Peterson judge frustrated with court antics, testimony continues - FOX 32 News Chicago

Peterson trial: Peterson said Savio overdosed, drowned

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The prosecution in the Drew Peterson murder trial lost a key witness' testimony Friday afternoon, when Judge Burmila barred Scott Rossetto from taking the stand any further.

The judge called Rossetto's testimony "facially unreliable," due to the fact that the date on which he thinks the conversation took place does not match up with other reports.

Scott Rossetto was an old friend of Drew Peterson's much younger fourth wife, Stacy.

He testified Friday afternoon that the conversation he had with Stacy took place on Oct. 25, 2007. The defense questioned the credibility of that answer, because a police report says that conversation took place on Oct. 26, and prosecutors told the defense before lunch Friday that it took place on Oct. 22.

Rossetto told the court that the former Bolingbrook cop told Stacy to lie about his whereabouts the night Kathleen Savio died – essentially, provide Peterson with a false alibi.

"If anybody ever asks I was home," Drew allegedly told Stacy.

State prosecutor James Glasgow said Stacy's pastor, Neil Schori, told police the same story the next day. He pointed out that these two men did not know each other, and were not aware of the similar conversations taking place.

The legal teams argued over Rossetto's testimony before he took the stand Friday.

The defense called Rossetto's testimony unreliable. They said his testimony would be almost the same as what Stacy Peterson's pastor told the police when she went missing, and that his statements to the police were inconsistent depending on the day he gave them.

Savio was found in an empty bathtub and her death ruled an accidental drowning. But after Stacy disappeared prosecutors exhumed Savio's body and a second autopsy determined she was murdered.

"Savio will not have a fair trial because nobody wants to talk about what happened in 2007. Kathleens' trial today is because Stacy disappeared in 2007, " said Pam Bosco who speaks for Stacy Peterson's family.

She said she was disgusted by today's ruling. Scott Rossetto would have been the first witness to bring hearsay from Stacy into the trial. "hey're keeping Stacy out of this and I think Kathy does need Stacy today, her testimony will help her case, will help her find justice in this dumbfounding courtroom."

Defense attorneys convinced the judge that because Rossetto kept changing the date of when the conversation took place, the substance of his testimony was unreliable.

"The issue was he testified to the conversation taking place at he Denny's, then he said it took place on my couch, then it said it took place on a day on a Friday, then he found out he worked on the Friday so he said it took place on Tuesday, then they changed it today to Thursday. He was all over the place," said Steve Greenburg.

After Scott Rossetto was barred from testifying, an insurance adjuster testified that Peterson called him not long after she died. He said Peterson told him Savio's death was drug-related and that she drowned. Kathleen Savio also had a $1 million life insurance policy payable to her kids, he revealed.

Then, a former girlfriend of Drew Peterson's son, Jennifer Schoon, testified. She told jurors that Peterson told her that Savio died by hitting her head and drowning in the bathtub. She was also led to believe by Peterson that she had possibly overdosed on medication.

Jurors were sent home after Schoon's testimony and attorneys argued about whether the judge should allow testimony from a man who claims Peterson offered him $25,000 to find a hitman to kill Kathleen Savio. Judge Burmilla said he will rule later on this.

Testimony will resume Tuesday.

NEUROLOGIST DIAGNOSED KATHLEEN SAVIO WITH CERVICAL VERTIGO

Dr. Gene Neri, Savio's neurologist, was the first witness called to the stand Friday.

The defense challenged Neri's qualification as an expert as he took the stand, and Judge Burmila ruled in accordance with the defense after sending the jury out. The neurologist was not considered an expert, but can testify to Savio's treatment.

Dr. Neri testified that Peterson's third wife came to him sleep-deprived and stressed, with vice-like neck and back muscles. A full diagnosis determined her ailment to be cervical vertigo.

The neurologist prescribed medicine for Savio, and said they were beneficial – they helped to improve her condition.

Dr. Neri testified that her condition did not contribute to an accidental slip and fall in her bathtub in any way. Neri testified that although Savio was dizzy, people with this condition are more careful because they have it.

During cross-examination, the defense asked Dr. Neri if stopping one of her medications on her own while undergoing treatment would have caused a fall. The neurologist said it would.

Neri also agreed on the stand that Savio's broken marriage and having a boyfriend that wouldn't marry her would make her stressed. Savio was also suffering from numb extremities, tingling, feeling unsteady and trouble swallowing.

FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST SAYS SAVIO WAS MURDERED

The Peterson trial has been going on for three weeks, but so far only one witness has actually testified that Kathleen Savio was murdered.

The forensic pathologist who did the second autopsy on Savio's body testified Thursday that murder is the only way Peterson's third wife could have ended up dead in a dry bathtub.

The pathologist said Savio had a fresh gash on the back of her head, and bruises all over the front of her body. Some of the bruises went all the way to the bone.

Defense attorney Ralph Meczyk and State's attorney James Glasgow traded boisterous objections throughout the day, but it was their additional banter that prompted the judge on numerous occasions to chastise them like a parent would a child for their extraneous comments.

"Ralph Meczyk and I shook hands in the hallway and in fact he just came down and wished me well," Glasgow said. "There are no personal hard feelings whatsoever."

Defense attorney Steve Greenberg said Friday the jurors appear to be annoyed, like everyone else is, with the starts and stops. But it can't be helped.

During cross examination Blum admitted his conclusion was different than the pathologist who conducted the original autopsy, as well as three other defense experts who reviewed reports and concluded Savio's death was accidental.

"We had a real strong day Thursday," Glasgow said. "Some very important forensic evidence came in. It's a real turning point."

Defense attorney Steve Greenberg said Glasgow's statement is only the opinion of one man.

"There are other opinions and they're just opinions," Greenberg said. "Opinions aren't facts - opinions are opinions. The contradiction in opinions raises a reasonable doubt right there."

While prosecutors got in some key evidence, after court they lost a few rounds.

A judge barred testimony that implies Drew Peterson put a blue towel on the tub that other witnesses who first went in Savio's bathroom did not see.

The judge also said prosecutors could not call a witness who overheard Peterson say to friends "let them prove it" after one friend said it sure was convenient how Savio died during the divorce.

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