Reporting Steve Miller
JOLIET, Ill. (CBS) - Drew Peterson’s son has been suspended from the Oak Brook police force for the past couple of months, but he is still collecting a paycheck.
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The Oak Brook Village Board voted to keep paying Officer Stephen Peterson as he awaits a court hearing.
He was suspended back in August after he testified that he accepted three guns from his father in 2007, after Drew Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy, disappeared.
But Oak Brook police Chief Thomas Sheehan failed to convince the village’s board of fire and police commissioners to suspend him without pay pending a Nov. 30 hearing on whether to fire him.
Stephen Peterson is also caring for Drew’s four younger children.
Drew Peterson have been highly critical of the action against his son. In a letter to the Chicago Sun-Times in September, he called it all “an attempt to get at me.”
“Someone somewhere has to stand up and say STOP. . . .” Peterson wrote in September. “If I gave my life, which I would gladly do to protect my kids, would that stop the harassment against my family?”
Stephen Peterson admitted on the witness stand during an August pretrial hearing for his father’s gun case that he helped hide the firearms from state police.
Stephen Peterson said his father smuggled the guns to him two days before the state cops served a search warrant on Drew Peterson’s home. It was this testimony that landed Stephen Peterson in his latest hot water with the Oak Brook brass, and it might cost him his job.
Sheehan is also going after Stephen Peterson for possessing an illegal weapon his father was arrested for owning, for failing to disclose a $238,000 cash transfer from his father supposedly made to help care for his four juvenile half siblings, and for discussing with friends, family and colleagues why he was placed on paid leave in August.
Drew Peterson, a former Bolingbrook police sergeant, remains in jail on murder charges. He is accused of killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio, whose body was found in a dry bathtub in March 2004.
Her death was originally ruled an accidental drowning. But it was reclassified after the case was reopened and her body was exhumed following Stacy Peterson’s disappearance.
The Village of Oak Brook will hold a hearing at the end of the month on whether to fire Stephen Peterson.
Peterson Wants Guns Back
In addition to the murder charges, Drew Peterson had also been charged with keeping an illegal gun, specifically an AR-15 rifle, on which the barrel is illegally short. Peterson was also charged with illegally transferring the firearm to Stephen Peterson.
But the gun charges against Peterson were dropped, and Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow does not plan to appeal that ruling.
Thus, as WBBM Newsradio 780’s Steve Miller reports, attorney Joel Brodsky says Drew Peterson wants his gun back.
Being in jail, he can’t get the gun back personally. But Brodsky said he will move to let somebody else – perhaps somebody in Peterson’s family – take the gun. He didn’t mention Stephen Peterson’s name.
“We’ll ask Judge Schoenstedt to return the gun. Obviously if it’s going to be in the possession of anybody other than a policeman, the barrel will have to be switched to a longer barrel,” Brodsky said.
“It’ll make a nice addition to somebody’s collection and that’ll be up to Drew to choose who he wants it to go to, as long as that person’s properly licensed, that’ll be that,” Brodsky added.
But Will County State’s Attorney’s Office spokesman Charles Pelkie says the gun is illegal, and, “We’re not modifying it so we can turn it over to someone else.”
The Joliet Herald-News contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.