In an unexpected moment in court Monday, an inmate at the center of a murder-for-hire trial against Drew Peterson claimed the former suburban Chicago police officer, who was convicted in the murder of his third wife, admitted to also killing his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson.
The statement came at the start of a trial on allegations Peterson tried to have the prosecutor who put him behind bars killed.
Stacy Peterson, the ex-Bolingbrook sergeant's 23-year-old fourth wife, disappeared in 2007, prompting authorities to reopen the investigation into the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
While Drew Peterson has maintained his innocence, he remains a suspect in the young woman's disappearance and was convicted and sentenced to 38 years in prison for Savio's murder.
Even as he faces additional time in prison, Peterson is appealing his 2012 murder conviction to the Illinois Supreme Court. His defense attorneys previously contended that Stacy Peterson had left for another man and was alive. Peterson divorced Savio a year before her death.
An inmate at the maximum-security Menard Correctional Center in southern Illinois where Peterson was held, however, claimed in court Monday that Peterson admitted that he killed Stacy Peterson because "he believed she knew who killed Kathleen Savio."
Antonio Smith also testified that he struck a deal with the 62-year-old ex-cop to kill the prosecutor in his murder trial.
"He said he wanted to find someone to take care of James Glasgow," Smith said.
Peterson has pleaded not guilty to allegations that he enlisted another inmate between September 2013 and December 2014 to help plan the death of the Will County State's Attorney.
Smith claimed he befriended Peterson while the two spent time in the prison yard, agreeing to a price of $10,000 to have Glasgow killed.
Glasgow also took the stand Monday, detailing the stress the alleged threat has caused him.
"I have a wife and family and I had to tell them about this," Glasgow said. "My wife was very unnerved by it."
The Illinois Attorney General's Office and the Randolph County State's Attorney are prosecuting the latest case against Peterson, who faces a sentence of up to 60 years if convicted of both solicitation of murder for hire along with solicitation of murder.
The crux of the state's case is expected to consist of wiretapped conversations between Peterson and a confidential informant. Prosecutors have not identified a prospective hit man.
A public defender representing Peterson unsuccessfully sought to bar the secretly recorded conversations, arguing that the Will County judge who authorized the wiretap improperly met with the jailed informant, whose name was inadvertently disclosed during pretrial proceedings.
It's not clear whether Peterson, who opted to not take the stand in his murder trial, will testify this time. Randolph County State's Attorney Jeremy Walker said the witness list has been placed under seal.
Should he testify, prosecutors will be able to question Peterson about his murder conviction, Circuit Judge Richard Brown has ruled. But they won't be able to discuss a 2003 attempt by Peterson to pay $25,000 to someone whom he asked to "take care of" Savio.
The judge has also granted a defense request to allow discussion at trial about the details of the confidential informant's own criminal history.