Prosecutors lost a critical witness in their case against accused wife-killer Drew Peterson due to mix-ups and conflicting accounts of when and where Stacy Peterson supposedly confided chilling details to him about the night Kathleen Savio was allegedly murdered.
Compounding the problem, Illinois State Police investigators may have botched their version of the man's story in reports, and prosecutors failed to alert the judge in a pretrial hearing after realizing records showed he was actually working at a hospital during his supposed rendezvous with Stacy in October 2007.
The man, Scott Rossetto, was expected to testify about Stacy—who is Peterson's fourth wife—visiting him at his Shorewood home just days she mysteriously vanished.
While talking together on Rossetto's couch, Stacy leaned over and tried to kiss him, but he demurred because he had a girlfriend, according to a police report read in court by defense attorney Steve Greenberg.
During the same visit, Stacy supposedly told Rossetto startling details about the night Savio, who was Peterson's third wife, drowned in her bathtub.
That night, Stacy and Peterson went to sleep together in their home down the street from Savio, Rossetto said he was told.
Stacy woke in the early morning to find Peterson dressed entirely in black and putting women's clothes in their washing machine. The clothes were not hers, Stacy supposedly told Rossetto.
The sleeves of Peterson's black shirt were either wet or darker below the elbow than above, Rossetto might have testified, according to attorneys' interpretations of the police reports.
Peterson then told Stacy, "If anyone asked, he was there all night," according to what Greenberg said was in a police report.
Rossetto also reportedly said Stacy told him that Peterson boasted to her, "I've now created the perfect crime."
Rossetto has previously testified to meeting with Stacy at a Bolingbrook Denny's shortly before she disappeared. While they were together inside the Denny's, Peterson supposedly circled the restaurant about a half-dozen times in his squad car.
Peterson then entered the restaurant—in his full Bolingbrook police uniform—and confronted Rossetto, demanding to see his identification, according to Rossetto's previous testimony.
Peterson then supposedly said to Stacy, "I wish you would just come home."
An email from prosecutors to Peterson's attorneys claimed Rossetto's testimony would be consistent with the state police report, which has Stacy telling about the black-clad Peterson's allegedly creepy statements and actions while she was with Rossetto at the Denny's.
Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow said the email was sent in error, that it should have said the testimony would be consistent with a video-taped statement to the state police. He blamed goof on illness suffered by his staff and on long hours spent on the trial. He also said the state police messed up their report.
"The police officer wrote the report wrong," Glasgow said.
Rossetto, a nurse and captain in the Army, had traveled from his post in Germany to Joliet so he could testify at Peterson's murder trial. But his words, which were considered vital to the prosecution's case, will not be heard by the jury.
Pam Bosco, a long-time friend of Stacy's family, was once again stunned by a ruling made by Judge Burmila.
"It's almost like he's in cahoots" with Peterson's attorneys, Bosco said.
"That's basically barring all hearsay testimony from Stacy," she said, wondering aloud how justice was being served.
"Where, from Day 1, has this ever been considered justice with this trial?" Bosco said.
"I keep thinking we're in an alternate universe with Mr. Burmila," she said. "The normal rules of our universe, of our courts, don't apply here."
Also Friday, Kathleen Savio's neurologist, Gene Neri, testified that Savio suffered from cervical vertigo brought on by high stress.
The condition made Savio feel unsteady on her feet, Neri said. But the increased sense of caution associated with the feeling made it less likely for Savio to actually fall down than a person without cervical vertigo, he said.
The doctor said Savio's condition was improving with treatment and drugs that helped her to sleep.
Defense attorney Darryl Goldberg seemed to be trying to get Neri to admit it was possible Savio developed a case of multiple sclerosis and that the disease caused her to accidentally drown in her bathtub.
"She did not have multiple sclerosis," Neri insisted.
Retired insurance adjuster Joseph Steadman was called to the stand and briefly detailed conversations he had with Peterson after Savio was found dead.
"I asked Drew Peterson what she had died from and he said her death was drug-related and she had been found dead in her bathtub," Steadman said.
Steadman also said Peterson "advised me he is a Bolingbrook, Illinois, police officer and he was the first person on the scene of her death and he found the body."
Steadman also said Peterson told him he was not allowed to investigate his ex-wife's death and if the police believed she had been murdered, that he would be a suspect in the investigation.
The day wrapped up with testimony from a former girlfriend of Peterson's son Stephen Peterson.
Stephen Peterson was fired from the Oak Brook Police Department in February 2011. The Oak Brook fire and police board ruled that Stephen Peterson obstructed law enforcement officials by hiding three of his father's guns before the state police could execute a search warrant at Drew Peterson's house, and for neglecting to mention to state agents that he had accepted nearly a quarter million dollars from his father.
But in March 2004, Schoon and Stephen Peterson were living together in the basement of Drew Peterson's house.
The night Savio was found dead, Schoon said Drew Peterson told her Savio "had drowned in a bathtub, had hit her head and there was no water in the bathtub because there was a leak."
Peterson also told her there were anti-depressants on a counter and that Savio may have overdosed on the pills.