Drew Peterson found guilty of murdering third wife
September 6th, 2012
04:53 PM ET

Drew Peterson found guilty of murdering third wife

[Updated at 5:19 p.m. ET] You can read full coverage of the guilty verdict in the Drew Peterson trial here.

[Updated at 4:57 p.m. ET] Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow told reporters that the journey to a guilty verdict has been a long one and he is confident it will stand against an appeal.

"This is a very sobering moment. I want to thank the jury," he said. "Their verdict is a transcendental one and makes a statement against violence against women."

Glasgow said that Peterson's actions represented a growing problem in the country.

"The defendant in this case was a coward and a bully," he said.

Glasgow said they have to catch their breath and then they will review evidence "aggressively" in the disappearance of Stacy Peterson.

HLN: 'I want to find Stacy Peterson's body," Nancy Grace says

He told reporters that Peterson's attitude as someone who was untouchable because of his badge and his gun led him to believe nobody would ever take him on.

"We took him on and we won," he said. "This defendant brutally killed Kathleen Savio."

[Updated at 4:53 p.m. ET] Will County Sheriff's Office Deputy Chief Ken Kaupas came out of the courthouse to read a statement from the jury.

The jurors thanked the court, the judge, the bailiffs and the sheriff's office and said they took their responsibility seriously.

"We have reached a decision we believe is just," the jurors said according to the statement.

[Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET] Drew Peterson's lawyer said they faced an uphill battle going into the trial and they will begin appealing the case soon.

“It was a stacked deck,” attorney Joel Brodsky said, referring to hearsay evidence that he didn’t believe should have been allowed in.

"You know what they say, a conviction is the first step in a successful appeal," Brodsky said.

Brodsky said he still believed that Peterson was completely innocent of the charges.

"This case was based almost entirely on hearsay," he said, adding that there was never a case with more issues for appeal than Peterson's. "There’s a reason why for hundreds of years its been excluded."

Brodsky added that the atmosphere around the courthouse, continuous cheers, showed that there was a large amount of bias before the trial even began.

HLN: Crowds cheer verdict

"When somebody is unpopular and going through a divorce… and people coming out of the woodwork … what are you going to do," he said.

Brodsky said that earlier he had spoken with Drew Peterson who said that whatever the verdict was, he was glad with how his lawyers did.

"He thanked us for our service," Brodsky said. "Drew is absolutely fine."

[Updated at 4:24 p.m. ET] Stacy Peterson's sister told reporters that she was numb after Drew Peterson was found guilty of murdering Kathleen Savio.

"It hasn't really hit me yet," Cassandra Cales said.

She said that as Peterson heard the words guilty, the only thing she could think was "Game over, Drew."

Cales said that searches for her sister, who has been missing since 2007, are still going strong. She hoped this guilty verdict might be the first step towards justice for Stacy.

"Drew’s put away, maybe someone will come forward who knows something about my sister, that they feel safe to talk now," she said.

Cales said that she always feels her sister's spirit around her and she felt it today in the courtroom.

"I love you and I miss you and I'm never going to give up on finding you," Cales said, when she was asked what she would say to her sister if she could.

[Updated at 4:14 p.m. ET] Kathleen Savio's nephew hailed the verdict as a culmination of eight long years for his family

"Today we finally got what we wanted," Michael Lisak told reporters.

Lisak said he was worried up until the very moment the verdict was announced. He hopes the verdict will help bring hope to other women.

"Today is a day for battered women. My aunt's voice was heard through the grave," Lisak said. "She did not stop after she was murdered. For all you battered women out there, don’t stop, someone will listen."

[Updated at 4:07 p.m. ET] Pamela Bosco, a spokesperson for the family of Drew Peterson's missing wife Stacy, said that hearing the guilty verdict was something she had waited a long time for.

"This man always thought he’d get away with it. I don’t think he ever faced reality," she said. "Today he’s facing reality. He’ll never see the outside of a prison wall."

Bosco said she thought that Peterson's actions during the verdict - blank stares towards the jury - showed how shocked he was. Bosco said she always believed Peterson would be found guilty in Kathleen Savio's murder, but hearing those words were another thing.

She said she expects Peterson to be indicted for the disappearance of Stacy Peterson soon.

"No matter what he still has to pay the price for Stacy," she said.

[Updated at 3:58 p.m. ET] Kathleen Savio's half-brother called the guilty verdict a "bittersweet moment" for his family.

"I’ll never have my sister again," Nicholas Savio said in front of the courthouse. "At least I know she got justice."

Nicholas Savio said that while he was upset that Kathleen Savio is no longer around, "we hope she can rest in peace."

HLN: Peterson's lawyer can go to hell, Savio's mom says

He then vowed that there was more work to be done to bring justice for Drew Peterson's missing wife.

"Stacy, you are now next for justice," Nicholas Savio shouted.

[Updated at 3:46 p.m. ET] An Illinois jury on Thursday found former Chicago-area police sergeant Drew Peterson guilty of murder in the 2004 death of his ex-wife.

"Finally somebody heard Kathleen's cry," her mother, Marcia Savio, told reporters after the verdict.

[Posted at 3:36 p.m. ET] The jury in the murder trial of Drew Peterson, a former Chicago-area police sergeant accused of killing his ex-wife, has reached a verdict after deliberating for nearly 14 hours total.

A jury of seven men and five women have focused on whether Peterson, 58, was responsible for the death of Kathleen Savio, his third wife, who was found dead in her dry, clean bathtub March 1, 2004.

Peterson pleaded not guilty and the defense contended Savio fell accidentally, hit her head and drowned.

He faces up to 60 years in prison.

The headline-grabbing case did not arise until after Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy, disappeared in October 2007. It was during the search for Stacy Peterson, who has not been found, that investigators said they would look again at Savio's death, which was initially ruled a drowning.

Savio's death was ruled a homicide in February 2008, and Peterson was later arrested and indicted on two charges of first-degree murder. But during Judge Edward Burmila's instructions to the jury, he told them there was now one count.

Peterson was married to Savio in 2001 when he had an affair with then-17-year-old Stacy Cales, who later became his fourth wife. Savio and Peterson filed for divorce in October 2001 and their relationship remained contentious for the next several years.

Bolingbrook, Illinois, police records indicate officers were called to Savio's home 18 times to intervene in domestic fights from 2002 to 2004. Peterson had Savio arrested twice for domestic violence, though she was found not guilty in both cases.

Key moments in the Peterson trial

On February 27, 2004, Peterson picked up his two sons from Savio's home and spent the next two days with them. Prosecutors said he entered her home again early on February 29 and killed her.

At the time of her death, which authorities initially treated as an accident, a court was mulling how the couple's marital assets would be divided, and Savio was set to receive part of Peterson's pension and other support.

soundoff (478 Responses)
  1. marycontrary

    Lead defense atty Brodsky says "a conviction is the first step in a successful appeal." A**hole.

    September 6, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      It's also the first step to a failed appeal.

      September 6, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • hatebreedshate

      Agreed. He's the reason why people hate most lawyers.

      September 6, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • marycontrary

      @hatebreedshate Exactly. It's one thing to defend someone like Peterson because it's your job to do so. But it's another matter entirely to relish in the limelight and be as equally smug as the killer. Disgusting.

      September 6, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mosie

    If he hadn't been a cop he would have been arrested when the murder occurred. The way 'law enforcement;' turned a blind eye to the case allowed another poor woman to die/

    September 6, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • greg

      A miracle no one has wacked him for killing their daughters.

      September 6, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • DenverAngela

      Agreed!

      September 6, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephanie

      For that matter, he would have been arrested when he beat his wife. Funny how cops' wives go to jail for being abused.

      September 6, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mt

    Glad they found him guilty, but take the Chicago out of it. He has never been a Chicago anything espacially a cop!

    September 6, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bao

    You're pretty messed up if you're thanking a god that let this terrible thing happen in the first place.

    September 6, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • pw1121

      I still pray to the Tooth Fairy....the Tooth Fairy will fix all our problems. Hiding my head in the sand and ignoring.

      September 6, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jamie

      Pathetically original argument. Try again.

      September 6, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. pw1121

    Now before we condemn him, should we look at his past? Feel sorry for him. Ignore the horror that the victim went through? A Jury of his peers found him guilty and as much as I want to show up in front of the courthouse with a rope, justice was served. I pray this serial killer gets a swift death penalty.

    September 6, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Illinois has no death penalty. 60 year max prison term likely means he dies in jail anyways.

      September 6, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Danny

    I bet he won't be smug any longer.

    September 6, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. smokeee

    how can you marry someone who everyone was calling a murderer and knowing both his previous wives had died? i have no sympathies for this lady, she dug her own grave.

    September 6, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jamie

      She did it because she was the one he was having an affair with when wife three died. And she "loved" him.

      September 6, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ricky & Tammy

      we agree, she was the "other woman" and knew she was.... karma's a beotch. I don't feel sorry for her, I do feel sorry for those who loved her, and hope they find the truth about where she is and how it happened, once they find the body they can begin to heal. btw ppl, if they cheat with you they'll cheat on you!

      September 6, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • JEM

      You might want to actually read up on the case before commenting.

      September 6, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nrage

      smokeee, get your facts straight. Only Savio had died at the time Stacey married him. You look like an idiot when you post something like that. Especially when you say she dug her own grave. Moron!

      September 6, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. pmn

    So glad this case saw Justice and Drew Peterson is put away. I hope they find Stacy Peterson. He needs to fess up...might as well he will be in jail for the rest of his life. What has he got to lose? He needs to do something right in his life and give Stacy's family closure.

    September 6, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Pete

    The man is sick. How in the world does this idiot feel he will get away with doing awaywith his wives. So sad for the girls he effected. I hope when he gets in prison he gets a daily beating then finally stabbed but not dead. He is to suffer as he has made others. Glory be to "Justice"

    September 6, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joe

    The truth is this... You cannot convict a person on heresay evidence. While I personally believe this dirtbag is guilty (along with Casey Anthony), we can't allow a prosecution team to obtain a guilty verdict based on anything other than tangible evidence. This adds up to nothing less than a witch hunt. You can applaud this verdict all you want... until someday it happens to you or a loved one. If you believe that prosecutors don't have political motives for charging some people with crimes, you're sadly mistaken.

    September 6, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      I have to agree. The man's a filthy swine but there was no evidence.

      September 6, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      He was not convicted on hearsay eveidence.
      He was convicted on strong circ umstantial evidence.
      Hearsay *is* applicable in some cases; this is one of them.
      The hearsay evidence was part of the larger circ unstantial case; it was *not* the only component.
      There was much evidence that was *not* allowed in; this judge has made the case pretty much reverible-error proof.
      The verdict was just.

      September 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. TomGI

    But he said he didn't do it.

    September 6, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. steve

    Where does he get the money to have a defense team of more then 6 lawyers?

    September 6, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. SteveO

    Send him to Texas. We'll take care of him with good ole Sparky w/o a sponge.

    September 6, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Cathy

    Now you'll get to wear your BLING fairly often Drew. What a creep with such an arrogant superiority complex. There should be a special prison for "women beaters" and "child molesters". Can we maybe start a lottery to fund such a place so they will NEVER get out due to over-crowding??? ONE STRIKE – YOU'RE OUT!!! permanently. Period!!!

    September 6, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lawless4U

    I think the guy did it, but there is no doubt that he will get another trial or have this verdict overturned by an appeals court. An appeals court has to take into account the law and not just emotional, hersay testimony.

    September 6, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
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