M. Spencer Green, File, Associated Press
JOLIET, Ill. — Prosecutors on Monday rested their case against former suburban Chicago police officer Drew Peterson after entering a dramatic letter from his third wife, who wrote that she feared he would kill her.
They wrapped up their presentation after calling more than 30 witnesses over four weeks to support their claim that Peterson, 58, killed Kathleen Savio in 2004. Savio, then 40, was found dead in a bathtub at her suburban Chicago home — a gash on the back of her head. Her death was initially deemed an accident but was reclassified a homicide after Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy, went missing in 2007.
Without physical evidence, prosecutors have relied heavily on comments Savio made before she died.
One of the last pieces of evidence prosecutors entered was a 2002 letter she wrote to a Will County prosecutor. In it, she claimed her estranged husband had broken into her house and threatened her with a knife at her throat.
"He asked me several times if I was afraid," according to the letter, excerpts of which were read to jurors by the judge. "I started to panic! He pulled out his knife that he kept around his leg and brought it to my neck. I thought I'd never see my boys."
After prosecutors rested, Judge Edward Burmila rejected a defense request that he acquit Peterson even before the case goes to jurors. To grant a directed verdict, he would have had to conclude the state fell so far short of proving their case there was no need to go on.
Defense attorney Steve Greenberg told Burmila in making his request that prosecutors hadn't offered any evidence putting Peterson in her house the night she died or provided any detail about just how Peterson might have killed her.
"We have no theory about what happened to this lady?" Greenberg said, his voice rising. "There's nothing here! Nothing! ... They just hope this jury dislikes Drew Peterson — so let's presume he did it."
The defense was expected to begin presenting its case in the afternoon.
Follow Michael Tarm at www.twitter.com/mtarm
- Better than a raise: The smallest thing you...
- Many Mormon missionaries who return home...
- WestJet airline video goes viral as Santa...
- Looking beyond the premium is a 2-tiered...
- Little difference between PG-13 and R-rated...
- Sexual harassment? Colorado school suspends...
- Adjunct professors unionize for respect and...
- 50 things you might not know about 15 of your...
- Many Mormon missionaries who return... 131
- Judge orders Colo. cake-maker to serve... 123
- Health care debate about presidential... 24
- Space and religion: How believers view... 24
- Can Mandela's legacy revive the GOP? 24
- Looking beyond the premium is a... 14
- The American Dream is still alive for... 11
- Better than a raise: The smallest thing... 11