Drew Peterson was planning an alcohol-fueled prison celebration after arranging for another inmate's uncle to kill the prosecutor who helped convict him in his ex-wife's death, according to wiretapped conversations played in court.
The former suburban Chicago police officer can be heard telling Antonio Smith "there was no turning back" on the hit in recordings played this week in a southern Illinois courtroom, the Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday. He is also heard saying he hoped to get "some booze" to "celebrate that night."
Peterson is accused of plotting to kill Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow in retaliation for his 2012 conviction in Kathleen Savio's death eight years earlier. He has pleaded not guilty.
Smith told authorities of Peterson's efforts to find a hit man and was enlisted as an informant. The Chicago gang member known as "Beast" is serving a 40-year sentence for attempted murder, home invasion and robbery.
The secret recordings, made over three days in November 2014, include no direct mentions by Peterson of trying to kill Glasgow, who testified on Monday at the trial's start. Peterson's public defender has dismissed the recordings as fanciful prison boasts.
Peterson, 62, is serving a 38-year sentence and faces another 60 years if convicted in the current case. His first-degree murder conviction is under appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court. Prosecutors say Peterson hoped to win a reversal of the case once Glasgow was dead.
"You know this (expletive) gonna be all over the news," 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."
Told by Smith that his uncle — whom he never actually called — would commit the crime by the next month, Peterson suggested that Glasgow's death would be a "nice Christmas present."
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 his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, who remains missing.
On Wednesday, prosecutors played recordings in which Peterson tells Smith how he attempted to mislead authorities about Stacy Peterson's whereabouts. Peterson said he conveyed those false details to his previous attorney in the trial for Savio's death, believing that Glasgow's office was monitoring those phone calls as well.
Another portion of the recordings indicated a photo of Glasgow that had been staged by authorities raised Peterson's suspicions.
Smith sent Peterson the photo of Glasgow outside his Joliet office, saying it had been taken by his uncle, Smith testified. In reality, Smith had been wearing a wire for days and law enforcement officers had staged the photo and provided it, the Tribune reported.
"I mean, are you kidding me? ... It looks like it was staged — 'Here, you stand here,'" Peterson says in the tape.