Drew Peterson murder-for-hire trial: Day 6 – GUILTY

Update: 12:45
The jury has reached a verdict. Just waiting on Judge Brown to return to the courtroom.

And the Verdict is…GUILTY on both counts of solicitation of murder and solicitation of murder for hire.

One count carries a mandatory sentence of at least 20 years. The other at least 15 so he’ll get an addition 35 years minimum.

Sentencing will take place July 26.

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Today is the last day of Peterson’s trial for allegedly attempting to hire a hit man to kill Illinois State’s Attorney, James Glasgow, while incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center in Chester, Illinois.

This morning the prosecution has presented their argument to the jury and now it is the turn of the defense.

Have you taken a look yet at the complete transcripts of the conversations between Drew Peterson and fellow inmate Antonio “Beast” Smith recorded secretly between Nov. 13-29, 2014?

I will update this blog post throughout the morning with information gathered via Twitter and various other sources. To see the latest updates, refresh your page often.

Please check out the links to these hard working journalists at the bottom of this page.

10:40

10:43 a.m. Back in session. Defense attorney Lucas Liefer up next.

Liefer: “It would have been nice to be prosecutors in this case.”

Liefer begins argument by fantasizing that he would be Randolph County State’s Attorney if Jeremy Walker weren’t around

Liefer: “State is basing their case on the word ‘gone’ and nothing more. The only thing I’m missing is a lying snitch.”

Liefer using the same words as Peterson, but applying them to SA Jeremy Walker.

Liefer: Prosecution’s recordings “prove absolutely nothing.”

Liefer: James Glasgow’s testimony was “designed to get you to hate #DrewPeterson”

Liefer: “They don’t have any other evidence in this case.”

“The state has muddied the water so much in this case to distract you.” – Liefer to jury.

“What are we left with? The recordings of a snitch. A career snitch who wanted to be an informant with the FBI.” – Liefer.

Liefer pointing to James Glasgow’s signature to get an overhear order in Randolph County.

Liefer refers to Antonio Smith as prosecutors’ “trust snitch.”

Liefer talking about letters Smith sent to Gabriel and how Smith was told by FBI to keep his mouth shut.

LIefer: Smith handed recording device to another inmate while on the yard.

Liefer says it all compromised the investigation.

Liefer quoting Smith talking about Will County: “I lied to them bitches.”

defense focuses heavily on discrediting prosecution’s key witness: Antonio Smith. Calls him to a “career snitch.”

defense say “inaudible” and “incomprehensible” recordings prove nothing

Liefer plays audio of Smith promising prosecutors “I’ll get you your conviction. I’ll drag him to the courthouse myself.”

Liefer playing recorded conversation between Smith and IA.

Liefer: Smith had “golden plan” to get #DrewPeterson and make everyone look good, and “old Beast would get another chance at life.”

Liefer quoting Smith: “Once I tell you my plan, it’s golden.” Liefer: “This was his plan, he was running the show.”

Liefer says Smith wrote letters to Will County in Aug. 2014 because he was also snitching on correctional officers.

Liefer: Smith was a “rat caught in a trap.”

Defense on Antonio Smith: If he was really worried about Peterson killing Glasgow, why did he wait months and months to tell authorities?

Liefer points to “proof positive” that Antonio Smith was lying.

Liefer: Smith said Drew confessed to Stacy death. But “twice in the recorded conversations, #DrewPeterson says she’s still alive.”

“Not a single state witness had much of anything to add to the evidence of this case.” – Liefer

State relying on word of “a lying snitch, who is so unreliable that it’s embarrassing that the state paid him money,” Liefer said

defense calls murder for hire “a crime of words,” yet Peterson never said murder or kill in recordings

“How has state met their burden of proof on solicit. of murder the when the key words of ‘murder’ and ‘kill’ are not spoken by the def.?”

Liefer: “This is how these guys cope. This is how inmates stay sane. They talk. And it’s nonsense.”

Liefer: #DrewPeterson spent more time “talking about ripping Nancy Grace” and running drugs than killing Jim Glasgow

Liefer asks if the state believed Drew Peterson about anything, why hadn’t they charged him regarding the drug trafficking plan.

“Who has the motive and intent in this case? Everything (the state) has presented is questionable.”

#DrewPeterson defense: “This case is rotten with inconsistencies…the case revolves around the recordings and nothing else.”

Liefer again tells jury that #DrewPeterson “still sits there an innocent man.”

Liefer said state cannot point to one instance on recordings where #DrewPeterson asked Smith to “murder” or “kill” Glasgow.

Liefer: “This case is wrought with inconsistencies and incomplete evidence.”

“This entire case revolves around the recordings and nothing else.”

Liefer: “I want you to forget the name #DrewPeterson and everything that goes with it.”

“I am doing this because I believe in the law and care in the law.” – Liefer

Liefer closes with “enter a verdict of not guilty on both counts”

Liefer done.

11:06

Jeremy Walker up for rebuttal.

Walker: “Lucas and I are friends.” They go out to dinner and plan to get drinks tonight.

Walker shouts about claims Liefer made in closings. Then says, that’s what defense attorneys do. “I’m still gonna go have a drink with him.”

“I didn’t put him away in prison for 38 years!!! And as mad as I am right now, I’m still gonna go have a drink with him….

“For him to accuse me that I would charge him, accuse me of being under-the-table, that’s what defense attorneys do.”

Walker’s point: Liefer isn’t in prison for murder, and he doesn’t have another murder case pending against him.

Walker on Smith: “The Pope can’t buy dope. The Pope isn’t going to be contracted to kill somebody.”

Walker: #DrewPeterson had four motives: Pension, appeal, Stacy, his son.

Walker: “that man (Drew Peterson) wants James Glasgow dead”

Walker on Smith: “When did he ever get caught lying? Not one single time.”

Walker: “Snitch does not mean liar.”

Walker: Smith “crossed one of the biggest lines … He wore a wire on a fellow inmate in a maximum security facility.”

“My desk is piling up. I’ve got another jury trial in two weeks on burglary. I care more about that than that man (Peterson) right there.”

Walker: #DrewPeterson got quiet on recordings when talking about Glasgow murder. “What happens when your kids get quiet?”

“Yeah, Antonio’s asked for a time cut, but he earned his trust by asking what he could prove to you.”

Walker brings up media question regarding why Peterson was suspicious of staged photo if he wasn’t involved.

Walker: Best line of #DrewPeterson trial came when Liefer asked Smith if you can believe a snitch. “You can with evidence,” Smith said.

On Antonio Smith: “People deserve the benefit of the doubt when they can back up what they are saying.”

Walker: Smith will have to sleep with “one eye open.”

Walker: “A prosecutor deserves to go home at night and not worry about getting shot in the head because I did my job.”

Walker then finishes closing by pointing at #DrewPeterson “Find this man guilty.”

Walker is done. Jury getting instructions now.

11:35 a.m. jury is now deliberating

Twitter:
Pete Spitler – @Editor_RCHT
Matt Walberg – @mattwalberg1
Joe Hosey – @joehosey
North County News – @NCNews_RedBud
Anna Giles – @AnnaGilesWSIL
Jon Seidel – @SeidelContent
Tonya Francisco – @TonyaFrancisco

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Drew Peterson murder-for-hire trial: Day 6 – Prosecution closing arguments

Drew Peterson, James Glasgow and Antonio Smith.

Drew Peterson, James Glasgow and Antonio Smith.

Today is the last day of Peterson’s trial for allegedly attempting to hire a hit man to kill Illinois State’s Attorney, James Glasgow, while incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center in Chester, Illinois.

Closing arguments will be presented by both the prosecution and the defense and then the jury will be given their instructions and left to their deliberations.

Have you taken a look yet at the complete transcripts of the conversations between Drew Peterson and fellow inmate Antonio “Beast” Smith recorded secretly between Nov. 13-29, 2014?

I will update this blog post throughout the morning with information gathered via Twitter and various other sources. To see the latest updates, refresh your page often.

Please check out the links to these hard working journalists at the bottom of this page.

9:15

Cassandra Cales, sister of Stacy Peterson, sitting in court awaiting closing arguments

Drew Peterson has entered the courtroom for closing arguments

Judge giving instructions to jury on closing arguments.

AAG Steve Nate to deliver closing statements for prosecution. RCSA Jeremy Walker to have rebuttal.

Nate: #DrewPeterson received a prison sentence in 2013 “that was basically a death sentence.”

Nate talking about Glasgow being the one person who changed #DrewPeterson’s life. Pauses for effect.

Glasgow responsible for that change

Nate now fiddling with his laptop that’s in the middle of the courtroom. “Best laid plans,” he jokes

Closings now paused to deal with technical difficulties

Nate playing recording of #DrewPeterson sentencing rant.

It was a recording of #DrewPeterson telling Glasgow he orchestrated the “largest railroad job that ever took place in this country.”

Nate: “Make no mistake about it. He hates James Glasgow”

Audio is when Peterson challenged Glasgow to “look him in the eye.” Nate asks jury to consider the hatred in Peterson’s voice.

Nate highlighting Nov. 15 recorded conversation between Peterson and CI Antonio Smith.

“It’s from that hate, from that anger, from that rage that (Peterson) came up with an idea that he thought would solve all his problems.”

Day #DrewPeterson sentenced in 2013 was “the day his life changed forever. He was 59 – it was basically a death sentence for him,” Nate said

Nate now arguing against the defense’s tactic of attacking Smith’s reputation

Nate: Smith didn’t ask for sentence reduction or money until after recordings of #DrewPeterson were made

Nate: You know Smith told the truth “because his testimony is corroborated by the defendant’s own words.”

Nate: #DrewPeterson “can’t get around the recordings, ladies and gentlemen. They can’t get around his own words.”

“Why did the def. spend so much time talking about Antonio Smith and attacking his reputation? Because they can’t get around the recordings”

Nate arguing that the attacks on Smith’s reputation were to distract jury from recordings.

“There was no mistake (Peterson) chose Antonio Smith. He thought he had someone he could manipulate.” – AAG Nate

Nate: #DrewPeterson is the one who picked Antonio Smith

Nate: “It was no mistake that he chose Antonio Smith. He thought he had somebody that he could manipulate.”

Nate talking about how Smith became a protector for Peterson by standing up for him at Menard.

“…despite all the attacks on the character of Mr. Smith, the defendant (is) the one that chose Mr. Smith as a witness…” AAG Nate said.

Nate: #DrewPeterson “kept talking about it. Kept wanting it done.”

Meanwhile, Smith had no intention of having Glasgow killed, Nate says.

“He thought he had this young gang banger who was in for a long sentence for attempted murder, and he thought this is a guy who could get the job done,

“..but he also thot he was a young guy and he thot he could charm him,” Nate said. “But he underestimated Antonio Smith.”

Nate: Will County took minimal role in investigation. It was FBI’s investigation, “not Will County’s.”

Nate: “The FBI and the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office were the only ones who knew about it.”

“You had the opportunity to hear James Glasgow testify. You saw his demeanor when he testified about Drew Peterson.” – AAG Nate

Nate on Glasgow: “Did he strike you as somebody that was obsessed with

Nate: “Who’s obsessed with who? I submit it’s the defendant who’s obsessed with James Glasgow, not the other way around.”

Nate: This case is about “those words that came out of his mouth, the defendant’s mouth.”

Prosecution says Will County States Attorney played minimal role in this murder for hire investigation

Nate: This case is about “those words that came out of his mouth, the defendant’s mouth.”

Nate: #DrewPeterson told Smith “the only way to link me to the whole thing is you.”

“Peterson was counting on Smith being the only one who knew about (the murder plot) and was hoping nobody would believe Antonio Smith.”

Nate: “He was counting on Smith being the only one who knew anything about this.” But #DrewPeterson didn’t know he was being recorded.

“His voice would get lower and more secretive when he talked about James Glasgow” – Prosecution says about #DrewPeterson

Nate acknowledges listening to recordings was “tedious.” Said he knows jury wanted to “throttle” him when he pulled one out.

Nate: #DrewPeterson only talked to Smith on recordings about Glasgow plot. “There’s a reason for that. Because this was real.”

“This was real, this wasn’t just prison talk. He wanted Glasgow dead and because of that, he’s going to limit who he’s going to talk to.”

“If all inmates talk about killing the prosecutor, why is (Peterson) only talking to Antonio Smith about it?” – AAG Nate

Nate playing another recording.

Nate: “There is no doubt about his guilt.”

Nate says recordings confirm that Peterson and Smith talked about hit man plot in 2013.

Nate says jailhouse “kites” — or letters — also confirm that #DrewPeterson and Smith had previous discussions about killing Glasgow

Nate playing conversation when Smith asks Peterson what would happen if Glasgow is gone by Christmas.

(Audio on Nate’s microphone goes out)

Pros play recording where Smith tells #DrewPeterson there “ain’t no turning back.” Then Peterson says they’ll get some booze to celebrate.

Prosecution: Even though Peterson never said “murder” or “kill” in recordings, there is no doubt that’s what he’s talking about.

Nate: “Is there any doubt in your mind what the defendant was talking about?”

Nate: #DrewPeterson believed he would be charged with murder of Stacy Peterson. “This is a real fear that he has.”

Nate talking about how Peterson thought Glasgow would charge him with Stacy Peterson’s disappearance.

Now moving on to Nov. 16 conversations.

Nate: #DrewPeterson talked about getting charged in Will County because that’s where he thought Glasgow’s murder would happen

“it would just be his word against Smith,” Nate sed. “But he was wrong, b/c he was linking himself to the whole thing on the recordings…”

…He was linking himself to the whole thing with his own words.” AAG Nate said

Nate: “You heard the defendant talking about how he’s going to watch the news after Glasgow’s dead.”

Nate: “All these conversations he had about Glasgow being dead prove he’s guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

“There is no doubt that he requested Antonio Smith to find someone to kill James Glasgow.” “He said it, he meant it and he’s guilty.”

Nate: #DrewPeterson “assumed the old role of a cop interrogating a suspect” when he became suspicious of Smith.

Nate now playing conversation that includes “Spidey senses” statement.

“Why is he concerned with all that if this was a joke? Why does he care? Because this is real. He wanted James Glasgow killed.”

Prosecution: Peterson’s tone and mannerisms during recordings prove the murder for hire plot wasn’t just a joke, he took it seriously

Nate now beginning to go over the elements of the crimes.

Nate talking about tools jurors will have during deliberations – including common sense, exhibits and juror instructions.

Nate tells jurors it also doesn’t matter that Smith never intended to arrange the hit. The key intent belongs to Peterson

“The law recog. that the intent is (Peterson’s) intent, not Smith’s intent….this crime was complete when the words came out of his mouth.”

Nate to jurors: “No steps had to be taken to kill James Glasgow,” in order for #DrewPeterson to be guilty

“There’s no doubt, ladies and gentlemen, that his intent was to have Glasgow murdered.” – AAG Nate

#DrewPeterson’s arms are crossed as Nate continues his closing — and begins to tell jurors about circumstantial evidence.

Nate comparing a rainstorm to circumstantial evidence.

Nate: #DrewPeterson “has a deep hatred for James Glasgow” and showed it at his February 2013 sentencing

“Why all this paranoia if all of this is a joke?” – AAG Nate

Nate asking jurors to rely on common sense. “There’s no other way to interpret those recordings. He said it, he meant it and he’s guilty.”

Nate is done and jury takes 15-minute mid-morning break.

Twitter:
Pete Spitler – @Editor_RCHT
Matt Walberg – @mattwalberg1
Joe Hosey – @joehosey
North County News – @NCNews_RedBud
Anna Giles – @AnnaGilesWSIL
Jon Seidel – @SeidelContent

Vaughn murders: Finger-pointing former Peterson attorney unsuccessful in bid for mistrial


In a last-ditch effort to reverse Christopher Vaughn’s murder conviction prior to sentencing, ex-Peterson attorney George Lenard filed a motion on Monday listing 51 reasons why his client deserves a new trial. Among those claims was one that the publicity-seeking media antics of Drew Peterson’s defense team had contributed to the jury’s decision to convict Vaughn of murdering his family.

Christopher Vaughn’s trial took place in a neighboring court room at the Will County Courthouse and was partially concurrent to Peterson’s. Lenard’s motion claimed that jurors were exposed to a press conference in which Peterson’s lawyers appeared to mock his missing and deceased wives. The motion posited that the disgust this engendered influenced their feelings about defense attorneys in general, and caused the jury to become biased against Vaughn and his defense.

However, on Tuesday Judge Daniel Rozak denied the motion, saying there is no evidence that jurors were even aware of the other attorneys’ news conferences. Vaughn was sentenced to serve four life sentences for the murder of his family.

Never media-shy, the Peterson team rallied to the cry and responded to reporters and via Twitter to lambaste the efforts of the lawyer who had once represented Drew Peterson.

Steven Greenberg, who was criticized by co-counsel Joel Brodsky after Drew Peterson’s guilty verdict, and briefly fired only to be brought back into the defense fold, joked on Twitter that once again it was not his fault.

Joe Lopez, who replaced George Lenard on the Peterson defense in 2010 after Lenard withdrew citing irreconcilable differences with co-counsel Joel Brodsky, was particularly jovial and compared Lenard’s claim to that of the famous Twinkie Defense (which, although highly criticised, was successful).

Present Peterson team member Steve Greenberg and Joel Brodsky, who withdrew last month and is being accused of providing Peterson with ineffective assistance of counsel, stated that it was just another example of blaming the already highly criticized team.

Joel Brodsky: “I guess if it rains tomorrow, it’s my fault.

Meanwhile, the Peterson defense has been attempting to reverse their own client’s conviction on the grounds of some dubious claims. Already there have been two motions filed asking for a new trial on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel by Peterson’s long-time attorney Joel Brodsky. He’s being accused of being more motivated by media exposure and book deals than in successfully defending his client and of erroneously calling to the stand an adverse witness who gave testimony putting Drew Peterson at the scene of his wife’s murder.

The state has until January tenth to respond to the defense motions.

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Drew Peterson jury members speak out about deliberations and verdict

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