Accused murderer Drew Peterson's trial resumes | Kathleen Savio - FOX 32 News Chicago

Sister: Savio was ‘terrified’ of Peterson

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Kathleen Savio's sister, Sue Doman, testified in Drew Peterson's murder trial Friday, saying that her sister told her he could kill her - at knife point.

"Drew had a knife on her throat and said he could kill her and make it look like an accident," Doman said.

Doman asked Peterson if he killed her sister after Savio was found dead. She testified in court Friday that he was surprised, and choked out a response: "I wouldn't kill the mother of my children."

Quoting Peterson, Doman said, "Tell your sister, ha ha, I got the will."

She testified that he said he found it between the floors and said Doman's family would get nothing.

Doman told the court that her sister asked her to take care of the boys one week before she died. Before the attorneys could argue over the controversial piece of testimony, the jurors were sent out of the room.

Peterson defense attorney Steve Greenberg said he was concerned that the testimony might paint his client as "mean-spirited."

Attorney Joe Lopez, who gave Good Day Chicago some insight into the second mistrial request, questioned Sue Doman Friday. He questioned her about a book and or movie deal she signed in 2009.

The deal was offered five months after Peterson's arrest, asking for a story about his late third wife that would portray the couple in a positive way. The deal would pay Doman up to $30,000 and allow "fictionalization" to make the story more "colorful."

Defense attorneys contend Doman's testimony about Peterson's alleged threat  to kill Savio and make it look like an accident is tainted by that promise of money. Doman denied that and pointed out the contract expired last year.  Supporters say Doman's story is motivated by truth not greed.

"She made absolutely zero on that situation and two, it didn't detrack because she made those statements at the coroner's inquest, long before any contract was before her," said Stacy Peterson's family spokesperson, Pam Bosco.


Savio's boyfriend, Steve Maniaci, testified Friday that Drew Peterson denied killing his third wife when her body was found in her Bolingbrook home in 2004.

He took the stand on the eighth day of the former Bolingbrook cop's murder trial, to testify about being one of the last people to spend time with and talk to Savio before her death. They began dating during the couple's divorce proceedings.

Maniaci received a late-night phone call on March 1, 2004, informing him that Savio's lifeless body had been found in her bathtub.

He drove to Savio's Bolingbrook home and saw Peterson standing near the gathering crowd, illuminated by a street lamp. Maniaci testified that he told Peterson he hoped Savio's former husband had nothing to do with her death.

Maniaci said Peterson responded that he did not and that "she would have lost anyway."

Defense attorneys contend all the so-called threats by Peterson aren't proof of a murder.

Intimate details emerged from Maniaci's Friday testimony, when he was asked about a date which ended with the two retiring to Savio's home. He hesitated before answering at times, dues to the nature of the line of questioning.

Maniaci said after taking Savio to dinner, they came back to her house and "started fooling around and had sex." He testified that he did not notice anything unusual about her naked body during intercourse, specifically nothing out of the ordinary on her back and buttocks.

When Maniaci was shown autopsy photos of Savio's body, with a large cut to her head and several dark red marks or bruises on her arm and buttocks, he said he hadn't seen them on her in the days leading up to her death when he spent the night.

Savio's boyfriend testified to Savio's state of mind before her death, telling the jury that she kept both doors to her home locked, and even had a deadbolt on her door.

Maniaci said that when she bathed, she put her hair up with a clip. When her body was found, her hair was down and covered her face. 

Doman testified that she saw, on more than one occasion, that her sister clipped her hair up into a bun while getting ready for a bath.

FOX Chicago's Craig Wall explained that the hair issue is instrumental in proving the prosecution's theory: that the bath was staged to look like an accident and the circumstances didn't follow Savio's habits.


This part of Maniaci's story is important because according to witness testimony from Mary Parks, a nursing classmate of Savio's, Peterson's third wife had red marks on her neck allegedly made by her accused murderer.

But Parks testified Thursday that she saw those marks around Thanksgiving of 2003.

Parks said Savio told her Drew Peterson broke into her home, grabbed her by the throat and said, "Why don't you just die?"

Parks broke down on the stand, just as another friend of Savio's – Kristen Anderson – did the day before.

Hearsay testimony from Savio's other friend, Kristen Anderson, told of death threats Peterson made to his ex-wife and the fact that Savio feared for her life. Anderson said this fear was so extensive that Savio slept with a knife for protection.

Peterson has pleaded not guilty to murdering Savio. He was only accused of the murder after his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, went missing in 2007.

Peterson's defense team maintains that Savio's death was a tragic accident, and that their client had nothing to do with it. The prosecution is trying to prove that Savio's death was anything but an accident, and that Peterson's actions showed what he was capable of carrying out: murder.


Susan McCauley, Bolingbrook police officer Teresa Kernc and Savio's neighbor Dominick DeFrancesco are also on the witness list.

Officer Kernc took the report about the incident where Savio said Peterson threatened to kill her at knifepoint, dressed in SWAT gear.

Kathleen Savio's father, Henry was also in court Friday. He was there for Maniaci's testimony and saw the autopsy photos of his daughter shown in court.

He was charged with first-degree murder in 2009. He is suspected in then 23-year-old Stacy's disappearance, but has not been charged.

As many as 50 public citizens lined up to watch trial proceedings at the Will County courthouse Friday. It was the largest group yet. There are only 20 seats available.


Peterson's son Kristopher visited him in the Will County courtroom during a break Thursday, after the jury was sent out of the room.

Kris is Peterson's youngest son with his third wife Kathleen Savio, who the former Bolingbrook police officer is accused of murdering.

Just one day after his 18th birthday, Kris was able to see his father for the first time in three years. He is not allowed to visit his father in jail.

"He was choked up," defense attorney Joel Brodsky said. "His son obviously came to show his support. They talked for a few minutes - father and son hadn't been together in some time and they miss each other very, very much. He expressed that he can't wait for his dad to come home."

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