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. s

    you have a dead woman with bruising to her front and a huge gash on the back of her head who "drowned" in a tub with no water in it, who had cops respond to the residence some 18 times prior to that for domestic violence calls regarding her ex, peterson. you have a priest who testifies that stacy, the missing wife, told him that drew admitted to her he killed savio and coached her how to answer the cops when they came calling, after having left the house for a period of time the night savio died and then returned with a bag of women's clothing that wasn't hers. you have savio's divorce attorney getting asked by stacy if she can wrangle more money out of peterson during her own divorce if she has info about him being involved in savio's death. you have a co-worker of his who testified the man offered him $25,000 to find a hit man to off savio, and when she turned up dead was told," that favor i asked you- i don't need it now". yes, it's hearsay, but why would these ppl make this stuff up? allowing hearsay evidence is sticky business, you let all of it in, you'd have family members and friends who actually WOULD make stuff up, i don't doubt, but what was allowed here seems legit, if we take it as a given that the hearsay witnesses were thoroughly vetted to insure they had no ulterior motives.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • danthefisherman

      Petersen is going to find a shank with his name written all over it.

      September 6, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • p

      BINGO!

      September 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • paulm5545

      As an after thought, I wonder if the agency that responded to the residence 18 times for DVR notified Peterson's agency that one of their officers was in dire need of intervention/counseling...

      September 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Not to mention when the Appelate Court allowed the evidence in, his OWN attorneys didn't appeal it...
      Can't cry foul now.

      September 6, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kathy from Texas

    Unfortunately there are a large percentage of bully cops who think they are above the law. How they keep their jobs, I’ll never know, but until society stops protecting them, it is not going to stop. It was quiet evident that Drew Peterson was a bully years before this happened and the police department protected him and allowed him to continue this behavior.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beau Ties

      You said it, babe............................

      September 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • zufree2b

      True that!

      September 6, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • mr smith

      they keep their jobs because it is a national problem,the chiefs and policitcos dont want to serve the people any more only themselves,and if you live in acount like i do where police chiefs are elected its worse.The police work gets worse every day more violence,intimadation more police state mentality exists when achief is apolitician first and a cop second.The public needs aforumm to openly evaluate police work nation wide,i have live an 4 states abroad and at sea,the police work here and now is at a alltime low,the public needs avoice! HERE IN PINELLAS COUNTY FLORIDA PROTECT AND SERVE TRANSLATES TO ANNOY AND DESTROY! the cops ,judges politicians are all on the take and the public is at their mercy.

      September 6, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mhart123

    Maybe he'll fall in prison and hit his head and drown in the shower. It's possible... I mean look how it accidentally happened to his beloved Kathleen Savio. What a terrible (yet timely for Drew) tragedy... please.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Burbank

    Yay! It's about time this arrogant beast got his due!

    September 6, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. LeAnne

    Yeah, justice was served. This jerk thought because he was a cop, he was above the law. Mr. Arrogant, enjoy your life in jail. Drew – be careful in the shower, you might fall and drown. LOL

    September 6, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bmarzinske

    Hope they send him to a prison that has a bunch of convicts that he helped put away.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. woodie

    I'm glad they made this charge stick. Now I wonder about the other women he has killed.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. fartface

    maybe he will finally get some sleep so his eyes will actually be open

    September 6, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keyser

      that's funny.

      September 6, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Turban

    I am stunned.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jerry

    He;s probably guilty but they never PROVED his guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt". If the jury doesn't like you, you're gonna lose – guilty or not.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Nowayjose39123

    Hey, Drew, look out for those showers in the big house. Lots of bad things can happen to a man in there. Hahaha.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. yoshi

    the local police really dropped the ball on this one – protecting their own – they should be investigated as well.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ug

    Good!

    September 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ug

    Good! I hope he gets what is coming to himself.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Keyser

    Only Steven Seagal is above the law

    September 6, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
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