Drew Peterson Murder Trial: Closing arguments set to begin
(CBS/AP) JOLIET, Ill. - Attorneys will deliver their closing arguments at Drew Peterson's trial on Tuesday, after which jurors will begin deliberations on whether the former Illinois police officer murdered his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
The closing arguments conclude five weeks of testimony about the 40-year-old Savio's 2004 death, in which her body was found in a dry bathtub of her suburban home outside Chicago with a gash on the back of her head.
Savio's death was initially ruled an accident until Peterson's fourth wife, 23-year-old Stacy Peterson, went missing in 2007. Savio's body was then exhumed and her death reclassified as a homicide.
Prosecutors will argue circumstantial evidence points to explain that Peterson killed Savio. The defense will say that there is no evidence tying Peterson to Savio's death, and the state hasn't even proven that her death was murder.
The heart of the state's case is hearsay evidence, statements Savio made to others before she died and statements Stacy Peterson made before she vanished. Hearsay is normally barred, but Illinois passed a law in 2008, dubbed "Drew's Law," allowing hearsay at trials in rare circumstances.
The hearsay in the prosecution's four-week presentation of 30-plus witnesses included friends and relatives of Savio who testified that Savio told them Peterson could kill her and make it look like an accident.
As part of their three-day case, Peterson's lawyers called Peterson's and Savio's 19-year-old son, Thomas Peterson, to tell jurors he has never believed his father killed his mom.
Peterson, 58, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. If convicted, he faces a maximum 60-year prison sentence.
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