Evidence

Drew Peterson appeals murder verdict on basis that his own witness shouldn't have been allowed


A former suburban Chicago police officer found guilty in 2012 of killing his third wife is blaming both the trial judge and his former lawyer for allowing attorney testimony that helped convict him in the high-profile Illinois murder case.

In a filing mailed Monday that seeks to overturn his conviction, Drew Peterson says Will County Judge Edward Burmila should not have permitted testimony by his fourth wife’s divorce attorney that implicated the former sergeant in the slaying of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Peterson also blames his lead defense counsel at trial, Joel Brodsky, for calling the divorce attorney, Harry Smith, as a defense witness and contends Brodsky was ineffective both because of this claimed lapse and because he put his own desire for publicity before Peterson’s interests.

Cumulatively, these and other errors deprived him of the right to a fair trial, Peterson argued in the 3rd District Appellate Court filing.

“It is important to note at the onset that the state did not present a single eyewitness, physical evidence linking Drew with Kathleen’s body, forensic evidence linking Drew with Kathleen’s body, or a confession from Drew,” the filing states. “And while it is true there is no magic formula for a murder conviction, at least one of these pieces of evidence is usually present where an appellate court upholds murder convictions.”

The Peterson case has already involved a complicated post-verdict filing saga, and an earlier motion for a new trial also focused on Smith’s testimony, which reportedly had a significant influence on jurors. The presentence motion contended that neither Peterson nor other members of the defense team wanted Smith called as a witness.

Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, has been missing since 2007. A number of relatives and friends have said they believe she is dead.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Drew Peterson gets 38 years for murder of 3rd wife”

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