Former Illinois cop Drew Peterson, convicted in 2012 of killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio, and suspected of killing his fourth, Stacy Cales Peterson (she’s been missing since 2007), is back in the news. He’s accused of trying to hire a hitman to take out the State’s Attorney who prosecuted the Savio case.
As CNN reports:
Peterson has pleaded not guilty to the charges that he hired someone to kill James Glasgow, a renowned Illinois prosecutor who won the conviction in 2012 that sent Peterson away for 38 years. The former Chicago-area police sergeant was found guilty of murdering his ex-wife, Kathleen Savio.
Savio and Peterson met in 1992, married, and had two sons. But by 2001, his eye had begun to wander, and the 47-year-old began dating 17-year-old Stacy Cales. After an acrimonious divorce from Savio, who claimed her husband was prone to violence, Stacy would become his fourth wife; they also had two sons. But his issues with Savio continued until 2004, when—just one month before they were finally due to settle the financial aspects of their split—she was found dead in her bathtub. Though her hair was damp, her bathtub was bone-dry.
Despite that oddity, Savio’s death was ruled an accident ... until Stacy Peterson went missing in October 2007, and Drew Peterson’s bizarre behavior attracted fresh suspicion his way:
On the Today show, he brushed off any talk of Stacy wanting to leave him. “I’m not trying to be funny here, but Stacy Peterson would ask me for a divorce ... on a regular basis, and it was based on her menstrual cycle.”
With Stacy—just 23 and the mother of two young children—gone without a trace, investigators exhumed and re-examined Savio’s body, and began pursing the case as a homicide.
Legally, it was an unusual case:
In 2009, Drew Peterson was indicted on two counts of first-degree murder in the death of Kathleen Savio. He was taken into custody that May and remained behind bars before his trial. Much of the case against Peterson relied on information that Savio gave to other people. Usually such hearsay evidence isn’t allowed in court cases, but the Illinois legislature passed a special law in 2008 to make exceptions in certain cases.
Even with this new law in place, a Illinois court prohibited the use of eight of the 14 second-hand statements by prosecutors. Prosecutors appealed that decision in 2011, but an appellate court upheld the ruling.
He was convicted of murder in September 2009 and sentenced to 38 years in jail. (The case was sensational enough to warrant a Lifetime movie adaption, starring Rob Lowe in full mustache-menace mode.)
As part of his appeal, Peterson will go up against the man he’s accused of trying to kill from behind bars, Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, via the hitman skills of an “unidentified inmate.” A hearing on the case is scheduled for today, with the trial slated to begin in late August. He has pleaded not guilty.
Top image: AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File