Drew Peterson’s rambling courtroom rant
BY DAN ROZEK Staff Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org February 22, 2013 8:18PM
In this courtroom sketch Drew Peterson, right, address the court and Judge Edward Burmila during Peterson's sentencing at the Will County Courthouse for the 2004 murder of his third wife Kathleen Savio Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, in Joliet, Ill. Burmila sentenced Peterson to 38 years in prison. (AP Photo/Tom Gianni) ORG XMIT: ILCA105
Updated: March 25, 2013 6:52AM
Drew Peterson loved the wife he was convicted of murdering, loved his job as a police sergeant because it allowed him to “help people” and thought of himself as “a great guy,” though he admitted being “obnoxious.”
But the 59-year-old former cop had a lot of things he didn’t like: Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow and Illinois State Police investigators, the news media — particularly cable TV talk show host Nancy Grace — divorce lawyers, his former in-laws and the Rob Lowe movie about his life.
As for Stacy, his missing fourth wife, Peterson claimed she implicated him in the 2004 drowning death of third wife Kathleen Savio simply to “extort” money from him in their forthcoming divorce.
Those were just some of the observations Peterson offered in court Thursday during a 35-minute rambling rant just before he was sentenced by Judge Edward Burmila to 38 years in prison for murdering Savio in her bathtub.
On his slain wife: “I love Kathy. She was a good mom. She kept a nice home. She did not deserve to die, but she had an accident, but she was so emotionally and psychologically damaged by some of these same people Mr. Glasgow paraded in front of you today that made it impossible for her to keep and maintain any kind of long-term relationship,” said Peterson, who had been divorced three times and was facing a fourth split.
On being a cop: “ I always took my job seriously. I never violated the public trust, and I never bared (sic) false witness against anyone. I loved having a job which allowed me to help people,” said Peterson, who touted the 32 years he worked as a military police officer and as a Bolingbrook cop.
On himself: “I helped everybody who asked me for it and every day I’d give the shirt off my back,” he said.
But he admitted he wasn’t perfect: “I am an obnoxious man by nature truly and through the years as a police officer, like most police officers, my defense mechanism is always comedy which is normally not seen by the public.”
Peterson repeatedly blamed the media for portraying him unfavorably: “Until this happened, I thought I was viewed as a great guy and then moments [later] the media turned me into a monster. First chance I get I am going to get a tattoo on my back from shoulder to shoulder and it’s going to read no good deed goes unpunished. That statement now defines my life.”
He admitted courting media attention at first, even noting that he for a time had the same publicist as disgraced ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
But Peterson contended the media focus on his case quickly got out of hand:
“I take full responsibility for my relationship with the media. When this first broke out, the terrifying event took place, my house was barraged with what I believe was 20 media trucks, barrages, every emporium you could imagine, and I just wanted them away from my house because they were scaring my kids. They hounded me. I agreed to go on national TV to tell my side of the story and asked for legal help,” he said.
Peterson singled out cable host Nancy Grace and the made-for-TV movie about him starring Rob Lowe for the most withering criticism, accusing prosecutors and police of leaking information for those shows so that potential jurors could see it before his trial.
“Everything from busy bodies like Nancy Grace to the local and national news to that ridiculous movie that was played repeatedly right before my trial, during my trial, which introduced to the public evidence that the state’s attorney’s office knew would never be allowed in a court, but it allowed the jury, pretty much guarantee, that I would not receive a fair trial,” Peterson said.
He spoke lovingly of his six children, but at one point said his two sons with Savio had been coached to lie about an altercation they witnessed during his divorce. He blamed Savio and divorce attorney Harry Smith for that alleged action.
“In my experience in divorce situations everybody lies and everybody lies basically under the instructions of their own attorneys,” said Peterson.
Claims made by Savio before her death and by Stacy to others regarding threats he made were just an effort to get money from him:
“We have to look at statements that were made that convicted me were all statements made by women who were trying to better position themselves in a divorce or as testified trying to extort money out of a divorce,” he said.
Peterson saved his bitterest blows for prosecutor James Glasgow and Illinois State Police, whose re-investigation of Savio’s death led to the murder charges that sent him to prison.
“For the last couple of years the Illinois State Police in conjunction with the Will County State’s Attorney’s office has conducted the most extensive, expensive, and obsessive investigation probably known in the United States. They harassed every family member, friend, friend of friends, neighbor, fellow employee, love interest I have ever had. They did illegal searches on my property without a warrant and when they obtained warrants, they did it with three-year-old bad probable cause. What this did was give the Illinois State Police the ability to souvenir hunt, steal from my home. No usable evidence was ever found,” Peterson said.
Glasgow scoffed at the criticism of him and police investigators, saying the tirade showed only that Peterson killed Savio — and that he has serious mental problems.
“We all got an opportunity to see a psychopath revealing himself in court,” Glasgow said after the sentencing.
Savio’s brother, Henry, who was thrown out of the courtroom for yelling at Peterson, dismissed the rants as “all lies.”
“I think he was just lashing out at everyone,” agreed Pam Bosco, the long-time spokeswoman for Stacy’s relatives, whom Peterson during his outburst called a “skinny butt spokesperson” who acted during his trial as a front for prosecutors.