Drew Too 'Cold-Hearted' For Jury To See On Tape
The Judge in the Drew Peterson murder case won't let the jury see video interviews the accused killer gave before his arrest.
Accused wife-killer Drew Peterson comes off as so "cold-hearted" in a TV interview that the judge in his murder case won't let the jury watch a video clip of the network appearance.
Judge Edward Burmila ruled during a Thursday morning hearing that the jury cannot be exposed to the interview in any form, but that Peterson's statements in six other video interviews can be transcribed and read in court.
But even these apparently less "cold-hearted" interviews can't be shown during Peterson's trial, Burmila ruled, because the television reporters were "accusatory" and treated Peterson as if he was the subject of a "cross-examination."
The judge also questioned whether the jury might be turned off by the television reporters themselves.
"I don't know what the feelings of the jurors will be about those news reporters," Burmila said.
The completely forbidden video showed Peterson outside the home of his slain third wife, Kathleen Savio, Burmila said. The interviewer told Peterson to look at the house and asked how he feels about Savio, considering she is the mother of two of his children.
"Well, life goes on," Peterson responded, according to Burmila. The judge then said, "That shows the defendant to be cold-hearted."
During Thursday's hearing, Burmila also ruled that the Rev. Neil Schori, a pastor who has said Drew Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, told him that Drew Peterson killed Savio, will be allowed to take the witness stand.
Drew Peterson's attorneys tried to bar Schori's testimony on the grounds that it violated spousal privilege.
The judge also cleared the way for Wheaton attorney Harry Smith, who represented Savio while she was divorcing Peterson, to testify at the murder trial.
Smith has said that Savio predicted Peterson would kill her and make her death appear accidental.
The state police did in fact rule that Savio's death was an accident after she was found drowned in a dry bathtub in March 2004. The state police were forced to reassess that conclusion and eventually arrest Peterson after his next wife—Stacy Peterson—mysteriously vanished in October 2007.
Stacy Peterson remains missing. Smith said she visited him just days before she disappeared. Smith claims Stacy Peterson told him Drew Peterson killed Savio and asked if she could "get more money (in a divorce) if we threatened to tell the police how he killed Kathy?”
Drew Peterson's attorneys argued that Smith's testimony violated attorney-client privilege. Burmila shot that down but said if Smith takes the stand he will compell him to spill about everything Savio told him, including facts that might make her look bad.
Defense attorney Joseph "Shark" Lopez suggested these incriminating facts may involve two battery cases Savio was charged with in 2002. The cases stemmed from disputes with Drew and Stacy Peterson. Savio was found not guilty in both instances.
Defense attorney Joseph "Shark" Lopez speculated that Savio lied when she was being tried for battering her husband and his new wife.
Lopez theorized that Savio may have "admitted to some of the allegations she denied later."
"Which would lead us to believe she lied under oath," Lopez said. "And if she lied under oath, her credibility's shot."