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. Tim

    I wonder if he still has that bland smile pasted on his face? II hope he rots in Hades for all eternity.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. cpc65

    The Devil has already begun stoking a very special pyre for him.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. blinky

    He might as well strike a deal and let the police know whatever he did to his fourth wife Stacy Peterson. He's going to be in jail for life anyway. He could make a plea that tags on extra years, which won't matter to him. In light of the verdict, the odds of him having no hand in her disappearance look remote.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. johnny begood

    Well they finally got the dirtbag! If it were up to me, I'd bring back public hangings and we all would get a chance to see this bast&^#$ drop!

    I think public hangings should be brought back. The taxpayers are still being robbed blind. Example: the idiot that recently shot all those folks in that theater. Why in the hell should taxpayer dollars be spent on a trial? I could care less about the right to a speedy trial in these cases, just hang them! If they have no more respect for human life, string them up.

    If you think hanging is a little primitive, stop and think about the others missing under his watch....and he was called a police officer!

    September 6, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jon

    Another cop goes down – as they should.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Yeah, these are the hypocrtical trash that try to put everyone else in jail while they do as they please due to training to lie and evade etc. That blue wall is everywhere and maybe a chance he'll get some time...not likely.

      September 6, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. oppossum king

    Did he do it? Probably. To find him guilty on hearsay? Dear lord, this could be me or you.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Guest

    This slick ex-kop isn't likely to go anywhere soon. That "blue wall" will ensure that he gets all sorts of appeals and other privileges. Taught to lie and evade so i's amazing a few people actually saw thru his charade.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. twalk

    Great! One less arrogrant repubturd running.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. nab

    If this reaches the supreme court it will definitely be overturned, you can convict him on state law but hearsay will not be upheld in federal court.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • queenbee10

      Technically you are right as "hearsay " is usualy inadmissible in court and tailoring a law specifically for a certain case smacks of manipulation and illegality too–but I say technically you are right except we both know our supreme Court is corrupt and as screwy as the rest of the country–we have had accords preventing the US from waging unprovoked war with another country and agreeing the US would be under the jurisdiction of any international body if we breached those kinds of agreements–the amendment granting international purview to us in those cases have been on the books since 1797–see how well we ignore that to start the war in Iraq?

      We have had another amendment that specifically states if either a mother or father is a US citizen and has a child anywhere in the world, that child is automatically a US citizen–meaning a natural born citizen as opposed to one who goes through red tape and swearing in–look how we disregard that for the birther silliness.

      We are in times so messed up, that we think we would be safe with ordinary people carrying guns and opening fire on a gun man–as if in the middle of a firefight, the people with guns will know who the bad person is instead of mistakenly killing each other and bystanders–we have lost our way and neither our politicians or our courts appear capable of righting the ship. So... Yeah–hearsay should not be allowed to stand and should be overturned since rumor and gossip and hearsay could easily be made up–but we are in times, where it might stand–logic and reason have taken a backseat to finesse and lying and manipulation of the laws and the people–so who knows–we should all remember though Peterson may indeed be guilty–when it gets so bad they come for YOU and me–we need to remember how it all started and how okay a lot of us was with the "hearsay" kind of evidence.

      September 6, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jeffision

    Good. Maybe he'll lose that smirk in prison. I hope this verdict empowers battered women to speak up, get help, and fight back against cowardly insecure bullies.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Barbi53

    Hallelujah...there is justice after all. One can only hope that he will tell what happened to wife 4 but that may have to wait for years until all his appeals have been dealt with.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Beth

    G double O D.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. queenbee10

    Peterson is most likely guilty–but we don't convict people based purely on hearsay no matter what new law says we can–his lawyer can invoke "ax post facto" which prohibits trying someone based on guildelines or laws not in effect at the time they committed their crime–or simply based on the fact that hearsay convictions are something to be done is 3rd world countries and Kafkaesque regimes–this will probably be overturned on appeal–and basically thinking people want it to be–if we start convicting people based on hearsay–everyone can become a convicted criminal if they are unpopular enough or tangles with someone with an agenda–we were better than this–guilty or not–we rely on EVIDENCE not stuff anyone could make up.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. alex

    This is a happy ending to a very sad story. It is so sad that the fourth wife had to probably go through a horrible death because she knew what he had done. Had the police done a better job of investigating from the start, Stacy would not have ended up missing. I hope that the case of her disapperance doesn't end. The truth about what happened to her needs to be found out, because of her, one murder case was solved and so should hers.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • queenbee10

      Sorry to bust your bubble but nothing was solved–basically rumor, innuendo and gossip have convicted this man–he may be guilty but it is against our own laws to convict a person without concrete proof and gossip and repeated conversations are not necessarily the truth–no way to prove what people said actually was said or done–hear say is usually inadmissible in court–Illinois passing a law is a hollow victory because anyone who knows even a bit about law will tel you this will not stand under appeal –esp if it goes to the SCOTUS. or at least, it shouldn't.

      September 6, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ziggy

    This will hopefully wipe the smirk off his smug face; then again, perhaps not. Great news!

    September 6, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21