Drew Peterson, the man who showed little emotion during his trial , the ex-Illinois police officer screamed out his innocence before he was sentenced to 38 years in prison for his third wife’s death.
“I did not kill Kathleen!” Peterson shouted as he leaned into a courtroom microphone Thursday, putting emphasis on each word.
Susan Doman, his dead wife’s sister, shouted back, “Yes, you did! You liar!” after which the judge ordered sheriff’s deputies to remove her from the courtroom.
For years, Peterson dismissed and even made jokes about suggestions he killed his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in 2004, or that he was behind the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife , Stacy Peterson.
Savio’s death was initially ruled an accident after her body was found jammed into a dry bathtub at her home, a gash on the back of her head and her hair soaked in blood. It was Stacy Peterson’s 2007 disappearance that prompted authorities to take another look and eventually reclassify Savio’s death as a homicide.
Prosecutors said they could charge Peterson in the disappearance pf his fourth wife, who vanished when she was 23. An appeal also awaits, and defense attorneys believe the conviction could easily get tossed, in part because prosecutors relied almost totally on hearsay evidence
Peterson had divorced Savio a year before her death. His motive for killing her, prosecutors said, was fear that a pending settlement would wipe him out financially.
Prosecutors had no physical evidence tying Peterson to Savio’s death and no witnesses placing him at the scene.
During last year’s trial, they relied on what is normally barred hearsay testimony-statements Savio made to others before she died and that Stacy Peterson made before she vanished. Illinois passed a hearsay law in 2008, tailored to Drew Peterson’s case and nicknamed “Drew’s Law,” which assisted in making some of the evidence admissible.
The hearsay included a friend testifying that Savio told her Peterson once put a knife to her throat and warned her, “I could kill you and make it look like an accident.”
Prosecutors suspect Peterson killed his fourth wife, Stacy, because she could point to him for Savio’s death.
Peterson has maintained that his fourth wife ran off with another man and is still alive.