Drew Peterson Lawyers Can't Stop Murder Case From Going to the Jury
Drew Peterson's lawyers tried again to avoid having his murder case go to a jury.
For the second time in Drew Peterson's murder trial, the accused wife-killer's lawyers tried to convince the judge to kick his case before it gets to the jury.
But the disgraced ex-cop's legal team failed again on Friday to sway Judge Edward Burmila into declaring Peterson not guilty in a directed verdict.
The trial wrapped up its fifth week on the eve of Labor Day weekend. Now all that's left before Peterson finds out if he walks free is closing arguments and the jury's deliberation.
"It's a scary day when somebody can be on trial or be convicted or have it put before the jury when still today the state cannot articulate what happened," Greenberg said. "I just don't get it."
Savio was found drowned in her dry bathtub in March 2004. The Illinois State Police quickly determined her death was the result of an accident, and clung to that theory until Peterson's next wife, Stacy Peterson, mysteriously vanished in October 2007.
Forced to re-evaluate their work on the Savio case, state police investigators came to the conclusion she had been killed. State troopers arrested Peterson in May 2009 on charges he murdered Savio.
Greenberg said prosecutors have yet to prove the state police got things wrong the first time. And even if the state police did botch their investigation in 2004, he said, prosecutors have not tied Peterson to Savio's slaying.
"We have no evidence that Mr. Peterson went in (Savio's) house that weekend," Greenberg said.
"We had 30-some witnesses or 40-some witnesses, and I still sit there and think, 'How did this person die?'" he said.
Jury selection for Peterson's murder trial began July 23 and testimony started the following week. The jury will retire to decide his guilt or innocence on Tuesday.
Before Greenberg called for Judge Burmila to acquit Peterson, prosecutors and defense attorneys hashed out instructions for the jury.
One jury instruction defense attorney Joel Brodsky tried and failed to have put in place involved Wheaton attorney Harry Smith making a "misstatement of the law" when he was called to testify Wednesday.
Smith said Stacy asked him "if the fact that (Peterson) killed Kathy could be used against him" in a divorce. Smith said he warned Stacy she was committing the crime of concealing of a homicide, but Brodsky claimed that keeping Savio's murder a secret actually wasn't against the law.
Brodsky maintains that Stacy was really trying to use Savio's supposed homicide to blackmail Peterson, and that as an attorney, Smith should have known that doesn't amount to concealing a homicide.
Judge Burmila asked Brodsky why he didn't so something about this when he had Smith on the witness stand.
"I was a bit taken by surprise," Brodsky said, adding that he was also "unprepared."
"How does a jury instruction address your unpreparedness?" Burmila asked.
Burmila rejected Brodsky's request for a jury instruction on Smith's testimony.
"If you abandon a line of cross-examination, I don't know if you can come back later and say, 'Give me a jury instruction,'" the judge said.