Continual coverage of the trial of
Judge Edward Burmila has adjourned the trial for the day. Prosecutors are expected to rest on Monday. Burmila has run the trial from Tuesdays to Fridays but this week decided to add Mondays due to the slow pace of the trial.
Prosecutors in the Drew Peterson case now expect to rest their case on Monday. Attorneys are working out which documents from Peterson's divorce from Kathleen Savio can be admitted as evidence.
It's still unclear whether prosecutors will call any witnesses Monday.
Divorce attorney Harry Smith has been ordered by Judge Edward Burmila to be available Monday as a possible witness for the defense.
Kathleen Savio's divorce attorney Harry Smith will not be called today but is scheduled to be back in court Monday. Judge Edward Burmila is still off the bench. It's not yet clear how prosecutors will proceed this afternoon.
Kathleen Savio's divorce attorney Harry Smith is expected to testify this afternoon, said Will County state's attorney spokesman Charles Pelkie.
Both sides are haggling over issues related to divorce documents and whether they should be admitted.
Judge Edward Burmila sent the jury to lunch and the trial was adjourned until 1:15 p.m.
11:15 a.m. Details of Peterson's training in question
Defense attorneys pressed Bolingbrook Police Lt. Brian Hafner on whether he knew details about what Drew Peterson was taught about evidence handling and crime scene investigation.
"Do you know if they taught how to stage a crime scene," attorney Steve Greenberg asked on cross.
"I have no idea," Hafner said
"Do you know if they taught how to stage an accident, how to clean up?" Greenberg asked.
"Same answer," Hafner said. "I have no idea what they taught in that class."
The next witness is expected to be Cassandra Cales, the sister of
Cales has not arrived yet, so court recessed for 10 minutes. Cales may not have to testify if both sides agree to stipulate what she will testify to.
Bolingbrook Police Lt Brian Hafner, the second witness of the day, testified that Drew Peterson's personnel file includes training certificates for completion of evidence handling, forensic techniques and crime scene investigation, and was appointed to the position of evidence technician for the department in January 1984.
On cross examination, Hafner said he did not know what Peterson was taught in the courses he took.
"I'm sure they taught something, but I wouldn't know," Hafner said, drawing laughter from the gallery.
Hafner said he did not know whether Peterson ever processed a crime scene.
Judge Edward Burmila remained skeptical about allowing Drew Peterson's training in submission and restraint techniques to be presented.
"You can't be serious, that the defendant has this training and 'just trust me, this is what he used in the bathroom?' You don't even have any evidence linking him to the scene, and now you want to say this is what he did there?"
Burmila barred testimony about Peterson's training in submission holds and restraints, but ruled that prosecutors would be able to introduce evidence that he received training as an evidence technician in order to show he knew what crime scene investigators would be looking for.
The state is arguing that they should be able to present testimony that Drew Peterson had the training and experience due to his work as a police officer to restrain Kathleen Savio without injury and stage the scene to appear as though her death was an accident.
"The defendant, based on his training, would know exactly what investigators would be looking for," Assistant State's Attorney John Connor argued.
The first witness of the day is Norman Ray Clark III, a records custodian for
Clark's testimony is intended to undercut the defense's contention that Stacy Peterson lied when she told her pastor, Neil Schori, that she tried to call her husband one night after she woke up in the middle the night and found he was not in their home.
The feature, which functions like a walkie-talkie, is not tracked by call time and date, unlike a normal phone call.
Phone records show there were no cell phone calls between Stacy and Drew Peterson around the time authorities believe Savio was murdered.
Stacy Peterson told Schori that later that same night, she saw Peterson removing his all-black clothing and place them in the washing machine along with some women's clothing that was not hers.
Schori testified Thursday that Stacy told him her husband told her what to say to the police when they questioned her and that she later lied for him.
9:25 a.m. Witnesses: Phone employee, two officers
Today’s witnesses include a Sprint phone employee, a
After the prosecution rests, defense attorneys likely will ask the judge to find that prosecutors have failed to present enough evidence to support their two-count murder indictment against Drew Peterson.
If they are successful, the judge would dismiss the case before the defense calls any witnesses. Such motions are typically routine, but in this case, they are expected to include several hours of arguments.
Defense attorneys were vague Thursday about what kind of case they may present to jurors, saying only that they would call a
They would not say whether Peterson would take the stand.
"You'll have to wait and see," defense attorney Joseph Lopez said.
A prominent Ohio restaurateur was arrested on a misdemeanor contempt charge after allegedly mouthing an expletive at Drew Peterson in court Thursday.
Jeff Ruby said he was arrested in the lobby of Harrah's casino in Joliet Thursday evening after the key to his room didn't work. He told Johnathon Brandmeier on WGN radio he believes authorities rigged his key so he would have to go back to the lobby.
Ruby was booked at the Will County Jail at 8:56 p.m. Thursday, according to records, and released at 9:49 p.m. He was charged with a misdemeanor count of comtempt.
Ruby — a steakhouse owner who drew national attention when he threw O.J. Simpsonout of his establishment five years ago — traveled to Joliet this week after becoming enraged by the defense team's frequently sophomoric news conferences. Parking his rock star-style bus alongside the courthouse, he has been holding his own press availabilities each day to blast the judge and Peterson's lawyers.
During a break Thursday morning, Ruby and Peterson began to stare each other down in the cramped courtroom.
"I kept staring at him because I am not going to be intimidated by this lowlife," Ruby said. "And the look kept getting dirtier, so I just kept looking at him. I even thought about going over there and giving him a mouthful/ of missing teeth. I really thought about knocking them out … because if you can't take care of him legally, you take care of it physically where I come from — Jersey."
Rather than throw a punch, Ruby mouthed two words, including an expletive, at Peterson in front of a member of the Will County sheriff's office. Deputies then removed Ruby from court, and he was barred from the courthouse and grounds.
Ruby did not seem overly concerned about the episode. "He's a murderer and I'm the one in trouble?" he said.
Defense attorney Joseph Lopez seemed disappointed when Ruby and his bus left.
"I didn't get any steaks!" he said.
Prosecutors are expected to rest their case at former Illinois police officer Drew Peterson's murder trial.
Friday will be the end of their fourth week presenting evidence against the 58-year-old Peterson. They've called around 30 witnesses and are expected to call no more than one or two Friday before resting.
Peterson has pleaded not guilty to killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in 2004. He was charged only after his fourth wife,
, disappeared in 2007.
Peterson's attorneys will have a chance to mount a defense. But they could decide to rest without calling any witnesses, then argue prosecutors didn't meet their burden of proof.
Prosecutors have faced multiple challenges. That's included a lack of physical evidence and a reliance on hearsay as they built their circumstantial case.
Hugging her knee to her chest,
cried as she told a Bolingbrook minister about the night her husband coached her, hour after hour, on how to cover up his slaying of his ex-wife by lying to police, the pastor testified Thursday.
The Rev. Neil Schori's dramatic testimony about the 2007 counseling session at a patio outside a Bolingbrook
is considered by prosecutors to be a linchpin in their murder case, which they are expected to finish presenting Friday.
There is no physical evidence tying former Bolingbrook police Sgt.
, 58, to the bathtub where his third wife,
, 40, was found drowned in 2004.
And the manner of Savio's death, initially considered an accident, is also in dispute, with defense attorneys arguing that her drowning resulted from a simple fall.
If the jurors believe Schori, his testimony could help prosecutors clear those two major hurdles in what is otherwise a largely circumstantial case. Jurors kept their heads down and took notes during Schori's testimony Thursday morning.
Schori, in a black suit with a tailored fit and a white dress shirt open at the collar, leaned forward slightly in his seat on the witness stand as he recounted what Stacy told him in August 2007, just two months before she vanished.
Her disappearance led authorities to re-examine Savio's death. Savio's body was exhumed soon afterward, and Peterson was charged in 2009 with murdering her. Prosecutors say they believe Peterson also murdered Stacy, but he has not been charged.
Jurors have seen Stacy's picture but have not heard any testimony that she is missing.
When Stacy woke late at night to find Peterson gone, she unsuccessfully tried to phone him, then went downstairs and saw him dressed in black emptying a bag of women's clothing into the washing machine, Schori said. He then put his own clothes in the washer, Schori said Stacy told him.
"He told her that soon the police would be wanting to sit down to interview her, and he told her what to say to the police," Schori testified. "It took hours" for him to tell her what to say.
"She said that she lied on Drew's behalf to the police. She continued to cry. She was very scared."
Jurors did not hear the full extent of what Stacy allegedly told Schori, which Judge Edward Burmila and a prior judge ruled was largely barred by marital privilege, which keeps conversations between a husband and wife private.
In a sealed hearing two years ago, Schori testified that Stacy told him Peterson had said, "You know what I did," and smirked at her as they stood together in the laundry room that night, records show.
Peterson then told Stacy he had hit Savio in the back of the head to make her drowning look like an accident, Schori said at the 2010 hearing. He also testified at the hearing that Peterson then said he was going to tell Stacy what to tell police so Savio's slaying would be the perfect crime.
Stacy's comments to Schori during a half-hour talk came while she was contemplating divorcing Peterson, but the minister said he believed her story.
"I believe she was telling the truth," he said on the witness stand Thursday.
Defense attorney Joseph Lopez primarily attacked Schori's failure to act on Stacy's revelation, which Schori said was a result of her asking him to keep quiet.
He also questioned why Schori did his counseling sessions in public, telling Schori he had "embarrassed" Stacy.
Lopez also asked why Schori had asked another man, who sat about 10 feet away, to accompany him to the session. The man couldn't hear what was said but was there as a precaution because Schori was meeting alone with a married woman, Schori said.
"You felt like that because you knew she was trying to seduce you," Lopez said, eliciting gasps from the courtroom gallery.
Burmila rebuked the gallery immediately and followed up with further admonishments after the trial recessed for lunch. He has previously admonished the gallery for reacting to questions by defense attorneys.
"I can't allow those outside influences to impact the jury in this case," Burmila said.
Prosecutors expect to finish putting on their case Friday. Defense attorneys will ask the judge to find that prosecutors have failed to present enough evidence to support their two-count murder indictment against Peterson.
If they are successful, the judge would dismiss the case
before the defense calls any witnesses. Such motions are typically routine, but in this case, they are expected to include several hours of arguments.
Burmila, who has seriously considered granting mistrials three times because of prosecutor errors in the case, granted a rare directed verdict in October 2011. He found that prosecutors hadn't proved Tiffany Startz was guilty of battery or reckless conduct when her party-game punch killed a man.
John Powell had accepted a $5 bet to take a punch from Startz at a Crest Hill house party in 2010. The punch snapped his head back, bursting an artery. He died moments later.
That case was not nearly as high-profile or complex as the Peterson trial.
Defense attorneys were vague Thursday about what kind of case they may present to jurors, saying only that they would call a pathologist to testify.
They would not say whether Peterson would take the stand.
"You'll have to wait and see," Lopez said.