Drew Peterson jail exclusive: ‘I’m sick of being called sinister’
BY MICHAEL SNEED firstname.lastname@example.org June 4, 2012 12:00AM
Drew Peterson arrives at the Will County Courthouse in Joliet in May 2009.
Updated: July 7, 2012 8:22AM
The Peterson file . . .
He’s been called untouchable, unflappable and a killer.
“I’m sick of being called sinister,” said accused wife murderer Drew Peterson, who has been imprisoned for the past three years awaiting trial for the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, and is the chief suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson.
“I’m just a wise-ass [ex-cop] who gets in trouble for attempting to be funny,” Peterson told Sneed. “But what’s happening is not funny.
“I’m very angry about what has happened to me and my family— and especially the Illinois State Police unexpectedly interrogating my son Tom recently at college and questioning him for hours [about the death of his mother, Kathleen Savio].
“I want them to get off his back,” said Peterson in an exclusive pre-trial interview with Sneed Sunday at Will County jail, where he has been held for the past 1,158 days. “My children have suffered enough.”
Ironically, the interview was conducted on the day that another one of Peterson’s sons with Kathleen Savio, Kris, 17, was graduating from Bolingbrook High School.
“I want to raise my kids, and there is nothing more important to me,” said Peterson, who has few visitors and claims his best friend is now “TV.”
“Time flies, and days drag, and I’m bored, but I’m OK,” said Peterson, who added “because I think of myself as a man in ‘jail’ awaiting trial — and not in ‘prison’ for killing someone.” (Jury selection in his trial begins July 23.)
Dressed in jail attire and speaking at the visitor center at the jail, Peterson, who was polite and personable — addressing me as “Miss Sneed” and telling me for a long time “I thought you were a guy” — claims “every day I eat three meals a day, make my bed, get cleaned up, watch TV, and live basically in solitary confinement.”
During the 30-minute interview, minus tape recorder and a barely audible phone hook-up, it was obvious Peterson is not an introspective man. Taking responsibility for his choices is not a strong suit.
Peterson agrees his marriage choices were disastrous, and he accepts no responsibility for the failure of his marriages. He added he probably should have “never gotten married” but lauds himself as being a good father.
“There is nothing more important to me than my children,” said the former Bolingbrook cop, who has six children with three of his four wives. He is estranged from his eldest son, Eric, with his first wife, but is incredibly close to their second child, Stephen, who is raising Peterson’s and Stacy’s children, Anthony and Lacy. “They are being raised in my home, which is paid for, and living on my pension.” He also claims to be incredibly close with his two children with third wife, Savio: Thomas and Kristopher.
As a cop, “I was good at handling domestic disputes,” he said. “Really good.” But he considers himself “a romantic” who basically married “women who changed after getting married.” (He doesn’t blame himself at all.)
“I put my aunts and my mom on a pedestal, and I guess that’s what I wanted when I got married . . . looking for that combo woman who cleaned house and took care of the kids. I don’t think I’d get married again, but who knows. Christina Raines [his last girlfriend] asked to marry me three years ago, but I haven’t seen her in a long time [a year]. She got spooked by the press.”
Peterson described Savio, whose death in 2004 was considered an accident until Peterson became the focus of his fourth wife’s disappearance, as “a hellcat.”
“It was a marriage of constant one-upmanship, and she was very aggressive, violent and outspoken. She punched Stacy once in the face in front of the kids and was arrested. But she was found not guilty because the kids said she didn’t do it.
“My sons [Savio’s sons, Thomas and Kristopher] have never asked me if I killed their mother. It’s unspoken. They don’t have to ask. They know I didn’t. Tom was head of his high school graduation class and is now in college in Pennsylvania. Kris is heading to Western Illinois University this fall. And my son, Stephen, is what holds this family together. He [and his girlfriend] are taking care of my littlest [preschool/kindergarten children, Lacy and Anthony].”
So how does Peterson explain the disappearance of his youngest children’s parents?
“They have been told Stacy is on vacation and that I am working with my lawyer [Joel Brodsky] to clear up a legal problem,” said Peterson.
What does Peterson tell them their mother was like? “I tell them she was beautiful. Her Aunt Candace, Stacy’s mother’s sister, writes to me about how important they are to her and how, when she visits, she will help take care of them.
“You know, Stacy’s mother disappeared,” said Peterson. “Her name was Christie, and she had legal issues and at one time was living under an alias. She ran away. She showed up once, but when Stacy disappeared she had been long gone.
“You know, it’s possible Stacy is now living with her.”
Does Peterson miss Stacy?
“Sometimes I do,” he told Sneed. “Sure.”
So what would be the first thing Peterson did if Stacy suddenly reappeared?
“Ask her to sign the divorce papers,” he said.