Drew Peterson, the former Illinois police officer who is already serving a 38-year sentence for killing his third wife and is suspected in the disappearance of his fourth, was charged Monday with attempting to arrange the murder of the prosecutor who helped convict him, the Illinois attorney general announced.
Peterson, 61, appeared in court Monday to face charges that he solicited someone to kill Will County State's Atty. James Glasgow. He did not enter a plea.
According to the Illinois State attorney general, between September 2013 and December 2014, Peterson attempted to organize the murder-for-hire plot from his jail cell. The case is being jointly prosecuted by the state attorney general and the Randolph County state's attorney.
"It is unfortunate that prosecutors sometimes must deal with allegations of this nature," Glasgow said in a statement Monday, but "in no way will a threat to my personal safety deter me from the important work I perform ... on behalf of the citizens of Will County."
Peterson was convicted in 2012 of first-degree murder in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, who was found face down in an empty bathtub in 2004. There was a 1-inch gash in the back of her head and abrasions on her body.
Initially, the death was ruled an accident. But when Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Ann Peterson, went missing in 2007, Glasgow's office exhumed Savio's remains and reopened the investigation into her death.
In 2002, Savio had filed for a temporary protection order against her husband, saying Peterson physically abused her and had been having an affair with "a minor." Stacy was 17 years old when she met Peterson.
Peterson, a former police sergeant in Bolingbrook, Ill., near Chicago, was later convicted of murdering Savio and sentenced to 38 years in state prison.
The latest complaint was filed by both the Illinois attorney general's office and the prosecutor in Randolph County — the location of Menard Correctional Center, where Peterson is serving his sentence. In the two-page complaint, Peterson is charged with solicitation of murder for hire and one count of solicitation of murder, both felonies carrying a maximum sentence of at least 30 years in prison.
Peterson attorney Steven Greenberg said the charges "seem a bit absurd" because Peterson would have nothing to gain by trying to have Glasgow killed.
"This is completely out of character and inconsistent with everything I know about [Peterson]," Greenberg said. "I'll wait to see what evidence they have."
Monday's announcement is the latest chapter in a case that became a media sensation almost from the day Peterson's 23-year-old fourth wife, Stacy, disappeared in 2007. As a massive effort to find her grew to include divers and cadaver dogs searching ponds and thick wooded areas near Peterson's Bolingbrook home, news trucks lined his street.
The search was unsuccessful, and Peterson was never charged in the death of his young wife.
But after Savio's body was exhumed and authorities ruled her drowning a homicide, Peterson was interviewed countless times by news crews and, as the investigation continued, he joked about a "Win a Date with Drew" contest and discussed appearing on a reality TV show about a Nevada brothel.
Throughout it all, Peterson said he was innocent, and his attorneys contended Stacy Peterson had run off with another man and was alive.
Drew Peterson did not testify at his trial, but he addressed the court after he was convicted, blaming prosecutors for "the largest railroad job ever" and sarcastically telling Glasgow that the prosecutor could celebrate because he had destroyed Peterson's life.
He challenged the prosecutor to look him in the eyes, then told him to "never forget what you've done here."