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Peterson Trial Update: Medical Examiner Says "It Was A Homicide"

By Chuck Sudo in News on Aug 21, 2012 10:00PM

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

The trial of Drew Peterson in the death of his third wife Kathleen Savio entered its fourth week today with a medical examiner offering her opinion that Savio’s death was a homicide, Judge Edward Burmila allowing a former co-worker of Peterson’s to testify that he was asked to kill Savio and the jury getting a good workout being ushered in and out of court.

Let’s start with Burmila’s decision to allow the testimony of Jeffrey Pachter, shall we? Pachter and Peterson used to work together as cable television installers and he is expected to tell jurors that Peterson offered him $25,000 to either kill Savio or find someone else to do the job. Pachter said in a 2010 pre-trial hearing that Peterson first made the offer in his police car as Pachter came to him looking for $1,000 to settle a gambling debt.

Burmila’s ruling reversed an earlier decision to not allow the testimony after Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow mentioned Pachter in his opening statements. Defense attorneys sought a mistrial then.

Today Assistant State’s Attorney Chris Koch successfully argued that Pachter’s testimony was relevant because it showed intent. For a prosecution that has been garnering headlines more for its foibles, it was a major victory.

Meanwhile, St. Louis County (MO) Medical Examiner Mary Case was called by the prosecution as an expert on what renders people unconscious. Burmila excused the jury from the courtroom roughly a half-hour into Case’s testimony as defense attorneys objected to the state allowing her to mention the names of witnesses barred from testifying in the trial or people who were not on the witness list. After more defense objections and starts and stops, Case was finally allowed to continue with her testimony.

She said the blow to the back of Savio’s head was “enough to just damage the skin” and that it was her opinion a fall in a bathtub wouldn’t have knocked Savio out. After yet another ushering of the jury prosecutors finally asked Case her opinion of Savio’s death.

My opinion is that it is a homicide, meaning that some other person did it,” Case said.