Drew Peterson pleads Not Guilty to murder-for-hire charges

Artist's drawing shows Peterson in court today with his attorney Lucas Leifer

Artist’s drawing shows Peterson in court today with his attorney Lucas Leifer

This morning at a court appearance in Chester, Illinois, Drew Peterson waived a preliminary hearing and pleaded not guilty to having attempted to arrange the murder of State’s Attorney, James Glasgow.

Peterson appeared in court in a white dress shirt, black pants, dress shoes and leg shackles. He attempted to nod at reporters and joked with sketch artists, asking them to draw him smiling. When admonished by Judge Richard A. Brown he replied, “I understand.”

Two subpoenaed FBI agents (I believe their names to be Brian Clark and Chris Straub) did not testify today since the hearing was waived.

Steve Nate from the Attorney General’s Office argued a motion for an order prohibiting Peterson’s attorneys and prosecutors from disclosing to the public any evidence in the case, which was granted. This was most likely filed to protect the identity of the jailhouse “snitch”, who is reported to have been a fellow inmate of Peterson’s, and outed in letters from another inmate as Antonio Smith. Last month, Peterson’s former attorney, Joel Brodsky, released those letters from inmate Adrian Gabriel, who claimed to have hatched a plan with Smith to set up Peterson with the solicitation charges. Brodsky says that Smith is presently under witness protection and living in Florida under an assumed name.

The state also filed a notice disclosing that Peterson’s case twice involved use of eavesdropping devices.

Peterson is next expected in court on April 14 for a case management conference and the case has also been placed on the July 2015 jury docket in Randolph County.

Stacy Peterson’s sister, Cassandra Cales, was in attendance.

Peterson’s new attorney, Lucas Leifer, says that he and his client do not want to try this case in public.

Sources:
Jon Seidel
Stacy St. Clair
Judici

Subpoenas issued, lawyer assigned in the Drew Peterson murder-for-hire case

Drew Peterson has been charged with attempting to arrange the murder of James Glasgow

Drew Peterson has been charged with attempting to arrange the murder of James Glasgow

UPDATE 3/3/15: It looks as if Chris Straub and Brian Clark may be the names of two FBI agents who participated in the undercover investigation.
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UPDATE 2/25/15: I’m aware of the letters that Joel Brodsky received from disgruntled inmate, Adrian Gabriel, implicating himself and Antonio Smith in a plot that he says he hatched to entrap Drew Peterson. I’ll post something a bit later – probably once Brodsky leaks the letters…stay tuned.
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UPDATE 2/22/15: Peterson’s court-appointed attorney filed a “speedy trial demand” which courthouse officials say is not unusual and should not pose a problem. This means his trial will take place within 160 days. Randolph county has jury availability only five times during the year and officials are aiming for a July trial. The courthouse is small so there will probably be a lottery for media passes.
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Subpoenas have been issued for a Chris Straub and Brian Clark in Drew Peterson’s solicitation of murder case.

There are a Brian Clark and a Chris Straub in the Illinois Department of Corrections system but both men are/were incarcerated in Winnebago county prisons, over 300 miles north of Menard Correctional Center, where Drew Peterson is housed. If either of these men are involved in Drew Peterson’s new charges for solicitation of murder, which are said to involve a prison inmate, it will be interesting to learn how they came into contact with him.

There is a Brian Clark residing in the town of Chester, where Menard CC is located, also both a Brian Clark and a Chris Straub who once lived in Bolingbrook and are Drew’s age, but no idea if any of that is significant or merely coincidental.

I’ll try not to speculate any further at this point, and please don’t post any photos or personal information about any individual with those names in the comment section. As the case proceeds, we will all learn the facts.

Drew has a new court-appointed attorney, Lucas Liefer, who filed a motion for discovery on Wednesday. Here is his bio, courtesy of the Red Bud Chamber of Commerce.

Lucas graduated from Red Bud High School in 2003. He attended Southwestern Illinois College for two years before transferring to Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Lucas graduated magna cum laude in 2008 with a Bachelor’s in Political Science and a minor in History. He then attended Southern Illinois University School of law and graduated cum laude in May of 2011. Lucas is now licensed to practice law [in] Illinois and Missouri.

Lucas worked as an associate attorney with Arbeiter & Walker from October 2011 until November 2012. Currently, he is a partner at the law firm of Cooper & Liefer.

He’s a young one!

Drew Peterson charged with soliciting the murder of the man who got him convicted

Drew Peterson has been charged with attempting to arrange a hit on States Attorney, James Glasgow (scroll down to read the filing).

According to an ABC 7 story, Peterson tried to hire someone to kill Glasgow between September 2013 and December 2014. They also report:

The former Bolingbrook police officer faces two felony charges: solicitation of murder and solicitation of murder for hire. He appeared in a Randolph County court Monday morning. According to Attorney General Lisa Madigan, several agencies including the Department of Corrections and FBI were involved in the investigation. Her office will prosecute the case, she said, due to complex nature of the investigation and because Glasgow was a target.

Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow has released the following statement:

This morning I received a copy of the charges that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Randolph County State’s Attorney Jeremy Walker filed against Drew Peterson. I have absolute faith in law enforcement and our criminal justice system to handle this case appropriately. I want to thank Attorney General Madigan and State’s Attorney Walker and their legal teams for their work on this case.

It is unfortunate that prosecutors sometimes must deal with allegations of this nature. However, in no way will a threat to my personal safety deter me from the important work I perform as the State’s Attorney on behalf of the citizens of Will County.

The Chicago Tribune quotes Attorney Steve Greenberg (who represented Peterson at trial and filed his pending appeal), as saying:

“I find it extremely difficult to believe he would do something like this. Drew would have nothing to gain and everything to lose by doing that. He believes he has a strong appeal and that the conviction will be overturned.”

The Tribune also reports that Peterson has asked for a public defender.

As for Greenberg’s assertions that “Jim Glasgow was doing his job and Drew realized that”, here is, in part, what Peterson had to say to the State’s Attorney at his sentencing for murder two years ago:

Mr. Glasgow, all aspects of my life have been destroyed. Everything from my personal life to my professional life to my social life, all aspects have been destroyed, and I tell you this to give you greater cause for celebration when you celebrate the fact that you perpetrated the largest railroad job that ever took place in this country…Throughout these proceedings, no one witness, no one juror, not one prosecutor looked me in the eye until today, and I hope Mr. Glasgow looks me in the eye right now; never forget my face; never forget what you have done here.

When WGN contacted Peterson’s former attorney, Joel Brodsky,did not pass up a chance to take a jab at his former co-counsel:

“When I was representing Drew we did a lot of controversial things, but apparently his new lawyers don’t have control over their client and that’s unfortunate.”

Stacy Peterson’s sister, Cassandra, told the media “The way he is, he thinks he can get away with anything, he’s above the law.”

Although Drew Peterson has been housed in protective custody he has had ample opportunities to socialize with other inmates. One of his female pen pals described his requests that she find pen pals for his fellow inmates and research correspondence courses for them.

In one letter, dated May 2014, he described a strange meeting while outside for his daily exercise.
drew-yard-conversation

He wrote:

“I was approached in the yard today (by a guy) who said I arrested him some years ago. He didn’t look familiar to me and he said I let him keep his gun. Doesn’t sound like something I would do so I think he was full of crap.”

Peterson is due in court again on March 3.

Read the filing:

Read Comments and join the conversation

2015: New Year – new Drew Peterson mug shot

peterson-mug-1-19-2015
The Illinois Department of Corrections has updated their mug shot of Drew Peterson for 2015.

Meanwhile, his attorneys have filed an appeal of his murder conviction and we are awaiting a date for the hearing of oral arguments – most likely sometime this Spring.

A couple of nice photos of a young Stacy Peterson (Cales) have been posted by friends to Stacy Peterson’s Facebook recently. This one is from 1998, when Stacy was fourteen.

stacypeterson-1998

This picture shows Stacy at age thirteen with her brother Yelton and sister Cassandra in 1997.

yelton-cass-stacy

All the best to you in the coming year and here’s hoping the conviction sticks and that Stacy Peterson is found and brought back home to her family.

Drew Peterson Appeal update: Prosecution files appellate brief. Arguments to be scheduled after review

Press Release from the State’s Attorney’s office:

State’s Attorney Glasgow files appellate brief in Drew Peterson case

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James W. Glasgow announced today (Thursday, Nov. 6) that his office has filed its appellate brief with the Third District Appellate Court in the matter of People vs. Drew Peterson (09CF1048).

The 60-page appellate brief was filed on Thursday morning in Ottawa.

State’s Attorney Glasgow prosecuted Drew Peterson and secured a First Degree Murder conviction against him in September 2012. Peterson, a former Bolingbrook police officer, killed his third wife, Kathleen Savio, who was found dead inside a bathtub in her home in March of 2004.

Peterson was sentenced to 38 years in prison. Defense attorneys appealed his conviction. They filed their appellate brief in January.

The defense now has two weeks to file a reply brief. Once that is completed, a panel of justices from the Third District Appellate Court will review the case and its sizeable record before scheduling oral arguments.

At this rate, I’m guessing we won’t hear the arguments before 2015. Spring, maybe?

Also, a September Facebook update from Stacy’s sister stating that she still is not allowed to see her sister’s kids.

cass-facebook-kids

Seven Years Later: Where is Stacy Peterson?

Stacy Peterson with her children

Stacy Peterson with her children and those of Kathleen Savio.

Stacy Peterson was last heard from seven years ago, today. At 10:15 on a lazy Sunday morning she texted a friend that she wasn’t ready to get out of bed to 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, hung out 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 also that she was afraid he wouldn’t let her go. Stacy  warned her sister that night that if something were to happen to her “he did it.” Her neighbor, Sharon Bychowski, saw her sitting on the curb and crying in the days prior to her disappearance and Stacy told her then that she had lost hope of making it out of the marriage alive.

Stacy had confided a terrible secret to at least three people in the weeks prior to her disappearance – her husband had killed his third wife and had staged her death to look like an accident. She hoped that this dangerous information might buy her and her children an escape from Drew, but it probably cost her her life instead.

The night of October 28, 2007, Drew Peterson’s step-brother visited a friend and told him that he needed to unburden himself. He thought that he had just helped move a plastic container that held the body of Stacy Peterson from her house to Drew’s SUV. He had been given some money and he wanted to give some of it to his friend. The next day he attempted to take his own life with an overdose of Paxil, Xanax and alcohol.

Drew Peterson was eventually charged, tried and convicted for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, but he has maintained to this day that Stacy Peterson simply left him and her children on that Sunday, seven years ago. Numerous land and water searches have failed to turn up any evidence of her remains. Her sister, Cassandra, still searches for her with the assistance of volunteers.

If you have any information that can help this ongoing investigation, please contact the Illinois State Police who released a statement today:

“The Peterson case has always remained active and continues to be very active. While agents may not always be in contact with the family with every lead, they are still actively investigating the case. In fact, we have been following up on several leads – which we are not at liberty to make public or discuss at this time.”

Reporter Craig Wall tweeted this photo of his notes from Drew Peterson's 2012 trial ready for recycling.

Reporter Craig Wall tweeted this photo of his notes from Drew Peterson’s 2012 trial ready for recycling.

Some anniversary updates:

“I’m not going to stop until she’s found. I will leave no stone unturned until I bring my sister home.”

Stacy’s Aunt Candace wrote a poem to commemorate the anniversary of the disappearance (used with her permission).

SEVEN YEARS!!!!

Seven Years and so many tears,
And still no answer to our fears!
Stacy Ann I love and miss you so much,
And your special endearing touch!
You left a big hole upon my heart,
Its hard to know where to pick up and restart!
It feels like life is empty space,
because not one can take your place!
It’s still so hard without you here,
You were so precious and so dear!
I miss you running all around,
And your voice I love the sound!
I still have your # in my cell,
How many times I call you, I never tell!
It feels like you’ll call me again someday,
But then, it’s only your message I can play!
You’re in my heart forever, you know,
And to your house, I love to go!
But for now I keep you here,
In my heart, you’re always near!
I know I’ll see your face again,
Although I don’t know exactly when!
I just know it will be a wonderful day,
Because God has ordained it that way!!!!
I love and miss you Stacy Ann!!!

Aunt candy

Drew Peterson case inspires proposed bill to strip pensions from convicted felons

UPDATE February 14, 2015: The Bill failed to pass in December and is in “Session Sine Die” or adjourned for an indefinite period.
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Rep. Darlene Senger, R-Naperville

Rep. Darlene Senger

A new bill currently making its way through the General Assembly could make it a lot easier for the Bolingbrook Police Pension Board to take away the pension of convicted murderer, Drew Peterson.

Proposed Illinois House Bill 5816 would let pension boards consider some new criteria with regards to dispersal of pension benefits.  The bill which was introduced last month would let boards consider official misconduct and felony convictions grounds for forfeiture.

It says if you have been convicted or pleaded guilty to corruption charges, then the board can withhold your pension,” said 41st District Rep. Darlene Senger, R-Naperville, the bill’s sponsor.

But, more pertinent to the Drew Peterson situation, the bill would also make a felony grounds for possible forfeiture, stating:

..if a member or participant of a pension fund or retirement system established under the Code is receiving an annuity or pension from a pension fund or retirement system established under the Code and is convicted of, or pleads guilty to, a felony…then the board of trustees of that fund or system shall suspend the payment of that annuity or pension during that individual’s incarceration for that offense.

In Peterson’s case, that would be 38 years.

The Naperville Sun reports that Senger’s motivation for the bill arose from the current Drew Peterson situation. The Bolingbrook board voted last week to hold hearings to decide whether they should put an end to Peterson’s benefits, something that may be difficult to do under current law which is protective of civil employees.

There is another part to the proposed legislation, however, that could allow Peterson to continue collecting his annual $79k payout. It would allow pension boards leeway when the beneficiary of the pension is a child.  That part of the bill has not yet gone to a vote.

Currently, Peterson’s adult son, Stephen, is receiving his father’s pension benefits and has custodial care of his father’s two minor children. Their mother is Stacy Peterson who has been missing since October 2007. Drew Peterson is the only named suspect in connection to her disappearance and Stephen lost his job when he failed to tell his superiors about accepting guns and money from his father immediately after Stacy went missing.

Peterson’s attorneys have filed an appeal of his murder conviction and it is expected to be argued in appellate court some time in the Fall of this year.

Also, in “this is starting to feel like a prolonged case of déjà vu” news, the Illinois Supreme Court has denied Stephen Peterson’s request to appeal the Appellate Court decision that upheld the Village of Oak Brook’s decision to terminate him from his position with the Police Department.

I guess he’ll have to seek solace by buying more Blackhawks tickets with his dad’s pension benefits…
steve-peterson-hawks

From the March Illinois Supreme Court Docket:

117194 Stephen Peterson, petitioner, v. Village of Oak Brook, etc., et al., respondents.
Leave to appeal, Appellate Court, Second District.

Sources:
Illinois House Bill 5816 text
Illinois House Bill 5816 Summary
Naperville Sun
My Suburban Life