Undercover recordings played during the second day of testimony in Drew Peterson’s murder-for-hire trial revealed surprising plans Peterson allegedly had for when he got out of prison.
Antonio Smith, once Peterson’s cell mate at the Menard Correctional Center in southern Illinois, secretly recorded the former Bolingbrook police officer for what is now the key piece of evidence in the latest case against the 62-year-old, who is accused of trying to have the prosecutor who put him behind bars, James Glasgow, killed.
The recordings played in court Tuesday were allegedly taken in November of 2014 and hint at the fact that Peterson would be able to win his appeal and be released from prison if Glasgow is dead.
In the conversations, Smith and Peterson discuss what they would do after their release from prison, with one plan including a drug operation fueled by the Mexican Cartel.
Peterson: “I have a guy that’s got a… his family has property on the other side of Mexico. We land right there with a plane.”
Smith: “You know how to do that?”
Peterson: "Yeah, I’ve got a pilot’s license."
Smith: "You're not going to crash?"
Peterson: "No, no."
Smith: "What are you talking about? A cartel?"
Peterson: "Yeah, there is that guy who has got that cartel connections. They can get us into dope."
Though the recordings make no mention of actually killing Glasgow, there are references to him being dead or “gone.”
Smith earlier claimed he befriended Peterson while the two spent time in the prison yard, agreeing to a price of $10,000 to have Glasgow killed.
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.
Prosecutors claim they show Peterson’s hatred for Glasgow and his assistant state’s attorneys, also referred to as the ASAs.
“If Glasgow is dead by Christmas, when will that put you out?” Smith says on the recording. “Approximately what do you think? Are you worried about his ASAs or anything?”
“No, they’re idiots,” Peterson says.
Later, Peterson is heard saying, “[Glasgow is] the one who got my kid fired. He’s the one that’s had them screw my other kids and the colleges and stuff.”
Peterson also tells Smith that if he gets out of prison with Glasgow alive, the Will County State’s Attorney will prosecute Peterson for the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson.
“I thought they got you on Stacy?” Smith said.
“No Stacy is still alive, running around out there,” Peterson said.
On Monday, however, Smith testified that Peterson admitted to killing his fourth wife, whose disappearance in 2007 prompted authorities to re-open the investigation into the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
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.
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.
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.
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.