Drew Peterson | Prosecution rests, defense denied acquittal - FOX 32 News Chicago

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Peterson trial: Lawyers begin their defense, jurors dress in sports jerseys

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Jurors in the Drew Peterson trial won't get the case for several more days, but they were making a statement today by their choice of clothing, and it's creating a bit of a stir.

The jurors, who previously came to court wearing coordinated colors like green, black and gray, came in Monday wearing sports jerseys: Bears, Sox, Blackhawks, Packers and more.

While some observers called this inappropriate for a murder trial, attorneys and others downplayed the significance.

"They're trying to make the best of it and enjoy the time they're having together, I don't think it means they're taking their duties any less serious," Joel Brodsky, Peterson's defense attorney commented.

Defense attorneys are more concerned with what jurors are hearing in the courtroom than what they are wearing.

Today they began their case calling Kathleen Savio's best friend who said she never saw Drew Peterson hit her, but admitted that Savio was tough and someone who would hit back if attacked.

State Police Master Sgt. Bryan Falat said he saw no marks or injuries on Peterson or signs he had been in a struggle when he interviewed him the day after Savio was found dead.

Defense attorneys say Drew Peterson wants to testify but they advise against it because it would be extremely risky. They also say he's not so arrogant to take that risk.

"He's not cocky, he's scared to death like any other criminal defendant, he's scared to death that this jury's gonna convict him for something he didn't do," said Joe Lopez, Peterson's defense attorney.

Pam Bosco, a Stacy Peterson Family Spokesperson, had this to say: "With all the evidence presented, he should be scared to death. He should be shaking in his shoes right now."

Also Monday, a State Police investigator, testifying for the defense, said a friend of Savio's told him that Savio kept a knife under her bed for protection.

On Tuesday, defense attorneys will call their own forensic pathologists to say Savio's death was an accidental drowning.

Criminal Defense Attorney Kathleen Zellner, who's been sitting in the courtroom, says the defense has a tough sell to the jury.

"The experts will just kinda cancel each other out the jurors are going to look at the crime scene photographs and I think they're gonna conclude it's really hard to pull an accident out of this."

Also Tuesday, Cincinnati restaurant owner Jeff Ruby, who has criticized the defense attorneys in newspaper ads, offered $100,000 of his own money for information that locates the body of Drew Peterson's fourth wife Stacy. Her disappearance almost five years ago led to Savio's body being exhumed and eventually the murder charge against Drew Peterson.


Prosecutors entered a letter from Kathleen Savio as their last piece of evidence Monday. She wrote that she feared he could kill her.

Savio wrote the letter to a prosecutor in 2002 amid the couple's acrimonious divorce. It's often rambling and angry as she describes an incident in which she said Peterson put a knife to her throat. Savio said in the letter that she thought she was about to die.

The defense was not happy about this piece of evidence and the manner in which it was presented. They argued that because the judge read the letter to the jury, they might give it more weight.

But in the end, the letter was allowed.

The prosecution rested its case against the former Bolingbrook police sergeant late Monday morning.

They wrapped up after calling more than 30 witnesses to support allegations that Peterson murdered his third wife in 2004.

Their witnesses included investigators, pathologists and Savio's friends. Prosecutors said Savio told relatives and friends she was terrified of Peterson, and if anything happened to her he would be to blame. One witness testified Peterson was willing to hire a hit man to do the job.

There's no physical evidence placing Peterson at the scene. But Stacy Peterson's old pastor said she told him her husband coached her to lie about the murder - or at least about his whereabouts on the day of that murder.

Peterson has been in jail for three years awaiting trial. He was indicted after his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, vanished in 2007. Stacy is the only person that could prove Peterson was in Savio's home the night of her death.

Stacy Peterson has never been found.

Drew Peterson is suspected in her disappearance, but has not been charged. His fourth wife is presumed dead. But prosecutors could not highlight these points during trial.


Since Judge Burmila denied their request, the defense is expected to provide witnesses and evidence that can prove to the jury that Savio's death was an accident - that there was no murder.

Savio's divorce attorney, Harry Smith, is the first witness slated for the defense. But the prosecution is expected to fight to keep him off the stand.

Defense attorney Joel Brodsky said a definite witness will be a doctor who could say, under oath, that Kathleen Savio died from a fall that caused her to hit her head. The team said they have several witnesses that can testify to that version of events, perhaps ten in all.

Peterson's attorneys said their defense will last two days or so, but they have not confirmed whether Peterson will take the stand in his own defense. Brodsky said that decision is up to the defendant, and the defendant alone.

Peterson faces a maximum 60-year prison sentence if convicted.


Judge Burmila joined the Chicago Cubs' detractors Monday.

He noted as proceedings began that most jurors were wearing sports jerseys. A few had jerseys on with the insignia of the Cubs' cross town rivals, the Chicago White Sox.

Burmila told jurors that they were clearly intelligent because, in his words, "nobody has any Cubs clothes on."

Peterson's trial is taking place south of Chicago, where many residents are White Sox fans.

The Peterson jurors have been coordinating what they wear each day. On Monday, all wore sports jerseys. Along with Sox gear, some donned Chicago Bears jerseys.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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