Peterson Defense Team ‘Anxious’ As Closing Arguments Approach
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JOLIET, Ill. (CBS) – Anxious — that’s how one of Drew Peterson’s defense attorney’s described himself the day before closing arguments in Peterson’s murder trial.
Peterson is accused of killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in her bathtub in 2004. Her death was originally ruled an accident, but authorities reopened the case after Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007, and a new autopsy ruled Savio’s death was a homicide.
Drew Peterson’s murder trial in Joliet is the most highly publicized trial to ever take place in Will County.
CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports defense attorney Joel Brodsky said his client is emotionally ready for whatever happens.
Brodsky said he spoke to Peterson on Sunday and planned to speak with him again on Monday. He said the former Bolingbrook cop is okay, and is prepared to deal with the verdict, whatever the outcome.
As soon as Tuesday afternoon, a jury of seven men and five women could begin deliberating the former police sergeant’s fate.
But first, they’ll have to listen to lengthy closing arguments from prosecutors and defense attorneys.
Attorney Joe Lopez will do the talking for the defense. He was preparing on Monday, so Brodsky spoke for him.
“I think it’ll be one for the books,” Brodsky said of Lopez’s closing.
It better be; otherwise Drew Peterson could be booked for murder.
Jury consultant Alan Tuerkheimer said, even though the prosecution’s case consists entirely of circumstantial evidence and hearsay – since there was no physical evidence and no witness linking Drew directly to Savio’s death – prosecutors have enough to win a conviction.
“It happens all the time, and if jurors think this was a murder, who else would they pin it on?” Tuerkheimer said.
But first, jurors would have to agree that Kathleen Savio was the victim of a murder, rather than an accident, when she was found dead in her bathtub eight years ago.
Prosecution doctors have said her death was a homicide, but pathologists who testified for the defense said Savio slipped and fell in the tub, then accidentally drowned.
Brushing aside suggestions by a spokeswoman for the family of Drew’s missing fourth wife, Stacy, that the defense’s experts simply told jurors what the defense wanted them to hear, because the defense was paying those pathologists, Brodsky pointed out Dr. Vincent DiMaio once investigated war crimes on behalf of the U.N.
“He’s not going to say, ‘For $8,000, I’m going to throw all that out for Drew Peterson,” Brodsky said.
In the trial’s most controversial decision, the defense called a divorce lawyer who represented Savio and consulted with Stacy Peterson. Harry Smith said Stacy told him Drew killed Savio. He also said, she hoped to use that information to gain advantage in her divorce.
To the defense, it was testimony showing Stacy would lie for profit.
To Will County State’s Attorney, Smith’s testimony that Stacy said Drew killed Savio was “a gift from God.”
Tuerkheimer said it might resonate with the jury.
“They want a story. They need a narrative, and so that plays right into it. They want motives, they want to know why someone would be motivated to say something, or do something, and that’s exactly what that did,” he said.
The jury will also have to remember to forget a lot of testimony that the judge told them to ignore due to courtroom violations.
Tuerkheimer said jurors are usually fairly good at doing, that because they often go to their notes to help remember what testimony shouldn’t be considered.