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Roeper: Drew Peterson not untouchable after all. That’s unanimous

Updated: October 9, 2012 2:42PM

Even in the circus known as the Drew Peterson trial, it seemed like a bad joke on Thursday afternoon when we heard the jury had sent a note to the judge asking for a definition of “unanimous.”

My goodness. Twelve-year-olds that have seen a few episodes of “Law & Order” know what “unanimous” means.

I’m surprised Judge Edward Burmila didn’t send back a note that read: “You know how you guys all dressed in the same color, or in sports jerseys or your Sunday best? You made the UNANIMOUS decision to act life goofs when you did that.”

A short while later, it was pretty clear the jurors understood the meaning of “unanimous,” not to mention “verdict” and “guilty.”

Despite all those missteps by the prosecution in the early going, despite the judge mulling a possible mistrial on multiple occasions, despite a jury ASKING FOR THE DEFINITION OF UNANIMOUS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, one of the most infamous characters in the long and colorful and blood-soaked history of Chicago-area crime figures had been found guilty of murdering Kathleen Savio.

In that cartoonish made-for-TV movie on Lifetime, Rob Lowe as Drew Peterson had snarled, “I’m untouchable, b----.” In real life, Peterson comported himself for years as if he indeed believed in that philosophy, whether he was playing head games with reporters, calling in to radio talk shows, doing interviews with national TV programs, continuing his romancing ways or winking at a spectator in the courtroom.

The guy who looked more like a human version of the Cowardly Lion than Rob Lowe puffed his chest out and acted like he was the smartest, bravest, most charismatic man in every room he ever entered. How could he possibly be found guilty? He’s untouchable, b----.

Emotions ran high after the verdict was read. Kathleen Savio’s sister told Roe Conn and me on WLS-AM she was relieved justice was served. She said she was convinced Peterson would have killed again had he been back on the streets.

Kathleen’s brother-in-law told us he hoped someone would get to Peterson “in the big house,” and he would shake the hand of the man that took him down. One can understand the flow of emotions after so many years of frustration, but it was an unfortunate, cringe-inducing moment.

In a press conference outside the courthouse, defense attorney Joe “The Shark” Lopez talked about Peterson being the most hated man in America. As a crowd of spectators cheered and chanted, some even singing “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” Lopez said those celebrating were “unemployed … with nothing better to do,” sounding for all the world like former Cubs manager Lee Elia back in the day, talking about those bleeping fans heckling his boys.

Like many if not most of you, I believe Drew Peterson killed Kathleen Savio, and I believe he killed Stacy Peterson. The idea Stacy is just “missing,” that she abandoned her children and family and faded into the mist with some mystery man, is beyond ludicrous. She’s gone. And if Drew Peterson didn’t do it, who did?

But gut feeling is not what carries the day in an American court of law. Peterson wasn’t on trial for the murder of Stacy, he was on trial for killing Kathleen — and it seemed as if the case against him was thin, at least to this outsider looking in.

The jurors saw it a different way. Yes, it was bizarre when they started dressing alike, and yes, it was crazy when they asked for a definition of “unanimous,” but by all accounts they took their responsibilities seriously.

Outside of Drew Peterson’s family and his attorneys, I don’t see too many people weeping for him today. In the courtroom the case seemed less than airtight, and if you’re troubled by that hearsay law, you’re not alone. But In the court of public opinion, the guy’s a stone killer.

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