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Drew Peterson, ex cop, found guilty in the murder of Kathleen Savio

Drew Peterson leaves the Will County Jail in his attorney's car after posting bail for a felony weapons charge May 21, 2008, in Joliet, Illinois. Scott Olson

Drew Peterson leaves the Will County Jail on May 21, 2008.
Scott Olson

(CBS/AP) JOLIET, Ill. - Drew Peterson, the former Illinois cop who was accused of murdering his third wife Kathleen Savio in 2004, has been found guilty.

Pictures: Drew Peterson, ex cop, guilty in Savio murder

Peterson, 58, sat stoically as the verdict was read. He faces a maximum 60-year prison term when sentenced on Nov. 26. Illinois has no death penalty.

Savio was found dead in a bathtub in 2004. Initially, police thought her death was accidental, but after Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007, authorities took a second look and determined Savio's death was a homicide.

Peterson had pleaded not guilty and for years had seemingly taunted authorities, joking on talk shows and even suggesting a "Win a Date With Drew" contest. His notoriety even inspired a TV movie starring Rob Lowe.

Savio's family spoke outside the courthouse after the verdict.

"Everyone gets payback for what they've done to others," said Nick Savio, Kathleen's brother, who teared up as he spoke about the family's question for justice.

"Today, Kathleen Savio can finally rest in peace," said Michael Lisak, Savio's nephew.

Pamela Bosco, the spokesperson for Stacy Peterson's family, told reporters that the verdict brought a measure of justice to Stacy, as well. Stacy Peterson has been missing since 2007 but her body has never been found. Bosco said she thinks Peterson will soon be indicted in her case, as well.

"This man always thought he would get away with it," said Bosco. "Today he's facing the reality. He is never going to see life outside a prison wall."

Earlier on Thursday, the jury sent a note to the judge in the case asking for a definition of the word "unanimous." On Wednesday, the jury asked to re-hear hearsay testimony from Savio's divorce attorney, and a pastor who spoke with Stacy Peterson before her disappearance.

The verdict was the culmination of a years long judicial process. Peterson has been jailed since 2009. In April, an appellate court ruled that prosecutors could present hearsay evidence in the case.

Because of a botched initial investigation into Savio's death, detectives collected no fingerprints, strands of hair or any other physical evidence. That meant the case largely hinged on the hearsay and other circumstantial evidence. 

Complete coverage of the Drew Peterson case on Crimesider

  • Julia Dahl

    Julia Dahl writes about crime and justice for CBSNews.com

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