Drew Peterson Might Beat Murder Rap With Mistrial

The judge in the Drew Peterson murder case called a halt to Wednesday's proceedings early so defense attorneys can figure out whether to pursue a mistrial.

The murder trial may end on its third day as a judge will decide Thursday morning whether he will declare a mistrial and possibly free the accused wife-killer.

"The ball's always in the judge's court," defense attorney Joel Brodsky said after cut Wednesday's proceedings short and gave defense attorneys the night to decide to plan their next move.

That move will be whether to go after a mistrial or agree to instead have the jury told to disregard some testimony.

The testimony in question comes from, who lived next-door to Drew Peterson's third wife, Kathleen Savio, when she was killed in March 2004. Burmila is willing to sacrifice all or some of Pontarelli's testimony in hopes of avoiding a mistrial.

Pontarelli, while being questioned by , testified he found a .38-caliber bullet nose up in his driveway in 2002. Pontarelli believes Peterson placed the bullet in his driveway to intimidate him.

As soon as Pontarelli mentioned the bullet, defense attorney leaped to his feet and demanded a mistrial. Greenberg pointed out that Peterson has denied placing the bullet in Pontarelli's driveway and said there was no way prosecutors could prove he put it there.

Patton conceded that she could not tie Peterson to the bullet and Burmila mocked the notion that he must have been the one who placed it there.

“Who's the only person who has a gun?” Burmila asked sarcastically. “Hmm, Drew Peterson.”

Then, to further illustrate his point, Burmila slightly rephrased his own question, saying, “Who's the only person who looks like he has  ammunition? Hmm, Drew Peterson.”

A visibly irritated Burmila also called the situation "completely troubling to the court."

When Patton tried explaining that she asked about the bullet to demonstrate that Pontarelli feared Peterson, the judge told her that "argument makes no sense to the court at all.”

Thomas Pontarelli was only the second witness to take the stand in the long-awaited murder trial. His wife, , testified Tuesday.

Peterson faces charges he murdered Savio, who was his third wife, to avoid losing a good deal of money and assets in their pending divorce. He is also suspected of having a hand in the disappearance of his next wife, Stacy Peterson, who mysteriously vanished in October 2007.

Stacy remains missing. Witnesses have testified in pretrial hearings that she planned to divorce Peterson and that she knew he killed Savio.

Burmila called the questioning by Patton that led to Thomas Pontarelli talking about the bullet a "low blow."

Pam Bosco, who was the foster mother of Stacy's sister, , was the only representative of either Savio or Stacy's families to attend the trial Wednesday.

"Both sides are doing low blows at this point, aren't they now?" said Bosco, who was confident the judge would not declare a mistrial.

Despite her optimism that the trial would continue, Bosco was a bit mystified about Burmila's against Peterson.

"It seems wrong that you can keep out any kind of evidence," she said."If what was said was said, why can't it be admitted? Why are they hiding it?"

For possibly the first time since Peterson's arrest in May 2009, his attorneys exited the courthouse without stopping to hold a press conference outside.

, who has been tight-lipped about the case, did stop to make a few remarks.

"We're going to be ready to go tomorrow," Glasgow said. "The judge will make the final decision and we're confident the trial will resume tomorrow."

Check out our Storify feature to see what people are saying about the Drew Peterson trial around the web. 

Read More: Drew Peterson Coverage on Patch

Watchful Eye August 02, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Oh - forgot another matter not being allowed in. Burmila again sided with the defense when he barred prosecutors from asking questions about Savio’s 2002 arrest on her front lawn on charges she battered Stacy Cales . She was tackled that day by her cop husband, who was not on duty. Prosecutors wanted to use the incident to show Savio could be controlled by Peterson. They tried again after defense lawyers described Savio as feisty and “tough,” but Burmila shot them down a second time.
Francis M. Regan August 02, 2012 at 01:45 AM
Watchful eye I'll admit I not a lawyer, but you think you are the expert in court proceedings. Please tell Burmila how too do a judges job.
o August 02, 2012 at 03:04 PM
At this point I think it is all about making $$ for everyone. Sadly these women lost their lives.
Law007 August 02, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Judge Burmila is a former States Attorney of Will County. He prosecuted many of Felony cases both as an Assistant States Attorney and as the States Attorney of Will County. With over 30 years of criminal law experience he has a pretty good idea what the law is. He is a acknowledge, fair Judge with leanings to the States side.
Francis M. Regan August 02, 2012 at 10:15 PM
How does the Judge or prosecutor's make more money. They have a set salary.


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