More than five years after Kathleen Savio’s death, her husband, ex-police sergeant, Drew Peterson, has been charged with her murder. Savio was found in a dry bathtub with her head soaked in blood from a head wound. The cause of her death was originally determined to be accidental drowning, but that finding came into question after Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, went missing in 2007 and the former cop became the main suspect in her disappearance.
Savio’s family has long questioned whether her death was accidental and after Stacy’s disappearance, they had Savio’s body exhumed. Savio died right before her divorce settlement with Peterson was going to be finalized by a court, and her death left him as her primary beneficiary. Last month, they filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Peterson accusing him of beating and drowning her.
Now, authorities are saying that Savio was murdered and that the crime scene was arranged to look like she accidentally drowned. The indictment against Peterson accuses the 55-year-old of causing his then-wife to inhale fluid.
Police took Peterson into custody on Thursday afternoon. He is being held on $20 million bond. Peterson’s criminal defense attorney says that he will try to obtain a more “reasonable” bond for his client because he considers the amount excessive.
Prosecutors say they may use a new hearsay law that allows the words of murder victims to be used against the defendants that are accused of killing them. Family members say that Savio told her sister that if anything ever happened to her, Peterson would have been the one to kill her. If convicted for her murder, he could face up to sixty years in prison.
Meantime, Stacy Peterson has yet to be found. Police are saying she may have been murdered, but no charges have been filed in her death. Peterson has said that he believes that his wife, then 23, ran away with another man.
Drew Peterson Arrested, but will it stick?, MSNBC.com, May 8, 2009
Savio’s family files lawsuit claiming Drew Peterson beat, drowned third wife, Chicago Sun-Times, April 22, 2009
Related Web Resources:
New Illinois hearsay law to shape Peterson case, Cleveland.com
Drew Peterson timeline, Chicago Sun-Times, May 7, 2009
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