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Drew Peterson Trial Begins

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jul 31, 2012 2:20PM

Peterson's mugshot courtesy the Will County Sheriff's office, via NBC 5

Opening statements are expected to begin in the trial of Drew Peterson today. Peterson’s day in court comes eight years after his third wife Kathleen Savio was found dead in her home and three years after the disappearance of his fourth wife Stacy.

The trial has been a long time coming and Will County prosecutors will be especially under pressure to prove their case since much of it hinges on hearsay statement, some of them by Savio. It still isn’t clear whether Judge Edward Burmila will allow the statements into evidence. Prosecutors may also not mention Stacy Peterson’s presumed death, although it’s a near-certainty her name will be brought up consistently during the trial

Knowing his career may hang on a guilty verdict, Will County State’s Attorney is personally leading the prosecution against Peterson. Joel Brodsky, Peterson’s longtime attorney, expressed confidence the jury will find his client not guilty and even smoked what he called a “pre-victory cigar” Monday at a west Loop cigar shop. Brodsky said his opening statements will focus on the history of Peterson and Savio, which he said before now has only been told in “slices.”

Savio’s death was ruled accidental in 2004. After the publicity surrounding Stacy Peterson’s disappearance her body was exhumed and underwent a second autopsy. A grand jury indicted Peterson in May 2009 on two counts of first degree murder, alleging he drowned Savio and moved her body to a dry bathtub. He’s been held in Will County Jail on $20 million bond since while appeals over the use of the hearsay statements in his trial played out.