Jury In Place For Drew Peterson Trial
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Updated 07/24/12 – 5:37 p.m.
JOLIET, Ill. (CBS) — A full jury has been impaneled for the Drew Peterson trial, and opening statements are set to begin next Tuesday.
CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports a panel of 12 — seven men and five women — had been selected as of 1 p.m. Tuesday. The four alternates — one woman and three men — were finalized on Tuesday afternoon.
Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow said “We’re very happy with how jury selection went, and as I said we’re looking forward to opening statements next Tuesday.”
Defense attorney Joe Lopez said the jury was an ideal cross-section of Will County.
“They’re young, they’re old, it’s perfect. That’s exactly what you want, that’s an exact mirror of the people that live here. It’s a killer jury,” Lopez said.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports
Next Tuesday that jury will hear opening statements from both sides, before testimony begins. Prosecutors have said the evidence will prove Peterson is a killer, who drowned his third wife Kathleen Savio in her bathtub.
There was one hiccup in jury selection on Tuesday morning, when the day’s proceedings were delayed because Peterson needed a new pair of pants. The pants Peterson was wearing did not fit.
Peterson addressed the potential jurors when they were brought into court on Tuesday, saying, “Good day ladies and gentlemen. I’m Drew Peterson. I’m the defendant in this case. I’d like to take the time to thank you for your time. Have a good day.”
But that seemingly pleasant demeanor was a stark contrast to the sinister portrayal of the former police sergeant in the made-for-TV movie “Drew Peterson: Untouchable,” which aired on the Lifetime network in April.
That’s why Judge Edward Burmila told the jurors this case is “not a movie, it’s a real criminal trial in the real world.”
It’s also trial where jurors might hear from Drew Peterson yet again, although his defense attorneys were not saying whether Peterson would take the stand.
“It’s his decision, we can’t do it. It’s his decision, and nobody can force him to take the stand. If he wants to, he can. If he doesn’t want to, he doesn’t have to,” Lopez said.
Peterson, a former Bolingbrook police sergeant, is charged with the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, whose body was found in a dry bathtub in March 2004.
Initially, Savio’s death was ruled an accidental drowning, but her body was exhumed after Stacy Peterson, Drew Peterson’s third wife, vanished in October 2007. After a new autopsy, officials concluded that Savio’s death was a homicide.
Stacy Peterson is believed to be dead by prosecutors and Illinois State Police, and Drew Peterson has been named a person of interest in her disappearance. But he has not been charged in that case.
In yet another curious twist just last week, the defense listed Stacy Peterson as a defense witness in the case, indicating a belief that she is still alive — even though her whereabouts is unknown.
Peterson was arrested and charged with Savio’s murder in May 2009. He was supposed to go on trial in July 2010, but the trial was delayed as prosecutors and defense attorneys wrangled over evidence that can be allowed in court.