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Fourth witness testifies Savio said Drew Peterson made threats

Drew Peters(left) is trial death his third wife Kathleen Savio.

Drew Peterson (left) is on trial in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

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Updated: September 12, 2012 6:04AM

Kathleen Savio described to her sister a frightening attack in her own home by a knife-wielding intruder she immediately recognized -- her husband, Drew Peterson.

“Her husband had a knife on her throat and said he could kill her and make it look like an accident,” Savio’s sister Susan Doman said Friday, testifying in a soft voice as she kept her eyes averted in the courtroom from Peterson.

Doman is the fourth witness to offer hearsay testimony at Peterson’s murder trial that Savio described attacks against her by the former Bolingbrook cop before she was found drowned in her bathtub on March 1, 2004.

Doman, though, admitted she signed a $30,000 contract to tell the story of her younger sister’s death not only in a courtroom, but in a book and possibly a movie.

While Doman insisted she hasn’t made any money yet, Peterson’s attorneys hammered her for the deal she signed in October 2009, about five months after Peterson was charged with murdering his third wife.

Doman’s claim that Savio said she was attacked by Peterson in her own basement are suspect, Peterson’s attorneys contended, because she wants to see Peterson convicted to provide a more compelling ending to the proposed book and movie.

“You have a monetary interest in Drew Peterson being convicted, don’t you?” defense attorney Joe Lopez asked as the 58-year-old Peterson looked intently at his former sister-in-law.

“No,” said Doman, telling Lopez the book will be about “domestic violence”

“This book is about you being paid, isn’t it?” Lopez shot back.

“No,” Doman said. “I wanted the truth to come out.”

Questioned by Will County prosecutors, Doman said she signed the contract more than a year after testifying to a grand jury about Savio’s claim that Peterson threatened her with a knife in the basement of her Bolingbrook home.

Savio’s other sister, Anna Doman, and two women who knew Savio have testified about similar alleged attacks by Peterson, though some details have differed and the timing of some incidents is uncertain.

Savio herself filed a police report in July 2002 claiming Peterson threatened her with a knife in her Bolingbrook home, warning he could kill her and disguise her death as an accident.

Her death initially was ruled an accident, but was re-examined and declared a murder in 2007 after Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy, vanished from the home she shared with Peterson.

After Savio died, Sue Doman said she asked Peterson, “Did you kill my sister?” Peterson, who had two sons with Savio, replied he wouldn’t kill “the mother of my children,” Doman said.

Doman also claimed Friday that just days after Savio’s death, Peterson gloated about discovering her will hidden in her home.

“Ha, ha, I found the will between the floorboards,” Doman said Peterson told her. “Tell your sister, Anna, you aren’t gonna get anything.”

Calling that claim “the most ridiculous story I’ve ever heard,” defense attorney Joel Brodsky said the two-page, hand-written will Peterson submitted after Savio’s death left her estate to her sons and was accepted as legitimate by a probate court judge.

Brodsky and other defense attorneys have belittled the hearsay evidence, saying even if the claims are true, they don’t prove Peterson killed Savio.

State’s Attorney James Glasgow would say little as he left the courthouse Friday.

“We had a very productive week,” he said.

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