Prosecution Wrapping Up Peterson Case Friday
State's Attorney James Glasgow said he's putting the finishing touches on his prosecution of Drew Peterson Friday morning.
It took 15 days of testimony but prosecutors finally got a witness to tell the jury Drew Peterson allegedly killed his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
That witness, the Rev. Neil Schori, was the only called Thursday, and several hours after he left the stand, Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow said he was wrapping his case up the following morning.
"The prosecution never rests but we should be closing our case tomorrow," said Glasgow.
And the prosecution is going out on a high note, as they presented their most powerful witness so far in Schori.
The Naperville pastor told of meeting with Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, on the patio of a Bolingbrook Starbucks the morning of Aug. 31, 2007.
Stacy had called the day before and asked to meet with him for marriage counseling. Schori had an associate secretly sit nearby in order to protect him from false allegations of impropriety, he said.
Stacy was already waiting for him when he arrived, Schori said.
"Stacy appeared to be nervous, tentative," Schori said. "She was sitting by herself so I didn't know why.
"She withdrew physically into herself," he said. "I remember her pulling her leg up and hugging it."
Before starting her story about the night in late February 2004 that Peterson allegedly killed Savio, Stacy broke down, Schori said.
"She silently cried," he said. "She had tears streaming down her face."
She then recalled going to bed with Peterson and falling asleep, then waking up in the middle of the night alone, Schori said. She looked all over the house, he said, and tried to reach him on his cell phone, but he didn't answer.
"It was some time later, but in the early morning hours she saw him standing near the washer and dryer and saw him dressed all in black and holding a bag," Schori said.
Peterson dumped the contents of the bag into the washing machine, Schori said. Stacy walked over and looked in, he said, and saw he had put women's clothes in the washer but that the clothes weren't hers.
"He told her that soon the police would be wanting to interview her and he told her what to say to the police," Schori said, adding that it "it took hours" for Peterson to drill his cover story into Stacy's head.
"She said that she lied on Drew's behalf to the police," Schori said.
"She continued to cry," he said. "She was very scared."
Defense attorney Joseph "Shark" Lopez mocked Schori for meeting with Stacy in a Starbucks, calling the coffee shop one of his "churches of the moment."
"You engage in marriage counseling in public places so people can cry in front of everyone?" Lopez said. "Was she crying in her latte at the same time?"
Lopez also questioned why Schori kept silent about the alleged murder for the next two months and only came forward after Stacy mysteriously disappeared in October 2007.
Schori explained that Stacy asked him not to tell anyone and that he respected her request.
During his cross-examination, Lopez asked Schori if Stacy told him of Peterson boasting about killing American soldiers when he himself was in the U.S. Army. Schori said that Stacy did tell him that.
Afterward, Lopez said Schori testified about the dead soldiers to a grand jury in 2008.
A former associate of Peterson's said that Peterson bragged about killing American soldiers to him as well. The man said Peterson claimed to have killed them in retaliation for beating him up in a bar fight. He also said he thinks Peterson is lying.
Before Schori made it off the witness stand, Lopez asked him how he could let Stacy return home to a "murderer."
"Her statement was, 'I live with a murderer,' and you let her go back to that house?" he said.
"She lived with someone who had murdered someone," Schori agreed.
Prior to Schori's appearance, Cincinnati restaurateur and vocal Peterson critic Jeff Ruby stared down and cursed out the accused wife-killer—and might end up in jail over it.
"I have a witness who said (Ruby) made a derogatory remark," said Will County Deputy Chief Ken Kaupas. "It started with 'F' and it wasn't 'fire truck.'"
A sheriff's deputy escorted Ruby from the courthouse.
"He's getting away with murder and I have to leave," Ruby said as he was led out.
The police are reportedly working up a criminal complaint against Ruby, but the steakhouse owner remained defiant.
"I'm not going to be intimidated by that low-life," Ruby muttered after he was ejected from the courthouse. He then hopped in his huge black-and-gold touring bus and was driven to Chicago for a radio interview.
No witnesses testified Thursday afternoon. Dave Margliano, a detective with the state's attorney's office, was waiting in the hallway and prepared to show a folder seized from Peterson's desk just days after Stacy vanished.
The folder was the lone red one in a drawer full of green folders and contained a March 2003 newspaper article about Savio's death, a copy of the coroner's inquest report, a copy of her death certificate, tickets from a Feb. 29, 2004, trip to Shedd aquarium, a receipt for a cash transaction at the aquarium cafeteria, and a receipt for a cash purchase at a Krispy Kreme doughnuts the morning of Feb. 29, 2004.
The eight-year-old receipts are "pristine," said Glasgow, who in frustration asked Judge Edward Burmila, "Who the hell would keep that?"
Burmila scolded Glasgow for his language and affirmed his decision to keep the material—which prosecutors have called "Drew's alibi folder"—out of evidence for the time being.
Wheaton attorney Harry Smith, who handled Savio's divorce from Peterson and claims he was told by Stacy that Peterson killed his third wife, also was in the hallway waiting his turn to testify, but does not think he will make it to the witness stand at all.
Glasgow said he and Peterson's attorneys may agree to what Smith's testimony will be and if they come to terms, have it read to the jury.