Drew Peterson Guilty in Murder-for-Hire Plot

Peterson is serving a 38-year sentence for the death of Kathleen Savio and faces up to 60 more years in prison

Jurors found former suburban Chicago police officer Drew Peterson guilty Tuesday in a plot to kill the prosecutor who helped convict him in 2012 of murdering his third wife.

The verdict was reached within two hours of closing arguments and after about an hour of deliberation.

"The evidence in this case was clear that the defendant plotted from jail to solicit the murder of State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow," Attorney General Lisa Madigan said. "I thank the members of the jury for their service, and I commend the prosecutors for their hard work and relentless commitment to bringing this case to a successful conclusion."

"This just put another nail in his coffin," said Cassandra Cales, the sister of Stacy Peterson, Peterson's fourth wife who remains missing. "Now I obviously hope that he sees that he's never getting out of jail."

Peterson, 62, is serving a 38-year sentence for the death of Kathleen Savio and faces up to 60 more years in prison.

A prison informant testified last week that Peterson enlisted him to plot the death of Glasgow, the Will County state's attorney.

"It's the defendant's own words that prove him guilty beyond reasonable doubt," said Steve Nate of the Illinois attorney general's office, which assisted Randolph County prosecutors with the case.

In a written statement after the verdict, Glasgow said a jury "once again has held him accountable for his unlawful actions."

"Four years ago, I successfully prosecuted Drew Peterson for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio," Glasgow said. "He is now serving a 38-year prison sentence for a brutal act of violence that claimed the life of an innocent woman. Rather than accepting responsibility for his crime and serving his sentence, he has continued his illegal activities behind bars by plotting my murder, a crime which his recorded conversations show he would have been all too happy to take care of himself."

Prosecutors said Peterson believed he would be able to successfully appeal his conviction in Savio's death if Glasgow was dead. 

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.

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," 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 Stacy Peterson.

Savio's death was initially deemed accidental. Glasgow reopened the case after the 2007 disappearance of Stacy Peterson, Peterson's 23-year-old fourth wife. Peterson was never charged in her disappearance but told the informant he worried that Glasgow would eventually do so.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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