'They Got The Murdering Bastard'
Family and friends of Kathleen Savio broke down in tears after Drew Peterson's guilty verdict was read. The family and friends of Peterson's fourth wife are still waiting for their day in court.
When the jury filed in a bit before 3 p.m. Thursday, Drew Peterson knew he was looking at either a flight to New York to go on the Today show or a bus ride to Stateville to spend what's left of his life in prison.
The jury told him he was going to be taking the bus.
After a day and a half of deliberation and a 24-day trial, the jury found Peterson guilty of murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
"I loved my sister very much. She's finally getting the justice she deserved," said Savio's sister, Susan Doman.
"He's a sick man," Doman said of Peterson. "He's an evil man."
Doman's husband, Mitch Doman, hugged his wife outside the courtroom and said, "They got the murdering bastard."
Judge Edward Burmila set Peterson's sentencing date for Nov. 26. Peterson, 58, faces 20 to 60 years in prison.
Check out more coveage of the verdict on Patch
- Peterson Son 'Extremely Disappointed' In Verdict
- Kathleen Savio Family, Friends Respond to Drew Peterson's Guilty Verdict
- Verdict: Drew Peterson Found Guilty of Murdering Kathleen Savio
- Peterson Verdict: What's Your Reaction?
Peterson showed no emotion as the verdict was read, but after the jury was led out and deputies started clearing the public from the courtroom he collapsed into a chair.
Smith represented Savio in her divorce from Peterson and said he spoke to Peterson's next wife, Stacy Peterson, just days before she mysteriously vanished in October 2007.
Brodsky said he called Smith to testify in hopes of sullying Stacy's reputation by painting her as a gold-digging blackmailer. Instead, Smith repeatedly drove home the point that Stacy told him Peterson killed Savio.
After Peterson was found guilty, Brodsky claimed calling on Smith to testify was the right move. Brodsky also said the case against Peterson was a "stacked deck."
A large crowd heckled Brodsky and the other attorneys on the defense team while they spoke to the media.
"The whole world wanted Drew Peterson to be convicted," said defense attorney Joseph "Shark" Lopez. "They've hated him from Day 1."
Lopez also mocked the hecklers, saying, "They've got nothing better to do. They're unemployed."
Brodsky said he was already planning Peterson's appeal.
Savio was found drowned in a dry bathtub in March 2004. Despite the strange circumstances of her death—and the fact that she and Peterson were in the midst of a tumultuous, allegedly violent divorce—detectives with the Illinois State Police quickly determined she perished in a freak bathtub accident.
But when Stacy disappeared three and a half years later, the state police were forced to take another look at their investigation of Savio's death. When they did, they changed their collective mind, declaring she was the victim of a homicide and charging Peterson with her murder in May 2009.
Only one other witness, the Rev. Neil Schori, was allowed to tell the jury how Stacy revealed to him that Peterson killed Savio.
Schori, who said Stacy confided in him about Savio's murder during a marriage counseling session within two months of her disappearance, said he and his wife cried when they heard Peterson had been found guilty.
"We literally wept together," he said. "It's been a long, long journey.
"I'm absolutely thrilled with what happened," Schori said. "Justice is coming for Stacy's family too."
The state police named Peterson the sole suspect in what they termed the "potential homicide" of Stacy Peterson, but have yet to charge him with harming her.
Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow, who said he prayed with Schori just before the verdict came in, said prosecutors will indeed review the Stacy case.
Glasgow also called Peterson a "coward and a bully," and said he murdered Savio "because he was larger than she was."
"He would threaten people because he had a gun and a badge," Glasgow said. "No one ever took him on. We took him on, and he lost."
Pam Bosco, the foster mother of Stacy's sister Cassandra Cales, attended every day of the lengthy trial. She called on Glasgow to charge Peterson with killing Stacy.
"This man has to pay for Stacy," Bosco said. "There's no reason this man can't be taken back into this courtroom and go through this hell again. Stacy's case is right around the corner. I believe that. I always believed that he would pay the price for killing two beautiful women."
Stacy's sister said the verdict was still sinking in.
"I feel numb. It hasn't really hit me yet," said Cales, adding, "Game over, Drew."
Stacy's aunt Candace Aikin was elated for the Savio family.
"I'm excited," Aikin said. "I had to hold all my tears till I ran down the hallway, crying like a baby."
But even with Peterson heading to prison, Aikin was still worried.
"I'm really concerned about the children," she said. "It's just my concern for them because they don't have a mother, and now they're losing a father they wanted to come home. My heart's breaking for them."
Stacy and Peterson's two children—Lacy, 7, and Anthony, 9—live in Peterson's home and are cared for by a son Peterson had with his first wife, Carol Hamilton. The two sons Peterson and Savio had together, and were later adopted by Stacy, are attending college.
None of Peterson's family was present when the jury rendered its verdict.
After finding Peterson guilty, the jury chose not to address the media. Instead, they provided Deputy Chief Ken Kaupas of the Will County Sheriff's Department with a written statement.
“We have taken the responsibility bestowed on us by the court with a great deal of solemnity and diligence," the statement said. "After much deliberation, we have reached a decision we believe is just.”
Kaupas said Peterson will not be placed on any sort of suicide watch. He was put in the medical pod of the Will County jail for his own protection from the beginning of his incarceration more than three years ago, and that is where a suicidal inmate would go.
"Anybody who's convicted of murder or a violent crime, we put extra watch on anyway," Kaupas said. "That's not because it's Drew. That's standard protocol."