Sun-Times: Release Drew Peterson

CHICAGO (CBS)An editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times says accused wife killer Drew Peterson should be freed from jail.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, the editorial does not say Peterson should be able to come and go as he pleases, but that he should be let out of the Will County Jail and put under house arrest.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

“To keep him in jail while prosecutors plod through yet another round of pretrial motions is to deny him his constitutional right to be free, in the words of the Eighth Amendment, of ‘cruel and unusual punishments,’” the editorial said.

Peterson, a former Bolingbrook police sergeant, is charged with murder in the 2004 death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

He has been held in the Will County Jail on $20 million bond since May 2009, and is now petitioning the Illinois Supreme Court for release.

Peterson had been set to go on trial in July 2010, but the trial was postponed the day before jury selection was to begin due to an appeal by prosecutors seeking to allow hearsay statements. The Illinois Appellate ruled in July that prosecutors had filed their appeal late.

Prosecutors are now appealing that decision to the Illinois Supreme Court, which could take more than a year, and Peterson’s attorneys say his constitutional right to a speedy trial is being violated.

The Sun-Times points out that there are “sensible exceptions” to the rule that holding a defendant awaiting trial in custody for years amounts to a constitutional violation, such as a case of murder “where the proof is evident or the presumption great.”

But Peterson’s case does not qualify as such an exception, the Sun-Times argues, given that hearsay seems to be the “core” of prosecutors’ case.

The Sun-Times added further that prosecutors have not made a case that Peterson is a threat to witnesses or society in general if not held in custody, and “will be watched wherever he goes” if released.

The newspaper emphasizes that it is not arguing in favor of going back to late 2007 and 2008, when Peterson was making the rounds on talk shows and became a national media sensation.

“If Peterson is allowed the greater freedom of house arrest, we’ll be as annoyed as anybody if he starts setting up dates with callers to a talk radio show, as he did before,” the editorial said.

Savio was found dead in the drained bathtub of her Bolingbrook home on March 1, 2004. Initially, the death was ruled an accidental drowning, but a second autopsy, performed in November 2007, found that the death was a homicide.

Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in October 2007. Peterson has never been charged in her disappearance, but members of her family have suspected him from the beginning.

Peterson has maintained his fourth wife ran way with another man, but her family members say that is absurd, and that Stacy would never abandon her children.

  • Tom

    Hey, Mr. Editor at the Sun-Times. Being that you are so concerned about Drew and because you don’t feel he’s a threat to the community, why don’t you take him home with you and you can keep an eye on him and provide for him. Especially if you have a wife and daughter living with you. Because certainly he’d entertain them and if nothing else, he’d keep them on thier heals. And I can only venture to guess that if Drew had killed your mother, wife, daughter or sister your position would be the same. And if you didn’t feel the same, that would make you an unethical hypocrite. I hope the worst for you and your family.

    • Dave Russo

      @Tom, You talk like the trial is over and Drew was found guilty. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like the guy, the only thing that matters is the law. This prosecuter is in way over his head. There is no evidence against Drew. They don’t even know the manner in which his x-wife was killed, if she was killed. The original coroner concluded her death was accidental. That should have been the end of it. This prosecuter has made this personal, which is very unprofessional. I’m sure he will be named in the immense law suit that Drew will win when the charges are dropped. Nobody should ever be arrested before a solid case is built.

  • David Perry Davis

    Editors –

    I’m surprised that Drew Peterson warrants this attention while over a dozen men sit in prison after having been cleared by DNA. I agree with you and support you having the courage to raise an unpopular but Constitutionally mandated claim like this. I just wish you’d also find the courage to speak out when a politically popular (for now) DA ignores exonerating DNA.

    Please take a couple of minutes, check out this page and read the links to the Innocence Project and Color of Change’s write ups –


  • kris

    This is sad, drew has been locked up on nothing, not one shred of evidence. This is politics plain and simple. Craig stebic has never been tried, charged or jailed and his wife disappeared long before Stacy. Will County has a history of doing this: The Honey Bee Killer and Kevin Fox, both of whom did nothing. The States attorney needs to be voted out in the spring, his agenda is the media and keeping his name in it.Its a sad way to make yourself famous.

    • Frances

      Kris, it’s public knowledge that you are in love with Drew Peterson so your criticisms of the State’s Attorney’s office can hardly be taken seriously. It’s awfully supportive of you to saturate the forums with attacks on the prosecution and to be the sole fan on Joel Brodsky’s facebook page, but you’d probably help Drew more by buying him another magazine subscription. He’s probably doesn’t need a photo of a 60-year-old woman in a swim suit though.

  • HarryK

    I have been saying for a long time that Drew should be set free and I dont even think he should be under house arrest or electronic monitoring.

    Jerry Hobbs was held in jail for 5 years awaiting trial for killing his 8 year old daughter and her friend until a DNA test proved he was innocent.

    Our Constitution guarantees a speedy trial. If the prosecution has the evidence a trial should have started long ago. They have no evidence and have been granted special permission to use hearsay testimony. Unfortunately they werent given permission for all the hearsay they requested so theyre appealing.

    Our legal system is also based on Blackstone’s formulation which says “better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”.

    This incident with Drew Peterson makes a mockery of our legal system.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live