5:50 p.m. Testimony done for the day
Nicholas Pontarelli's testimony has concluded and court is done for the day. Testimony is scheduled to resume Thursday morning.
5:15 p.m. 'I was in shock'
Kathleen Savio’s next-door neighbor Nicholas Pontarelli wasn’t allowed to testify that he didn’t see any scratches or scrapes on her arms the afternoon before prosecutors believe she drowned in her bathtub.
Pontarelli is testifying about what happened the weekend Savio, who he called a "second mother," was found dead in 2004.
He said on Monday night, he and other family members entered Savio’s home after Drew Peterson called a locksmith to the house.
Pontarelli saw an open carton of orange juice with the cap off on the kitchen island, which he closed and put it in the refrigerator.
"She was the type of person who would put it away and would be on the kids about putting stuff away," he said.
He entered the bathroom where Savio died after his mother screamed and saw her body but didn’t touch anything on the tub, Pontarelli testified.
"I just kind of stood back; I leaned back against her bed," he said.
Then he left the house. "I was in shock."
The next day, Pontarelli said he saw Peterson, Peterson's wife, Stacy, and Peterson's son Stephen enter the home and remove items. Peterson owned the home with Savio.
4:50 p.m. 'The issue has been resolved'
Judge Edward Burmila has returned to the bench.
"The issue has been resolved, and the juror will remain seated," he said.
Nicholas Pontarelli's testimony has resumed.
4:40 p.m. Juror knows witness on the stand
Judge Edward Burmila stopped the proceedings and ordered attorneys and a juror to meet him in his chambers after one of the jurors said he knows the witness now on the stand, Kathleen Savio's next-door neighbor Nicholas Pontarelli.
The juror said during jury selection that his father works at Bolingbrook High School.
While the attorneys were at the bench after an objection by defense attorney Joel Brodsky, the juror called the bailiff over and spoke to her.
The bailiff approached Burmila after the sidebar was over and the judge then asked that the jury be taken out and that attorneys and the juror meet him in his chambers. Burmila said that the juror said he recognized Pontarelli.
4 p.m. Jurors complain about loud courtroom printer
Jurors in the Drew Peterson case have complained to the judge that a printer used by Peterson's defense team in the courtroom is so loud that they can't hear witness testimony.
Judge Edward Burmila — who told the lawyers about the complaint, which he received through a note jurors gave a bailiff — told the defense team to stop printing documents during testimony.
"It is loud, I have to say for the record," Burmila said.
2:50 p.m. Doctor: Savio was not more likely to fall
Kathleen Savio’s physician, Dr. Vinod Motiani, took the stand and testified that Savio had no conditions that would make her more likely than normal to fall.
"She was at no more risk than any other person," he testified.
Savio had complained previously about dizziness, but it was nothing out of the ordinary, Motiani.
"She didn’t complain out of the usual of the dizziness… it is a very routine complaint that we face in our practice," he said.
Peterson’s defense team contends Savio slipped and fell in her bathtub, perhaps because of some medical condition, leading to her drowning in 2004.
1:55 p.m. Savio's death 'raised my suspicions'
Master Sgt. Bryan Falat testified during cross examination by defense attorney Joseph Lopez that he had expressed his view while at Kathleen Savio’s home the night her body was found that "this could possibly be a homicide."
Falat said the circumstances of Savio’s death "raised my suspicions right away" and that he searched the home for "anything that could tell me why Ms. Savio was deceased."
But under questioning from Lopez, Falat testified that he did search the home carefully for any evidence but found nothing obvious.
"You looked carefully?" Lopez asked
"Yes," Falat said.
"And thoroughly, right?" Lopez asked
"We were only in the house for approximately a half hour," Falat said.
11:55 a.m. Investigation wasn't thorough
During questioning by the defense, Bryan Falat — who testified in 2010 about his concerns with how the Kathleen Savio death investigation was handled — hesitated when asked whether he did a thorough investigation.
"I'm sure there was a lot more stuff that could have been looked for that I wasn't trained on," he said.
The trial is stopping for a lunch break. Testimony is scheduled to resume at 1:15 p.m.
11:40 a.m. Peterson was 'cooperative, jovial'
Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Bryan Falat told jurors he was a trooper temporarily assigned to the agency's investigations unit at the time of Kathleen Savio's death and had assisted on only two prior homicides.
He said he assisted Sgt. Pat Collinsin interviewing witnesses and then was told by Collins that they would interview Peterson at the Bolingbrook Police Department, where Peterson worked.
"I advised Sgt. Collins that I did not think it was a good idea to interview Sgt. Peterson at the Bolingbrook Police Department and that we should take him back to District 5," Falat said. "We don't usually interview people where they're comfortable or where they work."
He said Peterson was cooperative as they interviewed him in the department's lunch room.
"For most of the interview, Mr. Peterson was cooperative, jovial," Falat said. "He said they owned a house valued at $300,000 and it was now his."
The following day, Falat said he and Collins interviewed Stacy Peterson at her home and said he was told Drew Peterson would be present.
"I told Sgt. Collins that I did not think it was a good idea that Drew was in the same room as Stacy during the interview," he said. "We never interview two people in the same room."
11 a.m. Investigator to take the witness stand
The next witness is Illinois State Police Investigator Bryan Falat. He was one of the first officers to arrive at Kathleen Savio’s Bolingbrook home after her body was discovered.
He testified at a pretrial hearing in 2010 that he thought the initial investigation was inadequate.
10:30 a.m. No call to police after hit man talk
During questioning from defense attorney Joseph Lopez, Jeff Pachter admitted there was no record of his alleged hit man conversation in November 2003 with Drew Peterson, that Pachter doesn’t know how to plan a murder, and he never went to police.
He also acknowledged that Peterson never specifically asked him to "kill" Kathleen Savio, nor did Peterson provide a picture or an address for Savio.
Pachter said Peterson was a jokester and never again mentioned the hit.
"I didn’t know what to make of it," Pachter said.
Lopez suggested that Pachter wants to write a book and make money from the Peterson case.
10:15 a.m. Witness says Peterson looking for hit man
Drew Peterson’s former co-worker, Jeff Pachter, testified this morning that Peterson offered him $25,000 to find a hit man “to take care of” Peterson’s third wife, Kathleen Savio.
Under the plan, Pachter would find someone to do it, negotiate the price and keep whatever was left of the $25,000. Peterson said he would go to Great America in Gurnee on the day of the hit so he would have an alibi.
Pachter said he called Peterson in July 2004 and Peterson told him, “I no longer need (that favor) anymore.” Savio drowned in March 2004.
Pachter testified that Peterson told him Pachter would take the hit request to “his grave.”
9:45 a.m. Hit man testimony expected
Witnesses today include Jeff Pachter, who is expected to testify that Drew Peterson allegedly offered him $25,000 to find someone to kill Kathleen Savio in 2003.
Pachter, who worked with Peterson at his job as a cable outfitter, said during a pretrial hearing that he went on ride along with the Bolingbrook police sergeant in November 2003 at Peterson's request. During the ride, Peterson -- who knew Pachter had a gambling problem -- offered to pay him $25,000 to find someone to kill Savio.
"He asked if I could find someone to take care of his third wife," Pachter said. "He told me that she used to have a drug problem and she worked at Red Lobster."
Pachter said that Peterson wanted to know when it would be done, so he could come up with an alibi. For example, he considered being at Great America that day, when he would cause a fight so there would be a record of him being in Gurnee.
"He told me this was something that I would take to my grave," Pachter said.
8:30 a.m. Case of the color-coded jury
Faced with tedious delays caused by prolonged sidebar squabbles, Drew Peterson's jury has found a way to add a little splash of color to the proceedings.
In a rare display of jury camaraderie, the majority of the panel has been wearing the same color each day to court. On Tuesday, 12 of the 16 jurors donned green clothing, after sporting red, blue and black on designated days last week.
The fashion statement has sparked great interest in the courthouse, where observers are trying to figure out what message — if any — can be deciphered from the show of sartorial solidarity. Even veteran trial lawyers say they've never seen anything like it in the Chicago area.
"There's no doubt they're doing it," said defense attorney Sam Adam Jr., who has been doing TV commentary on the trial. "It means they're talking, and it means they're getting along."
These are not the first jurors, however, to dress alike.Lewis"Scooter" Libby's jury showed up wearing hearts on their shirts on Valentine's Day five years ago, and terror suspect Jose Padilla's panel donned red, white and blue in honor of Independence Day 2007. Both men were later convicted by their respective juries, though Libby was later pardoned.
Fifteen years ago, defense attorneys in New York asked for a mistrial after the jury began wearing identical colors to a death penalty case. The lawyers worried the matching attire meant the panel had surrendered individual opinions about the case, but when questioned by the judge, the jurors said they merely coordinated colors to release tension. The panel later convicted Avi Kostner of killing his children but declined to give him the death penalty.
There are no such worries from the defense team in Joliet.
Peterson attorney Joseph Lopez, in fact, has suggested that the Will County jurors have adopted a daily color scheme in homage to Lopez and his wife, Lisa, who is also on the defense team. The couple, who dress in coordinating ensembles each day, gravitate toward tailored shirts in bold colors such as hot pink and electric yellow.
While no one else seems to be publicly embracing the Lopez theory, Adam believes it's still a good sign for the defense. He says he's never had a client convicted by a seemingly happy jury and that prosecutors should be concerned about the color coordination.
"They have to be thinking that if this jury thought they were going to convict a man of murder, they wouldn't be worried about color schemes," Adam said.
The prosecution — several members of which coincidentally (or not) wore bluish shirts Tuesday — declined to comment on the jurors' clothing.
6:30 a.m. Patholgist doubts Savio fell
The head injury Kathleen Savio apparently suffered in her bathtub wouldn't have knocked her out, a state-hired expert testified Tuesday, and other bruising found on her body was of a severity typically seen only in car accidents.
Jurors in the Drew Petersonmurder trial on Tuesday heard testimony from Dr. Mary Case, a pathology professor and chief medical examiner ofSt. Louis County, Mo., who was on the witness stand as a state-paid private consultant.
Prosecutors are still working to convince jurors that the 2004 drowning death of Savio, Peterson's third wife, was a murder. Savio's death in her Bolingbrook bathtub was initially treated as an accident.
That changed when Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy, disappeared in 2007. Savio's body was exhumed, and two new autopsies were performed. Peterson, a former Bolingbrook police sergeant, was charged with Savio's murder three years ago.
Jurors took notes as Case testified that it was "very unusual" to find a horizontal laceration on the back of Savio's head when a bathtub fall would typically cause a vertical laceration.
She testified that a single fall from a standing position would not have generated enough force to knock Savio unconscious or account for three bruises near Savio's hip.
"I don't see anything in that tub that would cause that head injury," Case testified. She also said an abrasion found on Savio's backside couldn't have come from the bathtub.
Prosecutors believe Peterson held Savio in a chokehold until she was unconscious and then drowned her in her bathtub. He then allegedly struck her on the back of her head, possibly with his police baton, to make it look like an accident.
Also Tuesday, prosecutors succeeded in their fight to let jurors hear testimony from Jeff Pachter, a former cable contractor co-worker whom Peterson allegedly offered $25,000 to find someone to kill Savio in 2003.
Judge Edward Burmila said he would allow the testimony about Peterson's alleged attempt to have his wife murdered because it is possible evidence of intent in this trial.
The prosecution, however, cannot argue later that Peterson tried to put a hit on Savio, only that Pachter's testimony showed Peterson wanted her dead, Burmila said.
Pachter previously testified during a pretrial hearing that Peterson told him he wanted Savio "taken care of" because she knew a secret that could cost him his job on the Bolingbrook police force.
But Pachter testified he didn't take Peterson's $25,000 offer seriously, even though he owed a bookie $1,000 at the time. Peterson drove him past the Red Lobsterrestaurant where Savio worked, Pachter testified, but didn't give him her name or any other information about her.
On Tuesday, prosecutors continued to struggle in the courtroom. Burmila issued a corrective statement to jurors and told them to disregard testimony after small missteps by State's Attorney James Glasgow.
"We have another instance where ... the witness gets up and says something and the state says, 'Well, jeez, I didn't think she was going to say that,'" an annoyed Burmila said.
There were so many objections, sidebars with the judge and oral arguments that jurors heard only about 40 minutes of testimony Tuesday morning.
The entire day was taken up with Case's testimony.
Burmila said that due to what he'd previously called the "glacial pace" of the trial, he was adding an extra day of testimony on Monday. So far, testimony has been heard Tuesdays through Fridays with Burmila hearing his regular court call on Mondays.
Prosecutors plan to call Illinois State Police investigator Bryan Falat, who raised questions about how the original Savio death investigation was handled.