Could Drew Peterson conviction in third wife’s death mean charges in fourth wife’s case?
BY JON SEIDEL Sun-Times Media /firstname.lastname@example.org September 6, 2012 7:30PM
** FILE ** This undated file photo provided by her family shows Stacy Peterson, 23, of Bolingbrook, Ill., and her husband, Drew Peterson, 53, a police officer with the Bolingbrook Police Department. (AP Photo/Family of Stacy Peterson) **NO SALES**
Updated: October 9, 2012 2:53PM
With Drew Peterson finally convicted of the murder of third wife Kathleen Savio, Will County’s top prosecutor said Thursday his team needs time to catch its breath.
Then he’ll take another look at the high-profile disappearance of Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy Peterson.
“We are going to aggressively review that case with an eye toward potentially charging it,” Will County State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow said.
Stacy Peterson, a 23-year-old mother of two, vanished without a trace Oct. 28, 2007. She failed to show when she was expected to go to her brother’s home to paint. Her case drew unwanted police and media scrutiny to her cop husband, whose third wife died more than three years earlier in what was initially labeled a slip-and-fall accident in her bathtub.
A Will County jury decided Thursday Peterson murdered Savio and left her body to be found in her dry bathtub March 1, 2004.
Peterson might never have been charged with Savio’s death, though, had Stacy never disappeared. He’d likely be a free man.
And just as Stacy’s disappearance loomed large over Peterson’s trial, questions abounded Thursday about what his conviction means for Stacy.
Shortly after the verdict, Savio’s half-brother, Nick, told reporters Stacy is next in line for justice. And Pam Bosco, a spokeswoman for Stacy’s family who attended every day of Peterson’s trial, said another trial is “right around the corner”
“This man has to pay for Stacy,” Bosco said. “There’s no reason why he shouldn’t be brought back into this court and face another jury.”
Investigators have yet to find Stacy Peterson’s body. And just as in Savio’s trial — which was generally considered an uphill battle for Glasgow — prosecutors would first have to prove Stacy was murdered. Glasgow was asked Thursday if Stacy must be declared legally dead for Peterson to be charged.
“Obviously the longer any person is gone, the easier it is to prove that they haven’t just simply run away and that they are deceased,” Glasgow said. “And Oct. 28 of 2007 is way in our rearview mirror now.”
Jurors in Peterson’s trial heard former Savio divorce attorney Harry Smith testify Stacy called him Oct. 24, 2007 — days before she disappeared — wanting to know if she could use the fact that Peterson killed Savio against him in a divorce.
Peterson’s stepbrother, Tom Morphey, has also said he helped Peterson move a blue barrel out of Drew and Stacy’s home and into Peterson’s SUV. Morphey described the barrel to police as feeling warm and weighing about 120 pounds, sources have said. He said he tried to kill himself after he suspected he’d helped Peterson remove Stacy’s body from the house.
“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I could take back the events of that day,” Morphey has said.
Two longtime friends of Peterson’s, Len Wawczak and his wife, Paula Stark, have also said they wore a wire for the Illinois State Police and recorded seven months of intimate conversations with Peterson. Wawczak told the Sun-Times Peterson predicted he’d be tried and acquitted long before his fourth wife’s remains are found.
Joel Brodsky, Peterson’s lead defense attorney, said Thursday he’d “certainly” represent Peterson if he’s indicted for Stacy’s murder. But neither he nor the rest of Peterson’s defense team wanted to spend much time answering questions about a second possible trial. They only warned prosecutors another indictment could become problematic if Peterson’s conviction is overturned on appeal.
“We’ll worry about it if it happens,” defense attorney Steve Greenberg said.