Drew Peterson Remains in Jail Despite Appeal

The trial delay could last years

By CHARLIE WOJCIECHOWSKI
|  Thursday, Jul 8, 2010  |  Updated 5:42 PM CDT
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July 8, 2010: Opposing attorneys react to judge's decision to keep murder suspect Drew Peterson locked up during an appeals process.

July 8, 2010: Opposing attorneys react to judge's decision to keep murder suspect Drew Peterson locked up during an appeals process.

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Drew Peterson will remain incarcerated.

Many expected the accused wife-killer to leave the Will County Adult Detention Center in Joliet, where he’s been staying for more than a year, while prosecutors appeal a recent hearsay decision regarding which statements will be allowed into evidence.

But Judge Stephen White ruled Thursday that Peterson would remain in lock-up during the appeals process due to "compelling reasons."

Those compelling reasons, according to Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow, were presented at Peterson's previous hearsay hearing:  that Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, was killed to silence her from testifying about the murder of Kathleen Savio.

"We're very pleased with Judge White's decision on maintaining the bond in this case.  We believe it's in the best interest of justice," Glasgow said.

The appeals process could take years, and was prompted by the Illinois Supreme Court's recent ruling that upheld the conviction of Eric Hanson.  Hanson was sentenced to death for killing his parents, sister and her husband nearly five years ago.

The court unanimously rejected Hanson's position that hearsay statements are not reliable enough to be allowed under common-law doctrine.

"They don't have enough evidence to convict him and they're asking permission of the appellate court to use hearsay that a judge has already determined to be unreliable," said Peterson's attorney, Joel Brodsky.

Experts say the appellate court could take up to nine months to rule on the motion, and subsequent appeals could keep Peterson out of court for even longer.

Pam Bosco, a friend of Peterson's missing fourth wife Stacy, applauded Thursday's events.

"We are thrilled with the ruling," Bosco said during a phone conversation with NBC.  "It shows that there is much more evidence the prosecution has than the public is aware of. "

Peterson has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the 2004 death of his ex-wife, Kathleen Savio.  Her death originally was ruled an accident after her body was found in an empty bathtub. Her body was exhumed after the disappearance of Drew Peterson's fourth wife.  Savio's death was later ruled a homicide.

Peterson has been named a suspect but isn't charged in the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson.  He denies any involvement in her disappearance and maintains she left him and the children for another man.

During a hearing earlier this year to determine what hearsay evidence a jury would be allowed to hear, several witnesses testified Savio told them she feared Peterson would kill her and had even sneaked into her house and held a knife to her throat and threatened her life.

They also presented witnesses who told of conversations they had with Stacy Peterson, including a pastor who testified Stacy told them she had helped Peterson concoct a fake alibi the weekend Savio's body was found.
 

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