Weather Updates

Drew Peterson back in court Wednesday

Retired Bolingbrook Police Sgt. Drew Petersarrives Will County Courthouse Joliet May 8 2009 for arraignment charges first-degree murder death his

Retired Bolingbrook Police Sgt. Drew Peterson arrives at the Will County Courthouse in Joliet on May 8, 2009, for arraignment on charges of first-degree murder in the death of his former wife, Kathleen Savio. | M. Spencer Green~AP file photo

storyidforme: 31636042
tmspicid: 10834717
fileheaderid: 4961252
Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: June 13, 2012 9:19PM

Before drowning in her bathtub, Kathleen Savio frequently said she feared ex-husband Drew Peterson would kill her, divorce attorney Harry Smith testified Wednesday.

That’s why she repeatedly gave him permission to publicly share the confidential information she had provided during her bitter divorce proceedings from Peterson, Smith said.

“Kathy wanted me to make sure that her death, if unresolved, did not go without repercussions for Drew,” Smith said testified during a Will County hearing.

But it’s not clear yet if the jury that will decide whether Peterson murdered his third wife will hear Smith’s claims.

Judge Edward Burmilla said he will first meet privately with Smith in an attempt to learn if Savio made other statements to him that might be helpful to Peterson.

Peterson’s lawyers are trying to block Smith from testifying during the trial about Savio’s purported statements, contending they are privileged information between a lawyer and client that cannot be publicly shared.

Outside the courtroom, Peterson’s lawyers scoffed at Smith’s claims, contending he took virtually no action to notify authorities of Savio’s claims after she was found dead in 2004. They also called him “gold-digging” for giving a radio interview after the heavily publicized disappearance of Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy, in 2007.

“I’m surprised his nose wasn’t growing while he was testifying,” said defense lawyer Steven Greenberg.

Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow defended Smith, saying he filed a legal injunction after Savio died in an attempt to stop Peterson from collecting her estate.

That effort failed after Savio’s mysterious drowning death was ruled an accident, Glasgow said.

“He kept trying,” Glasgow said of Smith, who he described as a “courageous attorney.”

Smith’s testimony provided an emotional cap to an otherwise dry hours-long proceeding, where Burmila also said Peterson’s jurors would be picked from a pool of about 175 people established in 2009.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.