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Drew Peterson Sentenced To 38 Years In Prison

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 21, 2013 10:00PM

Drew Peterson, shown here in happier times in 2008, will likely die behind bars without a successful appeal. (Photo credit: Scott Olson/Getty images)

Former Bolingbrook police officer Drew Peterson delivered a rambling, impassioned plea of innocence a before he was sentenced to 38 years in prison Thursday afternoon for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Earlier in the day, Will County Judge Edward Burmila imposed the sentence after ruling earlier in the day against Peterson’s motion for a new trial.

But the highlight of the sentencing was Peterson’s statement to the court. He didn’t testify on his own behalf during his trial, which made Thursday’s outburst unsettling.

Per CBS Chicago:

In his statement, Peterson said: “I have a lot of things that need to be said (yelling): I did not kill Kathleen. For the last couple years the police have conducted one of the most expensive investigation in the history of the United States.

“No usable evidence was ever found. They altered evidence. Evidence that could have helped my defense. They intimidated witnesses and terrorized my children.”

He went on to call Savio and his missing fourth wife, Stacy Peterson liars.

“Stacy provided me with an alibi right after Kathy’s death,” Peterson told the court. “She gave it to state police. Then she later said she was lying about that. Stacy lied all the time. But the state’s attorney picks and chooses what to believe.”

“Anything you sentence me to, you’re sentencing me to die.”

A member of Savio’s family replied “Yes you did” when Peterson proclaimed his innocence and was removed from the courtroom.

Peterson was convicted last September of killing Savio in 2004. He’s also the prime suspect in the 2008 disappearance of his fourth wife Stacy Peterson. His legal team had sought a retrial, arguing that Peterson’s former lead attorney, Joel Brodsky, made numerous mistakes in defending Peterson. The most damning mistake, according to Peterson’s attorneys, was Brodsky’s decision to call Harry Smith, Savio’s divorce attorney, to the stand. Smith testified that Stacy Peterson told him Savio was murdered by her husband.

Peterson faced a 20- to 60-year prison term. He could die in prison if his ensuing appeals are unsuccessful.