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Drew Peterson Pleads Not Guilty In Murder-For-Hire Plot

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 3, 2015 9:00PM

Drew Peterson, in one of his new Illinois Department of Corrections photos.
Drew Peterson pleaded not guilty Tuesday to attempting to hire a hitman to kill Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow and—in a surprise move—his legal team waived his right to a preliminary hearing, setting the stage to go to trial as early as July. Peterson and his attorneys may want to think twice about that; the last time he asked for a speedy trial, he was convicted of murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

Peterson appeared in Randolph County Court Tuesday, shackled and looking as though life behind bars has not agreed with him. He faces one count of solicitation of murder and one count of solicitation of murder for hire. The former charge carries a mandatory 15-year prison term if Peterson is convicted while the latter could add 20 years to his sentence. The prosecution is being handled by the Randolph County State’s Attorney and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office, who got involved in the case because the alleged threat was against Glasgow, who secured a conviction of Peterson in Savio’s death in September 2012.

Peterson is accused of trying to arrange the hit on Glasgow between September 2013 and last December. His decision to waive the preliminary hearing prevents prosecutors from publicly releasing details of the alleged plot before the case goes to trial. Peterson’s former attorney Joel Brodsky said he received two letters from an inmate at the Stateville Correctional Center claiming Peterson is being set up.

In the letters, Inmate A claims to have never met or interacted with Peterson, but to have been part of a scheme with a fellow inmate [Inmate B], who he said was once a close friend of Peterson at the Menard Correctional Center where he is serving a 38-year sentence for killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

“[Inmate B] stated that it all began when someone began mistreating Mr. Peterson, and he stood up to defend him,” the letter read. “[Inmate B] said that after that they became ‘really good friends.’”

The letters claim Inmate B told Inmate A that Peterson confided in him, telling Inmate B he dumped the body of his fourth wife Stacy Peterson, who disappeared in 2007, in Lake Michigan. They also say Inmate B and Peterson talked about his trial, and at one point Inmate B told Peterson “he knew people that could ‘take care’ of Mr. Glasgow if that’s what he wanted.”

Cassandra Cales, the sister of Peterson’s still-missing fourth wife Stacy, was in court Tuesday. The two were said to have exchanged icy stares.