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Police Officer: Peterson Said 'Life Would be Easier if (Savio) was Just Dead'

It's the fifth day of testimony in the Drew Peterson murder trial.

Keep up with all Drew Peterson coverage on our Storify.

Updated 5:30 p.m. 

Brodsky couldn't find the letter.

Deel went on to testify that he still thinks Savio's death was an accident.

The last witness of the day was Bolingbrool Police James Coughlin. Coughlin recalled running into Drew Peterson in a courthouse hallway weeks before Savio died.

He said Peterson was "irritated" that thee divorce lawyers "were getting all his money" and went on to say his "life would be easier if (Savio) was just dead or died."

Updated 3 p.m. 

Defense attorney claimed the state's attorney's office sent a letter of complaint to Robert Deel's superiors after Stacy Peterson's disappearance.

The complaint prompted an inquiry into Deel's handling of the Kathleen Savio death investigation. Judge Edward Burmila called a halt to the proceedings and told Brodsky to produce the letter.

State's Attorney said he did not write the letter and has no knowledge of it. 

"You made a serious allegation under cross examination and I want to see the letter," Burmila told Brodsky.

Brodsky's looking for the letter.

Updated 2:15 p.m. 

The state of the bath tub where Kathleen Savio was found dead raised suspicion, Deputy Coroner Michael Vanover testified, according to the Chicago Tribune. 

Both how clean the tub was and the rows of bath products arranged around the tub seemed suspicious, Vanover said. 

 "There was no obvious signs of struggle or foul play in the bathtub. I don't know how else she could have drowned," the Trib reported. "If a person would have fallen in that bathtub, I'm of the opinion that those bottles around the edge of that bathtub would have gone flying."

Updated at 12:35 p.m.

Illinois State Police Sgt. Robert Deel was called to testify about how he handled the investigation of Kathleen Savio's death.

A state police evidence technician, Deel said he walked around the outside of Savio's house looking for any sign someone broke in, such as a ladder leaning
against a wall, for example.

Deel said he then performed a cursory examination of Savio's bedroom and
the bathroom where she was found drowned in her dry bathtub. Deel said he
was looking for items that were out of place.

When asked by Assistant State's Attorney Kathleen Patton how, in light of the fact he had never been in Savio's house before, he would know if anything was out of place, Deel conceded that he would not.

"None of us would," he said.

While on the witness stand, Deel reviewed dozens of photographs he took of the crime scene and confirmed they were his.

Deel admitted he did not process anything from Savio's home or collect any evidence. He said his failure to take or process evidence was not due to his having already decided Savio died accidentally.

While at the scene, Deel decided his "best course of action" would be "to go ahead and remove (her body) and then attend the autopsy to determine what happened to her."

When asked by Patton if he came to any conclusions about Savio's death while on the scene, Deel said, "That there was a dead person in the tub."

Updated 10:05 a.m. 

Deputy Coroner Michael Vanover testified Illinois State Police Evidence Tech Robert Deel told him not to follow the mandated protocol for a homicide or a suspicious death when handling Kathleen Savio's body.

The protocol dictates that the paper bags be put on the deceased's hands, the body be placed in a white sheet, then in a white body bag, then in a colored body bag, and then this bag be sealed with a numbered tag. The chief deputy coroner must then be notified.

None of this was done except for the hand being bagged. Vanover said Deel told him he did this for "precautionary purposes."

"I asked (Deel) if they thought there was something wrong here and they
said, 'No,'" Vanover testified.

While Vanover was on the stand, Assistant State's Attorney Kathleen Patton showed photos of the large, severe-looking red injuries on Savio's
buttocks.

The Chicago Tribune reported the defense complained about the media coverage of the trial. 

"Unfortunately, people are used to judges who are pro-prosecution," Greenberg said in the Trib. "The judge is supposed to be the umpire, he's supposed to go down the middle."

The Trib also reported the defense filed a motion about possible testimony from Dr. Michael Baden, who performed Savio's second autopsy. 

"He was on 'Judge Jeanine' and said how he and Baden decided this was a homicide before the exhumation and before they performed the autopsy," Greenberg said in the Trib

Original story 

Today's first witness will be Deputy Coroner Michael Vanover. 

After Vanover, will testify, a court official said. Deel processed death scene and declared there was sign of foul play. He also convinced the lead investigator in the case that Savio's death was an accident.

During a 2010 pretrial hearing, Deel testified that he still believed Savio perished in a freak bathtub accident.

READ MORE ON BOLINGBROOK PATCH:

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Francis M. Regan August 08, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Watchful eye why didn't the Deputy Corner over ride Deels ruling at the scene if he thought something was askew about the death.
Watchful Eye August 08, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Ask your wife, Regan.
Francis M. Regan August 08, 2012 at 12:30 AM
See a serious question and you reply with a stupid retort. Grow up.
Robert August 08, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Can we stick to the facts and drop the sarcasm. There are obviously some bias people leaving comments...family members or friends. I am interested in the facts and hard evidence....not hearsay and bad feelings.
Martin August 08, 2012 at 09:45 PM
"were getting all his money" and went on to say his "life would be easier if (Savio) was just dead or died." I know plenty of guys (and gals) that have said this very same thing during a contensious divorce. Its not proof that a person killed someone...if it was, I know 5-6 guys that need locking up for Attempted Murder.

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