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Drew Peterson Trial Update: Another Mistrial Motion Withdrawn, Defense Questions Savio's Motive

By Chuck Sudo in News on Aug 15, 2012 9:30PM

The Drew Peterson Trial keeps rolling along with mistrial motions by the defense, Will County prosecutors making major errors and incurring the wrath of Judge Edward Burmila in the process.

Peterson’s attorneys withdrew a mistrial motion this morning, a day after Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Kathleen Patton was harshly reprimanded by Burmila for pursuing a line of questioning Burmila ruled against only hours earlier. According to Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown, who’s been covering the trial, Patton appeared visibly shaken after the reprimand. Patton was questioning former Bolingbrook Police Lt. Teresa Kernc about a 2002 incident where she discussed Savio obtaining an order of protection against Peterson, stemming from him allegedly threatening Savio with a knife. Asked why, Kernc said Savio was afraid Peterson would lose his job. Burmila, who had already barred this testimony, twice ordered jurors to ignore it.

Today Burmila chastised prosecutors again for not following his orders after Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow asked Dr. Larry Blum, who conducted the second autopsy on Peterson’s third wife Kathleen Savio, about details of his investigation.

Blum testified that he entered the bathtub in which Savio was found dead in order to have a better feel for how she died, which Burmila ordered stricken from the record. Glasgow apologized to Burmila and said he was “woozy” from standing on his feet for over an hour questioning Blum. Burmila would have none of it. Per the Tribune

"Yesterday it was a brain cramp; today it is wooziness," Burmila scoffed. "The circumstances …are creating the aura that this court is somehow toothless and there’s no consequence other than ignoring the orders I have entered. "The disrespect for the court in that regard is shocking to the conscience."

As Brown has consistently noted in his coverage of the trial, the mistakes by the prosecution are leaving open a very good possibility for Peterson’s attorneys to request mistrial motions with prejudice, meaning Glasgow could not re-try Peterson on these cases. The prosecutors’ missteps also highlight the tricky nature of trying a case based on hearsay evidence.