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Updated 07/18/12 – 6:32 p.m.
JOLIET, Ill. (CBS) – Drew Peterson was back in court Wednesday as prosecutors and defense attorneys hashed out what pieces of evidence should or should not be admitted when his murder trial starts next week.
Will County Judge Edward Burmila ruled prosecutors could display a 3-D model of the alleged murder victim, Kathleen Savio, but they could not submit evidence that Peterson planted a recording device at Savio’s home. Prosecutors had sought to describe Peterson’s effort to bug Savio’s house as evidence of his alleged plan to kill her.
Burmila also has yet to rule on which of 14 hearsay statements prosecutors can present to the jury. He indicated he might not rule on that until prosecutors begin presenting their case at trial.
WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports Peterson’s attorney, Joel Brodsky, said “This is serious stuff, surely the most serious time in Drew Peterson’s life.”
He added the time for joking is over, while adding a quip comparing the prosecution’s case to Las Vegas magicians Siegfried and Roy, and to smoke and mirrors.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports
Peterson is accused of killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in the bathtub of her home in 2004. Her death was initially ruled an accidental drowning, but after Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007, authorities reopened the Savio case and a new autopsy determined her death was a homicide.
Prosecutors have alleged Drew Peterson killed Savio, his third wife, to prevent her from testifying against him in divorce proceedings. He’s also a suspect in Stacy’s disappearance, but has not been charged. He has denied any wrongdoing.
At Wednesday’s hearings, the two sides also discussed one of the hearsay statements prosecutors want to use against Peterson.
Prosecutors have sought to use 14 statements made by Savio and Peterson’s missing fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, against him at trial. A trial judge allowed six of them, but tossed out eight of those statements. A recent Illinois Appellate Court ruling put them back in play.
Peterson himself seemed to be in a more somber mood than at past court hearings. He was shackled, as usual, as he sat at the defense table, surrounded by his lawyers.
Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, who is personally prosecuting the case, along with a half dozen assistants, sat across the aisle from Peterson.
The Savio case rests almost entirely on the new autopsy report and the 14 hearsay statements that prosecutors say would allow Savio and Stacy to testify from the grave. There is no physical evidence, other than the new autopsy report, and no witnesses to testify that Peterson killed Savio.
In the statements, both women speak about feeling threatened by Drew Peterson.
Jury selection is slated to begin on Monday.