew’s Love Life

Two 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.
One year 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”
Today: 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, 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.

Illegal weapons charge

Today: After numerous appeals from both prosecution and the defense, weapons charges against Drew Peterson were dismissed in October 2010.

Stunts

Two years 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.
One year 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.
Today: While Drew’s bids for attention have been mostly curtailed due to his detention, his lawyer and PR people continue 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. More recently Kathleen’s oldest son, Tom, has been the subject of news stories and has written his own letters to the press in support of his father.

Stacy Peterson

Two years ago: Missing. No communication from her since October 28, 2007. Searches were ongoing.
One year ago: Still missing with no sightings or communication from her.
Today: In August 2010, based on a tip, searches for Stacy’s remains took place near Peoria. No evidence was found.

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Peterson hearsay to be argued tomorrow: What’s at stake?

Oral arguments will be presented to the Third Appellate Court of Illinois next week pertaining to specific hearsay statements that Judge Stephen White decided should not be heard at Drew Peterson‘s murder trial. Each side is usually allotted 15 minutes or so but Peterson’s defense has requested an additional 30 minutes of time for arguments [UPDATE 2/10: The request was denied]. Unlike last year’s hearsay hearings, news cameras will be allowed at the proceedings.

It was a year ago that Judge White was presented with two weeks worth of evidence and hearsay testimony that the State want admitted to help prove that Drew Peterson killed his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Although his decision on these statements was sealed, it was leaked to the press and while reports varied as to what the final decision was it’s possible to piece together a pretty good guess at which statements passed muster and which were not allowed.

Originally, there were 15 statements being considered. During the first days of the hearsay hearings, the defense challenged the testimony of Pastor Neil Schori and two of his statements were struck down due to the fact that he had served as counselor for both Stacy Peterson and Drew Peterson. The two statements made to Neil Schori while in the Peterson home were not allowed, but he was allowed to testify to what Stacy had told him in a public place.

So this left 13 statements to be considered and according to the Chicago Tribune’s report and others, here they are. The statements that have been struck down and are now being appealed (to the best of our knowledge) have been crossed out:

1. Kathleen Savio’s letter to then-Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Elizabeth Fragale complaining of Drew Peterson’s abuse, including an alleged July 2002 attack when he put a knife to her throat.

2. Kristin Anderson’s testimony that Savio told of her fears that Peterson would kill her while her family briefly rented Savio’s basement in 2003.

3. A fellow student at Joliet Junior College, Mary Park’s testimony that she saw red marks on Kathleen’s neck that Savio attributed to Peterson in 2003.

4. Savio’s co-worker, Issam Karam’s testimony that Savio told him Peterson came into her home and held a knife to her throat.

5. Kathleen’s sister, Susan Savio’s testimony about her sister’s fears that Peterson would kill her.

6. Kathleen’s sister, Anna Doman’s testimony that shortly before she died, Savio asked Doman to care for her children if she died, saying Peterson wanted to kill her.

7. Savio’s handwritten statement attached to a Bolingbrook police report on the July 2002 incident.

8. Six audio excerpts from a June 13, 2003, taped conversation Savio had with an insurance company over a claim she put in for allegedly stolen jewelry.

9. Savio’s Aug. 6, 2003, statement to the insurance company

10. Savio’s divorce attorney, Harry Smith’s testimony that Stacy contacted him about divorcing Peterson shortly before she vanished.

11. Stacy’s friend, Scott Rossetto’s testimony that she told him Peterson coached her as an alibi witness in Savio’s death.

12. The Rev. Neil Schori’s testimony that Stacy told him Peterson returned home dressed completely in black and carrying a bag of women’s clothing in the late morning on the day Savio’s body was found. Stacy also told him Peterson coached her to provide his alibi.

13. Stacy’s Joliet Junior College classmate, Michael Miles’ testimony that Stacy told him before Savio’s 2004 death that Peterson wanted to kill his ex-wife but that Stacy talked him out of it.

We can’t be completely sure about this list but it’s our best guess.
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Drew Peterson judge, Stephen White, retires

 

Judge Stephen White

 

Will County Judge Stephen White, who has presided over the Kathleen Savio murder case since June of 2009, has retired as planned. Judge White was the third judge to be assigned to the case after both Judge Carla Alessio-Policandriotes and Judge Richard Schoenstedt were challenged by the lawyers involved.

There is some speculation that Drew Peterson‘s defense may ask for Judge White to be brought out of retirement to hear the case when it does eventually go to trial. For now, the case is stuck in appellate court awaiting a decision on the Judge’s ruling on 15 hearsay statements.

UPDATE OCTOBER 8:

- In a sealed ruling, Peterson’s request to be released from jail while a hearsay decision is being appealed was denied.

- Also it was reported that Drew Peterson was offered the option of being transferred into the general population at the Will County Adult Detention Center, but has chosen to stay in isolation at the medical unit.

Read more at Fox Chicago News
Read more at the Chicago Tribune

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