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Supreme Court Denies Peterson’s Bid For Release

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Drew Peterson (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Drew Peterson (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) – The Illinois Supreme Court has denied former Bolingbrook cop Drew Peterson’s request to be released from jail while he awaits trial on charges that he killed his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

Peterson has been in custody, held on $20 million bond for more than two years. He had been set to go on trial in July 2010, but the trial was delayed on the eve of jury selection when prosecutors filed an appeal seeking to allow hearsay statements as evidence. The Illinois Appellate Court had ruled that prosecutors had filed their appeal too late and prosecutors’ appeal to the Supreme Court could take more than a year.

For that reason, defense attorneys had argued Peterson should be released right away. If not, Peterson is being denied his right to a speedy trial because of the prosecution’s legal maneuvers, they argued.

Drew Peterson’s bond was set at $20 million when he was arrested in May 2009, and he has been held in solitary confinement for ever since.

Peterson’s defense attorney, Joel Brodsky, said Monday’s ruling denying Peterson’s bid for freedom was “good and bad news.”

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“Obviously, I’m disappointed Drew’s not getting out,” Brodsky said, but he thinks there’s a message between the lines of the ruling – that the Supreme Court will not take up the prosecution’s appeal regarding hearsay evidence.

“It’s a good indication because I think if the Supreme Court was seriously considering taking the appeal – which would take another year before the Supreme Court – they would … they’d be letting him out,” Brodsky said.

Peterson is charged with killing Savio, who 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.

Prosecutors had wanted to use 14 hearsay — or second-hand — hearsay statements against Drew Peterson at his murder trial, but a judge said no.

Prosecutors have alleged that Peterson killed Savio in order to prevent her from testifying against him in court. But a judge ruled that eight statements made by Savio and Peterson’s missing fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, could not be used against Drew Peterson in his upcoming murder trial.

Prosecutors want jurors to hear testimony about statements that Savio and Stacy Peterson allegedly made about Peterson, but a judge ruled them inadmissible and the Appellate Court ruled that prosecutors’ appeal of that decision was filed too late.

Stacy Peterson disappeared in October 2007. Drew Peterson has been named as a suspect in that case, but has never been charged in her disappearance. Members of her family have suspected him from the beginning.

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

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