JOLIET, Ill.(CBS) — The jurors in the Drew Peterson trial have reached a verdict.
The news of their decision broke shortly before 2:30 p.m.. Just about an hour earlier, they asked the judge what “unanimous” meant Thursday afternoon as they continued their deliberations.
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On their second day of deliberation, the jurors in Peterson’s murder trial asked, “Just to be clear judge, what does unanimous mean?”
Will County Judge Edward Burmila answered: “The word unanimous has its common meaning. It indicates the agreement of all on the matter at hand, and your verdict must be unanimous and signed by all.”
WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports Peterson defense attorney Joe Lopez was seen singing and dancing in the hallway before the content of the question was revealed, but he would not say why.
On Thursday morning, about eight people camped out at 3 a.m., seeking to make sure they got seats in the courtroom if and when the verdict is read.
They’ve never met Drew Peterson, Stacy Peterson or Kathleen Savio, but have followed the story from the beginning and believe Peterson is guilty.
Toni Quilico-Kribel came to the courthouse at 3 a.m. in the interest of “justice for Kathleen and the family.” She said even though she does not know Savio’s family, “I know what he did, and it’s all of us that are giving them support.”
While Peterson is legally innocent until proven guilty, Quilico-Kribel said: “We’re all the 13th juror, so we can decide this now. We’ve heard everything.”
Jennifer Spohn drove 45 minutes to the courthouse from Elmhurst.
“I’ve been following the case ever Stacy went missing, and my gut instinct is that Drew definitely had something to do with it,” she said.
Meanwhile, Peterson defense attorney Joel Brodsky said Thursday that a quick verdict is usually better for the defense, and in this case with all the issues, the longer it takes, the better the chance of a hung jury.
“They’re looking at all issues, kind of, at the same time, like resolving, for example, the homicide versus accident issue, before they get to the hearsay issue,” Brodsky said. “Maybe they’re going at it in order of the witnesses. Maybe they’re just going at it because if the hearsay is unreliable, why worry about anything else? It’s really hard to say.”
Peterson was charged with killing Savio in her bathtub, where her body was found on March 1, 2004.
Initially, the Will County Coroner’s office ruled Savio’s death an accidental drowning. But her death was reclassified as a homicide after an exhumation and a new autopsy, following the disappearance of Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy, in October 2007.
Investigators believe Stacy Peterson is dead, and have named Drew Peterson as a person of interest in her disappearance. But he has not been charged with a crime in that case.
The Will County State’s Attorney’s office prosecuted the case with no physical evidence linking Peterson to Savio’s death, relying instead on a heavily circumstantial case that relies almost entirely on hearsay statements that Peterson threatened to kill Savio.