Peterson Indicted on Murder Charge in Wife's Death

LOCKPORT, Ill. (AP) - Drew Peterson, the brash, mustachioed
former police sergeant who found tabloid fame after his fourth
wife's disappearance more than 1 1/2 years ago, was indicted
Thursday in the drowning of an ex-wife found dead in an empty
bathtub in 2004.

Peterson, charged with first-degree murder in the death of
Kathleen Savio, was arrested during an evening traffic stop near
his Bolingbrook home and was being held on $20 million bond,
Illinois State Police Captain Carl Dobrich said.

"We are very confident in our case," Will County State's
Attorney James Glasgow said.

Savio's body was found in a dry bathtub, hair soaked in blood
from a head wound, just before the couple's divorce settlement was
finalized. Her death initially was ruled an accidental drowning,
but authorities later said it was a homicide staged to look like an
accident.

The indictment alleges that "Peterson on or about Feb. 29, 2004
... caused Kathleen Savio to inhale fluid," causing her death.

Savio's family has long voiced suspicions, saying she feared
Peterson and told relatives if she died it wouldn't be an accident.
Their fears resurfaced after the October 2007 disappearance of
Stacy Peterson, then 23.

Drew Peterson, 55, is a suspect in the disappearance, which
police have called a possible homicide, but he has not been
charged. He repeatedly has said he thinks Stacy Peterson ran off
with another man.

"I guess I should have returned those library books," a
handcuffed Peterson said as state police led him into headquarters
after his arrest, according to The (Joliet) Herald-News.

One of Peterson's attorneys, Andrew Abood, said the indictment
was not a surprise.

"There was tremendous pressure for the government to do
something in this case," Abood said. But he said one of Peterson's
sons with Savio has "provided a lock tight alibi" for his father,
who faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted.

In an appearance on CBS' "The Early Show" last month,
16-year-old Thomas Peterson appeared alongside his father and
defended him.

"I highly do not believe that my dad had murdered my mom.
Because, first off, he wasn't there, he was with us during that
period of time," Thomas Peterson said on the show.

Savio's 73-year-old father, however, said Thursday that an
arrest was long overdue.

"I always wondered," about her death, said Henry Savio, who
joined another of his daughters in filing a wrongful death lawsuit
against Drew Peterson last month. "I was never pleased with the
(coroner's finding) from the beginning."

Peterson has seemed to relish the spotlight since Stacy
Peterson's disappearance, appearing in a People magazine cover
story and on multiple national talk shows - most recently to tout
his new engagement to a 24-year-old woman.

Publicist Glenn Selig said this week that Peterson was
interested in a job offer from a Nevada brothel that is the setting
for the HBO reality show "Cathouse." An HBO spokeswoman said the
network would sooner cancel the show than allow Peterson to appear
on it.

From the day Stacy Peterson was reported missing, her husband, a
cop of nearly 30 years, knew that if investigators weren't focused
on him, they soon would be. Less than two weeks later, Illinois
State Police called Peterson a suspect and her disappearance a
possible homicide.

When authorities announced they believed Savio's death looked
like it was a homicide, Peterson knew authorities were looking
closely at him as well.

"The husband is always a suspect, whether you declare him so or
not," another of Peterson's attorneys, Joel Brodsky, said when
authorities revealed an autopsy on Savio's exhumed body showed she
was murdered.

Savio's body was found by a friend of Peterson after the police
sergeant called him to say he was worried because he had not talked
to or seen Savio for a few days. The couple had recently divorced.

The friend, Steve Carcerano, has said he went to the house and
went upstairs while Peterson waited downstairs. When he found
Savio's body in the bathtub, he called downstairs to Peterson, who
has said he ran upstairs and tried to take Savio's pulse but found
none.

Questions about Peterson surfaced immediately, with Savio's
sister telling a coroner's jury that her sister feared Peterson and
had told family members if she died that it might look like an
accident but it wasn't.

State lawmakers last year passed legislation - sought by Glasgow
- that allows a judge to admit hearsay evidence in first-degree
murder cases if prosecutors can prove the defendant killed a
witness to prevent them from testifying.

Glasgow said Thursday that the case against Peterson would
include evidence that previously might have been inadmissible.

"In essence what you're basically allowing the victim of a
violent crime to do is testify from the grave," he said.

Peterson's next wife was Stacy, who was 30 years younger. They
had two children, who lived with the couple along with Peterson's
two children from his marriage to Savio.

On the morning of Oct. 28, 2007, Stacy Peterson talked to a
friend. Stacy Peterson's sister, Cassandra Cales, tried to call her
in the middle of the afternoon and did not get through. Late that
night, Cales went to the Petersons' home, but neither Drew nor
Stacy was there. A few minutes later, she reached Drew Peterson on
his cell phone and he told her Stacy had left him.

Cales didn't believe it and reported her sister missing the next
day.

Pamela Bosco, a friend of Stacy Peterson's family who has acted
as an unofficial family spokeswoman, said "we're just happy for
the Savio family."

"We always said that Stacy and Kathleen had one thing in common
... Drew Peterson," Bosco said.


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