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Diagnosis Accident, Say Peterson Docs

A pair of doctors told the jury that Drew Peterson's third wife accidentally drowned in her bathtub.

suffered numerous bruises and a deep gash to the back of her head during a single fall in her bathtub that rendered her unconscious and unable to save herself from drowning, a doctor called by attorneys said Tuesday.

That doctor, Jeffrey Jentzen, was followed to the witness stand by another doctor, Vincent DiMaio, who said Savio died in "an accident due to slipping and falling in the bathtub and striking the back of the head."

The impact would have "stunned" Savio, or possibly knocked her out, DiMaio said.

"She slipped underwater and then she drowned," he said.

The testimony from Jentzen and DiMaio lasted for hours. At the end of the day, Peterson's attorneys were confident it had offset the testimony of two other doctors—Larry Blum and Mary Case—who had already been called by prosecutors.

Blum and Case claimed Savio was the victim of a homicide.

While Jentzen insisted on Monday that Savio died in a freak bathtub accident, he conceded that he already testified under oath that she may have been killed by someone else.

"It's possible," Jentzen said of the idea that Savio was the victim of a homicide. "That was my opinion. It was possible."

During the same 2010 pretrial hearing in which he admitted Savio might actually have been slain by someone else, Jentzen put forth a bizarre alternate theory in which she suffered a heart attack and inhaled bathwater into her sinuses after she was already dead.

Jentzen has apparently abandoned his heart attack hypothesis, or at least failed to mention it Tuesday.

During his cross-examination of Jentzen, Assistant State's Attorney asked him why he referenced a drawing of a woman slipping on a flat surface during his testimony.

"This bears absolutely no resemblance to the bathtub Kathy Savio was found in," Connor said before asking Jentzen, "This is absolutely not relevant to the case at all, is it?

Jentzen also wanted to use a yellow plastic "slippery floor" warning sign to assist him in testifying, presumably to show that the pictogram of the falling man is somehow similar to the way Savio allegedly tumbled in her tub. Judge barred the slippery floor sign after prosecutors objected.

DiMaio did not use drawings or signs when he testified, but Will County State's Attorney confronted him about a textbook authored by the doctor that contradicted some of his statements.

DiMaio said on the witness stand that it was "pure chance" that Savio suffered a horizontal head wound when she supposedly slipped and smacked the back of her skull against the bathtub.

"The configuration of the laceration in this circumstance is purely random," DiMaio said.

But in the textbook, Glasgow pointed out, DiMaio said such wounds were more likely caused by "long" weapons, like baseball bats and pool cues.

Glasgow also pointed out that DiMaio chronicled the "Brides of Bath" murders committed in the early 20th century.

The Brides of Bath were three English women killed by their husband, George Smith, shortly after he married them. Smith visited his wives while they were bathing and yanked them underwater by their feet until they drowned.

These women's bodies bore no injuries suggesting they had been involved in a life-or-death struggle, just as DiMaio said Savio's body was free of defensive wounds.

DiMaio claimed Savio's case differed from those of the Brides of Bath because "the bathtubs were different back then."

With Jentzen and DiMaio's testimony complete, court sources said prosecutors will call celebrity pathologist Dr. Michael Baden as a rebuttal witness on Thursday.

Baden performed an autopsy paid for by Fox News on behalf of Savio's family. Video of him performing the autopsy was aired on television. He declared Savio was the victim of a homicide.

On Wednesday, Peterson's attorneys will argue about what they will be allowed to ask Wheaton attorney , who handled Savio's divorce from Peterson. Smith also claims he was told by Stacy that Peterson killed his third wife.

Also Wednesday, Peterson and Savio's oldest son, is expected to testify.

Read more of Patch's Drew Peterson Coverage

Martin August 29, 2012 at 05:23 PM
When oh when will this case end....
Friendly One August 29, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Accident? Doubt it! Young, healthy woman just happens to die in a bathtub when her children are staying with their father. He hires a locksmith to unlock the door. That, to me, would raise serious questions right there. Most guys wouldn't do that unless they knew she was dead. They'd call friends and family and have them gain entry to the home. No bath towel on the tub when found until it was placed there later. One minor error by her killer that he tried to rectify before authorities came. Threats were made to her that she shared with others before her death. And...another wife, who knew too much, disappears. Yeah...this was an accident. NOT!
Pro Life Crusader + August 29, 2012 at 09:30 PM
I guess the defense experts are wrong then.

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