For the first time since Drew Peterson’s infamous outburst during his 2013 murder sentencing hearing, those who were not in the courtroom that day can hear the dramatic words uttered by the former suburban police officer.
Tapes from the highly publicized hearing were released Tuesday, weeks after they were played during Peterson’s murder-for-hire trial. The two-and-a-half hours of audio also include undercover recordings considered crucial to the latest case against Peterson, who was found guilty last week of trying to hire a hit man to kill the prosecutor who put him behind bars.
The notorious outburst began as Peterson screamed “I did not kill Kathleen,” just minutes before he was sentenced to 38 years in prison for the 2004 drowning death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
In the audio, Savio’s sister, Susan Doman, shouts back, “Yes you did, you liar” before the judge ordered sheriff’s deputies to remove her from the courtroom.
Many have read about the courtroom eruption, but few have heard it.
In the long statement on his innocence three years ago, Peterson blamed Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow for what he described as an obsessive investigation. In tears at times, Peterson told the court he was being sentenced to the Department of Corrections to die.
"I think the only thing left to make this case more true to form would be cruel and unusual punishment," he said. "I don't think anybody would care, because nobody cares. I can't believe I spent 32 years protecting the constitution that allowed this to happen to me."
Glasgow, at the time, thought little of Peterson's statement but said the emotional outburst exposed the real Drew Peterson -- the one capable of murder.
"We all got an opportunity to see a psychopath," Glasgow said in 2013. "When he got up on the stand and that shrill, kind of feminine screech that he didn't kill Kathy, that's the guy that killed Kathy. You got a glimpse into his soul."
Peterson was found guilty in 2012 of murdering Savio. Her death was initially ruled an accident, after neighbors found the 40-year-old aspiring nurse's body in a dry bathtub at home. It was the disappearance of Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, in 2007, that prompted authorities to take another look at Savio's death and eventually reclassify it as a homicide. Drew Peterson is also a suspect in the disappearance of Stacy Peterson -- who was 23-years-old when she vanished -- but he hasn't been charged in her case.
Last week, jurors deliberated for less than an hour before finding 62-year-old Peterson guilty of plotting to kill Glasgow.
According to wiretapped conversations played in court, Peterson was planning an alcohol-fueled prison celebration after arranging for another inmate's uncle to kill the prosecutor.
"You know this (expletive) gonna be all over the news," the informant, Antonio Smith, says in the recordings. "This is about to be huge."
"But the first thing they will identify him as the guy that got me," Peterson responds. "That's what he's known for, the guy that prosecuted Drew Peterson."
Peterson's court-appointed public defender has dismissed the secret recordings of his client arranging for the hit with informant Antonio "Beast" Smith as exaggerated prison boasts. The lawyer also attacked the informant's credibility.
The recordings show that Peterson also discussed selling drugs in Mexico if he gets out of prison, as well as his fears that Glasgow would also charge him in the death of Stacy Peterson.