It looks like serial marrier and accused wife-killer Drew Peterson is going to be spending another Christmas in the clink as the state’s higher courts pass his case back and forth like a hot potato.
In the latest development in the protracted prosecution of Peterson — who was arrested in May 2009 on charges he murdered his third wife, Kathleen Savio — the Illinois Supreme Court on Wednesday sent his case back to the Third District Appellate Court in Ottawa.
In February, the appellate court heard arguments from prosecutors and defense attorney Steve Greenberg over what — if any — hearsay evidence can be used against Peterson at his murder trial.
Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow had brought the case to the appellate court in a bid to reverse Judge Stephen White’s decision to exclude most of the 13 hearsay statements he wants to use against Peterson.
But in July the appellate court decided Glasgow blew a deadline and dismissed the appeal without ruling on its merits.
Now the supreme court wants the appellate court to take the case again and make up its collective mind about it.
A source said the supreme court’s decision means Peterson will likely spend at least another three months in jail before his trial could conceivably start.
Glasgow was encouraged by the state supreme court's decision.
“I am extraordinarily pleased by Wednesday’s Illinois Supreme Court order in the matter of People v. Peterson," Glasgow said in a statement released by his office. "I look forward to receiving an Appellate Court ruling on the merits of our appeal in light of the Illinois Supreme Court’s holdings in People v. Hanson. We anticipate a trial sometime in the spring.”
Peterson’s self-proclaimed “lead attorney,” Joel Brodsky, whose role in the case has seemingly diminished over the years, has repeatedly attempted and failed to get his client sprung from jail while the appeal process is sorted out.
Brodsky failed to return calls inquiring if he would try again to secure the release of Peterson, who is being held on a $20 million bond.
Peterson, a disgraced former Bolingbrook cop who quit the force rather than face an internal affairs inquiry in November 2007, allegedly murdered Savio in March 2004.
Savio was found drowned in a dry bathtub. The state police were charged with investigating her death and quickly decided it resulted from a freak bathing accident and closed the case.
But three and a half years later the state police were forced to re-evaluate their investigation when Peterson’s next wife, Stacy Peterson, mysteriously vanished. The state police abruptly changed course and declared Savio was the victim of a homicide and announced Stacy Peterson was the victim of a “potential homicide.” Drew Peterson was identified as the sole suspect in the Stacy Peterson investigation, but the state police never charged him with harming her. They have also failed to find the missing Stacy.
Updated at 11:07 a.m. with Glasgow's statement.