Drew Peterson’s defense team is reeling after a horrific week of damaging evidence against their client was admitted into court. Peterson’s worst nightmare came true as hearsay testimony, which amounted to dead wife Kathleen Savio actually being on the stand, was heard by the jury.
Peterson’s trial for the murder of his third wife Kathleen Savio opened it’s eighth day Friday in Joliet, Ill.. Savio was found dead in her dry bathtub in 2004 and her death was initially ruled accidental drowning. Peterson’s fourth wife Stacy disappeared three years later which drew renewed attention to the Savio case. Kathleen’s death was reexamined and ultimately reclassified as a homicide.
This morning began with testimony from Savio’s boyfriend Steve Maniaci, whom she met when the two were co-workers in the 1980s. He told the court that he and Savio reconnected in 2001, and began seeing each other regularly. Maniaci testified that after dinner and drinks on the Friday before Savio’s body was discovered, the two engaged in sexual relations. He said he did not see any of the abrasions later found on her arms and buttocks when her body was found.
Maniaci told of having an argument the next day, Saturday, Feb. 28, 2004. Savio was upset because he was not planning to come to her home that night. The two did not speak at all on Sunday, and his phone calls to her on Monday went unanswered. Monday night he said he received a call from Savio’s neighbor telling him that Drew Peterson was at her home with a locksmith, and that they were attempting to gain access to the home.
Upon calling the neighbor back, “She told me Kathy was dead”, Maniaci said. He then drove to Savio’s home where he approached Drew Peterson and asked if him if he had anything to do with Savio’s death. Drew replied that he did not, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Savio’s sister Susan Doman recited a story eerily similar to what friend and roommate Kristen Anderson testified to on Thursday. Doman told jurors that her sister repeatedly told her of an attack by Drew Peterson where he held a knife to his ex-wife’s throat and said that he, “…could kill her and make it look like an accident”.
The defense may have put a ding in Doman’s testimony on cross examination however, when asked about signing a book and possible movie deal. She admitted being guaranteed $30,000 if a film is made, the contingency that she be portrayed in a positive manner, and allowing the makers to fictionalize the story for dramatic purposes.
Defense attorney Joseph Lopez then asked Susan if she had a financial incentive in seeing Drew Peterson convicted of murder, ensuring the release of her book. Doman replied, “No, this book is about domestic violence”. Lopez replied, “This book is about you being paid”.
The last witness of the day was Peterson’s former mistress, Susan McCauley, who was employed as a bartender at a local tavern that Drew owned. When asked about her discussions with Drew after Kathleen’s death, McCauley said she asked Drew how his boys were doing. She said that Peterson responded, “Oh they’ll be fine, she was crazy…she was on antidepressants”.
Defense attorneys claim that even if the hearsay evidence is true, it does not prove that Drew Peterson is guilty of the murder of Kathleen Savio, according to the Chicago Sun Times.
Stay tuned for week three.