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Drew Peterson Charged with
Third Wife's Murder

By Mike Fleeman

Originally posted Thursday May 07, 2009 09:35 PM EDT

Drew Peterson Photo by:
Roger Wong / INF

One of Drew Peterson's former wives was found dead, another went missing, and yet the former police sergeant had steadfastly – some say brashly – maintained his innocence in the face of suspicions by police and the victims' families.

But on Thursday, Peterson, 55, was arrested during a traffic stop in Bolingbrook, Ill., on charges of murdering one of those women, Kathleen Savio, his third wife, whose body was discovered in an empty bathtub in 2004. Her death was originally ruled an accidental drowning but later called a staged homicide.

The grand jury that indicted Peterson in Savio's death continues to study the possibility of charges in the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, the mother of their two children, according to Charles B. Pelkie, state attorney for Will County, Ill., CNN reports.

Lawyer Says Peterson's Innocent

Peterson's attorney Andrew Abood released a statement asserting Peterson's innocence despite the "rumor and innuendo that has circulated regarding the unfortunate death of Kathleen," the Chicago Tribune reports.

"Although he is disappointed with the decision of the state, he looks forward to the opportunity to once and for all prove his innocence in a court of law," says Abood.

A spokesman for Savio's sister, Sue Doman, said Doman was "very grateful that authorites were able to bring it to the point where justice hopefully will be served."

"It's been hell for Sue Doman and her husband," adds Larry Garrison, the president of SilverCreek Entertainment who is working with Doman on a book, titled For the Love of My Sister, "because she would go to the cemetery all of the time and speak to her sister and promise her that she would bring justice to her."

Additional reporting by Jeff Truesdell

Drew Peterson Held on $20M Bail in Wife's Murder

Peterson Reportedly Cracked Jokes After Arrest in Kathleen Savio's Murder

May 8, 2009

The sister of the woman allegedly killed by Drew Peterson said the world is finally a "safe place for me" now that he sits in jail on murder charges.

But Peterson, well known for his wisecracks and blase attitude, had a less dramatic reaction to his arrest Thursday, reportedly saying, "I guess I should have returned those library books."

Peterson, an ex-cop, was charged Thursday in Illinois with two first-degree murder counts in the 2004 death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. He's also under investigation in the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson. He is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon.

"He's an idiot," Susan Doman, Savio's sister, said today on "Good Morning America," dismayed that Peterson would make jokes after he was arrested for his wife's murder.

Kathleen Savio's brother Nick was clearly pleased with the arrest.

"This is step one. Step two would be a conviction so my sister can rest in peace," Nick Savio told "GMA."

Peterson has maintained his innocence to anyone who would listen both in Savio's death and Stacy Peterson's disappearance. At times he's even seemed to revel in the spotlight.

"Drew takes these charges very seriously," his lawyer Joel Brodsky told "Good Morning America." Those jokes, he said, are his way of dealing with stress. "That's just his nature."

Doman said the arrest is a long time coming and the family hopes this is the first step in justice for her sister. Peterson was arrested shortly before he was scheduled to to fly to Reno to interview for a security job at a brothel featured on a cable television show.

"It was a big relief because he wasn't going on all these shows, going around joking and laughing," Doman said.

Prosecutors are hoping to enter into evidence letters from Savio that reveal her fear of what her husband might do. A new law in Illinois, passed in light of the Peterson case, would allow for such evidence, legislation Peterson's lawyer is planning to fight.

"Obviously we have problems with that law," Joel Brodsky told "GMA." "And we're going to challenge the law."

Peterson, 55, was being held at the Will County Adult Detention Facility in Joliet, Ill., with bond set at $20 million, and could face 60 years in jail, Will County State's Attorney James W. Glasgow said.

"This is a grave and serious matter, and I think that's reflected in the bond," Glasgow told reporters.

"We are very confident in our case," he added.

Brodsky has called the $20 million bond "excessive" and said he hoped to get it reduced. Another attorney told The Associated Press that Peterson had an alibi for Savio's death.

Savio, 40, was found face-down in an empty bathtub in March 2004, her hair soaked with blood from an apparent head wound.

The death initially was ruled an accident, but was reclassified a homicide in 2008 after her body was exhumed and given a new autopsy following Stacy Peterson's October 2007 disappearance.

That autopsy determined Savio had drowned, Illinois State Police Capt. Carl Dobrich said.

The indictment handed down by a grand jury Thursday morning accused Peterson of "two counts of first-degree murder, one on the theory of intentional killing, the second [for] knowingly doing an act that can cause great bodily harm," said Glasgow, whose office will prosecute the case.

Peterson was arrested "without incident" in a traffic stop by a uniformed state trooper and plainclothes officers near his home in Bolingbrook, Ill., Dobrich said. He added that Peterson's four children were in the process of being removed to government care.

Peterson's 'Lock-Tight Alibi'

Andrew Abood, an attorney for Peterson, told The Associated Press the indictment was not a surprise because "there was tremendous pressure for the government to do something in this case."

He added Peterson had a "lock-tight alibi" because Peterson and Savio's teenage son said last month in a television interview that he was with his father at the time of his mother's death.

"I highly do not believe that my dad had murdered my mom," Thomas Peterson, 16, told CBS' "The Early Show." "Because, first off, he wasn't there. He was with us during that period of time."

Peterson, a former duty sergeant for the Bolingbrook Police Department, was the first officer to respond to the scene of Savio's death. His nearly-three-decade career in law enforcement ended when he stepped down after Stacy Peterson disappeared.

Brodsky said he had not spoken with his client Peterson as of late Thursday night, but expected to speak with him Friday.

Savio Sis Hopes Peterson's 'Eating Oatmeal' in Jail

Doman told ABC News she hated watching Drew Peterson walking around freely and seemingly basking in the media limelight in the year and a half since Stacy Peterson vanished, an event that inflamed her own family's suspicions about Peterson regarding her sister's death.

Doman added that she hoped now "he's eating oatmeal" in jail.

She knew Peterson's arrest was coming because she had been working with authorities, and she hoped justice would finally be done.

May 13 would have been Kathleen Savio's 46th birthday, her sister noted. Every year, she said, family members visit her grave and relive the pain of her death. This year, she added, there will be some relief.

Savio's divorce from Peterson was nearly complete at the time of her death. She had received an order of protection in 2002 against Peterson, alleging a pattern of physical abuse and threats.

Doman said she wants to encourage battered women to get out of bad relationships, claiming Drew Peterson battered her sister.

"No matter how strong you are, get out," she said she would tell other abused women.

A lawyer for the Savio family, Martin Glink, told the family is "very grateful and relieved that at long last he [Drew Peterson] is going to be charged.

"We're hoping that Mr. Peterson will get a measure of justice," Glink added. "We're looking to have the right thing done and that obviously points to Drew Peterson."

Mystery Surrounding Stacy Peterson's Disappearance

Stacy Peterson, then 23, vanished Oct. 28, 2007, after reportedly telling her minister that Peterson had confessed to killing Savio.

September 22, 2008

For Immediate Release

Larry Garrison, President of SilverCreek Entertainment will be handling all publicity for Sue Doman.  Sue is the sister of Kathleen Savio in the Drew Peterson case.  Sue has been working diligently with authorities to seek justice for her deceased sister, and anticipates a speedy resolution in the near future.  


Larry Garrison

Loose lips could nail Drew Peterson,
expert says

Secretly monitored conversations might be used to solve two mysteries

By Mike Celizic contributor
updated 8:29 a.m. MT, Thurs., July. 24, 2008

Secretly monitored conversations in which Drew Peterson allegedly talked about the death of his third wife and his missing fourth wife could be the break investigators were waiting for, according to MSNBC senior legal analyst Susan Filan.

“This I would consider a breakthrough,” Filan told TODAY’s Amy Robach Thursday after The Chicago Sun-Times reported that two of Peterson’s friends wore wires to record his conversations with them from last November until mid-June. “We don’t have a body. We don’t have a lot of clues. But if these are in fact taped statements, they are incriminating, they are damaging and I think they are helpful.”

Filan said there is still little evidence connecting Peterson to the suspicious death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, and the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson. “There’s a lot of suspicion, not a lot of evidence,” she said. But, she added, if the tapes contain the information that the informants say they do, it is a significant piece of evidence.

“You build cases brick by brick by brick,” said Filan, a former prosecutor. “This is a good brick. I like this brick, but it doesn’t mean we’ve got the whole house — yet.”

Denial by Peterson
In an earlier interview on Thursday, Peterson told TODAY’s David Gregory that he never made statements attributed to him by Len Wawczak, 42, and his wife, Paula Stark, 38, who said they have known Peterson for 16 years. Wawczak told the Sun-Times that he approached Illinois State Police and volunteered to wear a wire while talking to Peterson.

Wawczak claimed that Peterson, a retired Bolingbrook, Ill., policeman, called police who investigated Savio’s death “idiots,” preceding the word with an expletive. Peterson also allegedly said he should have had Savio’s remains cremated so that investigators could not exhume her remains and change the initial finding — that her death was due to accidental drowning in her bathtub — to homicide.

“ ‘I should have had that b**** cremated. It would have cost me less and I wouldn’t be going through this trouble,’ “ Wawczak quoted Peterson as saying.

He also said that Peterson said he expected that he would be tried and acquitted in the murder of Stacy Peterson before her body was found. Then, if the remains were discovered, he would be free because he could not be tried twice for the same crime.

“I never made any statement like that,” said Peterson, who continues to maintain Stacy Peterson ran away with another man and is alive.

“That’s got to be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” Peterson’s attorney, Joel Brodsky, told Gregory. “That somebody would have a plan to commit murder, to be arrested, tried and acquitted before a body was found. That’s just insane to think that somebody would make that kind of plan.”

Profit motive?
Peterson and Brodsky suggested that Wawczak and Stark are trying to profit from their relationship with him, as he said they have before. The couple are in severe financial straits and see this as their ticket to solvency, Brodsky said.

“I know that Paula, for example, has filed for bankruptcy five times in the last nine years,” Brodsky said. “Len has filed bankruptcy twice since 2004. These are people that are in a very bad financial situation, they’re about to be thrown out of their house, and they need money. They are trying to make money as other people have made money off of this case.”

Illinois State Police have declined to comment on the possible existence of taped conversations. But, Brodsky said, if they do exist — and he is not convinced of that — and the couple went public with the information on them, they could be in serious legal trouble.

“The Illinois State Police and the prosecutors, if there are tapes with anything incriminating on them, would never allow these people to go on the media and talk about it,” Brodsky said. “It’s a felony. To taint their entire investigation like this would be nuts.”

Conflicting stories
Peterson said he has known the couple for 25 years instead of the 16 years Wawczak told the Sun-Times. “Lenny Wawczak is somebody I met by arresting him. I arrested him on a couple of occasions. It was just recently, when I was getting ready for retirement, I was talking with him about going into a rehab business. Lenny’s a handyman. We were going to buy and rehab houses together, that’s how a more intimate relationship began.”

The former cop, who was wearing a full beard and sporting a deep tan, admitted that he had given the couple one of his guns, as reported in the newspaper. But, he said, there was nothing illegal about that transaction.

“My gun card, I found out, was being revoked, and I had a gun in my possession that I had to get rid of,” Peterson told Gregory. “Those were the only two people available, so I made a legal transfer of that firearm to Paula Stark, who had a valid gun card.”

Peterson said that when he went to New York last year for a TODAY show appearance, Wawczak and Stark asked him to bring back a hat from the show. He said he autographed it at their request, and learned that they auctioned it off on eBay for $10,000.

“These people are in financial trouble and are totally motivated by money,” Peterson said.

Gregory asked Peterson if he still believes Stacy Peterson is alive.

“Yes, I do,” he replied. “I have a lot of speculation on that, but I believe, yes, she’s alive.”