Trials & Litigation

Defense Calls Slain Woman 'Bonkers,' Seeks Mistrial in Ex-Cop Drew Peterson's Wife-Murder Case

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There was no shortage of drama as the high-profile Drew Peterson murder trial began in suburban Chicago this week.

On Tuesday, the prosecution team, headed by Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, contended that the former Bolingbrook police sergeant drowned his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in the bathtub of her home, trying to keep her from collecting a significant portion of his pension and other assets after their divorce, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

But the defense reversed the accusation as it fired back in opening statements, arguing that Savio, angry that her husband had left her for the teenager who would eventually become his fourth wife, had gone “bonkers” and fabricated claims that Peterson was trying to kill her in order to try to get as much as possible herself in their divorce, according to the article and an earlier Sun-Times account of the trial.

By Wednesday morning, the defense had requested a mistrial over a neighbor’s seemingly unconnected testimony that he had found a .38-caliber bullet in his driveway (Savio was initially determined to have died accidentally, but now Peterson is accused of drowning her in the bathtub).

It was at least the second mistrial request so far–on Tuesday, the defense also requested a mistrial only a few minutes into the case, when Glasgow started to tell the jury about a claim that Peterson once offered a co-worker $25,000 to slay Savio.

The defense portrayal of Savio as an angry, vengeful woman prompted an angry rebuttal outside the courtroom by Pam Bosco, a spokeswoman for the family of Stacy Peterson, the defendant’s fourth wife, who has been missing since 2007. (Her disappearance prompted a reinvestigation of Savio’s death in 2004 and the eventual first-degree murder case brought against Drew Peterson.)

“When the defense has no case, they try to trash the victim,” said Bosco.

The Christian Science Monitor and Time magazine’s NewsFeed page have detailed stories about the case.

Additional and Related coverage: “Murder Charge for Drew Peterson in 3rd Wife’s Death; 4th Wife Is Still Missing” “Drew Peterson Prosecutors Filed Hearsay Appeal Too Late, Appellate Court Rules” “Jury Pool for Ex-Cop Drew Peterson’s Murder Trial Is Three Years Old” “Will Lawyer for Alleged Murder Victim Testify in Drew Peterson Trial? Judge Rules on Testimony”

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