Trials & Litigation

Former Cop Drew Peterson Found Guilty of Murdering His Wife, Faces Up to 60 Years in Prison


Corrected: After two days of deliberations, a jury has found former suburban Chicago cop Drew Peterson guilty of murdering his third wife. He now faces up to 60 years in prison.

About 12 hours into deliberations, ABC News reported, the jury asked perhaps the most basic question possible: “Just to be clear, judge, what does unanimous mean?”

After overruling a prosecutor’s objection, Will County Circuit Judge Edward Burmila, formerly state’s attorney for the county, sent a note back to the jury, stating clearly: “The word unanimous indicates the agreement of all on the matter at hand.”

Peterson’s late wife, Kathleen Savio, was found dead in a bathtub in 2004. Her death was initially ruled an accident. However, after Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007, Savio’s body was exhumed and re-examined, and her death was ruled a homicide.

Stacy Peterson, before her disappearance, had asked a divorce lawyer if she might get more money out of Drew Peterson if she threatened to say that he had killed Savio. That lawyer, Harry Smith, became a witness in the murder case—much of which was based on circumstantial and hearsay evidence.

Updated at 7:08 p.m. to correct references to third and fourth wives.

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